— By Capt. Bill Pike
— July 2003
|How a residential architect supersizes the traditional three-stateroom motoryacht layout.|
I was a little leery at first. A friend of mine had seen an unusual and noteworthy flying-bridge motoryacht at the 2003 Miami International Boat Show, a boat I’d somehow missed while strolling the docks. And he thought I’d better give her a look, perhaps even take her for a test spin and write up a report. What had so intrigued the guy apparently was the fact that the vessel’s exterior had, for the most part, been designed around a whopping interior, a novel prioritization in an age that often favors sleek, sexy exterior styling at all costs. Moreover, the guy who’d created the interior layout, Long Islander Joe Esposito, was a residential architect, not a naval one. “He’s done some interesting things,” my friend promised, “maybe because he’s not all tangled up with traditions and preconceptions.”
I caught up with the SeaVana 60—an appellation derived from the savanna-like allure of the open sea, according to some brochures I’d gotten ahold of—at the Rybovich Spencer yard in West Palm Beach. My chary attitude took the first big hit as soon as I caught a glimpse of the boat’s curvaceous, highly styled superstructure—it seemed sleek enough and at least as sexy as the superstructures of most other big Euro-stylers on the market these days, maybe even sexier. Whether or not the interior layout would really knock my socks off I wasn’t able to tell at this point, of course, but I could certainly vouch for the profile and the glasswork—it looked great.
Esposito stuck out a friendly hand. Then, while we stood on the expansive, teak-paved swim platform for a moment, he told me a bit about the project that’s taken up so much of his life over the past couple of years—the creation of a sort of hybrid motoryacht with European styling and finish, and a huge, wide-open American layout. The story began with a quest. Esposito, an experienced boater, was shopping the 50-something range, looking for a layout with three fair-size staterooms, each with an en suite head, and a main-deck accommodation as commodious and comfortable as a high-end stateside condo. “I eventually discovered that what I wanted simply didn’t exist,” he explained, “so I began noodling around and finally put together a layout I felt was pretty unusual and just about perfect.”
The next step took Esposito to England, where Southampton-based naval architect Bill Dixon drew up a nicely proportioned, seaworthy envelope to accommodate the layout and a group of craftsmen from the boatbuilding town of Oundle began breathing life into it. As things progressed, Esposito figured he had to be on the right track—going with British naval architecture, craftsmanship, and styling addressed one of his major concerns, and his own all-American layout addressed the other.
I was able to judge the outcome as soon as we stepped into the SeaVana’s saloon. Indeed, the place was huge, thanks to a couple of subtle strategies. For one thing, the galley/
dinette/helm area had been pushed well forward, a move that added considerable elbowroom. And then, the layout was savvily configured to facilitate traffic flow in the same way a thoughtfully designed home might be. I found I could move within the thoroughly open and integrated arrangement with unobstructed ease, whether my aim was the galley, lower helm station (with full standing headroom, thanks to Dixon’s ample profile), or dinette area. The stairwells—one leading down to the master and VIP forward, and the other leading to the guest stateroom and engine room aft—were unobtrusively sidelined behind plush, Ultraleather-upholstered furniture.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.