The largest fiberglass megayacht builder in the United States is courting customers with not just a much bigger model, but one with an entirely different hull construction. Westport Shipyards now has a 213-foot project. So-named for her LOA in meters, the Westport W65 will feature a steel hull.
The switch to steel stems from a few factors. First, metal hulls dominate this segment of the market. The majority of those are steel, versus aluminum. Second, Westport can still pair the W65’s steel hull with a composite superstructure. This combination is not unheard of in yachting. For example, the 244-foot (74.5-meter) Zeus (launched as Eco) and the 239-foot (73.15-meter) Laurel both feature the combination.
Furthermore, Westport can tap the expertise of its parent company, Edison Chouest Offshore, which has extensive experience with steel. Edison Chouest Offshore has shipyards along the U.S. Gulf Coast that build vessels for the offshore gas and oil industry. (It further owns American Custom Yachts in Stuart, Florida, which services a variety of vessels, besides building sportfishermen.)
Like the Washington State builder’s other megayachts, the Westport W65 is a series. So far three interior design configurations are available. They include a traditional layout, a main-deck master with accommodations for 10 guests below decks. In keeping with longstanding Westport practice, customers are still able to request moving non-structural bulkheads. In addition, owners’ parties have alfresco areas fore and aft on the main and upper decks to enjoy, plus a beach club, as you would expect. Finally, fitting the market segment she’s in, the Westport W65 is meant for displacement speeds and transatlantic range.
Though no contract is signed, Westport believes a current customer will take hull number one, and soon.
In related news, Westport has yet another new model, the W45 (above). The 148-footer is an all-fiberglass megayacht, bearing a similar profile to the W125, introduced last year. She includes a toy hatch forward, yielding room for a beach club aft. The latter has two fold-down platforms, too: one aft, one to the side. Like her larger sister, the W45 has five staterooms overall. Final engineering and design work are ongoing, though volume should cap at 500 gross tons.
In addition, Westport has redesigned its popular W112 series. She, too, bears the family look started by the W125. Hull number 60 of the W112 series will showcase that new look, in fact. She debuts at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2018. Among some of the changes you’ll see: engine-room air-induction vents outboard, rather than inboard on the boat deck. Raised seating on the flying bridge, and all touchscreens at the helm are additional changes. One more significant switch: Caterpillar power.