Daring to Be Different
|Exclusive: Crescent Custom Yachts’
— By Diane M. Byrne — September 2003
Daring to Be Different
|Crescent Custom Yachts breaks with spec tradition by debuting a new hull design and an anything-but-predictable layout.|
La Paz certainly isn’t a typical place to find a megayacht. After all, the capital of Mexico’s Baja California Sur offers an incongruous mix of desert and sea, and it has a distinctively unassuming, low-key atmosphere—characteristics that stand in stark contrast to the typical megayacht haunts.
But then, this was no average trip to see a yacht. This was an opportunity to see Crescent Custom Yachts’ newest 121-foot spec yacht before any other marine publication, and as I’d find out over the course of two days, it was actually the perfect setting for the latest Crescent Lady (the name the Canadian yard gives to all of its spec projects). For she proves that spec construction can be anything but average.
Why do I consider most spec yachts “average”? Because most yards build such yachts with an eye toward mass appeal. From the boom years of the 1990’s through to the present, more and more megayacht yards have turned to spec construction as a way of controlling costs, filling available build slots, and servicing yachtsmen who simply won’t wait 18 months to two years and beyond for a fully custom craft. Unfortunately, some yards end up producing yachts that are “safe”—they don’t reflect the boldness of design and shrewdness of engineering that have long been the hallmarks of megayacht construction.
Crescent Custom Yachts, however, is not one of those yards. Aboard its last 120-foot spec yacht (a 2002 debut), it fashioned 12-foot-wide, high-gloss ebony doors to conceal both crystal and a bar in the dining area, panels with intuitive diagrams for the fuel-transfer system (de rigueur for Crescent), and backlit sight gauges for the fuel tanks.
But the biggest way Crescent has gone against the norm with this Crescent Lady is by breaking one of its own traditions. Since its founding about two decades ago, Crescent had, like many West Coast yards, purchased hulls from other shipyards, particularly Westport. But as more yards began requesting hulls from Westport and as Westport itself began expanding its own yacht offerings, Crescent decided the best course of action would be to build a hull entirely under its own roof. It turned to Jack Sarin Naval Architects, the renowned firm responsible for the design of nearly two dozen Crescents to date.
There are a few design differences between the Westport hull and Crescent’s. For one, the bulwarks are higher. While those of previous launches were certainly of adequate height, Sarin points out that the former hull mold was not originally intended for yachts in the 120-foot range. The new hull mold created for Crescent, he says, was specifically designed to accommodate a longer hull complete with suitable bulwarks. (For more on the hull design, see “Designer’s Notebook,” this story.)
Seeing Crescent Lady’s new hull in action was a big reason I’d come to La Paz, and I had abundant opportunity during an all-day tandem cruise with the 112-foot Centinella III, another Crescent, among the islands off La Paz. While flat-calm conditions are typically the bane of boating editors due to the resulting inability to assess rough-water performance, the mirror-like Sea of Cortés was actually perfect for my needs. It let me appreciate the cleanliness and efficiency with which Crescent Lady, equipped with hard chines and a finer entry than previous Crescents, pushed through the water. At just shy of 22 knots, instead of throwing water far off to each side, she produced a small bow wake that stayed close to the vessel and folded upon itself as if an invisible, sharp-angled plane were beneath it.
This article originally appeared in the August 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.