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Boat International USA - July / August 2006

Written by Tim Pawsey

Boat International USA - Westport 164

Hull 001 of Westport Shipyards' 50 meter series, Vango exemplifies the builder's attention to detail that clearly surpasses other production vessels of this size.

Just how individualistic can a production vessel be? The sky's the limit in the case of Vango - the latest launch from Westport Shipyards and their premier entry into the 50M (164 ft.) class. From stern to stern Vango is a complete spec build, but still feels every inch the fully customized, luxury yacht.

"We like to be a little different," says Westport president Daryl Wakefield, who confides the company's entry into the competitive market was an astute calculation. The builder's 50M program is now in full swing, with Hull 002 ready this year and a third expected early in 2007. Wakefield knew Westport could carve out a niche in this market, "not because of any lack of vessels in that size range (there are plenty) bit because we felt strongly that we could produce a boat of the kind of superior quality and finish that is our hall mark, which would still be appropriate - and competitive."

While Westport's biggest vessel to date was indeed build on spec, the company prides itself on its flexibility to respond to the client's wishes at every level of detail. "When you speculate this big, you need to have every option covered," says Wakefield. When considering size, the bulkier chose to stay below the 500 metric tones limit, as extra tonnage can seriously impact the vessel's performance. Staying with this range allowed for more operator and owner flexibility.

In hull and superstructure development and below waterline response, Westport traces much of its tradition and inspiration to the aircraft industry. "We don't tolerate any flexibility in areas of performance. There's no room for anything to be out of trim as a result of extra weight or any other compromise," says Wakefield.

Vango is the second Westport build for this client, who decided to move up from a 130-footer for increased accommodations and family entertaining. Even though the vessel is fully MCA / ABS-compliant, it's unlikely that any charters lie in her immediate future.

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