Wally Yachts’ Wallypower
118 — By Alan Harper —
|It looks like psycho origami and does nearly 60 knots. Welcome to the weird, wild world of the Wally 118.|
If the Gotham City branch of Ikea ever gets into designing flat-pack boats, this is what they’ll look like. But this first foray into motoryachts by Luca Bassani’s Wally Yachts is not just an exercise in styling. Far from being a marketing exercise, it is in fact driven by some of the most demanding technical challenges ever taken on by a boatbuilder.
Genuinely new and high-tech, from her engine room to her folding radar mast, the Wallypower 118 has carbon, glass, and honeycomb construction, a superbly minimalist Euro interior by Lazzarini & Pickering, and a nearly 60-knot top speed. Scale models were tank tested at SSPA in Sweden and in Ferrari’s wind tunnel at Marinello, Italy. Intermarine, the renowned warship builder, built her. As a conscious re-evaluation of what express motoryachts should be like, she’s entitled to look a little out of the ordinary.
The 118 made her debut late last summer. Even with some of the most beautiful sailboats in the world to admire, competitors at the Voiles de St. Tropez classic yacht rally couldn’t take their eyes off the Wallypower. At the maxi-racers’ Rolex Cup in Porto Cervo, the 118 drew spectator boats like a carbon-fiber pied piper. And at the Monaco Yacht Show in September, where she officially debuted, visitors couldn’t get enough of her stealth-bomber chic.
The 118 is an express motoryacht with berths for six guests in three en suite staterooms and six crew, and her accommodations are arranged symmetrically on each side of a straight, central corridor in that unique angular hull. The tender garage—in the bow—is revealed when a triangular section of the foredeck lifts, dead level, on three hydraulic rams. Just forward of the superstructure is an inset seating area, which can be shaded by a bimini top. That mysterious glass-sided deckhouse shelters a capacious saloon aft, with white upholstery, plain wood surfaces, and a seductive, beach-house ambience. The dining table sits amidships, just aft of the helm, made of carbon fiber.
But the bald facts of this yacht’s appointments don’t even begin to tell her story. Perhaps the most ambitious motoryacht of her size ever built, at least since Vosper’s Mercury of 1960, the 118 has a CODOG (combined diesel or gas) propulsion system—jet engines for speed, diesels for everything else—common on small warships, but rare on yachts.
While gas turbines offer tremendous power-to-weight benefits (3.6 hp per pound in the TF50s), they do have a downside, as one British Harrier pilot discovered not long ago in 100-plus-degree conditions in the Persian Gulf, when his breathless aircraft landed in the sea beside the carrier. Although the Wallypower is unlikely to suffer such drastic consequences, jet-engine output typically declines by about 0.5 percent for every 1ºF increase in air temperature. The Wallypower uses three DDC TF50s (maritime cousins of the Chinook helicopter engine) driving three KaMeWa waterjets. Their 5,600 hp is calibrated at a lab temperature of 59°F—a little different from an August afternoon in Florida. However hot it gets, though, the 118 should always be able to cruise at 40 knots without effort. Not many 100-footers can make that claim. (Also aboard are two 370-hp Cummins diesels, used for slower-speed maneuvering, that drive two of the three waterjets through common gearboxes.)
There is a more conventional engine option as well: twin 3,650-hp MTU 4000 V16 diesels, which Bassani claims will give the boat a 45-knot top speed and around a 40-knot cruise speed. Go for these, and you’ll also save about $8 million on the asking price (which is $16.55 million when the yacht is equipped with twin diesels, $24.83 million as tested, with triple gas turbines).
Next page > Part 2: I found the speed readings on the GPS unreal: 54.4 knots on our best run. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
This article originally appeared in the January 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.