Free From the Belly of the Beast

Summit Yachts—a new brand from Kadey-Krogen—finished its long journey from Taiwan to the U.S. The only thing left was offloading it in Savannah. That and to peel off the protective tape.

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I was invited by the team at Kadey-Krogen to be the first marine journalist aboard the flagship of their new motoryacht brand: the Summit Yachts 54. Knowing the builder’s reputation in the trawler market for building such high-quality craft, I was more than a little interested to see what this company could offer the motoryacht segment.

A float plan was formed; I would join the delivery crew from Savannah—where the 54 would offload from Taiwan—to the company’s HQ in Stuart, Florida. After a few months of running ragged I was eager to spend a couple days at sea. But first we had to free the 54 from the belly of the beast.

I signed my life away at a booth with armed guards, donned an orange vest and yellow hardhat and followed the Krogen crew to a ladder leading up the side of the Ever Lawful, an 1,100-foot Singapore-flagged ship. I’ve seen cargo ships offshore before; I even pulled alongside one once during a profile on pilot captains. But nothing really prepares you for the size of these ships.

Down a long corridor, through a heavy watertight door and then up a narrow ladder, we weaved and climbed through this labyrinth of a vessel. On an observation deck we could finally see her—kind of. The bow of the 54 stuck out past a neat stack of containers.

The pace in which these ships off load their cargo is almost as staggering as its size. Boooooom … Boooooooom. A crane slams down into each shipping container before ripping it into the sky and whisking it away like the world’s fastest—and most effective—arcade claw machine. A container was lifted from view about every 90 seconds and with it left us with a better view of the 54.

Finally we had permission to climb aboard the boat; we were given two hours to prep her for launch. Our captain and Kadey-Krogen Service Manager Gregg Gandy took to the important task of checking the batteries and ship’s systems, ensuring that we could get underway as soon as the boat was lowered into the water. That left myself, President Tom Button and Vice President Larry Polster to remove protective tape and bubble wrap that covered essentially the entire topsides. My desk-job soft hands didn’t know what was coming. I picked and tore, yanked and swore. For the better part of two hours I worked to remove as much tape as I could. By day’s end we filled three large garbage bags with the stuff.

After a couple hours our time was up. We departed the ship and headed to the side of the river to watch the 54 kiss the water. Watching the crane swing and lower a 54-foot yacht as if it were a bath toy made me realize: There are so many unsung, hard-working people that play a role in creating a yacht like this and delivering it safely to an owner. I’m thankful to have seen and learned about this piece of the boatbuilding puzzle.

Stay tuned as the crew and I make our way towards Stuart and her eventual world debut at the Palm Beach Boat Show.

Read part II “Delivering the first Summit Yacht” here ▶

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