When Wally announced its WallyCento series, yacht buyers who enjoy racing as much as cruising sat up and took notice. These buyers included Wally clients, who had indicated they’d like to race against one another more competitively, yet still enjoy the luxury afforded by a cruising yacht. The all-composite Hamilton is the first delivery in the series, and she’s the culmination of a complex set of requirements as well as several major contractors for design, engineering, and construction.
As you may recall from earlier Megayacht News articles about the WallyCento series, “cento” refers to the LOA, just shy of 100 feet. WallyCento is conceived around the Wally box rule, with specific parameters for length, beam, displacement, and more to get the best performance. Wally determined that an LOA of 98’4” to 99’10” (30 meters to 30.48 meters, respectively) provides the best creature comforts and racing maneuverability. As for beam, the range is 21’3” to 23’6” (6.5 to 7.2 meters). Furthermore, displacement is 45 to 50 tons, and draft remains between about 15 and 20 feet (4.5 and 6.2 meters), depending on whether the yacht employs a fixed or lifting keel. All told, the WallyCento series lets owners compete in the Wally Class circuit and IRC-governed races, plus friendly regattas.
As for Hamilton, the owner tapped Germany-based Judel/Vrolijk & Co. for naval architecture. With experience designing the America’s Cup racer Alinghi as well as with many other racing and cruising yachts, Judel/Vrolijk & Co. further collaborated with STRUCTeam, a composite specialist, for structural design and engineering. The teams determined that a lifting keel, maximum draft of 20 feet, and displacement of 50 tons would best suit the megayacht, particularly upwind. Judel/Vrolijk & Co. also decided on a hull shape similar to one of its previous designs, a 72-foot mini-maxi named Ran.
The dual focus on racing and cruising proved a welcome challenge for Design Unlimited, since the interior would remain in place during regattas. Hamilton’s owner wanted it to be simple enough for those competitions yet welcoming enough for time with family and friends. All of this also meant the megayacht’s interior needed to be incredibly lightweight. Design Unlimited has tackled similarly strict requirements before, and it collaborated with Struik & Hamerslag UK to ensure interior fit-out would follow accordingly. The Wally box rule required the interior to comprise a minimum of 54 percent of the hull’s overall interior volume. Traditional staterooms (a master and two guest cabins, plus a crew cabin) and creature comforts (air conditioning, entertainment, and a professional galley) also had to be included. Since all further needed to be mindful of weight, a common technique was used: backing the veneers with aluminum honeycomb panels. Some panels alternately employ Nomex coring with carbon fiber skins. A far bigger challenge, though, came in having to go from contract to completion in just nine months, given that Hamilton’s owner committed to several regattas this year. Struik & Hamerslag reportedly got the project completed within nine months.
You’d never know any of these complex challenges, of course, to look at Hamilton. All you’ll see are black walnut paneling mixed with linen, velvet, leather, and suede. Furnishings are similarly constructed to save weight, though the veneers are senwood. Senwood is a Japanese wood not often seen in Western applications. The owner personally selected it for its light tone and straight-grained texture, the latter providing a little more visual interest than some other pale woods.
The construction of the WallyCento Hamilton was subbed to Green Marine, selected by the owner for its experience in composite racing yachts. A huge time saver came in the form of Green Marine’s side-by-side “build boxes.” They’re curing ovens that further allow painting to occur inside, thanks to a sophisticated air-management system that extracts dust and other particles that would ruin the application.
So many details went into the design and execution of Hamilton that they could fill a book. Suffice it to say that the megayacht made her owner quite happy. Case in point: Hamilton raced in—and won—the Superyacht Cup Cowes this summer, one month after launch.