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When San Francisco sailors Russ Irwin and Fay Mark decided to take sabbaticals from their business careers, she was managing Web sites for major corporations and he was a successful venture capitalist. They decided they would buy a yacht and head west until they got either “tired or bored.” While their multiyear plan included cruising through the islands of the South Pacific
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“Because New Morning will be our home for at least 60 percent of every year,” says Mark, “the environment must have a comfort level that makes us feel something is on our side. After all, we are spending a lot of time in a smaller space than we are used to having ashore.” While their Swan was a beautiful yacht with a handsome interior, its interior teak trim made the belowdeck spaces feel smaller than they really were. That, they thought, wouldn’t work for them in tropical cruising grounds.

Psychology, Mark believes, is perhaps the primary element in all interior design. “Living in a small environment with more than just yourself is a lot to handle anyway,” she says. “And when you add to that the fact that many of the creature comforts you had on land aren’t coming with you, you have to make sure that the living spaces provide an environment that is both appealing and personal.”

Their first step in the design process was to include all the components that would be on board and then establish an overall length for the yacht. “Once we had all agreed on that number,” says Joy, “we started with the lines of one of our earlier designs. It was the same size, but the displacement was a good bit lighter. We then modified the underwater shape so the new yacht could not only carry a large payload, but would also be tremendously stiff; you might describe her as a gorgeous Lexus rather than a Ferrari.”

In general, Joy says, today’s yachts designed for offshore passagemaking are heavier than those of just a few years ago because cruisers are taking an increasing amount of equipment with them. Because of the extensive list of equipment that would be aboard New Morning, the design team made the bows slightly finer to allow the hull to sink into the water without distorting the lines. Then came another design hurdle: When all the equipment and living space had been accounted for, nobody was happy with the profile; it was a full 16 inches higher than the final version. Getting that down took a lot of creativity.

The interior living spaces also posed a design challenge—space management. Interior designer Jane Plachter-Vogel, who had been instrumental in crafting the interior of another successful Paine design, was involved early in the process. She came up with a number of novel ideas: the octagonal saloon, the linear galley, and the exquisite maple veneers and sculpted metal panels that would establish the belowdeck ambience. “The objective was to have a comfortable and workable interior for two people,” says Joy, “which is why the saloon is so warm and inviting. And you don’t have to climb down a ladder to get there, but rather you descend some beautifully proportioned steps.”

Full-size mockups of the cockpit and interior refined the concepts, and if they didn’t work as expected, they were altered until they did. When all the mockups had been modified and the final tweaks were accounted for, Joy produced a very detailed and accurate two-dimensional plan and profile and section drawings, which he forwarded to the builder. The builder’s design team, in turn, used their own powerful CAD software to create the three-dimensional profiles that were used by the build teams.

Irwin and Mark had decided they would be the project managers. They found the experience fascinating, though it took a lot more time than they had anticipated. “There were many more decisions than I’d imagined,” Irwin recalls now with a grin. “We’d spend hours discussing something that would involve a change of just two inches. It might be a cabinet, a table, or a storage locker and the interior volume that would be involved. But on a yacht this size two inches makes a big difference. While it’s true that you could let someone else make those decisions for you, we felt from the beginning that the essence of building a custom yacht is being able to invest the time and energy that’s needed to make those decisions.” If you don’t want to, or can’t, spend the time, he adds, you might think seriously about getting a production yacht instead because all those decisions are made for you.

After a midsummer launch last year, Irwin and Mark spent several months cruising the Maine coast before heading south to Bermuda and the Caribbean. “We’ve already got nearly a thousand miles on her,” said Irwin in late November, “and so far nothing has jumped out and said to us, ‘Whoa, what were you two thinking?’”

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Designer:

C.W. Paine/Ed Joy Design

Box 1015, Camden, ME 04843

Tel. 207-236-2166;

edjoydesign.com

Builder:

Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding

84 Knox Street,

Thomaston, ME 043861

Tel. 207-354-6904;

lymanmorse.com

Construction:

E-glass infused with vinylester resin; Corecell core in both hull and deck; carbon-fiber spars and rudderpost

To learn more about New Morning’s design features and detailed passage notes from her owners, go to www.newmorning.info.

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