Marine’s Gran Finale — By Diane M. Byrne — October 2002
|Despite her name, Gran Finale marks several firsts for Delta Marine.|
While Delta Marine opened its doors in Seattle about three decades ago, 1975 was a particularly significant year for the builder. That's when the yard, up to then a builder of fiberglass commercial fishing vessels to about 50 feet, developed its first deep-draft commercial fishing boat, this being a 58-footer. A stalwart presence on the Pacific coast of North America, she marked a new direction in boat design, tooling requirements, and construction techniques.
Delta successfully applied the lessons learned from that project for the next two decades, launching a number of other commercial vessels but also entering the yacht-construction arena with long-range motoryachts that echoed the commercial boat's styling. Two of the most famous names to emerge from its shed were Zopilote and Princess Gloria, both of which traveled extensively.
Even though the yard's commercial construction days are long behind it and the number of motoryachts on its delivery roster has grown as much as their length and complexity--some shallow-draft, some classic-looking, and some expedition-style--Delta hasn't left behind the spirit that let it forge ahead all those years ago. It has once again changed direction in engineering and construction techniques with Gran Finale, a modern-looking 147-footer. In fact, this speedy--and yes, even sexy--lady pushed Delta to try a few things it had never done before.
Take a good look at her profile. Gran Finale marks the first time Delta didn't employ at least some hand-lofting. The abundance of contours you see, from the sleek hull to the "shark gill" engine-room air inlets to the sculpted arch, were generated in-house by a 3-D modeling program with the collaboration of the Delta Design Team and Juan Carlos Espinosa, the Florida-based stylist and interior designer who also spearheaded the decor and styling of the owner's previous yacht, a 66-footer named John's Rendezvous. The 3-D models were in turn forwarded at the owner's request to nearby Janicki Machine, which manufactures plugs and molds for a number of builders using a five-axis milling machine. While Delta had worked with Janicki for the tooling of select parts of previous yachts, it had never constructed an entire vessel through this process.
Taking it a step further, all of the molds except the one for the hull were intended to produce only one part, "as the client wanted to ensure this was a unique design," according to Jay Miner, Delta's chief naval architect. Therefore, after layup was complete, each was destroyed; the hull mold was an exception because "we have a strong belief that the hull design should be utilized for future projects," Miner explains.
That hull resulted from several tank tests of three different designs, including two created by other yards when the owner was shopping the bid package, created with the input of Ken Keefe, president of KKMI Yacht Sales in California. (Keefe also advised the owner throughout the construction process.) The owner knew what he wanted: low sound levels and a good turn of speed. While many custom yacht owners specify that their yachts should be quiet, some methods of sound reduction add unnecessary weight. At Gran Finale's owner's request, the yard yard worked closely with Willem Van Cappellen, one of the marine industry's leading acoustic consultants. Besides employing traditional methods like "floating" the interior, filling stanchions with sand, and soft-mounting machinery, Delta double-soft-mounted systems particularly prone to noise generation and used epoxy paste to damp areas above the propeller planes, bulkheads, and decks. It also filled cavities with open-cell foam and applied an aluminum "envelope" over the engine room boundary, which Miner says weighs "a fraction of customary engine-room treatments."
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.