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Yachting - April 2004 - Instant Gratification

Written by Chris Caswell

Instant Gratification - Yachting

The Westport 130 is part of an aggressive spec-build program that delivers a large yacht without the long wait

For a boatbuilder, a yacht build on speculation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, spec builds satisfy clients who want to use their yachts immediately rather than wait years for completion. A spec yacht also frees the builder from dealing with clients who can be - pardon the expression - mercurial in their desires. This absence of "change orders" allows the yard to build more efficiently, which translates into cost savings.

On the other hand, a spec yacht ties up capital, and perhaps more important, the builder has to find a buyer at the end of construction. For this reason, a spec yacht must be distinctive enough to be desirable, yet neutral enough to interest a wide range of buyers. A builder must dance lightly on the razor's edge between being memorable and being too memorable, between designing a yacht that is turnkey and one that is a turn-off. By definition, these builds tend toward the inoffensive: You won't find pink décor or Las Vegas lighting aboard a spec yacht.

Yet this new Westport 130 exudes a warmth and comfort many clients will find immediately attractive, and in details such as the woodwork and décor, it is clear Westport has created a yacht with personality.

"We make a great effort not to be bland. We hope that an owner needs only minimal changes to tailor the yacht to their own tastes. We also learn from each client, raising the bar by improving the following yachts in subtle ways."

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