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Review: Westport's NEW 164' "Vango"

 
 
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Review: Westport's NEW 164' "Vango"

Westport 164' Tri-Deck
"Vango"

by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy

Its name is an immediate and explicit clue to the extraordinary
creativity which marks this grand new Westport 164. Billed as a production
yacht -- and two others have already begun their turn on the ways -- this
singular design surpasses many previous efforts in custom naval architecture.
Attention to detail and interior embellishments easily elevate it into a class by itself.


In every important room on the vessel, the yacht displays especially commissioned faux artworks of famed Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh. Hence, the owner has dubbed this artistic creation with its illustrious nom de guerre, Vango. As delivered, the salon of this magnificent yacht reflects a strength, a masculine warmth of the man and his paintings. Rich, deep mahogany browns and burnt-orange earth tones dominate, reminiscent of a Dutch or French agrarian estate, perhaps in France’s famed neo-classical Orangerie, the orange grove country. Not rustic, but tasteful arrangements fashioned by Donald Starkey, Ltd., of London, with Westport’s design team, headed by Ellen Henry.
This latest beauty is a charted continuation of the company’s history. As a major builder in the world yacht market, the largest builder in North America by size and volume, Westport has earned its status. It has ventured far from its rather humble beginnings in 1964 as a builder of ocean-going, salmon-fishing runabouts and passenger ferries. Brothers Rick and Randy Rust bought the company in 1977, then in 1996 brought in, and later sold out to, Bayliner’s Orin Edson, who is now majority stockholder. Today’s Westport megayachts demonstrate luxury, quality construction and sea-worthiness. Computer-aided design and modern marketing methods now enable the company to focus exclusively on composite motoryachts. It is the company’s stated aim to provide every detail, in a quietly functional atmosphere.
While the W-164 is built at its new facility in Port Angeles, its original plant covers 170,000 sq.ft. on 12 acres at Gray’s Harbor, Westport, Washington. There, 340 tradesmen build the W-130’, and fashion parts for the W-112’. Another plant in Port Angeles is its 40,000 sq.ft. furniture factory, producing joinery and woodwork, special veneers which are flitched into wall-size spreads, and dimensional lumber awaiting installation. Workflow is accurately planned and monitored via SolidWorks 3D computerized programs for modeling and routing with CNC automation, so that each yacht is fit into a snug, time-saving, production schedule. A third shipyard at Hoquiam, Washington does finish work on several models.
One of the first to implement the use of composite materials on large yachts, Westport boasts a total of more than 50 completed luxury yachts and commercial vessels; nine in the past year over 100’. The four separate facilities rely on experienced and competent staffs. Those include plans and development by on-site naval architects, design specialists and marine engineers, plus cabinet and carpentry shops, and a cadre of independents dedicated to contemporary style and top quality. Westport’s are acclaimed worldwide for superior performance, with exceptional speed, range and facile maneuverability.
A major role in determining a yacht’s capabilities is played by construction methods and materials. At Westport this begins with the initial lay-up, formation of the hull’s precise composite female mold -- unlike the slower building-block process of aluminum or steel hulls. Westport utilizes fiberglass mat and vinylester core, plus carbon fiber reinforcement, designed as the central mantle for a series of molded-in inserts and outages essential for navigation and sea-keeping. These include the bow thruster tube, transducer blocks, lightning and grounding plates, stabilizers, water inlets, exhaust, as well as shaft logs, strut palms and rudder shafts; each of which is integrated into the hull with exact positioning.
Hull stringers, fiberglass mat or carbon fiber resin over foam forms, are resin-infused or hand laid. Soles and bulkheads are fiberglass or foam sandwich, resin-infused, with all parts bonded to the hull. Decks use the same materials; sprayed gel coat with fiberglass mat and roving plus vinylester resin for outer skins, and vacuum-bagged core for inner skins. The exacting process of choosing correct materials continues as fine finishes are applied. Exterior finishes, an important adjunct to the vessel’s design style, define and emphasize the yacht’s personality through color schemes and application. Hull and house color are a particularly expressive “Westport white” in Awlgrip high gloss polyurethane, while hull side window recesses provide accents with storm gray and metallic grays. Bottom paint is two coats of Micron 66 over Interprotect epoxy barrier coat, black.
Flaunting a cruise range of 5,200 miles @ a leisurely 12 knots, she is a go-anywhere, meet-any-challenge luxury yacht. A superb addition to Westport’s line-up, she is built to the American Bureau of Shipping, ABS, and United Kingdom Maritime and Coastguard Agency, MCA standards of safety. The stern view of Vango presents a get-away-from-it-all look as smartly designed as a modern vessel can be. Among her fly deck stored satellites are a 14’ RIB crew boat, and a pair of PWCs, all of which are in addition to the 22’ RIB runabout stored in the stern garage, immediately behind the engine room.
A massive observation lounge occupies the sun deck. Enclosed and protected from the elements, it grants panoramic views of the horizon, while providing shade at center, or passive sunlight by way of tinted rooftop panels. The Sun deck has numerous lounges, scattered about and free to come face to face with the fresh outdoors at sea, plus a full-size Jacuzzi tub, perfectly positioned for sun or shade. Just forward of the bridge is an enormous Portuguese deck, shielded by a windscreen. This deck is actually larger than the aft deck found on most yachts! A pair of walkways with safety railings lead to the anchor station, where a skiff awaits deployment.
Glorious party possibilities extend outside the gracious interior to the aft main deck. The area provides upholstered, weatherproof couches, teak chairs and cocktail tables, with an 8-place teak dining table and chairs under the broad canopy of the main aft deck. A 43” TV is neatly integrated into the aft-port support column, creating a sports-bar-like atmosphere with an island counter and stainless stools that rise from teak decks.
Entering through the wide glass double doors at the aft deck you are treated to deep-cushioned, capacious couches both port and starboard, yet a room’s width apart, with accompanying cocktail tables and easy chairs. The ceiling is also done in a soft, light, tawny brown, with miniature spotlights above, lighting the room when the encircling decahedron of large window-blinds along both sides are closed. Starkey also made room for modern communications/entertainment, with a 50” wide-screen TV which rises from a cabinet forward of the main living room area; separating the dining room physically and visually.
Elegance also typifies the formal dining area, in the splendor of a pommele sapele wood (gold coast cedar) banquet table with high gloss mahogany accents, seating a dozen guests in upholstered chairs. Artistic expectations are rewarded here as well, with a large reproduction of Van Gogh’s Corner of Voyer d’Argenson Parc. Though situated within the same general sphere as the spacious salon/living room, the dining room is separated by the large cabinet which also holds the entertainment center. It is in turn separated, forward, from the galley, by a partition. Dining guests are served from the galley, through the pantry from the preparation area. Buffets to starboard and port shelter five-piece place settings of china, flatware, and stemware, in sets of 12. Overhead, the decorative pale tawny ceiling is swathed with an oval strip embellishment in dark mahogany, displaying three large half-globe light fixtures.
Moving forward, you enter the main-deck foyer and are welcomed by a prominently displayed fine art sculpture that is muted by the glistening hues of Vango's inlaid marble flooring.
A study in timber-tweaking, the details of the handrail that chase the staircase are only a small representation of the craftsmanship that abounds in a Westport.
When the stairs require too much effort, modern hydraulics await... an onboard elevator! Although a series of decorative and well designed staircases allow navigating up and down, deck to deck, the addition of an elevator adds convenience and safety, especially for food service which can also move by a dumbwaiter conveniently provided in the galley. In the photograph below, the elevator appears deeper than it's actual dimensions of 3’3” x 2’8”.
Moving forward, just past midship, the galley is designed to meet the requirements of the most particular professional chef. The galley is set in a discreet, secluded area off the foyer, accessible from the crew passageways to port, or the service pantry entryway from the dining room. However, it displays a powerhouse in state of the art cookware. Agleam in stainless steel, it presents a huge, built-in freezer-refrigerator with remote compressors to minimize sound from its 208V/3phase/60 cycle power, multiple stainless steel racks, counters and circulation fans. Appliances provide instant hot water for two coffeemakers, an espresso machine, plus microwave and convection ovens, as well as an oven/steamer. Commercial grade stainless countertops simplify food prep. Complete with refrigerated drawers, food processors, mixers, a broiler, griddle, icemaker, sinks, cabinets, and much more. Flooring is Azrock, the commercial version. A dumbwaiter system serves all decks. The Queen’s chef de cuisine would be happy here.

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