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Review: Calixas 105' Expedition Yacht

 
 
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Review: Calixas 105' Expedition Yacht

Calixas 105' Expedition Yacht
A Surprising New Splash!


At first sight together, Calixas and Montie Twining don’t seem to match. Calixas is brawny, crisp, a powerful trawler-yacht statement, with design innovations that tweak some standard large yacht concepts. Twining, the builder, comes across as the enthusiastic young man next door who prefers casual sweaters to the business formality of a coat and tie. However, up close and personal, both quickly unveil a cache of surprising features that are unusual.

By the way, the yacht’s name is pronounced Cali-X-as, a melding of California and Texas, because the two principals happen to hail from those two states. They are: Twining, the potent creative force behind this attractive formula, from Texas; and Greg Marshall, the acclaimed naval architect, from California. These two young innovators parlayed their twenty year close friendship, and complementing talents, into an outstanding new venture; the 105’ concept yacht Calixas.
The name Greg Marshall is of course well known and highly regarded in yachting circles, having been associated with excellent mega-yacht designs such as Westport, Horizon, San Juan, as well as numerous one-off designs in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Taiwan. After starting with Bill Garden, then Ed Fry, he opened his own practice. Twining, on the other hand, grew up boating on the Texas Gulf waters around Galveston, at various levels, but made his industrial mark in the modern communications market. He is an expert in computer business applications. His story, which perhaps resembles a chapter out of Horatio Alger, is worth noting here, because it is the foundation of how an idea, blessed with talent and friendship, blossomed into a new enterprise.
“It’s the fun stuff I’m most interested in,” Twining says. ‘I‘ve been in other companies where high level officers didn’t get into the everyday workings. In those corporate stages you have to decide whether you were a desk guy or a manager, administrator, laborer, etc. “All of us in business have to figure out who we are and how we best fit. Both Greg and I have been into boats since we were kids, in fishing, sailboats, ocean racing from Galveston into Mexico.” Twining relates stories about living in Austin, TX, and owning several horses that loved to swim. So he and his children “raced” the swimming horses around Lake Travis, great fun for all. Travis is the dammed-up arm of the Colorado River which in itself is no Mississippi; but the lake surprises people with its breadth and depth.
Years back when computers first arrived on the business scene, Twining learned to program software. He was in on the first attempts to present computer graphics, writing code, and soon became a leading figure in presenting court room demonstrative evidence. That led to handling landmark anti-trust lawsuits, which ultimately escalated him to notable success. His work led to several patents, plus a growing company which was acquired by FPI Consulting, in the early 90s. The enterprise quickly grew, went public with 700-800 personnel and nation-wide offices. Then one day, after numerous hectic years at the top of his game, he decided to exit gracefully. He got in touch with Greg Marshall with the idea of partnering a new yacht company. Their resources all pointed towards yachts over 100’ and after months of researching the market, they went to Horizon’s Taiwan yard to build what he calls: “A sexy, slow boat.”
The crows nest is nestled between a full complement of sat-nav and radar branches. Boasting its own steering station for absolute perimeter views while docking, it features a reverse swept, stainless-railed windscreen to keep turbulence minimized. For prolonged solar navigation, the radar arch above doubles as a hard top. Quite possible the finest observation platform ever conceived on a yacht of this size, it also allows complete views of the flybridge party below.
While that descriptive concept may be arguable, in the aerial view of this loftiest top deck, a molded pod perched high up above is what any buccaneer would eye as a “crow’s nest.” At serious altitude – 40’- 50’ above the surrounding seas, it’s like gazing out from the Eiffel Tower. At this altitude, 100' of Caribbean water could look as shallow as a shoal, but fear not, beneath the waterline the hull is solid glass. And it's SCRIMPed too!
Beneath that eye-full tower, the Flybridge also sports a big, round Jacuzzi pool, barbecue grill, a bar with a wine cooler and icemaker/refrigerator, six-seat dinette, etc.; a great place to hang out any time of the day or night, from your own skyscraper. Now sure, that’s sexy. But there’s a lot more.
A decorative central staircase leads up to the top deck, and far above that, to the observation platform and sat-nav-radar masts. The attention to detail on the Calixas becomes apparent upon a closer examination of the most basic appendages... the handrails. Unlike typical round-tube rails, the handrails are elliptical in shape, joined by seamless stanchion welds, as if they were castings pulled from molds.
Forward on the Bridge Deck, the Portuguese bridge allows easy walk-around traffic in front of the helm station, making the entire bow quickly accessible. Molded-in wing stations jettison out to port and starboard, allowing complete line-of-sight when docking. With flip-top covers, hinged with gas shocks, the instruments are protected from the elements and reside barely a step away from the wheelhouse. The forward swept windows and accentuated brow minimize glare & heat, while aiding foul weather navigation.
Not shown in this picture, the skylounge aft deck is dedicated to tender storage. The white pillar (seen on the left) passes through the flybridge deck and connects to a davit. The beauty of this system is the leverage created by an elevated, secondary support point. Twining, shown in this picture, strikes a visionary pose.
Just below, molded in seating spans a broad aft deck with gated access to the swim-platform on each side. From this point, access to any part of the ship is easy via full walk-around decks and generously planned staircases. Looking around, the Calixas is notably void of something... no paint, no filler. Just smooth, seamless gelcoat... everywhere. Among a few aft deck features, a camera is mounted to the rear of the overhang to play out the activities astern, as well as guidance for backing in to a slip, all transmitted to the helm station. A thoughtful feature here is a built-in storage closet, with drawers, to store your shoes before touring the rest of the yacht.
The Skylounge sets the trim stage with walnut paneling and dark Wenge hardwood flooring. Fabricated by SMI in New Zealand, who's joinery has lined the interiors of other premiere yachts, each panel is robotically inscribed with a code number for exact placement or duplication. With components sourced from all over the world, logistics became paramount and this is where Twining, and his background is software shined. He wrote a proprietary program that allowed designers and engineers to work together, tweaking an infinite number of files, while viewing the same in real time. People on separate continents could literally be on the same page, in the same room... while being 1000's of miles apart.
A distinctive solarium skylight dominates the skylounge with an architectural flair. It is an exclamation point to Twining’s obsession with things nautical. He strongly appreciates round portholes, big and small, decorative and functional. That obsession turns up again on the ship’s broad beams for a striking, seafaring graphic theme.
The helm view is vast. It makes the business of navigating neat, orderly and unobstructed. Trimmed in rich, brown leather, accented by American walnut and wenge hardwoods, it gives rise to four 20” flat panel displays conveying the ships status. The yacht’s monitoring systems, satellite phones, communications, compass and engine controls reside in understated positions, as if to exist in harmony with the views that surround. Steering is by a destroyer-type wheel, but notably absent is a leaning post or helm chair. The wheelhouse also offers chart planning tables, as well as a large, curving settee directly abaft the helm. Captain’s quarters are to starboard immediately behind the helm station; there also, to port, is a planning office, and a day head.
Entering the salon from the covered aft deck consists of opening glass doors, not sliding. It is a crisp, straightforward room, with a gentlemen’s gaming-club club or boardroom feel; squared off corners, T-square balance and comfort levels. This sort of no-frills design is readily stored in computer software, and that is thematic of the yacht’s interior design. In fact, each room’s layout, Twining states, is stored in the computer’s building software. That means that every detail, every form, can be duplicated or replaced as a module on any part of the yacht. Calixas is one of the first production yachts designed and built this way, but will probably become the model for many to come.

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