If the essence of boating is being with those who matter most to us—and that seems to be a prime directive in these Covid-19 times—Design Unlimited’s new bluewater sailing yacht puts families at the centre of the design.
Developed in collaboration with California-based Reichel Pugh Yacht Design, the 138-foot RP42 is based around spacious onboard living and autonomous long-range cruising.
“We designed the boat as a speculative project for a client who wanted to go cruising with his family,” Mark Tucker, founder of Design Unlimited told Robb Report. “They wanted the comfort of a good, solid boat, but with enough performance to make it a cool boat. The fact that it was designed to be a bluewater family cruiser is what gives it a point of difference from performance-driven cruiser racers.”
Most designers of sailing vessels of this size do not have a Brady Bunch world view. They tend to design these superyacht for male owners who like to race with friends or professional crew, or a cruising couple that plans to sail around the world. Extended cruising with a family happens, but it’s much less common than racing or globetrotting.
The joint venture between the designers found Reichel Pugh creating the hull and superstructure, while Tucker and his team designed the unusual glass cockpit, as well as the interior.
The cockpit must be a first on a sailing yacht of this size, combining the interior with access to the outdoors beneath a stylish, glass-covered shroud that allowed the designers to even add a formal dining table. Belowdecks is an additional family salon with another dining area. Tucker says the interior, currently depicted with a Scandinavian-chic vibe, is fully customisable. A neutral color palette optimises the natural light that floods in through the overhead glass.
“The cockpit also features energy-producing photometric glass to give the boat a sense of indoor-outdoor living, but with a good level of sun protection,” says Tucker. “And we raised the helm aft area to ensure good visibility. All too often on sailboat designs, the helm gets stuck behind the cockpit and you don’t get that visibility.”
On the lower deck, there is a full-beam master stateroom and three other cabins of the same size. The master has two points of entry–one to the salon and the other to the stern of the yacht, which makes it easy to use the fold-down swim platform as a private breakfast nook if the parents want to enjoy a waterside brunch alone.
The exterior deck space is all one level, giving the yacht clean lines for a sporty, sleek look, enhanced at night by underwater lighting. Large sunpads on the split-level aft deck make nice relaxation areas when the yacht is at anchor.
“RP42 has a lightweight displacement, but she’s not designed to be a super-light performance racer,” notes Tucker. “That meant we had a bit more volume, so we could get the floor levels working well.”
Tucker thinks the RP42 would be an ideal transition for an owner moving to a sailboat from a motor yacht because it strikes a nice balance between large spaces that motor yacht owners typically demand. The usable exterior space of a sailboat also gives a sense of openness that is often missing from larger motor yachts. Essentially, the RP42 offers enough space “without the boat becoming grotesquely huge,” says Tucker.
The RP42 also has a lifting keel, so it would be suited to popular shallower cruising grounds like the Bahamas, or really anywhere a family can enjoy living aboard for weeks at a time.