For those able to dedicate more than a million dollars to building a boat, luxury comes in many forms, and we had the privilege during our testing to sail aboard four very different iterations of seagoing luxury.
For the Farr 56 Pilot House, luxury means a Bruce Farr pedigree played out with dual push-button controls (at the helm and at the winch) for every sail-handling task. Like her 50-foot sister shes built in Sweden to specs from British-based Boat Sales International.
For the Morris 52, luxury means attention to a thousand details, big and small, that add up to one of the safest ocean passagemakers in the fleet. “I guess money buys good things,” said Alvah as he got off the boat, listing dozens of items that caught his attention: six caged Dorades that wouldnt catch a sheet, 30-inch stanchions, a companionway latch with access from two side so no ones ever locked outside or below. “I saw from stem to stern that the designer and builder had the safety of the customer in mind,” he said.
For the Turner 56, luxury means a featherweight yet stiff 2,000-pound hull and sailing angles of 25 degrees apparent. Designed by Bill Tripp and built in Ontario of post-cured epoxy and Kevlar, she could be the grand dame of the performance cruisers, for thats her design brief: to make transoceanic passages with a couple as crew, but then to race at grand-prix levels when she arrives. “You couldnt sit behind that helm and not just smile,” said Carol.
For the Legendary 58, luxury means an exquisite homage to the design masterpiece L. Francis Herreshoff wrought some 60 years ago with his Bounty, little sister to Ticonderoga. The craftsmen at Legendary Yachts in Washougal, Washington, put 35,000 man-hours into fitting out her hull of cold-molded Honduras mahogany over Alaskan cedar.
This was the most difficult category to judge, and most of these boats could have won prizes in other categories. But forced to choose, the judges chose a boat that in Alvah Simons words “shows that its not always a conflict between function and fashion.” He said, “Nothing we sailed had a more seakindly feel; nothing stood up to its canvas like this one did, and nothing competed for flat-out speed: In just over 12 knots of breeze we were holding 10 knots steady.” Some 60 years on, the 2002 award for best luxury cruiser goes to L. Francis Herreshoff and the folks at Legendary Yachts for the Legendary 58. In the words of one of the judges, “What a joy to sail, and what a salute to the designers of old.”
LOA: 57’6″ (17.53 m)
Beam: 13’4″ (4.06 m)
Draft: 63″ (1.91 m)
Ballast: 16,000 lb.
Displacement: 49,000 lb.
SA: 1500 sq. ft.
Company: Legendary Yachts