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Yachting - August 2006 - Biggest Ever

Written by Dudley Dawson

It was a straightforward process to transform Westport into full production and Edson was the man to do it – but not alone. He brought in Daryl Wakefield, who had managed the construction of Edson's Evviva at Admiral, to run operations at Westport, and tapped Evviva's design team as well. The legendary Bill Garden drew Vango's sleek and efficient hull lines. Westport's talented in-house naval architect, Taylor Olson, drew in the myriad remaining technical details. The final Evviva alumnus, Donald Starkey, was responsible for her contemporary-classic styling and comfortably luxurious interior.

The hull, with a 26-foot beam, was designed by Bill Garden and styled by Greg Marshall to create a visually balanced yacht that is pleasing to the eye. The Westport hull is well proven, with Airex coring in the topsides, and sandwich construction in the decks and cabins for thermal and acoustic insulation.

Vango builds on the foundation of Westport's other models (98, 112, and 130 feet), but is an entirely new creation. Exceptional effort went into the planning and engineering of the yacht's detailed design and its efficient production. There are, for instance, only six major molded parts in her construction, minimizing the number of leak-prone joints and failure-prone secondary bonds, which virtually eliminates expensive, time-consuming rework. Olson's in-house design team seems to have forgotten nothing, with molded-in mounts for everything, from the anchor pockets and propeller shaft struts to the stanchion bases and running lights.

What this means for a yacht buyer is that he gets Westport's high quality of construction and interior finish, short delivery time, dependable operation, responsive service and excellent resale, all at a price that's very reasonable. The downside, if it can be called that, of such high-degree planning is some limitation on the customization that Westport can allow, but these limits are quite generous. The location of structural bulkheads is fixed by the basic design, but joiner bulkheads can be rearranged to modify the arrangement plan significantly.

Vango, for example, has a VIP stateroom and skylounge abaft her pilothouse, and an owner's stateroom forward on the main deck. The second yacht of the series, however, already well into construction; will utilize the upper deck space, along with the open afterdeck, for the owner's suite. This will leave room on the main and lower decks for four guest staterooms, a VIP suite and a gymnasium.

Westport, with its own fully equipped furniture and joinery shop in a separate facility near the main plant in Port Angeles, also permits a nearly unlimited selection of wood, stone, fabric and furnishings for the interior dcor. The style and complexity of interior finish, and its associated expense, though, is largely dictated by the choices of the owner and his decorator.

The Westport 164, like other Westport yachts, is delivered on a turnkey basis and a standard equipment list of top names, which will leave an owner wanting for little. A pair of MTU 16V4000 diesels powers the yacht to a top speed of 24 knots. Electrical power comes from two Northern Lights generators, 99 kW and 55 kW. A 20-inch American bow thruster is standard, as are Naiad 510active-fin stabilizers. There are two A/Sea shore power converters for international cruising. The main tender, a 22-foot Nautica RIB with diesel power, tucks into a transom garage and a separate tender for the crew (14-foot Nautica Ventura) resides on the upper deck.

In addition to her VIP stateroom topside and her owner's suite, including office, forward on the main deck, Vango has four additional guest staterooms on the lower deck, two with queen berths and tubs, and two with twin berths and showers. Her seven cabins accommodate a crew of up to 13 – an engineer's cabin abaft the engine room, a captain's cabin adjacent to the pilothouse, and five cabins forward, along with a spacious crew mess.

On Vango's main deck, a combined saloon and dining room is flanked by open side decks, and lies abaft the amidships gallery, day head and entry foyer. The open area aft on the main deck has a dining table for 12, a wet bar to port and additional seating aft overlooking the swim platform. There's also a dining table aft on the upper deck. In a very nice touch I've not seen elsewhere, there are semi-private balconies, each with seating for two, outboard to either side of the skylounge.

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