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Glad we asked for more

by John Curnow, Editor, 2 May 06:00 PDT
The very new Newport Motor Yachts 460 nears completion. © Al Francis / Newport Motor Yachts

Think you will be, too. When we first saw the renderings of the new Newport Motor Yachts 460, there were a couple of things that genuinely piqued our curiosity. Firstly there was the sportsfisherman-like flare in the bow of the General Arrangement that made it look very much like a spade. This was certainly going to be one dry boat! The next was that she appeared to have a semi-axe bow, which begged the question, why not go all the way?

As you can see form the image above of her inside the factory in China, she actually has a very conventional, and elegant bow. Now if you look even closer, you will see there is a 316 plate around the prow that speaks to her 'hidden' anchor well, and it is these sort of practicalities and niceties that are a direct result of her creator.

So then, to get a real handle on all of that, we spoke directly with the man himself, Al Francis. He is a marine engineer by trade, and as he says, "...been in the industry all my life, specifically in the service, repair and maintenance areas. My late father worked at the Cedric Williams facility on Pittwater (North of Sydney), which is where a young Bill Barry-Cotter did his apprenticeship. We are all still close family friends to this day. We actually finished off some of Bill's early Mariner craft, the 4300s, at Mariner Quays."

Of the Newport Motor Yachts 460 in question here, Francis commented, "I had always wanted to build a boat for me. She would be a good entertainer for day sailing, and then have just the one, sumptuous Stateroom for my wife and I. I wanted a single engine, as being in the business I wanted to cut down on service and maintenance. Also, where I do most of my boating there are speed limits and no wash zones all around, so I only need to do 20 knots occasionally, or to run away from a bit of weather."

This first Newport 460 will happily cruise at 14-15 knots, rounding out to 18-21 depending on sea state and load from her 480hp Cummins. But do not fear, for as she is already a planing hull, a 30+ knot version with a pair of 380hp Cummins or 400hp Yanmars can be yours, and all variants will all be traditional inline shaft drives.

There is, however, one difference. Back not that long ago, you could not utilise a 'worm', or Constant Velocity joint drive, in anything over 200hp. That was until Python-Drive from Holland came along with their system that they rate at up to 14,700Nm, and able to work with prop shafts up to 100mm in diameter! This was something very high on Francis' list of specifications.

"They are maintenance free thrust bearings that eliminate the need for exact alignment of your propeller shaft to your gearbox. They also reduce the propensity for gland leaks, and it means you can have the perfect shaft angle for performance and reduction in draft, and a stationary engine where it and the gearbox don't have to take up variations due to conditions or load."

"The result is that we have deployed a five-blade, swept back screw of shallow angle in a tunnel drive, with no tabs, and she is on the plane easily at 14 knots or less from here 6.7l, inline six cylinder common rail, 480hp turbodiesel Cummins. We installed gas separation (underwater exhaust) as well, and even the genset has this too. We mounted the genset in the lazarette for quietness, and it has similar ventilation provided to it, as we installed in the engine room."

Francis added, "I will also do some short coastal cruising, but the guiding principals were that she would have walk around decks with a pilothouse door, and be easy to manoeuvre with proper bow and stern thrusters. In this way, my wife and I can comfortably take her wherever we want to go. The same theory is behind the swim ladder, which is completely walk in/walk out."

As her name says, the 460 is 46 feet LOA, with about 44 of them as LWL, and a naval architect penned her running surface. She is being built in the very same factory as the Integrity and Hudson Bay product lines, and the interesting point here is that many of the staff there go all the way back to when they made the Island Gypsy boats for Halvorsen.

Clearly the Newport 460 will be identified by her big cockpit, large saloon, and spacious for'ard cabin, which is definitively by design, although you can have a twin Stateroom version if you like. Yet it is Francis' background that shines when you get into the detail. All of the anchor tackle is below deck, it is totally stainless steel in there - and there is a camera in there (switches on automatically when deployed) - as well as salt water and fresh water wash.

There is both salt and fresh out aft too for your tender and guests. The hull is solid vinylester, hand laid laminate with clear gelcoat to take your choice of DuPont two-pack paint colour, and its solid glass over composite for the superstructure. "There is a teak cockpit and marlin board, and if you want that to be lowering, then we have hidden the actuators above the waterline to reduce maintenance."

"She comes with two Raymarine MFDs, is wired for SatTV, and utilises a 3kV inverter/charger that switches automatically. The whole boat is 24V for efficiency and there is traditional switchgear, again for simplicity and maintenance aspects. All the pipework is solid PVC, so there are no hoses, and the boats will have these fibreglassed as well, to ensure serviceability. There are no skin fittings through the hull, just the one large drain," said Francis showing the level of thought that has gone into it all. So when's it my turn? Don't know, but I have said pretty please, sugar on top!

Parting comments now... and with all the gems that have been passing over my desk, it did not take long to think about insurance. It certainly started with the rise of explorer craft, and then what had been but a sprout, turned quickly into a seedling with boats like the Iliad 50 soon to be launched offering up to a 6000nm range. That's Transatlantic!

Immediately the benefits of the policy of our partner, Pantaenius Sail and Motor Yacht Insurance, came to mind. They have one policy to cover you all over the world, which is a direct result of being a family business that understands boats. All you have to do is tell them which area you are in or going to, and they'll adjust accordingly, and you can pay the difference if there is one.

There is also quite possibly the only genuine agreed fixed value displayed right there on the front of the policy document. It is a great way of knowing that if it all went to custard, that's the number you'll see, and just about always there is no deduction. Cool huh. You can opt for new for old on gear, there is a cap on depreciation of items like electronics, which means if they get fried in a lightning strike, you won't be told they are worth nothing if they are that old, and best of all, you get all the labour for re-installation all paid up.

Yet it is the genuine, global blue water nature that has been adopted and loved by the Bluewater Cruising fraternity. When you add in the fact that they are the largest insurer of superyachts in Europe, then if you are going off into the blue, buying a multi-million dollar craft, or both, then Pantaenius is where you probably need to start and finish your own insurance search. If you're at Sanctuary Cove, you can see them in pavilion or alternatively down on the marina.

Seeing multiple outboards on just about any sort of vessel is kind of de rigueur nowadays. However, whilst they are really obvious, and very much the talking point, I have also been noticing a lot of craft coming up with triple inboards; specifically huge Diesels. At any rate, it is nothing new per se, as back in another lifetime PT boats had three massive Merlins down below. Imagine the noise and the fuel consumption! In the 80s there were Hatteras Motor Yachts that had adopted the arrangement when chasing speed to account for added displacement.

As a format they were not without complications in the past. Most notably there was torque steer, then there was mass, and also beam to consider. Lumps of iron, usually in 90 degree V format were heavy, and took up loads of room. Modern diesels with far better turbocharging (sequential or compounding, twin scroll, ceramic, sometimes with supercharging as well) and also air to water intercooling, to say nothing of lighter overall construction, often as an inline six instead of V-8, and then delivering excavator loads of brutal torque low down, subsequently meant two was pretty much always enough. These Iron Ladies could spin really big, multi-bladed, super-high efficiency wheels like nothing that had ever come before them.

Pods and V-Drive help a lot with their ability to apply differing internal shaft lengths easily, and so overall beam is no longer such a problem. The pods counter-rotating screws also remove torque steer. So then as boats get bigger, and the demand for outrageous 40+ knot speeds continues to one of the first bullet points in a sales brochure, it is a good thing the now far more efficient Diesels are there to make it happen. One of the new gen motor yachts to be such, is the Azimut 78 Fly, with three of Volvo's IPS drives. Of course you also get underwater exhaust as an inherent benefit. Now I wonder if someone will go for a quad? Probably already have it on the drawing boards...

And to finish with, Ensign Ship Brokers have been busy. There is a Sanlorenzo 112 that will arrive in time for New Year's Eve, a 43m HeySea out of China that will be in the water in December, and there's even more good news about the resurgent Bavaria. The R55 moulds have been taken back to Giebelstadt in Northern Bavaria, and they are now in production with this exciting model. Perhaps we will get our hands on one soon?

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about sales tax in the USA, the I-Bridge, bow thrusters, backing off the throttle, tragic deaths in Miami, Fountaine Pajot's 67, Johnson 110, Sirena 88 and that cool foredeck (literally), Riviera and Belize Festival at SCIBS, the Jarrett Bay 67 'throwback' design known as Privateer, Alaska, swim ladders, GB 54, recycling fibreglass, Nordhavn 80, Invictus GT280, Hinckley 40x, Gigayachts from Benetti, and at the other end of the scale the Waverider 550 video, as well as much, much more.

As you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other parts of the group, go to the top of the Powerboat-World home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the site you want to see and, voila, it's all there for you.

Speak with you again, very, very soon. Time to go boating now... (and also attend the Galeon launch event in Australia)

John Curnow

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