“This couple had some serious sailing experience, an excellent eye for aesthetics, and a desire to build in New England. Not a request one turns down.” So says Tom Degremont of Langan Design Partners, referring to the owners of the code-named yacht Project Ouzel. As a result, Maine-based Rockport Marine is building the custom 95-foot (29-meter) sailing superyacht, for exploratory cruising and possibly regattas.
Clients of MCM yacht management, the owners specifically sought a Maine shipyard for the region’s sailing and construction expertise. Although superyacht clients may not know many of its yards, multiple builders offer not just new construction, but also classic restorations. That includes Rockport Marine, where its managers have deep roots in boatbuilding. Sam Temple, the president, is a third-generation boatbuilder, for example. Meanwhile, Taylor Allen, the vice president, began working at Rockport Marine as a teen under his father’s ownership. Additionally, Langan Design had collaborated with the yard on a sailing yacht and therefore knew its capabilities.
Construction is a combination of cold-molded techniques with Douglas fir and western red cedar, a specialty of Rockport Marine. It uses less framing than plank-on-frame techniques. Due to the sailplan (more on that below), carbon fiber comprises her midsection. It provides strength, reduces weight, plus allows larger tanks. Temple is particularly proud that the owners were resolute about building in Maine. “They have given an opportunity for this unique industry to show the best it has to offer,” he says. “Maine, and, more broadly, the U.S. Northeast contains a confluence of marine tradespeople, allowing elements of work to be shared across multiple shops.” Indeed, MCM has helped bring in structural engineers, as well as specialists in mechanical, electrical, mast making, and rigging.
Interestingly, the design of the yacht Project Ouzel is not as classic as she appears. She’s more aptly a modernized version of a classic pilothouse cutter. The owners, who previously cruised aboard a 64-foot (19.5-meter) Baltic, wanted an entirely custom yacht. “Above the waterline, she is a current interpretation of a classic pilothouse cutter,” notes Peter Wilson, MCM’s co-founder and partner. “But below the waterline, she has a modern underbody featuring a high-aspect rudder and a generous 12-foot (3.65-meter) draft keel.” Essentially, she looks classic, but has a more performance-focused rig and a Park Avenue boom. They’ll let the owners enjoy coastal cruising, besides the already-mentioned exploration cruising and potential races down the road.
MCM was instrumental in introducing the owners to Langan Design Partners, but also Mark Whiteley Design. The owners especially connected with Whiteley’s work aboard the Royal Huisman Aquarius, a 184-footer (56-meter). Classic, calm, and elegant are the watchwords for her aesthetic, amid a non-fussy, functional layout. Similarly, the Project Ouzel interior will be classic and practical, with mahogany as a highlight among the materials. On a related note, Whiteley is responsible for styling, too. “Mark suggested some modifications to the house geometry and applied his magic to our original general arrangement,” Degremont says. “The resulting yacht has only improved.”
She’s also improved the notion of either sailing or motoring. A 400-hp engine should allow her to venture upwards of 1,000 miles at speeds just over 10 knots. A battery bank will bolster some systems operations with a 32-kW genset as a backup as well.
Project Ouzel, whose build is well underway, should see delivery in the summer of 2025.
Langan Design Partners langandesign.com
Mark Whiteley Design markwhiteleydesign.com
Rockport Marine rockportmarine.com
More About the Yacht Project Ouzel
LOA: 95’0” (28.96 meters)
Beam: not available
Draft: 12’0” (3.65 meters)
Guests: 8 in 4 staterooms
Sailplan: performance-oriented rig, Park Avenue boom
Builder: Rockport Marine
Stylist: Mark Whiteley Design
Naval Architect: Langan Design Partners
Interior Designer: Mark Whiteley Design