Marine’s Gran Finale — By Diane M. Byrne — October 2002
|Part 2: A penchant for dramatic and Italian-styles.|
That attention to sound control paid off: Delta reports decibel readings taken at cruising speed during sea trials were 47.5 in the master and 56.7 in the saloon (65 is the level of normal conversation). In addition, the effort to control the weight of the acoustical materials, combined with cored-composite construction, worked out successfully. Delta says Gran Finale tops out at 21 knots and cruises most efficiently at 15.4 knots; throttled back to 12 knots, she has a 4,000-nautical mile range. As for fuel burn: 64 gph at 14 knots, according to the owner.
But something else in Gran Finale's construction marked another first for Delta: carbon fiber. The decision came about through a need to limit flex due to the owner's decision to use large expanses of glass, particularly in the sky lounge. Its "roof," the sundeck, sits atop window after window, and fully aft, the glass runs both full-beam and from headliner to sole. While flex can cause annoying vibration and squeaks in woodwork, it can also cause major problems like structural fatigue, so the Delta Design Group used Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to determine the best material for strength and weight control. Developed for the aerospace industry and currently used by several other industries, FEA divides the vessel design into thousands of different elements and examines each for stress, deflection, and vibration. According to Miner, "This gives a level of prediction that was never possible before in yacht design." With the information gleaned from FEA, the Delta Design Team created a transverse frame running two deck levels that's constructed completely of carbon fiber. Miner says it supports most of the transverse loads imposed by Gran Finale's motion at sea.
Unlike other solutions various yards and naval architects have come up with to conceal structural supports, this "racking frame," as Miner also calls it, doesn't obstruct traffic flow between the pilothouse and sky lounge and therefore doesn't interfere with the aesthetic appeal of the 360-degree views out the room's windows. It also lets the bold decor of the lounge step front and center. Intense hues of blue and purple dominate the room, from the carpet to the artwork to the barstools pulled up to the counter abaft the pilothouse's observation settee. An electrically operated panel can raise from the top of the counter to more fully delineate the pilothouse and sky lounge, particularly if guests are watching a movie on a drop-down screen to starboard.
The rest of the yacht shows off the owner's penchant for dramatic and Italian-inspired styles, Espinosa's flair for curving and open designs, and Delta's talent for joinerwork, done in its on-site shop: rich, high-gloss mahogany columns and rings of sapele overhead, all grain-matched; a spiral staircase just forward of the dining area, topped by a skylight; custom glasswork by renowned artist Dale Chihuly; and an elevator--another first for Delta--with etched glass and grain-matched wood. Look closely at the details and you see more details. The wood closets in the VIP cabins have large triangular insets that "balance" on each other's tip, for example, and the curved mahogany wood panels making up the cabinet doors in the lower-deck foyer not only are matched up to form rings, but also are used to conceal a small bar.
There is an abundance of alfresco areas as well, all nicely arranged. Particularly well done is the bar area on the bridge deck, where a hatch conceals a full set of dishware and glasses for service here as well as the large circular table across to starboard. (Fully aft, however, is one of the yacht's satcom domes; ordinarily it would be on the arch, but that would disrupt the center of gravity and desire for a smaller upper superstructure.)
It took two and a half years to bring Gran Finale to completion, due to her complexity. But just because the project pushed all the teams involved, don't think that it's time to relax. Delta is putting the finishing touches on the latest addition to its 18-acre site, a marble shop, a further example of how it strives to govern as many aspects of construction in house.
And don't think an owner like that of Gran Finale won't come along to challenge it to reach for a higher level.
Delta Marine Phone: (206) 763-2383. Fax: (206) 762-2627. www.deltamarine.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.