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Power & Motoryacht - May 2007 - Megayacht Mania: Westport

Written by Kim Kavin

Power & Motoryacht

Evviva is Italian for "something beautiful or special." That's true not just of Orin Edson's new yacht, but of the entire Westport 164 series.

The sun was still rising over western Mexico as I settled into the main saloon onboard the Westport 164 Evviva. It had been an awe-inspiring few steps up the passarelle, knowing that I was making my way onto the largest production motoryacht in the world. "Hi, I'm Orin Edson," the trideck's owner said with a warm smile. Edson, the founder of Bayliner, now owns both Evviva and the yard that launched her. To make sure I understood how this innovative Westport 164 series came to be, before taking me on a walk around his new personal yacht, Edson took me on a stroll down memory lane.

"In the late '80's, I spent two trips to Europe trying to figure out how I was going to buy a big boat," he recalls. "There were lots of good builders. But getting them to build, a fast boat... I came back and had built about 400,000 fiberglass boats [at Bayliner]. To not have a fiberglass boat was going to be hard for me."

Just conceiving a 160-foot composite boat in the early 1990's made some think Edson was That Crazy Guy. But he teamed American naval architect Bill Garden and European stylist Don Starkey with Daryl Wakefield, who was building 100-foot custom composite boats at Admiral Marine in the Pacific Northwest.

"It was a wood mold, not reusable at all," Edson recalls. "Daryl had to stretch his building - and his courage. We didn't even have a TraveLift. We had to get special permission from the fisheries department to raze the beach and lay down a wood plan t get the boat into the water."

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