55 Motoryacht — By George L. Petrie
— January 2003
High Tech, Low Stress, More Fun
|Part 2: Interior joinery was flawlessly executed in Tanganyika wood.|
There are backups for everything. At the upper helm station there's a Ritchie compass, and at the lower helm there's a KVH digital compass. Power take-offs on both main engines provide redundant power supplies to the 15-hp hydraulic bow and stern thrusters. To let the owner keep tabs on his machinery, there's an engine-room camera system that auto-switches between full-color display when the engine room lights are on and infrared (night vision) when the lights are off.
With all that technology onboard, you might think the yacht would look like a giant video game. That's where Uniesse achieved a tour de force in design and construction. All breakers, switches, and status displays are neatly laid out on horizontal panels outboard or forward of the raised lower helm station, above eye level from the saloon and virtually out of sight from anywhere but the helm seat. From elsewhere in the interior, only the digital display and the two chartplotters are visible, handsomely ensconced in a stunning burl panel forward of the helm.
Uniesse accommodated the owner's wishes in other respects as well. For example, the standard interior is a three-stateroom, three-head layout. But the owner wanted a large head adjoining the master stateroom, so Uniesse reconfigured the arrangement to eliminate one guest head and offer an enlarged custom head in its place. Per the owner's request, floors and countertops in both heads were done in rich, buttery yellow marble that makes the spaces seem even larger and brighter.
Though Uniesse added several custom features to the yacht, most of the niceties I saw aboard are standard, testimony to the builder's attention to detail. For example, all bulkheads are reinforced with a solid-wood molding around the perimeter of each door opening, to keep the doorways square and to keep the bulkheads from distorting. Furthermore, all mirrors and cabinet doors are flush with rather than protruding from the surface of the surrounding bulkhead.
Interior joinery was flawlessly executed in Tanganyika wood, selected for its uniform grain and its resistance to fading and finished with a luxuriant nine-coat multigloss finish. The exterior decks were covered in lowlands Burma teak, a dense variety that has low porosity and weathers especially well. One of the few faults I could find became painfully obvious as I was climbing from the cockpit up to the flying bridge, jabbing my back on a steel latch that secures the hatch.
The discomfort was short-lived, as the focus of my attention turned to our sea trial. Winds were whipping across New York Harbor at more than 45 knots as we rounded Battery Park in search of calmer water in the East River. At 35 knots in a three- to four-foot slop, we took a splash of spray across the bridge, but nothing major considering we had 80 knots of apparent wind across the deck. It was an exhilarating ride, but comfortable and smooth thanks to 26 degrees of deadrise amidships and 17 degrees at the stern. Course keeping at speed was excellent, although at low speeds I would have preferred a faster rudder response than the seven turns lock-to-lock that the owner specified. But the combination of bow and stern thrusters makes low-speed maneuvering easy in any situation.
With a sturdy fiberglass hull, foam-cored in the hull sides and deckhouse and conforming to CE/Class-A construction standards (CE is a European set of standards that cover a wide variety of consumer products, including yachts, with Class A being the highest rating), the Uniesse has certainly fulfilled Trachtenberg's requirements. She's beautifully designed and finely constructed, and with full manual and automatic backup systems and almost every contingency planned for, what's left to do but relax and have fun?
Global Yachts International Phone: (305) 371-2628. www.uniesse.com.
George L. Petrie is a professor of naval architecture at Webb Institute and provides maritime consulting services. His Web site is www.maritimeanalysis.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.