Yachts International - December 2012 - Winning Formula
Written by Jerry Stansfield
At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Westport will display examples of one of its successful series, the Westport 112. What makes it so successful? We invite you to take a closer look.
To call the Westport Shipyard's 112 Raised Pilothouse Motoryacht series a success is to commit the most flagrant of understatements. Witness: The first 112 (née Ubiquitous) was launched in 1998; today, Hull No. 48 is nearing completion at the company's Hoquiam, Wash., yard, with four more in various stages of construction. And while its larger counterparts, tri-deck yachts at 130 and 164 feet, demonstrate comparable popularity, none more eloquently embodies the wisdom of the builder's business model than the 112.
Within its 112-foot 10-inch by 23-foot 5-inch dimensions, the Westport 112 offers an efficient interior layout anchored by a large salon/dining area, an enormous country-style galley with adjacent dining banquette and accommodations for eight in four double staterooms including a master suite on the lower deck, plus quarters aft for a crew of four.
The Westport philosophy begins with a significant up-front investment, first in designing each model down to the last detail, then engineering the construction process for maximum efficiency in order to ensure an on-time, on-budget delivery to every client. While this approach may not prove critical in the case of a highly custom one-off or limited-production build, for a more ambitious series it makes perfect sense. Indeed, Vice President Phil Purcell often compares the Westport method to that of the aviation industry and of aircraft manufacturers that harness advanced technologies to produce, say, business jets in series, to high and quantifiable standards of structure, fit, finish and performance.
The Westport 112 series began in 1998 with the launch of Ubiquitous, the first of a succession featuring naval architecture and styling by Jack Sarin. Since then, the design has undergone a continuum of refinements, keeping pace with advancements in propulsion systems, electronics and materials, and from time to time a more visible update. In 2002, for example, the builder unveiled a new exterior look for the yacht, preserving the original hull form (apart from a slightly raised sheerline forward) but completely restyling the superstructure in a crisp, contemporary theme.
More recently, Westport introduced its first major revision to the interior arrangement, offered as an optional alternative to the tried-and-true layout featuring the country galley and lower-deck master suite. This newest iteration locates the master stateroom forward on the main deck—with its adjoining ensuite bath in the forepeak a half-level below—and repositions the VIP suite on the lower deck just forward of the two ensuite guest accommodations. Aft of the VIP stateroom the new deck plan differs little if at all from its predecessor. With its smaller galley and more imposing owner's quarters, the newer arrangement is intended, at least in part, to appeal to the preferences of an international market—and indeed, the first 112 to offer the main-deck master suite was sold to a client from the Middle East. Nevertheless, each of the new-version 112s sold since then has been delivered to North American owners, confirming its appeal as an attractive option for a broader audience. "Since the first ondeck master version was built and delivered," Purcell notes, "about one in three 112s have featured this layout."
As another departure from the country-galley version—and as a means of providing separation between common and private spaces—access to the owner's suite from the salon and dining areas is by way of a hallway along the port side of the main-deck cabin. In the master stateroom an island king-size bed is set against the forward bulkhead, just off-center to port. Facing the bed on the aft bulkhead is a tall cabinet incorporating drawer storage and an alcove for the large-screen TV. An adjacent dressing table/desk unit wraps around along the starboard side near a double-curved stairway that leads down seven steps to the master bath. Here, facing vanities frame a dual-entry combination shower enclosure fitted with multiple spray heads and steam ports. Aft in this space is a walk-in wardrobe, and a separate enclosure for the toilet and bidet.
Another curved staircase leads down from the portside corridor to a lower-deck foyer, which in turn opens to the three guest accommodations. Forward is a full-beam VIP suite featuring, on the starboard side, a queen-size bed oriented athwartships, a dressing table and wardrobe opposite, and a large bath with double-sink vanity, toilet, bidet and shower. Just aft are two ensuite guest staterooms, one with a queen-size berth and one with two twins (although these may be reconfigured to the owner's specifications), bringing the yacht's capacity to an owner's party of eight plus crew. "The Westport 112 has proven especially popular to a major part of the 100-foot-plus market because it offers comfortable accommodations for the owner couple plus six guests, in a smaller overall footprint," says Purcell. As in the earlier version of the 112, crew quarters are located aft of the engine room and include an ensuite double-berth captain's stateroom and two double-bunk crew cabins sharing a second head with shower. A compact crew mess includes a dinette with wraparound seating, galley area and ship's laundry.
The main-deck galley is fitted with a full-size fridge-freezer, double sink, dishwasher, electric range and trash compactor, and opens to a starboard-side hallway that leads past the pilothouse stairway and dayhead to a dining room separated from the salon by facing peninsula cabinets. The dining room features an eight-place table. The 112's widebody design extends the dining room and salon sides well outboard to create an agreeable sense of space here, emphasized by a row of view windows on each side. Casual and fixed lounge seating, a game table, entertainment center and wet bar complete the salon furnishings.
Electrically operated double sliding-glass doors open to a covered aft deck featuring its own wet bar and transom banquette with pedestal table. Double stairways here descend to a large swim platform and access door to crew quarters and mechanical spaces. A circular staircase provides access from the main-level aft deck to the boat deck just above, where movable chocks serve to secure a tender, launched and retrieved by a hydraulic crane. Forward and up three steps, past a broad sun pad and jetted tub, a lounge deck includes a settee with cocktail table, wet bar and upper steering station, all sheltered by a composite hardtop extending forward from the radar arch. Well forward on the main deck is a circular lounge area recessed into the deckhouse and sheltered from wind by substantial bulwarks surrounding the foredeck.
A weather door adjacent to the upper helm opens for access to the pilothouse, where guests can gather on a raised observers' settee just behind a Stidd helm chair and broad control console. A desk/navigation center is set into the aft port corner of this space. Currently in process for a fall launch is an even later version of the newest 112 arrangement, in this case featuring a pilothouse stairway on the port side to connect the bridge deck with the master-suite access hallway, a variant that allows expanding space in the galley. Although a series-built motoryacht, the 112—and each Westport model series—offers clients considerable choice in wood species and finish, soft goods and accent items.
Twin MTU 16V 2000 diesel engines each produce 2,000hp at 2,300 rpm to drive the Westport 112 to a top speed of 25 knots and throttle back to a 22-knot cruising speed. The Airex- and foam-cored composite hull, along with an array of other acoustic technologies, attenuates both mechanical and hull noise to produce an agreeably quiet onboard ambiance, allowing subdued conversation even at full throttle. Taken together, the Westport 112's considerable attributes offer a salutary complement to the Westport build philosophy of predictable performance and on-time, on-budget delivery, and in the aggregate go a long way toward explaining the design's remarkable success over the past 14 years. That success, moreover, extends to the resale market, where more than 30 112s have been conveyed to their delighted new owners (while, incidentally, more than a few original owners have moved on to larger Westport models). In Purcell's view, that success also extends to the people who design and build each vessel. "We work hard to get everything right from the start, from engineering and tooling through construction and final finish," he says, adding, "Anyone can buy the same fiberglass, engines and electronics that we do, but we strive to simplify the entire approach to our clients' ownership experience, and as a result make that experience more fun.
"We're a blue-collar brand building white-collar boats."