Whale Song — By Diane M. Byrne — July 2002
Different Song, Different Verse
|Part 2: Baptism by fire|
The rest of the major equipment and machinery is commercial-grade and oversize--the shafts are 51⁄2 inches in diameter, and the reduction-gear ratio is 3:1--both more characteristic of a vessel twice Whale Song's size. All of this was put to a baptism by fire during a grounding amid sea trials in Lockport, Louisiana, where New Orleans-based Trinity builds all its Global Explorer Series yachts. Despite conditions that Grenier says at one point felt like "four feet of water and three feet of muck," Whale Song, with her 7'9" draft (half load), came away with only a slight ding to a prop, much to his and the owner's surprise and, of course, delight.
Even as Grenier and the owner relish this "no-nonsense" focus, they're quick to point out the more whimsical interior touches. A pub-like atmosphere in the combined saloon and dining area is highlighted by carvings and other artwork depicting whales. A sign above the large bar to starboard reads "Whale Watching Society, New Members Welcome." Several whales are etched into the surface of the bar, protected with a coat of polyurethane. A few feet forward and to port hangs a carving of a whale that Grenier gave to the owner as a christening gift. The theme reappears throughout the yacht, whether in the owner's stateroom abaft the pilothouse or the four guest staterooms below decks (two doubles, one triple, and one twin, which Grenier uses).
When everyone would rather take part in more everyday pursuits, Whale Song is equipped accordingly. A door leads aft from the owner's cabin to a partially covered aft deck, where he can dine in privacy or lazily swing in a hammock while at sea. A benchseat immediately forward of the pilothouse lets the owner enjoy the view as well. An avid chess player, he has a beautiful chess set arranged in front of the port-side settee in the saloon. Ocean Alliance researchers who feel their skin tone too closely matches the color of their lab coats will enjoy the lounges on the sundeck. They'll also appreciate the flip-down steps on the swim platform, making it easier to get into the water.
Around presstime, Whale Song had departed for the Mediterranean, expecting to maintain a long-range speed of 8 knots (top speed is around 11 knots) and burn about 20 to 22 gph, thanks to twin 440-hp Caterpillars. Her owner was looking forward to his first ocean crossing and, more important, setting off on his quest to follow whales. He and Grenier expected to take digital photos of interesting encounters, promising to e-mail some on occasion to keep me apprised of their discoveries. Since they had done this for Trinity during their maiden voyage, perhaps they'll update the yard this time as well. And perhaps the photos will inspire the owners of Trinity's latest project, a 195-foot expedition-style yacht named Ulysses. While she also has an ambitious cruising schedule, departing for New Zealand upon delivery, she's designed for luxurious cruising, too.
Even if they--and other yachtsmen the Whale Song group encounters--only learn the difference between a Right whale and a Humpback whale, the 94-footer's unusual yachting folk just might have more people marching along to their different tune.
Trinity Yachts Phone: (504) 283-4050. Fax: (504) 284-7318. www.trinityyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.