by Bob Wonders
Almost appearing as ghosts from a glorious past, the superb range of motor yachts produced at Berkley Vale, on the New South Wales Central Coast, is winning plenty of admirers in the world’s largest recreational boating market, the USA.
A perfect match - a stunning waterfront mansion and the brilliant Palm Beach 50.
Palm Beach Motor Yachts was established in 1995 by none other than Mark Richards, a qualified shipwright who has won worldwide fame, not as a designer/builder (yet) of powerboats, but as one of the premiere yachtsmen in the sport of sailing.
Richards has skippered Bob Oatley’s high-tech maxi yachts (all named Wild Oats) to an astonishing five line-honours victories in one of the world’s toughest ocean races, the gruelling Sydney-Hobart bluewater classic.
Palm Beach Motor Yachts actually began as a company specialising in the building and refurbishing of custom sailing and motor yachts in the 50’ to 60’ (15.24 to 18.28-metres) range.
It was about 11-years ago that Mark Richards elected to develop and produce what he christened the Palm Beach range, his primary aim being to produce a hull that would encompass several models and deliver acceptable performance in varying sea conditions.
He called on his extensive sailing background when formulating the overall designs of the Palm Beach Motor Yachts range; he set out to ensure his vessels offered protection from ensuring weather conditions without detracting from the pleasures of being on the water.
The saloon aboard the Palm Beach 50, looking forward.
On every model (there are now four with a couple of others on the drawing board) the interiors have been lavished with attention to every detail; the spacious saloon also houses an efficient galley, which is really an extension of the internal space.
Aft, the cockpit maximises the boating lifestyle.
The model which has been winning hearts and minds in the US is the Palm Beach 50’ (15.24-metres) and to explain what I meant when I described these beautiful boats as ‘ghosts from a glorious past’, I certainly did not mean they were old-fashioned.
I meant their appearance was decidedly reminiscent of the days of the Great Gatsby, of the waterfront mansions of the Hamptons.
These are very beautiful craft indeed.
The Palm Beach 50 - class and style from any angle.
The Palm Beach 50 has already been named Powerboat of the Show at Newport, in the US and was voted ‘Best of the Best’ by an influential US boating publication.
As I said, anything but old-fashioned; these superb vessels incorporate the very latest techniques and advances in composite boat construction
So much custom work goes into each and every vessel that Palm Beach Motor Yachts cannot really be described as a production boat builder.
The company offers an extensive array of options, among them the latest in on-board entertainment and navigation systems, engine upgrades, reverse cycle air conditioning, interior linings and hull finish.
In this way, according to Mark Richards, your Palm Beach 50 becomes a true reflection of your individual style.'
I must admit to being impressed with the Palm Beach standard since first boarding one at the Sydney International Boat Show a few years ago.
The Palm Beach 50 in standard form is powered by dual Volvo Penta IPS 500 engines (435hp each) and they help this sleek (described as ‘slippery’ by Mark) hull achieve excellent fuel efficiency.
In profile, the Palm Beach 50 is a pretty sight, particularly when smoothly sent to the plane.
Some say (and I’m not about to argue) that the Palm Beach’s true beauty lies within its main saloon; I particularly liked the fact that the floor was level from saloon helm right through to the aft cockpit it’s just made for entertaining.
As pointed out earlier, customisation is paramount and a buyer can specify various layouts, single or twin cabins, an array of lounge and entertaining options.
Joinery and cabinetry, such as here at the Palm Beach 50’s helm, could only be termed faultless.
Satin gloss cabinetry and joinery have a real craftsman’s touch and throughout the interior he brilliant timber work is complemented by luxurious marine fabrics and upholstery.
Simply put, the Palm Beach 50 is fully-deserving of the praise which has emanated from the USA.
I for one will not be at all surprised to see the new Palm Beach Motor Yacht flying bridge range achieve identical success.
A class act, in every sense of the expression.
A Palm Beach 50 not big enough for you? No problems, how about this beauty, the fabulous Palm Beach 65 flying bridge?
Staterooms can be configured to individual requirements, but all boast the superb finish seen here.
For further information visit the website: www.palmbeachmotoryachts.com