Impervious horrors of a leeward shore (arpad) wrote,
Impervious horrors of a leeward shore

Megayachts legacy

No wonder that the thing at the picture looks like speedboat - its cruising speed reaches 60 knots.

But this speedboat weigths 90 ton and is 36 meter long.

Stephan Wilkinson writes:

The Monaco-based company Wally Yachts (named after a Hanna-Barbera cartoon character, Wally Gator, which is a little like Boeing naming itself Snoopy Group) has, since 1993, been a high-tech-cruising-boat innovator. Its huge, all-composite sailboats, 60 to over 100 feet long, are prized for their computerized, hydraulically trimmed simplicity of operation, particularly when compared to boats that are rat's nests of lines and winches and require large crews. A typical 80-foot Wally can be sailed solo.

The 118 is Wally's first foray into mega-powerboats, though the company uses the same basic hull design for a 45-foot day boat and an 88-foot diesel yacht. All have carbon-fiber hulls, the 118 WallyPower's flanked by two huge air intakes reminiscent of the Lamborghini Diablo's angular, extendable air boxes. The 118 has five engines -- two 370-hp Cummins diesels plus the three 5,600-shaft-horsepower Vericor TF50 gas turbines, which were derived from the Lycoming T55 that powered the big Vietnam-era Boeing Chinook helicopter. The diesels are there for low-speed maneuvering, because even at idle the turbines put out enough power to make waltzing around a marina rather challenging. The diesels run the impellers for the two steerable outboard waterjets. Once the boat is free of the dockyard, the turbines take over and a fixed central jet drive joins the raging chorus.

To put into perspective that much grunt in a 110-ton boat: Last May, I found myself aboard a fast, modern Danish car ferry crossing the Kattegat. That substantial jet-drive, tunnel-hulled ship displaced 500 tons empty and didn't have much more than twice the 118 WallyPower's 16,800 horses, but they were plenty to propel a cargo of 200 cars and trucks, 800 passengers, a restaurant and a busy bar at a very impressive 50 mph. The Wally is built for eight passengers and a crew of four.

Most mega-yachts are furnished like the Dennis Kozlowski Suite at the Bellagio, but the 118 WallyPower, superbly crafted of exotic materials in and out, with thin wood veneers over honeycomb cores and lots of exposed black carbon fiber, is surprisingly spare -- more Italian industrialist's office than tycoon's playpen. Perhaps Donald Trump brass-and-cheetah-print decor would be weird in a machine that looks like something built by DARPA. Yet for all its techno- extravagance, "this is really just a big day boat," says Roger Marshall, a yacht designer and boating writer. "It's not something you're going to live aboard for three weeks while you motor across the Atlantic, it's a boat you're going to drive as fast as you possibly can with 16 bimbos onboard."

And it's a thirsty beast. The 5,812-gallon fuel tanks would suck your local marina dry. (The TF50s burn marine diesel fuel.) Miles per gallon? Actually, it's gallons per mile -- about 14, or to put it another way, 951 gallons per hour at top speed.


People say that megayachts are a hole in the water to pour owner's money in. It's true. With price of $24 million WallyPower118 needs another million each year just to keep it afloat.

And with all that appetite it is no more than Mediterranean toy. For cruises of several days length at best.

So should we approve such a waste when people die of hunger? I think we should.

Sure, rich always wasted money on toys. But from extravaganza of rich aristocrats come beautiful palaces that now held museums and other public institutions. Music, theater, painting, literature - all of them grew in shade provided by rich before they become strong enough to live on their own. Even a scientific revolution of XIX century takes roots in extravaganza of XVII.

I do believe that "irresponsible games" aren't drugs that help us to cope with painful reality, aren't ivy twining around a tree of humankind. Contrary - irresponsible games are part of a framework that keeps the tree from falling and directs its growth.

Ludu ergo sum.

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