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Friendship 75 Classic cruiser

2010 October 1

When I opened this package from Ted Fontaine's design office I immediately thought, "Hey! I know this yacht. This is Sen. John Kerry's new yacht." It wasn't hard to recognize given all the press the new boat had received lately. So I have had the benefit of seeing this boat on television a number of times, and it's time now for a design review.

This is a very beautiful boat. Typical of Ted's work, there is not an ugly line on it. The overhangs are on the long side for the classic yacht proportions. Of course you sacrifice sailing length, but yachts like this are not all about sailing speed. The design target is comfort and a very classy aesthetic expression. Opulent? Definitely. Ostentatious? Maybe. Opulentatious? Why not.
I got lucky this month. Once again I have a full set of hull lines. The D/L is 290. This is a heavy boat. There are 43,500 pounds of ballast. The sectional shape is deep with slack bilges and a very arc-like shape. The forward sections are deeply V-ed and there is a bit of a distended bustle aft forward of the rudder. The bustle buys you volume aft while not interfering with that dramatic stern overhang. With the centerboard up draft is minimal at 7 feet, 1 inch, and with the board down the draft is 15 feet, 6 inches. This design has a wonderful sheerline highlighted by the slightly recessed varnished strip in the bulwark and the delicate cove stripe that does not quite parallel the sheer.

Below this design is all opulence. The builder is the Friendship Yacht Co. of New Zealand. The finishing details are absolutely perfect if not a bit overdone for my pedestrian taste. I can only handle so many fluted pillar corner posts. But if you want to be surrounded by the look and feel of luxury this yacht certainly does that. From the luxurious owner's suite aft to the splendiferous guest stateroom forward this design is really laid out for two couples. There are some less than opulent stacked berths in the area adjacent to the engine room on the starboard side for the paid hands. While there are no windows in the low cabintrunk there are oversized oval hull ports to let in light and air below. The pilothouse is elevated above the engine space with a raised dinette, navigation station, pilot chair and wet bar.

For a big boat with a big rig the deck is unusually clear of clutter. The only lines you see on deck are the jib sheets. The single part mainsheet disappears down a hole in the deck aft, undoubtedly to a captive, powered reel winch. The anchor system retracts into the foredeck and cleats must be recessed because I don't see them in the photos. The subtle and soft lines of the deck structures make for a very attractive boat. I do think the seat back height in the cockpit is a bit on the low side. This boat is 75-feet long, I would want a minimum of 12-inch seat backs and I'd prefer 15 inches on a boat of this size. OK, I am nitpicking. The magnificent woodworking details found below are replicated on deck. It must be enjoyable work for the craftsmen doing it.

The SA/D is 19.13. That's very good for a big, heavy boat. The forestay stops just short of the masthead. I'm not sure why as the chute in the drawings goes to the hounds and not the masthead. The boom is a Leisure Furl. There is the provision for a staysail.

What a beautiful boat. I have a wee bit of trouble with the canvas dodger. It looks so out of place on this yacht. I'm certain that Sen. Kerry must be very pleased with his new yacht.

LOA 75'11"; LWL 55'; Beam 19'1"; Draft 7'1" (board up), 15'6" (board down); Displacement 108,676 lbs.; Ballast 43,500 lbs.; Sail area 2,713 sq. ft.; SA/D 19.13; D/L 290; L/B 3.98; Auxiliary Lugger 1066 H 250-hp; Fuel 542 gals.; Water 442 gals.
Friendship Yacht Company, 92 Maritime Dr., Portsmouth, RI 02871, (401) 682-9101, www.friendshipyachtcompany.com.