Show Boats International - June / July 2006 - World Debut
Written by Mark Masciarotte
Westport Shipyard's latest model takes the builder – and its customers - to an entirely new level.
When in 1999 Westport Shipyard announced its intention to build four 130-foot production yachts per year on spec, industry pundits simply shook their heads and declared, "No way." They were wrong.
Three years ago, the company announced a similar program for 50-meter (164-foot) boats. The reactions was the same, this time with the detractor's rational being that buyers of larger yachts could not be enticed by a production-built product. Wrong again.
On February 6, 2006, Westport Hull No. 5001 was launched in Port Angeles, Washington. Called Vango (van-GOH), the boat is replacing the owner's 130 Westport of the same name, and the differences in quality, styling and finish between the two models are so striking they even the most ardent naysayers are sure to be converted.
In the world of production yacht building, design and quality are the cornerstones on which success is built. Price, while extremely important, only comes into play after the first two pieces of the foundation are in place. Company president Daryl Wakefield noted that Westport knew from Day One that the 164-footer was an ambitious project made even more so by the fact that as boats get bigger, the number of potential customers becomes smaller by a factor of two or three. Therefore, it was imperative that the new model be as close to perfect as possible, not only from a design standpoint, but from the perspective of price point as well.
The 164-foot project reunited a group that had worked successfully on an award-winning project in the early nineties. At the time, Orin Edson, who is now a majority shareholder in Westport had commissioned William Garden to draw the lines for Evviva, with styling and interior design by Donald Starkey. The boat was built by Admiral Marine, a company run at the time by Wakefield.