Detroit Eagle — By George
— January 2002
|Roger Penske’s new Detroit Eagle takes flight.|
Even if I didn’t know that the new 150-foot Feadship Detroit Eagle had been built for Roger Penske, I might easily have guessed it, for every aspect of the yacht brought to mind images I associate with the automobile racing legend and successful businessman. As if inspired by an Indy car, the yacht has a streamlined shape with an arrow-fine bow and a long, low profile. And with engines that develop nearly 13,000 hp, Detroit Eagle has more muscle than a dozen NASCAR championship cars.
Penske’s captain for the last 10 years and project manager for Detroit Eagle, Capt. Marc Greichen ensured that everything was built exactly as Penske wanted it. Design questions were often resolved by building full-size mockups, an approach not unlike the one Penske Racing had refined over many years of success. To cite just one example, moldings for the interior joinery were mocked up no fewer than five times, changing the proportions of a raised inlay to achieve exactly the desired look and feel.
According to Greichen, the design of Detroit Eagle reflects a commitment to high performance and structural integrity achieved through a strict weight management regimen. During construction at Feadship’s De Vries yard, all furniture and equipment was weighed as it was brought on board. Moreover, all sawdust and scrap was collected and weighed as it was removed to keep the weight calculations as accurate as possible.
This kind of obsession with details was a key element in Penske’s successful campaigns on the racecourse, and it is equally evident throughout the yacht, but particularly in the engine room. Entering through an imposing corridor lined with engine-turned stainless steel panels on either side, I felt as though I was entering a NASA clean room. Behind a port-side glass panel, I saw a pair of 100-kW DDEC gensets, not hidden away in hushboxes but in full view and easily serviceable in the fully sound-proofed room. This space is really a double-wall room within a room, the inner structure being installed on a flexible foundation and separated from the outer structure by sound-absorbent material. Even the window through which visitors can admire the custom gensets is double-pane for added quiet.
The starboard side of the corridor houses a gym with cross-training equipment and a treadmill and is just as innovative: The glass panel that separates it from the corridor changes from clear to translucent at the touch of a button.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.