Qing: The Cheoy Lee explorer yacht where east meets west
by Marilyn Mower
Mazu (now Qing) is named after a woman living during China’s Song Dynasty who could foretell the future and predict weather. She stood on the shore dressed in red and holding a lantern to guide fishing boats to port, creating an indelible bond between herself and mariners. Before and after her death, many miracles were attributed to her and she was deified. More than 1,000 temples dedicated to Mazu exist throughout Southeast Asia.
Like her 2007 dark green-hulled sister Dorothea III (ex-Marco Polo), Qing has an easily driven, deep hull shape with the large, single, variable-pitch propeller set between twin rudders. An interesting innovation is the retractable Schottel SPJ 57 Pump-Jet thruster in the forward part of the hull. The Pump-Jet can rotate 360 degrees and acts as both bow-thruster and emergency secondary propulsion system, capable of producing up to six knots of boat speed, even in a 20-knot headwind. In the event of main engine malfunction or an emergency in the main engine room, the forward engine room remains safely independent, with the Schottel drive unit capable of get-home power as well as providing exceptional manoeuvrability when docking, aided by a Naiad 75kW stern thruster.
‘For a long-range cruising yacht, you can’t beat a single engine with a large, variable-pitch propeller, to give the best dynamics throughout the speed range and the load range as the yacht consumes fuel on a crossing,’ says Ron Holland, Qing’s naval architect. ‘I see it as two engine rooms but one main engine.’ The yacht is powered by a Caterpillar 3512B developing 1,911bhp at the relatively slow speed of 1,600rpm. ‘The 14-plus knots we achieve on the single engine is the hull speed anyway.’ A vast number of commercial cargo and tanker ships ply the oceans on a single engine – an area where shipbuilder Cheoy Lee has experience. It has been installing the Schottel system on its ships since the 1960s, according to Marty Isenberg of Cheoy Lee North America.
‘We’ve worked our butts off to improve fuel efficiency in a large yacht that has all the luxury features,’ says Holland. ‘The only real disadvantage a single-screw vessel has is close quarters manoeuvrability, and we have taken care of that with the jet pump and stern thruster.’ That and an underwater profile developed for this specific purpose with a fine entry and a bulb that tapers nicely unto the stem and rounded buttocks that lift toward the stern, which both improves manoeuvrability and also results in better handling in a following sea.
The concept was created for one of Holland’s sailing yacht clients, German real estate and hotel developer Roland Sturm, for whom Holland designed the 36 metre Abeking & RasmussenGlobana, launched in 1995. Sturm made several long passages on her and after cruising Alaska – a trip he enjoyed most – asked Holland to design a motor yacht capable of exploring the world; he also sought a yard with commercial expertise. That yacht, Marco Polo, cruised 30,000 nautical miles in her first two years.
For the second hull in this explorer series, the length was increased by just over a metre and tankage to more than 65,000 litres, no problem considering the nine metre beam and 2.5 metre draught. This gives Qing a 6,600 nautical mile range at 10 knots; at 12 knots she burns 155 litres per hour, which Holland and Cheoy Lee assert is 35 per cent less than a comparable 518 tonne displacement yacht with twin engines. To compensate for the design weight of the fuel at full load, Qing has the option of water ballast, another technique borrowed from the commercial world. She also has Naiad stabilisers with the at-anchor function.
The extra LOA lengthened the saloon and the owner’s deck each by a metre. This is most noticeable by the inclusion of a radio room off the bridge and a cosy library forward of the galley, plus a larger swim platform. She offers tremendous interior living area, but still measures under 500GT. As with her sister, Qing puts the captain’s cabin on the main deck forward (and to starboard of the library) so the owner enjoys a three-room suite aft of the bridge plus open-air lounge.
Of four possible guest cabins on the lower deck, one is arranged as a gym with full en suite. With a built-in daybed, it can covert to a nanny cabin. From the guest lobby, a watertight door disguises a smart passage to the laundry and spacious crew area forward for easy service. A similar door in the gym’s aft wall provides a second emergency escape route from the guest accommodation via the engine room. It also gives the crew fore and aft access on this deck and a third point of access to the engine room and lazarette – no doubt a popular option in inclement weather.
Designer Sylvia Bolton and project manager Martin Lo, the youngest of the Lo bothers who run the yard, arranged the main deck with formal dining and a breakfast or snack area overlooking the aft deck opposite a full service bar. The aft bulkhead windows can lower to link the two areas. The multifunctional open-plan saloon is so large, however, that it could be configured any number of ways.
The décor is contemporary with horizontally banded gloss-finished Macassar ebony making up much of the paneling and built-in furnishings. Rich walnut floors add a masculine look. Window treatments are simple so as not to restrict views, while the sophisticated, multi-level lighting design will create suitable night-time ambiance or brighten grey days. All the floors are floating as part of the approach to sound and vibration control designed by Van Cappellen.
Al-fresco dining is possible on the aft main deck, on the owner’s deck or on the huge flying bridge where large built-in sofas face high-low tables under the hardtop attached to the radar arch. The superstructure is moulded fibreglass. The decks are all open for owner use because Qing’s tenders are stored under hatches on the foredeck.
According to Isenberg, Cheoy Lee is expanding its explorer series with versions of 30.5 and 38 metres, also in steel. ‘It’s such an incredible boat and I like our position with this product in the marketplace,’ he states.