BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME, NAUTICAL STYLE
The latest pairing of design and construction will most surely result in some remarkable vessels.
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
There have been some truly unforgettable duos. Henry and Charles, that being Mr. Royce and Mr. Rolls respectively. Adam and Eve for those of you who follow that particular thread. King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, which didn’t turn out so well after all. The Curies, that being Pierre and Marie, whose efforts allowed medical science to see things in another way. And of course, peanut butter and jelly. Enough said.
Taking a nautical slant on this theme, whenever there is a combining of forces in the boat/yacht design and building sector, especially when those same players are noteworthy and at the top of their respective games, the news can have a rippling effect across the industry. “What?”, “Hey, did you hear?”, “I can’t wait to see what comes out of that deal!” are just a few of the reactions that will most probably be talked, discussed, conversed, and chatted about on docks, at boat shows, and between buyers, sellers, and almost everyone else who concerns themselves with all things boats and yachts about the pairing up of the prestigious Front Street Boatyard, in Belfast, Maine, and renowned designer and naval architect Ward Setzer.
As the story goes, Setzer, on a time away winter sabbatical in the Caribbean—not a bad place to chill out, by the way—came up with a broad range of designs he called his New American Motoryachts. Four of those new designs, the 28m/92ft Modern Commuter; a 34m/111+ft Flushdeck RPH; a 38m/124+ft Modern Explorer, and a 40m/131+ft Vintage Tri-Deck, will be actively marketed for construction at Front Street.
If you are unfamiliar with Setzer and his work, he began his career in the 1980’s under the guidance of the “Dean of American Naval Architecture”, Jack Hargrave. Coming out of the Custom Yachts division of Hatteras Yachts, in 1991 he founded Setzer Yacht Architects, an independent design studio with an unshakable belief in the strength of a team approach. Since then, the award-winning Setzer team has worked with some of the most prominent shipyards around the world including Northern Marine, Christensen, Richmond, Delta, McMullen & Wing, Lyman-Morse, Trinity, Hinckley, and NISI.
On the yard side, what started out as a run-down and non-operational sardine factory, along with some additional acreage and an unfinished marina/condo project, has grown into one of the premier building facilities on the east coast. Under the guidance and dogged vision of its veteran ownership, JB Turner, Taylor Allen, Steve White, and Ken Priest, along with investors Jack Rettig and Lucia Michaud, Front Street has consistently maintained the kind of professional work ethic that has attracted some of the most notable names in design such as Donald L. Blount, Herreschoff, Sparkman & Stephens, W-Class, Hunt, and of course, Setzer.
With this kind of dynamic, it’s only a matter of time before we see the first of these remarkable designs begin to take shape and form and soon after that, slide down the ways to take their rightful places in a very special domain.