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The Yacht Report - June 2006 - Westport Shipyard: On A Role

Written by Fabio Petrone

Yacht Report

Westport Shipyard is at the end of a long road – a black topped road that is. Just head south-west of Seattle, through Aberdeen, to the small resort town of Westport on the coast of the Olympic Peninsula. It's a two – to three-hour drive from Seattle Airport, but on the way the views are spectacular. The land surrounding Westport Shipyard is very flat, and the only other major industry there is tourism, so it not difficult to find the numerous tall building that marks the Westport operation.

Once in Westport, you learn that there are three Westport yards, each building a different boat. The 112- footers (34-m) are built in Hoquiam (about half an hour away by car) the 130s (40-m) are built in Westport, and the new 164 (50-m) is built in the company's Port Angeles facility – along with all the different yacht series furniture and woodwork - about four hours by car north-west of Westport. The first of the new 50-metre yachts, designed by William Garden with an interior by Donald Starkey, was launched in early 2006. According to the company, the mould for the 50-metre is the largest composite production mould ever build for the yacht industry. With a 20,000-gallon fuel capacity and a displacement of 690,000 pounds, the 50-m ABS-certified and MCA-compliant yacht has a cruising range of around 3,700 nautical miles. It has a full-beam (30 feet 10 inches) master suite with its own office, plus four staterooms and is driven by twin MTU-DDC 16V4000 3650 hp engines. The Westport 130 tri-deck meanwhile has five staterooms, and by using high-tech, sound-deadening technology, the yacht is extremely quiet. The 130 is driven by a pair of MTU/Detroit Diesel 12V4000 engines, enabling a cruise speed in the mid-20 knot range with a top speed of 28 knots.

While the new tri-deck 50-metre is laminated and built complete in Port Angeles, the 112, which is a pilothouse yacht with 23 feet 5 inches of beam, incorporating three staterooms and a master suite, is laminated in Westport, after which the hull and deck are launched and towed to Hoquiam by sea. With a boat ramp at both facilities, the hull and deck are simply hauled out of the water at Hoquiam and work on the boat continues. There is also a unique way of transporting the decks to Hoquiam. Once a deck is lifted from the mould, wheels are bolted onto it, along with a foam buoyancy box at one end. The entire contraption, including the wheels, is then launched and towed. Iversen says that one time the US Coat guard arrived alongside a towed deck. Apparently a watcher on shore had called the Coast Guard to report that a yacht had been capsized.

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