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Review: Palmer Johnson 123'

Discussion in 'Palmer Johnson Yacht' started by YachtForums, Jul 5, 2005.

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  1. Palmer Johnson's New 123' RPH Motoryacht

    by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy​

    This pearlescent beauty – code-name Alter Ego – points her sleek bow
    into the future with a knowing Mona Lisa smile. She is the harbinger
    of venerable Palmer Johnson’s newest generation.​

    Palmer Johnson’s near 100 year history reads like a novel. Founded in the middle of the First World War as Johnson & Gmack, it produced commercial fishing boats for the Great Lakes. Then, named after the founder’s son in 1928, it built wooden yachts. When America entered WWII, 45’ air-sea rescue craft and 65’ T-class freighters were supplied to the government. Some years later, the firm became known for custom built yachts; then in 1956 was officially named Palmer Johnson Boats.

    Several periods of growth ensued under different ownerships, once being acquired by Texas Instruments founder Pat Haggerty, as the era of aluminum yachts came to the forefront; and later purchased by Andrew McKelvy, from Headquartered in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, it also had yards in Savannah, Georgia.

    Today, Palmer Johnson’s chief executive is Mike Kelsey, Jr., whose father Mike Kelsey, Sr. fostered the company’s development into a noted megayacht builder. Mike Jr., an employee for years, departed during the firm’s several difficult financial years. Yet, he vowed to return because of his concern for the workers in Sturgeon Bay; whose record of Great Lakes ship building spanned more than 150 years. Mike, Jr. returned in the early 2000's to purchase and expand Palmer Johnson into one of America's premier yacht builders.

    The result of a continuing collaboration with the design firm of Nuvolari & Lenard, one of Italy’s leading yacht designers, the spectacular Palmer Johnson 123, reviewed here, is the first fiberglass hull produced by Palmer Johnson in almost 20 years; she continues to carry the weight and authority of half a century’s experience in the mega yacht realm. Yet her leap into the future shows, in no uncertain terms, her builder is eager to translate customer preferences into trend-setting realities for today’s megayacht fancier.

    Cruising offshore...
  2. Innovations such as her ever-changing, pearlescent moonlight color; handsome arrow-shaped styling that outshines others in her class; plus interior design that sweeps far ahead of the general flow – all take part in PJ-123’s surge to the front of megayacht design. In addition, other innovations reserve a place for this yacht ahead of her dock mates, as well as the megayacht armada in general.

    High above on the sun deck, the flybridge is another world to itself, in the open air. A full set of controls and engine instruments is guarded by a smoked Lexan windscreen. There is a teak-topped bar with bench seat and bar stools – stainless steel pedestals and Ultraleather upholstery. It also features Corian worktops and fiberglass cabinets, as well as a stainless steel sink. Sunpads and a voluminous hot tub add to the party flavor.

    Her plan is to create an aura steeped in luxury, featuring gold-like brass-plated accessories, Italian marble floors of half a dozen varieties, unusual placement of finely finished, out of the ordinary woods. A model of grace and poise, her expert design themes will inspire the admiration of even those who consider these elements de rigueur. She radiates beauty and confidence, as well as composure.
    This is all an integral part of Palmer Johnson’s evolving management decisions which began several years back, to rearrange the corporate stance from the top down.

    Her construction – a step removed from PJ’s long-revered aluminum – is a vacuum-infused process FRP composite hull, decks, bulkheads and superstructure. Vinyl ester resin is utilized throughout for superior blister resistance; with substantially reinforced FRP structure at engine beds, shaft struts, rudder ports, tender davit, arch/mast, and other high-stress areas. Her full set of detailed specifications runs 10 pages long.

    Aerial image...
  3. Exquisite taste marks the interior design of the salon – the great room – which offers its perfect balance of light carpeting and overhead, accented by matte finish cherry wall coverings and Roman blinds. Twin couches and Danish-inspired easy chairs form a rectangle facing the extra-large coffee/refreshment table with its glass top. In some sections, hardwood floors are stained dark, while the foyer utilizes Portero and Thassos marble.

    Salon, looking forward...
  4. Adjacent to the main salon conversation chamber, the formal dining room offers spacious seating for eight, in modern Danish woods and restful azure fabrics. Recessed overhead lighting in upholstered overhead panels provides illumination, with recessed directional lights as well. Inlaid cabinetry both port and starboard protect a full complement of china and tableware.

    Dining, looking aft...
  5. With a wrap-around dash reminiscent of a sports car, her pilothouse centers around a matched pair of Crown Mariner helm chairs, a wood-rimmed steering wheel which faces the vast hooded display of all controls and electronics, instruments and alarms, behind the fully curved windshield. Three lighted screens show complete navigation information. Just aft, overlooking the Captain’s command post is a raised settee with cushioned upholstery, plus a settee/table, and upholstered window mullions. Cherry cabinetry includes a well-laid out navigation station. In addition, to port is a watertight companionway door to the flybridge.

    PJ-123’s aft main deck (not shown) is the outdoor collective entertainment area, sporting teak decking, a settee with upholstered cushions, and a modern design table with teak top, supported by a stainless steel pedestal. There’s a wet bar, stainless steel sink, refrigerator and icemaker. Bar stools with Ultraleather upholstered seats accommodate four.

  6. PJ-123 sports a galley that many a modern chef would consider heaven-sent. Rows of clean white cabinetry, accented with walnut and cherry trim, feature double stainless steel sinks, and Technistone “Starlight Black” composite stone countertops and floors. With a separate stairway to the crew’s quarters, it is a model of convenience. The wide array of equipment includes double ovens, 5-burner cook top with an induction stove and microwave, as well as a double refrigerator/freezer, icemaker, and dishwasher. Overhead panels are upholstered for sound control. There is a watertight door to the exterior, as well as separate doors to the dining and main salon.

  7. Spacious comfort is signified by the owner’s island king-size berth, mounted on fine cherry wood cabinetry with storage beneath, plus a padded headboard. Overhead starlights provide soft illumination. Twin nightstands boast Portoro marble tops, over pullout drawers. The entertainment cabinet offers storage and media connectivity. A portside seating area is flanked by double cedar-lined walk-in closets. Deep Milos carpeting and Roman blinds complete the décor.

    Master Stateroom...
  8. The marvel of floor to ceiling mirrors lends extra visual space to the owner’s ensuite, His/Hers head. Calacatta Vagli Oro marble vanity tops, brilliant white with faun streaks, set off the glittering polished brass “Edwardian” fixtures, all reflected in the ceiling-high mirrors. A shared shower stall sports a stone floor and walls of the same marble; based over glass doors and enclosure panels. There is a shower seat of Edwardian marble. Two large medicine cabinets offer convenient storage.

    Master Bath...
  9. Guest Foyer...
  10. The capacious VIP stateroom provides not only sleeping facilities, but also a suite equivalent to that in any luxury hotel. A queen size berth, with padded headboard, allows for plenty of storage beneath; while two nightstands and bed lamps offer night time reading. At one side is a love-seat couch, next to the vanity seat, desk/book/case and walk-in closet. There is a smaller second closet also. Fully carpeted, its walls are matte cherrywood, with overhead lighting and fabric window treatment.

    VIP Cabin...
  11. A well furnished office with computer desk and storage provides the owner and guests with a private place to take care of business, or simply a quiet retreat. Matte finished cherry woods and Roman blinds, as well as a full size couch, complete the décor.

    VIP Study...
  12. An ensuite VIP head is a near double to the master head, with Calacatta Vagli marble top vanity, oval sink, polished brass fixtures and drains, and marble floor. Its shower stall is glass enclosed, with a glass door, and Emparador marble shower seat. The floor is Corian faux marble.

    VIP Ensuite...
  13. A queen-size, walk-around berth dominates the guest stateroom, mounted on a storage base of cherrywood. Large drawers hold extra bedding as well as clothes changes. A Cherrywood wainscoting surrounds the entire room. Two night stands flank the berth, with Portord marble tops and bed lamps. There is an entertainment cabinet with all media, and a cedar-lined hanging locker. The port has Roman shades.

    Featuring the same fixtures and construction as the VIP head, the second guest head is convenient to the guest stateroom. It, too, boasts marble and polished brass, plus a medicine cabinet and mirror. There is also an opening porthole with storm shutter.

    PJ-123 also boasts fine accommodations for a total of six crew members: Captain’s quarters and Engineer’s quarters feature double berths, cedar-lined hanging lockers, carpeting, and private heads/showers. Other crew’s quarters feature upper-lower berths, with stowage underneath, plus hanging lockers, and an individual head/shower. There is a separate crew’s lounge with dining table and built-in seating, plus stainless steel sink, micro-wave oven, refrigerator, and washer-dryer.

    Port Guest Cabin, Forward...
  14. The PJ-123, with its lavish display of design and décor, plus Palmer Johnson’s long history of performance by its fine yachts, makes obvious that Palmer Johnson’s 123 will be warmly applauded by the yachting community. Its concepts have grown in purpose and value for half a century, while its products have warmed the hearts of many yachtsmen and yachtswomen.

    The PJ-123 carries on that banner with ultimate pride. <end>

    Review by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy.


    LOA: 123’
    BEAM: 24’6”
    DRAFT: 6’6”
    DISP: 319,700 lbs.
    FUEL: 7,500 gals.
    WATER: 880 gals.
    POWER: MTU 16V2000 DDEC marine diesels, rated 1800hp @ 2,300 rpm
    GENSETS: ZF BW255AP marine with 2.75:1 ratio, reverse, trolling valve

    For more information, contact:

    Palmer Johnson Yachts
    1515 S.E. 17th Street, Suite 109
    Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33315
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