Superyacht Cakewalk debuts at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

2010-10-28By Marilyn Mower

The 85.6m motor yacht Cakewalk made her debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show yesterday, and the editors from Boat International and ShowBoats International were the first members of the media to be invited on board.

Saying, “I never really thought Northern European yards had the corner on quality,” is as close to a brag as we are ever likely to hear out of Paul Derecktor, who heads up the trio of U.S. shipyards that carry his family name. “My father always said, ‘Paul, let the product do the talking.’” At 85.6 meters (281 feet) and 2,998 tons, Lloyd’s Maltese Cross 100A1SSC Yacht classed and MCA LY2 compliant, Cakewalk speaks volumes.

The gleaming blue and white vessel is at once physically imposing and sleekly elegant, the later attribute due to the design magic of Tim Heywood’s exterior lines and the owner’s willingness to give the yacht enough length to be truly graceful. Although the interior layout changed little from the original Heywood drawing of a 75-meter yacht, at the first design review, the owner suggesting stretching the profile to improve her aesthetics and outdoor spaces. The wisdom of this decision is evident at first glance with her proud, even aggressive rake of the bow, the long foredeck and dramatic sheerline, and the spectacular cascade of aft decks.

This is the owner’s fifth Cakewalk and by the numbers she is approximately 70 feet longer with three times the volume of her predecessor launched in 2000 by Feadship’s Royal Van Lent. The impetus for the newest edition was the desire to be able to carry larger tenders and support an even finer level of charter service. In fact, all three of her custom tenders are over 30 feet LOA, but they will be easily launched through the pair of 40 foot by 10 foot hydraulically operated “Boathouse” doors disguised in the aft lower deck port and starboard.

Given the opportunity to climb through the yacht for an entire day, I can attest to the matchless ease with which crew will be able to move about the boat in performance of their duties whether it is in the dedicated engineer’s workshop or in the meal staging areas on every deck, or in the captain’s office where workstations exist for visiting port officers, surveyors or technicians quite separate from the ship’s office and bridge. With every guest (and supernumerary) stateroom on main deck, the accommodations are unprecedented in a yacht of this size: each stateroom AND its ensuite have enormous picture windows. The owner’s deck above encompasses a six-room suite, a theater/lounge and the primary space for alfresco dining. Cakewalk will be available for limited charter beginning with the Caribbean season for $1 million per week.

While the owners publicly stated that they chose to build their yacht in the U.S because they, “firmly believe we could build a world-class yacht in the United States,” it is probably the only place that this yacht could have been constructed in the way the owners and their build captain, Bill Zinzer, wanted it built—a true collaborative effort assembling the best equipment, components, specialists, and craftspeople from all corners of the world. In addition to Heywood, who hails from the U.K., the key members of the design team are Dutch naval architect Hugo van Weiringen and American interior designer Liz Dalton, both of whom had been involved with previous Cakewalk projects. On any given day, the specially selected subcontractors from as far away as Germany, Holland and New Zealand equaled the number of Derecktor’s employees on the build. In microcosm, the Cakewalk project is a metaphor for the American experience.

Cakewalk will feature in the December/January issue of ShowBoats International and the January issue of Boat International.