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CLB88: Inside CL Yachts's 27.1 Metre Flagship Yacht

12 November 2020By Cecile Gauert

CL Yachts has unveiled its first 27.1 metre yacht CLB88, describing the new model as the “motor yacht reimagined.”

The CLB88 boasts the look and feel of a revamped classic cruiser that has its roots in Cheoy Lee’s Bravo series. To achieve this look, CL Yachts reached out to American-born Jozeph Forakis, an award-winning designer who lives in Milan, Italy. 

Forakis worked with CL Yachts, the luxury performance division of Cheoy Lee, on the exterior styling and created a minimalist yet warm interior for the first yacht in the series. Built on speculation, it was presented for the first time at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Images courtesy of CL Yachts

“On the exterior I think she’s is a balanced, beautiful craft and, while quite modern in style and presence, she is an evolution of the ‘classical’ flybridge,” Forakis says of the new CL Yachts flagship.

Like all its predecessors, the CLB88 is built in high-tech composite. Carbon fibre has been used where required for strengthen, or minimise the weight.

“We only use carbon fibre when it benefits the boat,” says Panu Virtanen, CL Yachts’ vice president of yacht sales. “For example, on the flybridges all the supports are carbon fibre.”

The yacht’s swim platform supports a Jet Ski or small tender. A few steps up is the spacious aft deck, which is arranged in a conventional manner with a comfortable table and banquette, plus bar, sink and refrigerator.

The walkaround design of this nearly 6.9 metre-wide yacht, combined with the high handrails in stainless steel, ensure safe passage to the foredeck, where sun pads and two tables look over a single anchor setup.

The spacious flybridge deck with its stylish bar, barbecue grill, sink and refrigerator and ample space for shaded dining is sure to be a popular spot. The forward area meanwhile is dedicated to navigation with Stidd helm chairs facing two Garmin screens, while the aft section of the deck has room for a tender and a davit or lounge chairs.

One notable feature on board the new CLB88 is the size of the windows, especially on the main deck.

“It was important for me that guests never forget that they are connected to the outside; to the air, seascapes and landscapes,” Forakis explains. The use of wood in the interior reinforces the idea “that the outside follows you indoors.”

To emphasise this connection, Forakis chose teak and holly for the floor and teak boards for the central part of the ceiling. This feature is designed, he says, to “gently guide your eyes to the sides, across gently curved panels and back outside again, through large glazed windows.”

The designer’s upbringing in the Big Apple influenced his approach to the interior design. “The layout is an airy, open plan, like the New York loft I was born in,” he says.

The saloon, furnished with comfortable and casual modular furniture and an informal dining area occupies a good share of the main deck, which is connected by a sculptural staircase to the flybridge deck. As a way to provide the chef some privacy – as well as give the captain space when the boat is underway – textured glass slides across the top of the bar that overlooks the dining table and an automated sliding glass door encloses the space  The galley is efficiently designed with good counter space, a central island, abundant refrigeration and a comfortable breakfast or lunch corner.

Forward, down a few steps, are two cabins, including a comfortable V-shaped VIP. Two more cabins, including a full-beam owner’s cabin with king-size bed, are located at amidships. Crew cabins, a single captain’s cabin and one with double bunks, are aft of the engine room.

The décor blends the warmth of teak with high-tech materials and light fabrics. A beautiful striped grey marble combines with large white basins, pleasant lighting and good-sized shower stalls in the bathrooms. Other than woods and stones, the designers used long-lasting, modern materials such as Corian and Fenix, with occasional touches of carbon fibre.

“I wanted a clean, elegant, modern design that is fresh but not trendy,” Forakis says, with “essential planes and volumes, but with warm, tactile materials and meticulous attention to details.”

Details are many, from small reading lamps that focus a precise ray of light on a page, to gentle curves surrounding the beds and connecting them visually to low side tables. Curved panels that conceal air conditioning vents and shades for windows in the cabins give the feel of a comfortable, modern cocoon and are reminiscent of aircraft design.

“Through seamless surfaces, subtle curves and flowing planes, I wanted to remind people at all times that they are on a ‘vessel’, moving through space and time toward the future,” Forakis says.

While it has a European feel on the inside, the CLB88 is very much built for customers of the brand who, says Virtanen, “value the quality of construction, the support of the yard and the safety and reliability of proven systems.”

The engines are twin 1,600hp Caterpillar C32s (an upgrade to 1,900hp Caterpillars is available) with generators from Kohler. The engine room is efficiently organised, providing good access to all systems. For easier management, the yacht is equipped with a CZone monitoring system, and for comfort, an optional gyrostabilizer in addition to fin stabilizers. During sea trials in Hong Kong, the CLB88 reached a top speed of 25 knots with cruising speed around 22 knots.

CL Yachts continues its foray into innovative designs in coming months. The next step is the CLX96, an explorer yacht with a bold new design by Forakis. Its debut is slated for the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.