Arcadia 115By Alan Harper
And Now For Something Completely Different
The Arcadia 115 offers a delightful surprise with her combination of efficiency and speed. But that’s just the beginning.
If you’ve caught even a glimpse of the Arcadia 115, it’s probably not necessary to point out that you haven’t seen a motoryacht quite like this before. But if you can see from the outside that she offers something different, it’s not until you step aboard that you can appreciate just how radical she really is. Imagine the most ice-cool Modernist apartment ever conceived by Mies van der Rohe or Philip Johnson, and you’re getting some idea. But this one floats, and moves.
Her unique appeal runs deeper than interior design, though, to fundamentals such as light and space—as shown to such memorable effect in those floor-to-ceiling windows. Headroom is extraordinary: more than 7 feet on the main deck, and well over 8 feet in the private saloon upstairs. The sense of space is enhanced by limitless views through those transparent exterior walls—except when the two amidships balconies are folded down, and there are no walls at all.
The 115 doesn’t just feel improbably spacious for her length. Thanks to her beamy, round-bilge hull, she really does offer more internal volume than a typical 115-footer. The 115’s hydrodynamics are key to the Arcadia concept, combining a broad performance en-velope with fuel efficiency and seakeeping. Her semi-displacement hull form, adapted by Arcadia from designs originating at Britain’s National Physical Laboratory, allows cruise speeds from 7 knots to almost 17 with little change in running attitude. Plus, the hull’s full sections add more interior depth than a typical planing hull, giving the 115 internal headroom without external height.
From the wide-open spaces of the upper deck to the broad and bright deck saloon, the 115’s entertaining areas are spectacular, with plenty of seating and dining space. Floors and bulkheads on our yacht were finished in oak, with cabinets of contrasting ebony and lacquer, reflective, high-gloss deckheads, and dark marble in the bathrooms. The interior also featured furnishings by Poltrona Frau, although of course Arcadia would be happy to listen to a prospective owner’s ideas for an interior scheme. The glass used on the boat, incidentally, is not the stuff they use for greenhouses: it’s German, double-glazed, and filled with encapsulated, inert gas, which reportedly gives it the insulating qualities of eight inches of concrete.
From the various layout options, the owner of this 115, hull No. 1, had selected the four-cabin version of the lower deck—two doubles and two twins—with the captain’s cabin behind the wheelhouse. With the spectacular full-beam owner’s suite on the main deck, and four cabins down forward in the well-appointed crew’s quarters, the yacht’s full complement is 10 guests and 10 crew—not a bad ratio, especially if you intend to charter the yacht. The three-cabin lower deck layout features a full-beam VIP suite aft in place of the two doubles. Also of note to charter parties, the tender garage can accommodate a 14-foot RIB and two PWCs—although this particular 115 has four of them, with a hydraulic davit on the bow to handle the forward two.
Loaded as we were with something like 9 tons of fuel and water, not to mention 8 tons of lead ballast in the lowest part of the hull, the 115’s progress through the water was reassuringly determined. We caught up with the yacht in the early summer on the Côte d’Azur, and the sea was so flat it looked like a deep blue mirror—beautiful, but hardly optimal testing conditions. Applying 10 degrees of helm revealed a surprisingly tight turning circle and a modest angle of outward heel, which increased as more helm was applied. When we tested the yacht the shipyard was still fine-tuning the rudder geometry, not in an effort to improve helm response, but to ease it down a little—this yacht has no trouble turning corners. Long, fixed, roll-dampening fins have also been added in front of the stabilizers.
Arcadia claims that the 5-kilowatt photovoltaic panels give the superstructure’s roof glass not only a futuristic look but also provide sufficient power on a bright day to run the refrigerators and freezers, plus lights, fans, and pumps, without the need for a generator—which will make sitting at anchor a whole lot quieter and more environmentally friendly. There is also the option, throughout the Arcadia range, of a complete diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system.
For delivery trips and serious passagemaking you might choose to cruise at 8 knots or so to maximize the yacht’s range, but it is at 12.5 knots that the 115 really comes into its own as a luxury cruising machine. At that speed, achieved with the 12-cylinder MANs ticking over at a relaxed 1570 rpm, the miles slip by at a satisfactory rate but at a comparatively modest cost in fuel—thanks to the yacht’s immense diesel capacity you should manage over 1,200 nautical miles at this speed. And it was quiet—uncannily so. Noise levels in the wheelhouse were so low that a rustle of paper made the sound meter’s needle twitch, and they weren’t much higher in the master cabin, one deck down.
In a yacht that impressed for her concept, design, and performance, and also for her sheer presence on the water—that alluring mix of competence and confidence—it was this eerie silence onboard that perhaps made the strongest impression. So while you might not have seen a motoryacht quite like this before, you certainly haven’t heard one like it.
This article originally appeared in the August 2014 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.