Black Gold

Black Gold 1

When a yacht builder or designer knows its audience, it may do things that seem out of the ordinary at first to those not in the know — think hydrofoils, axe bows and SWATH (small-waterplane-area twin hull) designs — each of which had its place in the commercial maritime sector but wasn’t of interest to private yachting until the benefits, and apparent needs, were realized. The same can be said for adding a model to a production series. In an attempt to attract new customers or retain clients looking to move into a larger (or smaller) yacht, a builder might add a flagship at the top or low end of its size portfolio.

Washington state-based Westport Yachts did just that during the boom building days of 2005 with its 164-foot (50-meter) model, which was followed by a revision of its popular 130-foot (40-meter) tri-deck series. Twelve months ago, the builder unveiled something new — not a bookend option, but rather a 125-foot (38-meter) model that nestled in comfortably between its successful 112 (34-meter) and 130 offerings.

Black Gold is also the first Westport yacht to integrate the Seakeeper gyrostabilization system.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

Why a 125-foot model? In a nutshell, the jump from a 112-footer to a 130-foot yacht is too great for some clients. “Most of our 112 owners are private use only,” said Alex Rogers, Westport’s director of yacht sales. “The 130 is a classed boat, and that means an increase in paperwork and expense as well as space, which can deter some buyers.”

Facing the challenge of the raised pilothouse 112 on one side and, on the other, the ABS-classed 130 that is also compliant with Maritime & Coastguard Agency standards — a “classed boat” in the yachting world — Westport set about bridging the gap between the two. The solution came in the form of the ABS-classed 125, a carefully planned amalgam of the two models that combines the increased space and on-deck master stateroom of the 130 with the country kitchen, raised pilothouse and reduced crew requirements of the 112.

The boat’s beach club, which includes a wet bar and day head, provides easy access to the water for aqua sports. The overhanging door provides a respite from the sun and can be closed while underway.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

“The overall concept of the 125 was to take the best of the 130 and incorporate those elements as well as a host of advanced features into a smaller boat,” Rogers said.

Black Gold, the first semi-displacement, glass-reinforced plastic hull of the new Westport 125, was built for the yard’s target client: a repeat Westport yacht owner who was ready to move up from his 112 but not ready to take on the 130-foot tri-deck.

The main deck salon and formal dining room offer expansive views port and starboard. The megayacht has accommodations for up to 10 guests in five staterooms.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

Dubbed the “next-generation Westport” by the builder, this new model is intentionally distinguished from its yard mates. At first glance, the 125 presents a sleek exterior that hints at its 20-plus-knot cruising speed and 2,500-nautical-mile range. With lines only reminiscent of traditional Westport styling, the 125 features elegantly curved windows that flow from the flybridge into the smooth curve of the stern and transom, which houses a spacious beach club. Laminated windows in the hull add to the exterior appeal of this yacht while bringing natural light into the four lower-deck staterooms. The exterior styling alone pushes the proverbial envelope for the builder, which prides itself on maximum efficiency and delivering every yacht on time and on budget.

Many of the most intriguing aspects of the 125 were owner-driven and a few were firsts, including some impressive technical features borrowed from the commercial maritime sector, namely Westport’s parent company Edison Chouest Offshore. The 125 is the first Westport yacht to integrate the Seakeeper gyrostabilization system for at-rest equilibrium in addition to its Naiad fin stabilizers. The 125 also incorporates a flat-screen bridge with all touch-screen displays and the latest navigation, monitoring and electronics systems.

Black Gold’s plush pilothouse combines advanced technology and comfort. A first for Westport is what it calls the “glass bridge” — all touch-screen pop-up displays for navigation, monitoring and electronics systems.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

The interior of the 125 continues the “next-generation” feel, boasting a contemporary decor highlighted by large windows and sumptuous furnishings. From the twin stairways that rise to either side of the transom beach club — housing the latest water toys, a wet bar and day head — the spacious aft deck, with seating for al-fresco dining, leads guests forward through dual sliding doors into the main salon. Despite walk-around side decks, the contemporary salon and formal dining area for 10 maximizes the yacht’s 26-foot, 2-inch beam. On the same deck, a foyer continues past the large country kitchen — a client favorite — forward into the full-beam master suite and his-and-hers en suite with a skylight.

Below deck, four additional guest staterooms boast plenty of space and light, thanks to the integral hull windows. Here, clients have the option to convert one of the guest rooms into a gym. The entire yacht is iPad-compatible, and guests have the ability to control everything from entertainment systems to temperature and blinds via smart devices.

The flybridge helm, set above and just aft of the pilothouse, gives the crew another option for control and viewpoint.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

In the year since introducing the new model, Westport has delivered two 125s and has an additional two under construction that are scheduled for delivery to their owners next year. Construction on the fifth hull will begin soon.

With so much interest from clients in such a stylish and efficient package, has the 125 negatively impacted interest in Westport’s other offerings? Not at all, according to Rogers. Hulls 58 and 59 of the Westport 112 will be delivered to their owners by the end of 2017, and hulls 60 and 61 are underway. The next 130 will deliver to its owner in August 2018 and hull 16 of this model has a deal pending with a February 2019 delivery. Production also continues for the 164, whose 15th hull is a year from completion.

Black Gold

A pair of MTU diesels provide a total of 5,200 horsepower and a top speed of 25 knots. At 12 knots, Black Gold has a range of 2,500 nautical miles.

Courtesy Westport Yachts

From its yards in Westport and Port Angeles, Wash., the company builds each yacht using advanced composite construction methods. All woodwork and joinerwork occurs in an 80,000-square-foot cabinet shop and soft goods are handled in a 4,100-square-foot upholstery shop.

Knowing its clients and listening to their needs is how Westport has maintained its position as the top production yacht builder in the United States, Rogers said. The 125 is the most advanced model from the builder to date and is the result of what Rogers calls a constant re-investment into Westport’s products — a re-investment that has won the attention of clients from around the world.

“The buyers keep coming to us and we continue to invest in the content of our products,” he said. “If you’re not constantly moving ahead, you’re falling behind.”

By Professional Mariner Staff