To ensure they'd build a rock-solid, oceangoing yacht, the team behind Richmond Lady took a rather cautious approach to the onboard systems they installed. "If something's [that's] being touted as great and new works once, I want to see it work again," says Kiselback. "Only if it's held up several times will we even consider including it." That ethos explains why many of the same systems that have appeared—and functioned—in her sisterships appear here: She's got the same twin, 1,800-hp Caterpillar C32 ACERTs (which allow for a comfortable cruise speed of approximately 15 knots) and the same Quantum ZeroSpeed stabilizers. Furthermore, before she made her American debut at last October's Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Richmond Lady had really been put through her paces. "We run this stuff as hard as we possibly can," Kiselback explains, "If there's rough conditions in our area [British Columbia], we think that's great. We'll take her out in ten-foot seas and we'll really learn from the experience." She ran from British Columbia to Fort Lauderdale on her own bottom, completing the trip in just 22 days. And, according to the Richmond crew that ran her, the trip was without incident.
All of that focus on functionality, however, doesn't mean that she's without frills. Her main deck's spacious, full-beam dining room, which like much of the vessel features rich, African sapele pommele wood, also features a stunning, seven-foot-tall custom water wall behind the main table that serves as a bulwark. It is meant, Blakely explains, to add "sparkle and shine" to the room and to mirror the woods' exquisite graining—a graining she describes as "effervescent, like champagne." It certainly succeeds on both fronts. The water, which flows over the curved, metallic background and starburst pattern, can be manipulated by a touchscreen computer—one that changes flow settings and the levels of the recessed halogen lights. And yet, even such a decidedly extravagant feature is not without Richmond's focus on functionality: According to Blakely, the wall actually cleans the air onboard by removing stale particles and flushing them away during its daily, automatic cleaning cycle. Another standout flourish? The 36-inch, cream-colored marble and granite medallion in the lower foyer. Not just a typical compass rose inlay, it features stone that's backlit by a special lighting tape so that the outline of the rose appears to be illuminating from the floor.
But if there's one detail on the Richmond Lady that perhaps best sums up what she's all about, it's on her flying bridge, or "fun deck" as Richmond calls it. This lavish outdoor space features a half-moon-shape bar that wraps around a 7'x8' Jacuzzi, two forward facing settees, and tender storage aft (which is available on the sundeck, too). It also boasts two-inch-thick, stainless steel rails that easily fold down when it's time to launch the tender. It's a seemingly innocuous detail, certainly not the flashiest element on the sun-drenched fun deck, but it works. Rather than forcing crewmembers to disassemble stanchions every time they load and unload watertoys, they can just flip them over and go. They don't have to waste time, nor do they run the risk of scratching the teak deck as they lug the rails in and out.
Functionality. Practicality. Usability. These words are not typically used as synonyms for luxury, but perhaps they should be. Because to hear Richmond tell it, to spend time onboard Richmond Lady—a boat that doesn't just sport nice furnishings, but that is also truly finished—is to cruise off into the sunset, worry free. And that kind of peace of mind? That's luxurious indeed.
This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.