North-American shipyard Palmer Johnson, originally located in Great Lakes region of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, once belonged amongst major US builders. The company started as wooden yachts builder, now boasting a 100-year-long history. They launched such famous vessels, as Fortuna for the King of Spain, unrivalled in the terms of speed for 10 consequent years, and explorer Turmoil, sailing around the globe three times. Yacht Harbour takes a closer look at the company’s long history and where they arrived at today.
Palmer Johnson was founded by Hans Johnson and Herman Gmack in 1918, originally named Johnson and Gmack. During the 1920s, the boatyard made its specialty repairing rowing skiffs and commercial fishing vessels, with its first wooden yacht launched later in 1928.
The company went through hard and prosperous periods through its history, under different owners. Sometimes its activity was affected by international events, as well. For instance, when the United States entered the WWII, most American industries rallied around the war effort. During the war years, Palmer Johnson built over forty 45-foot air-sea rescue boats and four 65-foot “T” class freighters.
King Juan Carlos' Fortuna
In 1956 the company was sold and renamed after the founder’s son, Palmer Johnson. Starting from the 1960s, Palmer Johnson becomes one of the pioneers in the field of aluminium yachts building, with the first unit Isanti built in 1962 for an American banker.
Within five years, the company delivered the world’s largest aluminium sailing yacht of that time, a 25,6-metre ketch Firebird. Firebird was surpassed by Fortuna, a 30.5-metre yacht for King Juan Carlos of Spain, setting the record in 1979. She was capable of reaching an incredible speed of 46 knots, remaining the fastest yacht in the world for over a decade.
During 1989-1992, the company was extending its facilities; inaugurating new 7,000-square-metre facility at Jefferson Street and First Avenue and expanding to the East Coast.
In 1998, the same year Palmer Johnson celebrated its 80th anniversary, the company launched the largest all-aluminum yacht built in the USA, La Baronessa (59,5-metre LOA).
In 2003, following several unproductive years the company was sold to her current owner, English businessman Timur Mohamed, after he had purchased a 120-foot yacht christened Cover Drive.
Under his direction, Palmer Johnson introduced its SportYacht series in 2004, featured with contemporary exterior styling and interior design by Nuvolari Lenard. Launched during a peak of prosperity for yachting in general, the series becomes one of the most popular in the midsize superyacht segment.
In 2012, the shipyard announced its new carbon-fibre SuperSport performance superyacht series as a follow-up to its SportYacht series. Despite several deliveries, it couldn't quite replicate the initial success of the previous series partly due to a different economic climate.
However, in 2015 it was announced that the Sturgeon Bay shipyard would be closed and sold after delivery of its last boat. Since 2017, production was moved to the Netherlands, although it is for now unclear under what form that currently exists.
The company reported that the relocation had a strategic purpose to increase production of the new carbon SuperSport series. It was though rumoured that the move was inevitable as sales had diminished against escalating foreign competitive pressures. Some sources reported that the closures resulted in the loss of about 100 jobs.
One of the most recent yacht launched by Palmer Johnson, was 2016 sport yacht Sanam with LOA of 52,4 metres, the last one built within US facility. Following this, Palmer Johnson announced collaborations with Bugatti on a 66ft day boat and a day boat called the PJ63 Sport, clients for the projects, however, remain to be found so far.
Nonetheless, the company still announces ambitious projects. The largest one has been revealed recently, jointly with Korean designer Chulhun Park. The companies have presented new 229-meter superyacht concept Valkyrie. Time will tell if the concept is a sign of big things to come from an iconic brand.
Dutch Damen Yachting launched the first private luxurious 77m ice breaker La Dacha in Vlissingen today. She is owned by extravagant Russian banking billionaire and adventurer, Oleg Tinkov, whose net worth is estimated at $2.4 billion by Forbes.Due to enhanced fuel tanks and top of the state garbage management systems, La Dacha can stay on sea for 40 days without returning to a port, making her the ultimate expedition and adventure yacht. Furthermore, guests and the owner will never get bored due to the extensive collection of toys and tenders, snowmobiles, two helicopters, and a personal submarine.The vessel features an ice-classed hull and is polar code compliant, designed to cruise the world’s wildest natural regions with no sacrifice to the levels of luxury onboard. Offering adventure without limits, La Dacha Expedition Yacht 77 also features 2 hot water Jacuzzis — 1 indoor and 1 outdoor, a sauna & steam bath, massage room, and a fully equipped gym.The yacht offers accommodation for 12 guests in 6 staterooms, including 2 master cabins and 2 VIP suites. Each suite comes with a bathroom (a toilet and a shower or a tub) and a walk-in wardrobe. Guests can safely enjoy the most spectacular Arctic and Antarctic landscapes with 25 crew members on board to assist guests in any way they can.As a part of Tinkov’s recreational luxury project La Dacha, consisting of several holiday hikes in remote high-end destinations, the explorer is being built. She will be available for weekly charter but for the moment the owner is planning to spend up to 20 weeks a year on the yacht himself.Oleg Tinkov said just before the launch:The Earth is so big and our life is so short, so we have to explore as much as we can. And the SeaXplorer project is just perfect. I fell in love with the shape, the design. Don’t forget that this is the one yacht with two helicopters, so you can really go further into the mainland. You can see the bears. You can see the animals. You can heli-ski. Any kind of activities, fishing and so on. With two helicopters you have absolute freedom to explore any remote territory as deep as you wantRose Damen, Amels and Damen Managing Director was also at the launch:The owner has a lot of energy and ideas that went into the design of La Datcha. This yacht is the largest and most capable SeaXplorer so far, custom-built to the owner’s requirements. There is no other yacht like it in the world. We’re very proud to be building her and can’t wait to see La Datcha exploring the world
July 3, 2020
Let's take a look at Dutch shipyard Oceanco´s magnificent vessel Sea Walk, initially launched in 2005 under the name Lady Christina, the 62m motor yacht, went through a refit in 2014 at MB92 in Barcelona. This picture shows her in the Croatian port of Rijeka. The work included an extension of the main deck aft, as well as adding a new Jacuzzi to the sundeck forward area. Oceanco was leading the design of Sea Walk´s exterior and Zuretti Interior Design worked on the furnishings inside.With a beam of 10.5 m and a draft of 4.6 m, she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. This adds up to a gross tonnage of 1166 tons. Oceanco is powered by engines of 1673 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 15 knots and a cruising speed of 12 knots.She features a large main salon with several relaxing areas featuring drop-down cinema screen and projector as well as a plasma TV with surround sound for a full cinema experience. Oceanco yacht can accommodate 10 guests in 5 beautifully appointed cabins, including one generous master cabin, two double guest cabins, as well as two twin guest cabins and full comprehensive entertainment centres fed from a central server. The staterooms are generous in size and have silk panelled walls with attractive marble bathrooms. The fabrics, marbles and joinery details differ slightly for each cabin.
July 3, 2020
Solaris Yachts, the Italian sailing brand, delivered the Solaris 80 RS yacht Alithia, the first of its kind. The yacht measuring 24m in length is built to offer a comfortable journey on the water, featuring open-plan areas and a functional living area, as well as ease of use built into all the systems onboard. The representative of the owner was Jens Cornelsen of Cornelsen & Partner, he also managed the project throughout the building phase. Stepping on board of the guest cockpit on deck, the salon can be entered through a central companionway, with eye-level windows creating a bright atmosphere around the dining table and the lounge area. For the Solaris 80 RS, there are 2 different interior layouts available, both featuring four-cabins, distinguished by a master cabin either in the bow area or in the aft section below the steering position. There is lots of room for creativity, since customization can be applied to the outdoor deck spaces, such as the fold-down beach club space. If improved maneuverability is desired, clients can get the 80 RS with a lifting keel, reducing the 4-m draft to 3.5m. The next project to be launched by Solaris Yachts will be the flagship Solaris 111, that is expected to take place mid-August.
July 3, 2020
Italian builder Overmarine Group has announced the sale of 43-metre project Venezia to an American client. She is fifth unit in the Mangusta Oceano 43 and the second Mangusta Oceano displacement yacht to be sold to Florida.The shipyard submitted the new-build project to the owner through Worth Avenue Yachts with a delivery date of November 2020.The tri-deck Mangusta Oceano 43 was designed by Alberto Mancini and features such design elements as large windows, skylights for daylight, wide glazed surfaces, and special lighting solutions. Noticeable features of the model include a forward-facing infinity pool with a waterfall, a beach club aft with the stern door folding down to become a swim platform, sunbathing area, a garage at the bow, and several alfresco living areas.The engines of the yacht provide a top speed of 16 knots and a cruising speed of 11 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles. Overmarine Group’s Interiors Department is already in contact with the new owner to customize the layout and the furniture, and decor to match the owner’s preferences.Stefano Arlunno, Overmarine Group’s Americas Area Manager explained:This sale once more confirms that our vessels – be they Maxi Open, fast displacement, or displacement yachts – perfectly meet the needs of our American clientele. Behind a successful sale always stands the harmonious combination of the right product, an owner who has fallen in love with it, and passionate teamwork. In this specific case, our gratitude goes to Worth Avenue Yachts
July 2, 2020
The two Golden Yachts flagship superyachts O’Pari and O’Ptasia have been seen in the Zea Marina in Piraeus, Greece this week.The recently-launched 95-metre O’Pari is the largest yacht ever undertaken by the Greek builder. This flagship motor yacht has been launched by superyacht builder Golden Yachts at the facility of Golden Yachts Halkitis in Athens, Greece earlier this year.She yan offer accommodation for a total of 12 guests across nine double cabins, including four twins and one single. O’Pari also has a crew of 28. The power of the yacht comes from a pair of CAT 3516C-HD 2525kw engines for a maximum speed of 18 knots. The 85-metre O’Ptasia was built by Golden Yachts in 2018. With a beam of 13.8 m and a draft of 3.6 m, she has a steel hull. This adds up to a gross tonnage of 2350 tons. The vessel is powered by CAT engines giving her a maximum speed of 18 knots and a cruising speed of 16 knots. O’Ptasia's maximum range is estimated at 2350 nautical miles. The motor yacht can accommodate 12 guests in 11 cabins. Both yachts were designed by Studio Vafiadis from Italy.
July 2, 2020