fact, the company was researching vacuum-bagging and foam-coring construction techniques as early as the 1970s. A common practice today to improve resin-to-glass ratios, reduce weight and reduce emissions, vacuum bagging was a technique virtually unheard of at the time. ¶ Today, the yard has been building yachts via vacuum infusion for more than 20 years. Lo says that on average, the yard has 200 to 300 craftsmen focused on its fiberglass builds. ¶ Cheoy Lee also pushed the boundaries of fiberglass construction in terms of length overall, launching the 130-foot in 1970, reportedly the world’s largest fiberglass yacht at the time. The yacht, like
is still plying the waters today as ¶ Because of its extensive research and innovation with fiberglass, Cheoy Lee was asked to work with Lloyd’s Register to develop its fiberglass workshop inspection and quality-assurance protocol, which is still used today for class certification. Cheoy Lee, and now CL Yachts, has contributed to thousands of builds over the decades. The CLB88 (see “The Next Generation,” this story), the first from-scratch model for CL Yachts scheduled to debut this month in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is actually Hull No. 5,176. The yard’s yachts can be found cruising the waters around six continents. ¶ Not limiting its builds to fiberglass, Cheoy
Lee has created transatlantic-capable superyachts like the 151-foot with a steel hull, composite superstructure and bulbous bow meant for long-range cruising comfort in most sea conditions. The yard also builds in aluminum. ¶ Cheoy Lee and CL Yachts do all their work in-house, from concept to creation. “The yard utilizes five- and seven-axis CNC [routers] for everything from hull molding to furniture building, allowing for tight tolerances that would not be possible through traditional boatbuilding methods,” Lo says. “While 3D programs allow us to lay pipework and wiring relays, among other space-planning exercises, we still believe in the full-size mock-up, which we build for every new model. There is no substitute for a full-size mock-up when it comes to giving someone the sensation of space, and that is one of the advantages of our shipyard.” ¶ Building on its legacy of constructing yachts like its commercial ships, CL Yachts is the next evolution for the shipyard. “CL Yachts represents a rededication towards the luxury sector and celebrates a new era for the company, looking towards the future with innovation at its core,” Lo says. ¶ After the launches of the CLB88 and CLX96, Lo says, the company plans to fill out the model line between 50 and 100 feet length overall. Cheoy Lee will remain focused on larger yachts. ¶ If past success is any indicator of future potential, then CL Yachts has the opportunity to continue this shipyard’s long history of innovation and expansion while carving out its own place in yachtbuilding history one design at a time.
Take the next step: clyachts.com
The CL Yachts CLX96 is a trideck yacht with a rugged explorer attitude. The superstructure has reverse-raked windows on the main and top decks, giving the stout-looking craft a lean-forward, shiplike appearance, seemingly daring the ocean to dance. The profile lowers gently in linear fashion as focus transitions from bow to stern, adding a sense of sleekness while accenting the CLX96’s proud bow.