Mega Makeover

Take a Boat Ride - At Sea - February 2003
At Sea — February 2003
By Capt. Bill Pike

Mega Makeover
Does your megayacht seem a little beat and passé? How about giving her a laser-powered, reverse-engineered, digitized face-lift?

Illustration: Christopher Bing
 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Mega Makeover
• Part 2: Mega Makeover continued

 Related Resources
• At Sea Index

I had a chance to visit Sedro-Woolley a few weeks ago, a pretty little city not far from Seattle. Except for the fact that the place was diplomatically named by two totally different guys, each of whom claimed to be, at some august juncture of the sepia-toned past, the founder of the community, Sedro-Woolley's got just one major league claim to fame: It's the home of Janicki Industries. A sophisticated little company started by a couple of young brothers with a hard-driving, timber-industry work ethic and a background in the aerospace biz, Janicki's in the enviable position these days of fabricating the fiberglass tooling for a whole host of mainstream boatbuilders, just a few of them being Rinker, Delta, and Pacific Mariner.

Marine tooling's critical stuff, of course. Generally speaking, it consists of hull, deck, and other molds that builders use to create the various components of fiberglass boats. Many modern yards continue to create tooling the same way they've done it for years, starting with hand-crafted male "plugs" made out of wood, putty, and other stuff. However, a new process is rapidly gaining favor, one in which large blocks of plastic foam are sculpted into dimensionally perfect plugs, not by artisans with woodworking tools but by giant, five-axis milling machines with small, tireless, computer-guided cutting heads. It's this process that's put Janicki and Sedro-Woolley on the map and parenthetically introduced a whole new concept to the marine scene: the old-boat makeover.

Consider the 18-year-old, 125-foot motoryacht Maverick, a perfect example of the phenomenon. A year or so ago, her owner began thinking of the aging beauty in less-than-loving terms. Certainly she was a venerable old trooper and beautiful in scads of ways, but stylistic shortcomings and undeniable imperfections were starting to appear. Shortcomings? Imperfections? Hard language, yes, but honestly descriptive of an older yacht that, while still essentially pleasing in most respects, no longer quite lived up to her owner's expectations.

Sportfishing inadequacies constituted the major hang-up. No fighting chair. No rocket launchers. No baitwells, freezers, rod stowage, or tackle station. Not even a decent cockpit to fish from. And then, sad but true, there was the watertoy problem: no place to stow them and no tankage for the gasoline needed to operate them. Adding such issues to the fact that many of Maverick's systems needed rebuilding, revamping, or replacement ultimately precipitated a crisis of the heart: The yacht's owner took his aging siren to Foss Shipyards of Tacoma, Washington, for a major overhaul and...a makeover!

Next page > Part 2: The owner was happy. > Page 1, 2

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

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