There's also a difference just below the radar support. While the 172-footer featured an enclosed "club lounge" here, Jim suggested moving the wheelhouse up in its place on the 168 and creating a flying bridge atop it. It's easy to understand why guests love it up here, particularly when the yacht's cruising in the islands. While it was a typical hot August afternoon when I was aboard (which was, coincidentally, the day after Jim would have celebrated his 89th birthday), Moore pointed out how the windows forward can open electrically. Custom-built, beefy hinges adorn them for additional security: strong enough to keep the wind from pushing the windows down or even pushing them up further if they're open.
The way the 168-footer is constructed is also a departure. While the 172-footer features the traditional combination of a steel hull and an aluminum superstructure, the newest Gallant Lady has an aluminum hull and a fiberglass superstructure. Since Jim wanted a shallow-draft boat for cruising the Intracoastal Waterway and the Bahamas, aluminum was a better choice than steel. There are other benefits of the unusual combination, too. "Stability, despite great height and seven-foot draft, is very good, simply because of the lightweight construction up higher," says Henk De Vries. Moore agrees: "The best way to build a very strong, lightweight, shallow-draft vessel is to build out of aluminum and fiberglass," adding that the strength of both materials and the weight savings also lend themselves to "great seakeeping."
A number of system upgrades and general smart space-planning items also distinguish the new Gallant Lady. She features a centralized air conditioning system instead of having individual (and humming) air handlers throughout the interior. It's incredibly quiet—I couldn't discern even a whisper of air movement while I was aboard. But according to Henk De Vries, while the system is lighter and cleaner, it required more stringent planning in the design stage. For example, since it eliminated the need to create large stowage spots for multiple air handlers typically hidden within cabinetry, something had to be done with that extra space. Moore says the Morans decided to lower the windowsills throughout, which in turn resulted in "the sleeker exterior look Mr. Moran was looking for and improved interior visibility that Mrs. Moran wanted to accomplish," he explains.
Another notable device is the waste-treatment system. Jim, being one of the founders of the International SeaKeepers Society, which helps raise awareness about the health of the world's oceans, was concerned with minimizing the vessel's impact on her environment wherever she cruised. While some water-treatment equipment on the market introduces chlorine into the black and grey water before the water is routed to holding tanks or, where permitted, discharged overboard, certain regions, including Fisher Island, Florida, have stricter rules. As a result, the treatment system the new Gallant Lady features instead exposes black and grey water to ultraviolet light. And because of Jim's association with the SeaKeepers, a monitoring device collects data about sea temperature and salinity as well as other environmental conditions and sends it via satellite to the society's headquarters so that scientists and climatologists can analyze it.
The fervent detailing of Gallant Lady extends to her interior design, too; after all, this 168-footer was conceived to entertain small and large groups during everything from dockside cocktail parties to island cruises. The main deck caters particularly well to both of these needs, from the intimate saloon aft (complete with Disklavier player Gran Tour piano and cocktail tables inlaid with 17 types of stonework) to the dining room forward, which is up a step or two and encircles visitors in natural light and beautiful vistas due to windows all around.
This article originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.