Brooklin Boat Yard has quietly turned out a number of impressive yachts over the years. Sonny III, which recently completed sea trials, is the latest. A cold-molded superyacht sloop, she went from start to finish in just a year and a half. What’s more, she did so while challenging her design and build teams to take mobility issues into strong consideration.
Sonny III belongs to a repeat customer of the Maine-based shipyard. In fact, he most recently enjoyed cruising aboard a 70-footer (21.3-meter) that it made for him. She, too, is entirely custom designed and built of wood. Due to physical challenges, he returned to Brooklin Boat Yard to request a yacht with better accessibility. No mere coastal cruiser, the owner pursues both day sailing as well as bluewater cruising.
Sonny III, measuring 91’4” (23.86 meters), features design by Bruce Johnson. Johnson has about three decades’ experience in design and engineering. He’s been working with Brooklin Boat Yard, as well as Maine’s Front Street Shipyard and Rockport Marine, for six years. Previously, he was chief designer at Sparkman & Stephens for more than a decade. Among the features Johnson and Brooklin devised for the owner include a boarding platform at the transom, plus chair lifts at all companionways. In addition, Sonny III has a power reclining chair in the master stateroom.
The flush-deck nature of Sonny III further aids the owner. Even with Johnson’s background and the shipyard having worked with the owner previously, however, don’t assume it was a simple project. “I would expect a design process of six months for a yacht of this size and complexity before the yard could even begin to cut wood,” Johnson explains. “We began construction six weeks after we started working with the owner.” This was possible, he adds, due to Brooklin Boat Yard’s in-house designers producing construction drawings quickly.
Further helping shorten construction: collaborating with Rockport Marine. Rockport Marine served as a subcontractor, building Sonny III’s hull and deck in 2016. The two builders have taken similar approaches before. Then, of course, there’s the owner. “He’s been a great collaborator on every boat we’ve built for him,” explains Steve White, Brooklin’s president. “This was a true challenge hat required a lot of teamwork.”
Bearing a 19-foot (5.79-meter) beam, Sonny III has a working cockpit aft and guest cockpit at center. In-boom hydraulic furling for the mainsail makes the crew’s job simpler. The guests, meanwhile, can admire the glistening teak outside and the classic interior. Brooklin describes the interior finish as being Herreshoff-style. Imagine cherrywood contrasting with white and cream paint, plus a teak and maple sole. It all extends from the two guest cabins, sitting forward of the mast, to the full-beam master. Perhaps the owner likes to cook, or just grab a snack at will. His stateroom has direct access to the galley, as well as a port-side foyer to the saloon and dining area.