A New Tradition
95 — By Diane M. Byrne — December 2000
A New Tradition
|High Cotton shows how the reputation of Jack Hargrave is evolving into a bold yacht-building venture.|
The name Jack Hargrave is as synonymous with pleasureboats as Henry Ford is with automobiles. The late naval architect, who died in 1996, put his indelible stamp on more than 6,000 yachts during a career that spanned four decades. Never one to get caught up in the vagaries of what was considered "hot" or trendy, Hargrave graced his vessels with traditional, ageless lines, remaining focused on ensuring they (and, in turn, the yards that built them) would earn respect when put to the test.
Today that spirit endures under the watchful eye of Mike Joyce, who worked with Hargrave in the 1970s. He was later instrumental in bringing Hargrave and Cheoy Lee Shipyards together to collaborate on a series of 80- to 120-footers, and in 1997 acquired the design office of J.B. Hargrave Naval Architects. Joyce's goal was not only to allow the firm to continue focusing on yacht design and engineering, but also to expand into new services, primary among them boatbuilding. Thus was born Hargrave Custom Yachts.
Offering a line of 20-foot-beam fiberglass megayachts (plus a custom aluminum sportfishing line from 45 to 77 feet LOA) built on U.S. shores and abroad, Hargrave Custom Yachts uses a combination of original Jack Hargrave designs, updated versions, and new arrangements, all of which promise reliable performance. Equally important in this time of high demand for custom craft is the ability of owners to personalize their yachts beyond just moving a few bulkheads.
Those key factors were instrumental in convincing Henry and Etta Rae Hirsch to commission High Cotton, the first 95-foot raised-pilothouse motoryacht from Hargrave Custom Yachts. While they had owned Hargrave-designed boats in the past, this Southern couple had never owned a custom yacht. But the Hirsches were encouraged by how receptive Hargrave Custom Yachts was to letting them tailor their new vessel.
High Cotton's classic looks incorporate styling features the Hirsches specifically requested. For example, Hargrave Custom Yachts created tooling to ensure the Divinycell-cored superstructure would have abundant topside space where the Hirsches' friends, family, and occasional charter guests could gather. The flying bridge handily accommodates a wetbar and stools, two L-shape settees and tables (which drop down to accommodate filler cushions for sunpads), and an 18-foot Novurania and PWC and the crane to launch them. Henry requested a wide (just shy of three feet) starboard-side foyer so that when guests board with their luggage they'll be able to enter and access the staircase to their staterooms easily.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.