Ward Setzer is tired of the status quo–and believes many megayacht builders and buyers are, too.
That’s why the North Carolina-based designer, who started Setzer Design Group in 1991, began working on a series of ultramodern yachts early this year. Called the Vision Series, ranging from 130 to 300 feet, the yachts are intended to “challenge the established tastes so ingrained in the yachting community, which, at its heart, wants to see change,” he says.
You’re looking at two of his Visions here. Cerise, the rose-tone design, is a 165-footer with updated interpretations of the plumb bow and retro styling, while Javelin is a 240-footer with a more striking, flared (might I even say javelin-like) bow. Their styling isn’t the only departure from the norm: Both feature diesel-electric drive systems, for example, cabanas aft for the owners and guests to better enjoy anchorages, and tender garages integrated into the bow instead of aft. Now, while diesel-electric propulsion isn’t new technology, it’s still a rarity in the yacht business. And while several recent megayacht launches have featured balconies off the owner’s staterooms as well as close-to-the-waterline alfresco areas, Ward’s cabana concept comes with dockage doors, so you can imagine the owners and/or guests stepping onto or off of the yacht’s tenders.
As different as these features are, however, Setzer wanted Cerise and Javelin to “successfully run through our gauntlet of ‘real life’ concerns: They must be buildable, useable, and serviceable, as well as stylistic and elegant.” As a result, Cerise features four guest staterooms and a master stateroom with an office/library, a skylounge that can also serve as a theater, and walk-in refrigerator and freezer spaces for long-term provision stowage. Her 31’8″ beam ensures all interior spaces as well as her outdoor lounging and dining spaces are comfortable, and with a seakindly hull and draft of 8’5″, she’s designed to cruise at 14 knots. Javelin, meanwhile, provides spectacular views from the staircase and elevator corridor inside, since they run along the large, circular window amidships. Six guest staterooms in addition to the master (with an office/library and meeting room) let large families or groups of friends relax together. Her 36-foot beam also makes for a comfortable theater, spa, and observation rooms. And, just like Cerise, walk-in refrigerator and freezer units plus a utility area permit crew to keep enough goods and equipment aboard on global cruises. With an 11’1″ draft, Javelin should see cruising speeds around 16 knots.
Considering Setzer Design Group has turned out more than 200 power and sailing yachts, you might still wonder why Setzer opted not to present more traditional, arguably “safe” yacht designs. The answer comes down to gut instinct. He says he just knew the time was right not just “to step up to the new cutting edge of our Industry, but also to venture out upon its very tip, so to speak. If we fail to challenge popular, established tastes, we’re simply following the status quo. That’s not what made our studio a dominant player over the years and certainly not what will take us into 2010 and beyond.”