Yachts Emirates - June 2010 - The Next Level Westport 130 Tri-Deck
Written by Jerry Stansfield
The first of Westport's 130' tri-deck series was launched in 2001. Since then the design has earned a remarkable following, with around 30 of the models delivered to their delighted owners — two arriving in the Middle East. With that kind of record, what do you do for an encore?
The concept driving the development of the original 130 was to offer a luxury motor-yacht, built to a level of quality and performance comparable-and at times even superior- to the custom jobs. The yacht was also to feature a standardized layout and primary components list, and conservative, contemporary styling. As a production yacht, the 130 was designed to deliver predictable speeds, an earlier delivery date, a complete list of standard equipment and an attractive price. "The 130 has been especially popular among owners who don't want to wait the two or three years a custom build might entail," says Westport President Darryl Wakefield., "They simply want to get out on the water and enjoy everything a luxury yacht has to offer." The idea behind the 13 has resonated well among that type of customer. It is now a matter of record that the yacht has enjoyed remarkable popularity since its introduction, with sales on three continents. Perhaps the yacht's most compelling attribute has been its William Garden-designed hull, whose slender bow cleaves the water to produce an agreeably smooth ride even at its full-load maximum speed of 27 knots, and whose low-wake profile accurately reflects its enviable cruise efficiency: The yacht's five-stateroom arrangement, which accommodates 10 or more guests, has proven equally popular in the charter market.
For its considerable strengths, the original must have presented a daunting challenge to the Westport design team when the time came to take the 130 concept to the next level. To its everlasting credit, the team proved itself up to the task as its members applied their collective skills to produce a worthy successor in the form of a new 130' (40m) series — the first of which was completed and commissioned in mid-2009. A first look at the new yacht as it rested alongside a Westport 164 (50m) tri-deck at the builder's commissioning dock in Port Angeles, Washington, reveals both similarities and differences relative to its predecessor. Proportions are substantially the same on both, as is the graceful sheer line that curves upward to a raked bow.
Superstructure contours create an unmistakable family resemblance to the flagship Westport 164, especially at bridge-deck level, where the angular windshield gently tapers aft toward the larger side windows of the skylounge, and the two-legged signal mast has given way to an arch supporting both the antenna array and a composite hardtop. Upon boarding the new Westport 130, other changes become apparent. Ascending either of two stairways leading from the swim platform, a visitor will note that the after corners of the main-level deckhouse are truncated at a 45-degree angle, with engine room air intake and exhaust trunks located well outboard and separated from the main superstructure to create a dog —leg entry to either side deck. The resulting angled corners allow an inviting arrangement of furnishings and cabinetry in the salon just inside. While the owners of hull #1 elected to separate the salon from the dining room by means of a freestanding buffet-style cabinet housing a pop-up television screen, a choice of peninsula cabinets extending from one or both sides is available.
The commercial galley by restaurant design specialist RDS of Seattle offers an efficient, straightforward layout, and is fitted with a 48' refrigerator/freezer, dishwasher, microwave, compactor, conventional and convection oven, and a five-burner induction cook-top. A span of pantry cabinets adjacent to the crew entrance provides additional provisioning space, which is further augmented by a 50-cubic-foot freezer aft on the lower deck. A centerline stairway leads down to a crew lounge opposite a double-berth captain's stateroom and, just forward, two double-bunk crew cabins. Leading aft past a pair of stacked washers and dryers is a passageway that opens through a service door to the starboard-side forward guest stateroom. Four guest suites — including two VIP accommodations — surround the lower-deck vestibule. A curved staircase ascends to the main deck, thence aft to the dining room and salon, or forward between a day head and the main-deck foyer. Forward lies the full-beam master suite with office, bedroom and, forward, his-and-hers walk-in wardrobes, each with dresser shelves and shoe storage. Adjoining the bedroom aft on the port side is the owners' bathroom. The main staircase continues upward to a bridge-deck foyer offering access to the pilothouse, a functional affair with broad consoled and electronics display panels, a raised observers' settee with refreshment table, and a navigation/communication center on the port side. Port and starboard doors open to side decks and dual docking stations, and to a surprisingly large deck area just forward of the wheelhouse, protected by windscreens, for sunning and sightseeing on occasional lounge furnishings. From this level, the stairs lead forward and down via an intermediate landing to the foredeck and a cushioned lounge seat build into the forward end of the main-deck house. This arrangement makes excellent use of a topside area that too often has been overlooked by designers.
The bridge-deck skylounge, with its angled after corners, echoes the geometry of the salon one deck below, and features a correspondingly contoured lounge to port, a game table, wet bar, partners' desk, credenza, audio-video center and — behind an electric fireplace — a day head. Here owners may opt for an alternative configuration that trades some skylounge space in order to accommodate a captain's suite on this level. Just aft of the skylounge is a covered deck with loose furniture, service bar with grill, and stair access to main and sun decks. The adjoining boat deck features Westport's Universal Mounting System to allow flexibility of arrangement for securing varying combinations of tender, PWCs and sundry water toys — fodder for the yacht's standard 3,000-lb capacity hydraulic davit.
The new Westport 130's topmost level offers an expanse of unobstructed deck area, perhaps more comparable to vessels in the 150' range; thanks largely to the arch supporting both the signal mast and a composite hardtop along whose curved forward edge are three skylight panels to help illuminate the pedestal table below. Integrated into the arch legs is a refreshment bar on the port side and opposite, a cabinet housing a pop-up television. Whereas on its predecessor the hot tub is located on the bridge deck just outside the skylounge, the 130's arrangement places this feature forward on the sun deck, where it awaits sun worshippers amid an expanse of fitted cushions arrayed behind a surrounding vertical windscreen. Favoring the flexibility of open topside areas, which allow owners to arrange and re-arrange furniture as required for sunning, socializing or large receptions, Westport designers have left the aftmost portion of the sundeck clear and free of built-ins; this level, like most other outdoor venues, is finished with teak decking.
As important as the changes manifested in this new yacht are the attributes that Westport was wise enough to leave alone, not least of these the aforementioned Garden-designed hull. Inasmuch as the new 130 weighs in only fractionally heavier than its predecessor, with its twin 2,735 hp MTU 12V4000 main engines it still cruises around 20 knots, tops out in the mid 20s, and at 12 knots delivers a maximum range of about 3,000nm. Equally noteworthy is the hull's uncannily smooth ride, modest wake profile, and its signature lacy curl of a bow wave offering dramatic contrast to the foamy wall produced by many other hull forms.
Westport continues to see the series production as the best — and perhaps the only — way to ensure predictable performance and on-time delivery with every yacht — all at a considerably lower price than a custom project would command. Wakefield equates his yard's business model to that of the aircraft industry. "It isn't uncommon for owners of private jets to park their aircraft next to another one that's identical except for the paint and interior finishes," he says. "That's because each jet in the series is built to a fully engineered standard to achieve predictable levels of performance and integrity, and to meet all regulatory requirements. Our objectives with these yachts are virtually the same."
In any case, the new Westport 130 represents intelligent evolutionary advancement, a functional, well-equipped and aesthetically pleasing motoryacht that reflects a blend of meanigful innovation and the discipline to preserve proven attributes. It is a promising encore to one of the most successful designs ever launched.