The construction of 54m project Chuggaboom, the Vripack and Andrew Winch-designed ‘research vessel’, is progressing well at Florida builder Newcastle Marine.
The build began last summer and the joining of the superstructure and hull is imminent, with a large portion of the metalwork completed. The delivery date has not yet been revealed. Vripack was responsible for the yacht’s naval architecture, exterior styling and the principle interior layout, while Winch’s team tweaked the interior layout and styled it.
The yacht’s shape is a response to the owner’s request for what Marnix Hoekstra, Vripack sales director, calls ‘a man’s boat – chunky, rigid and really able to withstand the elements’.
‘He’s a very able sailor,’ continues Hoekstra, ‘he really knows the world’s waters. He does a lot of cruising himself, even on these big boats. He really wanted to have an oceangoing yacht to explore places he can’t get to with his current explorer yacht.’
Vripack’s expertise in expedition yachts was enhanced by a rigorous hydrodynamic research programme to determine the yacht’s lines below the waterline. Meanwhile the owner had specific wishes for the style of the superstructure, which Hoekstra describes as comprising ‘hard and straight lines’.
‘Typically we’d have the wheel house two steps elevated, compared to the top deck. This time the owner refused it, because he wanted a container shape, so very flat topped,’ he says.
An unusual feature of the yacht is the workshop and storage space for five or six motorbikes on the main deck, which opens on to the boat deck.
‘They can be maintained there, rolled out of the bike store into a custom-designed tender, launched and then landed on the beach – so they can really explore the backlands, where nobody is and where there’s no harbour,’ says Hoekstra.
The yacht will feature an owner's deck with extensive panoramic windows, and while details of the planned interior décor have not been disclosed, Vripack describes it as luxurious and well-balanced. It will have a cruising speed of 12 knots, with engineering by Murray & Associates.
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