us edition: features

us edition: features

Canadian awakening

With the exchange rate favoring the US’s northern neighbor, Crescent Custom Yachts has taken a gamble on an enticing 117-footer. Arnie Hammerman checks out the spec boat

A new yacht, made in Canada, was one of the star attractions of the Vancouver International Boat Show. The Crescent 117, based on an existing hull, created a positive buzz with its attractive styling and quality finishes. It had been a while since a new build of this size made in British Columbia debuted at the show.

For many years, local yards produced quality yachts, many of them sold to US owners. However, the 2008 financial crisis put that on hold. The recession hit the US hard while Canada’s currency was bolstered by the country’s natural resources. The client pool all but dried up. Resourceful yards, such as Crescent Custom Yachts, turned to commercial and refit work to survive. With the exchange rate favorable to Canadian exports again, Crescent’s owner, Tim Charles, decided to build a new yacht on spec.

Charles, the owner of Crescent Custom Yachts, based in Vancouver, has long made the argument that the exchange rate makes Canadian shipyards competitive. His yard has done new-builds – most notably 144ft Muchos Mas delivered in 2017 – and refits, and Charles, who has an enterprising streak, also launched a brand of sturdy, smaller boats called Tactical Custom Boats.

Combining his refit experience with his knowledge and passion for building new boats, Charles wanted to streamline the completion of a new yacht by starting with a quality existing hull. His investigation led him to Florida, where an existing project that had been put on hold caught his attention. The fiberglass hull had been built in Italy to ABS standards for Destiny Yachts and featured a solid bottom with foam core in the partially completed decking and superstructure. A pair of MTU 12V 4000 M90 engines came with it.

Charles carefully researched the history of the 105ft hull, analyzed its current condition and noted the track record and performance of previous boats built on this hull design before he decided it could serve as the base for a quality new build his team could complete at a competitive price. He also negotiated with MTU, which approved a new warranty on the unused engines.

A generously sized main aft deck offers al fresco dining with a proper table that allows service crew to access from all sides

“By purchasing an existing hull, we shaved a year or more off the build time,” Charles says. “We knew the design was solid, so we had a good foundation to work from. The goal was to produce a new boat that is ready to go and can compete boat to boat, apples to apples, with other similar-sized new vessels.

“Many buyers simply don’t want to wait, so we are delivering a completed boat that we think will have universal appeal. If an owner wants to fine-tune and further customize the boat, we can accommodate that too as our yard is fully capable.”

Modern chic made in Canada combines black oak cabinets with custom table and chairs by Scan Design and sofa by Muse & Merchant

Gregory C Marshall Naval Architect, based in neighboring Victoria, was brought in to ensure the quality of the existing structures and to redesign and modernize the superstructure and interior. “Of all the different transformational projects we have been involved with, this is one of the most extreme examples,” Gregory Marshall says. “The end result is a brand-new product in nearly every sense. There were structural and logistical improvements made to the hull, deck and superstructure, and the interior decor and design is completely new.”

Marshall and Charles had the same vision for the project, which was to target a wider and perhaps younger audience by building a yacht with a contemporary look and feel. “We wanted to get away from older style mahogany, walnut or American cherry interiors that have become commonplace and find more unique materials to work with. We decided to use black oak and stone surfaces complemented by high-end fabrics, textured wall and ceiling panels with Di-Noc wrapping to create additional contrast,” Charles says.

The design team reconfigured the pilothouse and upper deck to create more useable space with different zones for operating the boat and entertaining. The split-level upper deck has a lower open section for loose deck lounges, a four-person jetted hot tub, wet bar and barbecue. A Steelhead Marine 2,500lb davit is available to launch a 17ft Carbon Craft custom tender or PWCs. The flybridge, five steps up, has a center helm seat and twin wing stations with great visibility for docking. It is also a wonderful open-air spot to frolic with seating and tables on both sides. Special touches include a hardtop with a large opening sunroof activated at the push of a button. Below is hidden storage for deck furniture and water toys.

Marshall did a nice job of creating pleasant yacht-like lines while maximizing these spaces. The hardtop and electronics array held aloft with vertical masts and pillars create a stylish contrast to the angular black strip of windows of the decks below.

The well-appointed galley is finished to guest standards

The interior decor of the Crescent 117 features cool colors with stone surfaces showcasing gray, black and white that provide a contemporary feel. An app for smartphones and tablets connects to the Crestron system controlling the recessed indirect lighting used throughout the cabin, the blinds and the state-of-the-art La Scala audiovisual entertainment system. Above the glass dining table, overhead lights from the Gorve collection by Elan, composed of cubic zirconia embedded in acrylic, deliver sparkle and flare. In the salon area, a custom varnished teak burled stump coffee table with integrated lights provides a sculptured highlight distinct from both the darker wood cabinets and the plush gray fabric sofas that surround it.

“The black oak millwork cabinets that line the salon were chosen for their subtle and consistent grain profile. Black oak is used throughout the vessel and creates a nice contrast with the lighter white and gray quartz stone surfaces. Hard surfaces follow the patterns created by alternating fabrics, wall coverings and Di-Noc wrapping used throughout the vessel,” says Geoff Harrington, senior designer at Gregory C Marshall Naval Architect.

Instead of more traditional veneer coverings, the yard used fabrics that add a modern touch and softness to headboards in cabins, including in the master stateroom

The galley features stainless appliances and distinctive gray and white flowing quartz. The wavy patterned stone is used as a backsplash by the stove and on the countertops, and it cascades down the side of the cabinets creating a gentle waterfall effect. A section of the galley is in a corridor that connects to the dining table in the salon. Lined with countertops, this transition area can be used as a butler’s pantry or a staging center for more formal table service.

The galley itself, complete with a cozy breakfast nook, is an inviting spot for owners and guests to gather for more informal meals or to watch chef preparations. Unusually, it provides access to a double cabin with en suite, separate from other accommodation, which could prove ideal for celebrity chefs.

All other cabins are below. A full-beam master features large hull windows that were carefully added to the original hull design. They not only bring light into the cabin but also give the boat a more modern profile when viewed from the outside. Powered blinds provide instant privacy.

“The hull windows are an important part of the design, allowing maximum scenic views from the interior of the master, guest and crew quarters,” Charles says. “All windows and the FRP structure supporting them are designed and built to class standards. Most things we do are a minimum of ABS or Lloyd’s classification standards even if the total project is not required or desired to be classed.”

The master has a walk-in cedar-lined closet complete with built-in drawers and cubbies. The master head is finished with intricate stone tiles from Ames’ Luxe Marble Labrinto series and patterned Di-Noc film on the walls and cabinet faces. A lounge and vanity add convenience and comfort to the master cabin.

The top deck’s helm station, shaded under the hardtop, sits five steps up from the sun loungers, hot tub and bar just aft

The look is consistently fresh and modern throughout the cabin deck, which can sleep eight in an athwartships VIP and two other guest cabins, all with en suites. Headroom is consistent at 6ft 4in or better throughout. With the additional double cabin adjacent to the galley, the boat sleeps 10, plus crew – sensible accommodations for a 117ft yacht.

The raised pilothouse has a single gray Stidd helm seat in front of a stylized black lacquered wheel. Drawers and space for paper charts are adjacent to the helm and its triple Garmin multifunction displays. All controls are easily accessed, and the rake of the windshield provides ample visibility around six large carbon fiber wrapped mullions. The helm is purposeful and direct to allow the captain to handle the yacht’s top speed of around 26 knots and a cruise speed of 20 knots but is also welcoming to guests. There is seating for eight or more on a raised mezzanine with silver Majilite cushions around a black Cambria quartz table and 6ft 1in headroom even on the elevated step.

“There is getting there and being there,” Charles says. “We built spaces both inside and out with forward-facing views so that guest and owners can be part of what is going on while underway. We expect this to be a captain-operated boat, so we kept the helm and controls separated from guest seating for safer operation. There are also separate crew quarters aft with room for five crew in three cabins, a crew mess and laundry.”

The Crescent 117 is a refreshingly modern yacht with amenities that showcase the experience that the Charles family has amassed over the years. Owners ready to begin their voyage will appreciate this boat, priced at $13.5 million.

Photography: Dolf Vermeulen