Here’s how Monte Fino introduced the 85 ecHo concept: “One of the core fundamentals of the project is that the boat must itself be a destination, rather than just a means of getting from A to B, a yacht on which an owner will really want to spend time and where speed ... is of very much secondary importance. The challenge is more to offer fun and facilities with much reduced drain on unsustainable resources.”
Designed by Humphreys Yacht Design and Giorgia Drudi (interior) and built in Taiwan by Kha Shing, the 85 ecHo in many ways stays true to the tradition of long-range cruising yachts—businesslike appearance, seaworthy hull, and economical operation. This yacht’s interior, on the other hand, reflects the tastes of European buyers.
“Humphreys Design found that the people who might consider a Monte Fino expedition yacht were not the normal trawler buyer,” says Mike Joyce, head of Hargrave Custom Yachts, the U.S. distributor for Monte Fino. “They wanted the range and the stability of a full displacement hull, but after that they really wanted a lot more of what they associated with the Monte Fino interiors.”
The exterior is shippy and rides on an easily driven hull, and the interior décor defies the North American penchant for wood and conservative furniture. Drudi has created delightfully contemporary spaces, comprising mostly straight lines and sharp corners with muted colors and striking accessories, but these areas are also warm and casual. It’s a nifty trick.
Further research revealed that prospective buyers were in their 40s and 50s. “They were fully engaged in their careers, and not ready to pull the plug and circle the globe,” Joyce says. “They liked fuel efficiency, they responded to ‘green’ in both the ship’s systems, and in the interior design itself ... The respondents were able to articulate clearly what they wanted to experience onboard with their family and friends.”
Humphreys drew the 85 ecHo’s bottom with a bulbous bow and exaggerated prop tunnels to reduce the immersed volume. Aft sections resist the squatting common to displacement hulls when they try to exceed their theoretical maximum hull speed—12 knots for the 85. Tests have shown, according to Monte Fino, that 14 to 15 knots is possible before the stern begins to squat.
Monte Fino builds each 85 ecHo to order, so buyers have an almost endless variety of choices to make.
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This article originally appeared in the March 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.