Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - Daniel Hard­ing Jr. dhard­ing@aim­me­dia.com

Rec­og­niz­ing the fu­ture of boat­build­ing in the time­less past.

There is a beau­ti­ful clas­sic boat at the other end of the show that would make for a great video!” ex­claimed Dig­i­tal Edi­tor John Turner when we bumped into each other on the docks of the Palm Beach show. He was right. The stun­ning 1913 Matthews, Nymph, was at­tract­ing boat nuts like flies to a bug zap­per.

Swat­ting them away was a young woman, rep­re­sent­ing Ocean In­de­pen­dence bro­ker­age, who had spent the last four days guard­ing the boat.

Like my fel­low boaters I saun­tered up to plead my case and—if nec­es­sary—beg for the op­por­tu­nity to go aboard. I walked up, cleared my throat, and smiled.

“By ap­point­ment only,” she said with a cool tone and a stare rem­i­nis­cent of the Queen’s Guard.

Even­tu­ally, I got past the gaunt­let, no thanks to my charm. Stand­ing at the ship’s en­trance, one hand on the ma­hogany caprail and the other ex­tended was Nick Lin­der, the 24-year-old cap­tain of Nymph.

With an in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the boat and a sense of con­fi­dence be­yond his years, he took John and I around and ex­plained how a 7-year, $2-mil­lion restora­tion gave this piece of liv­ing his­tory a sec­ond lease on life.

“The top­sides and in­te­rior were stripped, although we kept the hull, which had been glassed over. And we kept as many orig­i­nal pieces as pos­si­ble—like this Ti­tanic-style throt­tle,” Lin­der ex­plained, as he gripped the rechromed con­trols. “We’ve added a bow and stern thruster, which is re­ally im­por­tant when swing­ing the [75-foot LOA] boat into a slip.”

I ad­mired a sim­ple, yet sweet-look­ing for­ward spot­light and noted how sim­i­lar its han­dle and move­ments were to to­day’s spot­lights.

“That’s an orig­i­nal mech­a­nism, a 104-year-old idea and it works very well,” said Lin­der. “It’s been re-chrome-plated. A lot of cap­tains who come aboard say they’re jealous be­cause their push­but­ton ver­sion doesn’t shine ex­actly where you need it.”

For­ward, I in­spected the wind­lass, which again re­minded me of an­chor tackle I saw aboard new boats at the show.

This walk­through was my last at the Palm Beach event, which many con­sider the end of the 2016-17 boat show-sea­son, dur­ing which I had been led through more than 100 boats over the course of seven shows on three con­ti­nents. So, I had the mar­ket­ing points down pretty well by now. Sin­gle-level liv­ing; bright and airy spa­ces, aft gal­leys that ser­vice the cock­pit and for­ward din­ing area, en suite, en suite, en suite …

But when I stepped be­lowdecks on the Matthews, through a sa­loon rich with bright­work and drip­ping with his­tory, and en­tered the gal­ley, I was sur­prised by what I saw. Big win­dows and smart use of space cre­ated a bright atrium over­head, some­thing builders to­day are rack­ing their brains to achieve.

The mas­ter state­room and VIP were com­pa­ra­ble in size, though head­room was less of a pri­or­ity in 1913, and fea­tured rea­son­ably sized berths with a couch be­side them. The mas­ter and cap­tain’s quar­ters both had pri­vate en­trances, and the most prom­i­nent so­cial space was the cock­pit, where hand­some wicker chairs made it easy to imag­ine a ti­tan of in­dus­try flip­ping through his morn­ing pa­per.

“We have an in-line-six, 178-horse­power John Deere sin­gle turbo. It cruises at about 1900 rpm and we’re burn­ing 5 gph and get­ting roughly 2 mpg,” added Lin­der as we con­tin­ued through the ac­com­mo­da­tions level. “One of our cheap­est costs on the boat is fuel.”

Be­tween the boat’s ef­fi­ciency, the sin­gle-level liv­ing area, the atrium in the gal­ley and the em­pha­sis on so­cial spa­ces, you would think I was walk­ing through a cut­ting-edge mo­to­ry­acht, not a turn-of-the-last­cen­tury, wooden-hull cruiser.

This past show sea­son proved to me that we’re in a Golden Age of in­no­va­tion, from smarter uses of car­bon fiber to de­sign by vir­tual re­al­ity, hy­brid propul­sion sys­tems, for­ward-look­ing sonar, and apps that con­trol the en­tire on­board ex­pe­ri­ence. The in­dus­try is chang­ing, and for the bet­ter.

But as I stepped off the Matthews and my eyes read­justed to the Florida sun, I could clearly see that good de­sign—like a love for be­ing out on the wa­ter—is time­less.

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