Sea Magazine - October 2012 - An Evolutionary Marvel
I looked up the definition of "evolve," as the word was used several times during my discussion with Phil Purcell, vice president at Westport Yachts. One of those Web dictionaries explained that to evolve is "to develop, or achieve gradually." Surprisng that they do not have a photo of a Westport yacht in the dictionary, since that's one of Westport's core values in running its business.
Westport's success has been incremental but steady — changes here and there, without chest-thumping or overzealous press releases. Its proactive approach to gaining in sight from captains and owners alike, coupled with an eye to the global markets and fulfilling a need, has helped take the company through the worst times.
Take the Westport 112, for example. Westport just introduced an on-deck master stateroom layout option, to fulfill a need while also offering another choice, according to Purcell.
The standard W112 main-deck layout includes a country kitchen, a large and airy space perfect for informal dining at a raised dinette4 with plush seating. Casual conversation among guests and the chef is possible, compliments of an open floor layout between the prep and eating areas. Access to the master stateroom on the lower deck is via a common staircase to all sleeping accommodations.
Westport offering the choice of moving the master stateroom to the main deck does four things. It gives the owners of VIPs on a charter an improved view of the world through windows instead of portholes. It creates an increased level of privacy for the owners. It creates a larger master stateroom footprint thanks to a split-deck design. Last, it adds another guest stateroom below.
The new master replaces the country kitchen area, but the galley's space and functionality don't suffer, as the floor/work space is about the same. The big difference is that the galley is now enclosed.
Master stateroom occupants now only have a single-level walk to their domain, and they are way from the commotion of the guest staterooms. The full-beam room maximizes usable space, including a king-size berth, a large dresser and a corner desk/office with a bookshelf and a file drawer.
Maximizing Space. Remember the split-deck design? Well , that's where Westport's space-planning ingenuity comes in. To starboard is a staircase that least to the lower master stateroom head. Down here are his-and-hers wash basins, a head and bidet tucked away in a separate room and a large shower/steam room nestled in the forepeak, complete with his-and-hers seats. Westport was able to retain a walk-in wardrobe closet, plenty of storage in lockers and cabinets, and privacy.
What's interesting is that Westport saw the need for a main-level master but designed the head and closets below, decluttering the main stateroom by moving the not always-needed features to a different space. A day head remains on the main deck, just inside the starboard sliding door.
It's a new experience, also. Waking up on the main deck delivers amazing views of the world from the master. Having the head and closet below keeps the master a relaxing oasis, without the hustle and bustle of running from the head to the closet, etc.
Changes like this one don't warrant party balloons or skywriters, at least according to Westport. Purcell's tone reflects a more humble company, one that makes change and covered, the aft deck, suitable for alfresco dining, gives way to the full-beam salon. Forward deck areas are accessible from the port and starboard sliding doors. A hot tub, a sunpad, a lounge, a bar and plenty of room for toys make up the flybridge deck.
Purcell did note that a number of his owners are business people who look at a yacht not only to charter or to get away themselves, but also to bring together a common component in their lives: the family.
"Our yachts become the meeting place for the extended family," Purcell said.
With a functional layout, a comfortable salon space that can include a game table and a bar, accommodations for 10 with the on-deck master configuration (as opposed to eight with a standard layout), as well as a complement of favorite water toys, a Westport yacht now becomes a real "family" room. Evolution may be the key to sustainability, and it seems Westport has figured that out.