The Back Story
Founded in 1964 to build commercial fishing vessels, today Westport specializes in yachts and fast patrol boats. The company's line encompasses five models, from this Pacific Mariner 85 up to the Westport 164. All are composite construction; Westport was one of the first yards to build 100+-foot yachts in composite rather than aluminum or steel. Composite yachts incur high tooling costs to build the required molds, so Westport amortizes the cost over many identical hulls in each particular size. Every production fiberglass boatbuilder does this, but Westport was the first to build boats this large in series rather than one-off custom. Like most production builders, Westport usually has boats under construction even if there's not a buyer signed up – the upshot is, if you win the lottery and want a major yacht ASAP, Westport can often deliver one in months, rather than years.
The PM 85 wasn't originally a Westport. Pacific Mariner was started in 1996, and built both 65- and 85-footers; Westport bought the company a few years ago to add a smaller yacht to its line – at that time the W98 was the baby of the family. The PM 65 went away, and the PM 85 of 2011 is the second generation of the larger boat, both built on the same William Garden-designed hull. The original hull and deck molds were destroyed in a fire. When building new tooling, Westport kept the Garden hull unchanged, but asked Greg Marshall, who styled the original PM 85, to rework the design to be more in tune with 21st-century aesthetics. Marshall once worked under Bill Garden – in the yacht-design world, analogous to a football coach once working under Vince Lombardi.
The Westport philosophy is that composite yachts are lighter, and therefore faster with comparable power, than either steel or aluminum vessels. They are strong and quiet, and require less maintenance: no rust, and much less worry about galvanic issues. And, a special consideration for folks boating in Westport country and points north, composites provide thermal insulation, so heating systems and generators don't have to work so hard keeping the accommodations livable; the same process works in the tropics for air conditioning.
As you'd expect in a yacht of this quality, the PM 85 is built with state-of-the-art materials and lamination techniques. The company takes extra care building the tooling, using as few molds as possible; fewer molds mean fewer sub-assemblies, fewer mechanical fastenings in the structure and less secondary bonding. In the ideal world, boats would be made in one piece; that won't happen, but the fewer, the better. Westport hulls are laminated in one piece, not in halves and bonded along the keel as many large boats are.
The materials and methods are matched to different areas of the hull and deck. Sophisticated fabrics are used throughout the laminate, reinforced with carbon fiber or Kevlar where necessary. Advanced coring materials are used appropriately – resin infusion assures that all the laminate layers are wetted-out precisely and thoroughly bonded. One argument that metal-boat folks make against composites is the difficulty of inspecting laminate bonding, opening the door to problems later on. Westport uses aerospace-inspired technology to ensure a perfect laminate.
How big a check will you have to write? The PM 85 is in "if you have to ask" territory, but we'd recommend having at least $6.5 million of mad money in the bank before signing the contract. A 2010 model for sale by the builder is listed at $5,995,000; you know as well as we do how easy it is to add multo dinero in options and customization.
In our opinion, the Westport PM 85 is the perfect size for a large yacht: Big enough for a couple or foursome to be ultra-comfortable for long stretches onboard, able to go almost anywhere but small enough not to create a stir when entering most harbors. (We like to keep a low profile.) Its accommodation plan will work for chartering when the owner's not aboard; many folks with boats this size defray some costs that way, and it keeps the crew out of trouble. We think the Westport Pacific Mariner 85 is an excellent boat in the perfect size range, and will definitely put it on our list of mini-megayachts to inspect.We have the highest respect for Bill Garden as a naval architect, a man who has designed hundreds of vessels, commercial, sail, and power as long as we can remember. And we have a high regard for Westport, one of the few builders left in the U.S. manufacturing large motoryachts. The owner of Westport (Orin Edson) has been in the marine business all of his life and the company has a can-do attitude. Edison has always been known for delivering value. A base price of $6M is a very competitive price of an 85-footer. There are a number of semi-production boats on the market in this size range and we recommend that you spend time abord the Pacific Mariner 85 if you are in the market for this size boat. You might be suprised at what you find.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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