29 Mar Labour of love
Wisdom holds we should try to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. When building a bespoke Whitehaven Motor Yacht, the satisfaction of the process is every bit as thrilling as the ultimate product.
Ray and Denise David, residents of Darwin, are avid anglers who prize the simple pleasures in life, while appreciating exquisite craftsmanship and items cherry-picked for their individuality.
“When we built our home, we scoured the world to achieve the look we were after and create the ambience of an idyllic retreat,” said Denise. “We borrowed all different features and details from places we’ve travelled, to suit our climate and lifestyle. The end result is a home that perfectly reflects us and our family.”
So too with their approach to designing and building their Whitehaven 7500 Motor Yacht, which they named Finito – “it’s going to be our forever boat”, stated Denise, adding that they envisage weeks of long-range cruising and fishing, exploring the Kimberley Coast, the Wessel Islands, Tanimbar Islands and east to the Louisiades Archipelago in the south-east of Papua New Guinea.
Inspired by their collaboration on their previous boat, Y Knot, with company founder, Keith Hanson and his boat builder son, Ryan, Ray and Denise were confident starting with a clean slate and an arsenal of samples, swatches and sketches.
Via email and four visits to the factory in Kaohsiung City, the couple oversaw every step in the creation of their dream boat.
“We were able to really think outside the square – no limitations or preconceived notions,” said Denise. “It was fantastic to get hands-on at the factory, get out the tape measure and draw our ideas on the floor.
“The Whitehaven team gave us a free range to do whatever we liked conceptually, and Keith and Ryan provided guidance on layout and engineering.”
At 22-metres (75-feet), Finito is longer than Y Knot and wider by 2-feet, boasting sumptuous extras such as navigational and entertainment equipment, and fully-custom made furnishings hand-crafted to impeccable standards by the skilled workforce at the factory – many of them third generation carpenters and upholsterers, all of them with a ‘can do’ attitude to any challenge.
Every facet of the build was overseen at the factory by naval architect, Jason Kao and Ryan Hanson.
The entire process took just 13 months from initial discussions at the 2015 Sydney International Boat Show to delivery in October.
Built for entertaining and laid-back living, Finito is single level, open-plan, with a seamless flow between interior and exterior to suit the Davids’ tropical location.
“We wanted a lounge and kitchen to work as a unified whole,” said Denise. “We actually spent a lot of time sitting in the mould of the living area to get the lounge and seating placement right and make sure all the furnishings are below eye level, so they don’t ruin the view!”
Keeping to the brief of aesthetics to budget and to suit harsh UV conditions, the Whitehaven craftsmen worked with leather and textured it to replicate stingray, a much more costly and delicate material.
The free-standing, round edged eight-seater dining table too was built to the Davids’ specifications. “The dining table is the heart of the entertaining and socialising. We knew we didn’t want a cramped dining area where half the group is squashed up against the wall. The Whitehaven carpenters managed to achieve a full-size table and beautiful, comfortable seats with heaps of room for people to circulate and spread out.”
In that spirit, the helm seats – top of the range Italian leather Besenzoni chairs – were chosen for their aesthetics as well as their ability to swivel to join in group in the dining or lounge areas.
Keeping with the brief of maximum appeal, minimum maintenance, Ray and Denise choose flooring that is commercial-grade, timber-look vinyl. “We have used it before in high traffic areas. It’s light-weight, looks good, feels nice under foot and is easy to fix if anything happens,” Denise commented.
For her ideal kitchen onboard, Denise demanded all appliances be concealed behind elegant cabinetry, with large galley island and wide Corian benchtops, which can endure rugged use, spills and even burns.
The wrap-around glazing is heavily tinted to beat the heat and glare, while the aft hard top awning has been extended for complete protection during the heat of the day. The spacious foredeck comprises table and seating for front row viewing of Top End sunsets.
“We spend a lot of time on the aft deck, enjoying the breeze, sharing meals, fishing. Ray was adamant the boat would have dual bait boards that could clip in to the cockpit railing, plus fridge, bar seating and extra freezer and storage space. The Southern Stainless barbeque is ideal for cooking outside and the Aerotech electric window opens to the galley for ease of service.”
Also from Aerotech, the one-touch electric sliding door between cockpit and saloon.
Perfectly equipped for croc country and shuttling the Davids through mangroves and across rocky shallows, the 4-metre fiberglass Haines Hunter Sea Wasp is housed in a large purpose-built, fully enclosed garage accessed via a hydraulic door from the extra-large swim platform.
The Davids’ customised concepts are evident below decks as well. There are three large suites, including the palatial Master which makes optimal use of the full-beam, with king-bed, chaise, desk, vanity, robes and incredible ensuite boasting twin marble, angle-flow sinks, full-height shower and portholes for sea breeze and views.
“Why not incorporate the features we love in 5-star hotels?” said Denise, referring to elements such as textured timber, large feature panels of hand-woven Italian leather, undulating Versace tiles, combined with a skilful use of space, light and plentiful storage.
Just like on their previous boat, the second kitchen is a versatile space that doubles as a utility area. “We love that first coffee in the morning, without having to face the world. We can wake up slowly, then think about greeting guests upstairs.”
Ray had complete scope to design the engine room on Finito. “It’s air-conditioned and has 7-foot ceiling height, plenty of space for my workbench, rods, deep freeze and all the systems, clearly labeled and set out.”
Finito boasts a 10,000 Litre fuel capacity for a true long-range cruising capacity of 1,500 to 2,000 miles.
For propulsion, Finito uses two Cat C18 ACERT 6 cylinder engines running 1,150 horse power each. And while the boat can achieve a 24 knot head of speed, at a more reasonable 10 to 11 knots over long distances, fuel consumption is about 64 Litres per hour.
“We could easily do 120 miles per day at 10 knots, gliding between anchorages from 5am to 5pm. It’s comforting to know this boat uses the same amount of fuel as our smaller boat,” said a very content Denise.
The state-of-the-art Twin Disc QuickShift transmission, three Express Joystick System® stations and Side Power hydraulic thrusters and state of the art Zero Speed Vector Fin stabilisation system add up to complete ease of handling.
“At home in Darwin, we have to navigate a series of locks,” recounted Ray. “This system gives us precise control and manoeuvrability whether we’re pulling in to a marina or cruising through shallow island waters.”
There are many more personalised features on Finito, too numerous to list. Needless to say, her owners are ecstatic with the outcome.
“Every step of the Whitehaven journey has been enjoyable,” said Ray. “All the details of Finito were discussed, debated, tested out and then built, with no fuss and smooth communication.
“We relied on the advice of Keith and Ryan, and they supported our vision throughout the entire process.”
“Watching and contributing to the evolution of our boat was just as thrilling as enjoying her with friends and family,” Denise affirmed. “It’s a sigh of relief to escape routine and head out on the water. We are completely at home on our boat. That is the real value of a Whitehaven.”