Whatever Happened to DCFBs?

Spectator - July 2001 - DCFBs

Spectator — July 2001

By Tom Fexas

Whatever Happened to DCFBs?
A configuration as powerful and as extinct as the dinosaur.
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Back in the `50s, before motoryachts turned into overinflated beach balls that appear ready to explode, DCFBs were the hot ticket for midrange motoryachts. DCFB stood for "double cabin flying bridge," a configuration rarely, if ever, seen in modern boats, but one that still makes a lot of sense for many reasons.  

As with most vessels, the DCFB evolved over time. Double-cabin (DC) cruisers first appeared in the `20s and `30s. Ranging in size from 36 to about 50 feet, they had a saloon amidships with a cabin (or cabins) forward under the main deck and a cabin (or cabins) aft under a low trunk. Usually a small cockpit was located at the extreme stern, directly accessible from the owner's cabin aft. Then in the `40s someone got the bright idea of installing controls atop the aft trunk to allow fresh-air piloting. Soon a windshield was added and the sides were enclosed, producing a great flying bridge. Thus, the DC was transformed into a DCFB and became the hottest trend in motoryachts.

The great thing--the genius--of the DCFB configuration was that a full motoryacht could be packaged in a low, sleek silhouette that was, in effect, only 1 1/2 decks high. That's why DCFBs from the `50s that were only 50 feet LOA looked so long and sleek. Contrast this to what DCFBs eventually morphed into--flush- or stepped-deck motoryachts--and you immediately see what I am talking about. Flush- or stepped-deck motoryachts eliminated the small aft cockpit and the side decks around the owner's stateroom, producing more volume in the cabin at the expense of losing the "look." This is readily evident if you peruse the pages of this magazine and study the lines of some modern flush-deck motoryacht monstrosities in the 50-foot range. These bloats--er, excuse me, boats--are three decks high and look like gigantic floating watermelons. My editor will not allow me to name names here, but to paraphrase a Supreme Court justice speaking of pornography, you will know one when you see one.

Bloated boats are the result of pure and simple greed. Greedy interior designers dictated that boats be designed from the inside out rather than from the outside in. I have always followed the outside-in philosophy. If a boat resembles a well-melted candle, stuffed turkey, or doorstop, the owner will never really be happy with her, and since most owners spend much more time looking at pictures of their boat than actually using her, appearance becomes very important. Yes, first get the profile right, then design the interior to fit within the envelope as best you can.

Next page > DCFBs, Part 2 > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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