BROOKLIN — The air was breathless, and a small crowd of onlookers held its collective breath Monday night as the crew from Brooklin Boat Yard launched what is probably the most complex yacht it has yet to build.
High tide was forecast for three minutes before 11 p.m. and, waiting in the slings of the yard’s Travelift, the Germán Frers-designed 74-foot Foggy that was under construction for some 20 months, was likely to need every last inch of it.
The scene had a surreal feel to it. Unlike many BBY launchings, this one attracted just a few dozen spectators. The yard and its surrounding Center Harbor were mostly cloaked in darkness. The massive, bright-finished sloop that filled the Travelift bay was illuminated by a handful of work lights, and its towering, red carbon-fiber mast disappeared into the night sky.
A few minutes before the witching hour, the slings were removed from under the boat, the lift moved out of the way and Foggy’s owner, whom BBY owner Steve White would not identify, confirmed that that the 170-horsepower diesel engine, though inaudible, was running.
With White at the helm, Foggy backed slowly out of the slip, motored off briefly into the dark — the intricate “daylights” in its hull glowing like Jack-O-Lanterns — and tied up at the yard’s main float, its maiden voyage a success.
By any measure, Foggy is spectacular.
Designed primarily for use as a fast daysailer, the Freres 74 measures 73 feet 9 inches overall, with a beam of 18 feet 10 inches. Foggy’s 18,959-pound bulb keel draws 12 feet 5 inches suspended from a carbon-fiber structure built at the Front Street Shipyard in Belfast. With empty tanks and no provisions, the boat’s displacement is calculated to be 54,454 pounds.
The bright-finished hull is built with a foam core construction with inner planking that is Western Larch running fore and aft covered with epoxy-infused carbon fiber. The outer planking consists has two layers of Western Red cedar, a layer of Western Larch and a layer of carbon fiber. The entire foam-cored deck is teak.
And that’s just the start.
The boat’s deep red mast and boom were built of carbon fiber by Hall Spars. The standing rigging is also carbon. At 108 feet in length, the mast is the longest by several feet of any ever stepped at BBY.
The triple-spreader rig will fly a working sail plan of about 1,016 square feet. The initial sail inventory has been built by North Sails.
Although naval architect Germán Frere was responsible for the boat’s hull and rig, Frank Gehry, the architect who designed the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum, among other noted buildings, designed the intricate deadlights built of carbon-reinforced curved glass that pierce the boat’s hull — four to a side — and the complex skylight skylight in the deck over the huge main salon. The yard’s designers have engineered large areas of carbon reinforcement that fit inside the hull and deck core to support the deck light shapes.
Gehry also designed the boat’s interior — a large master stateroom forward and a tiny galley and two small sleeping cabins aft of the salon — including such details as the color arrangements, door handles and washbasin fixtures.
Those handles, like pretty much all of the metal fixtures on the boat including the custom helms and the massive boom vang, are fabricated from titanium. The vang, like all of the winches and deck hardware, was built by Harken.
Winches, sail handling gear and a bow thruster are controlled by the boat’s hydraulic system.
Although Freres and Gehry are Foggy’s principal designers, BBY played a significant and unanticipated role in translating general suggestions into elements that would ultimately be incorporated into the boat.
For the next few weeks, Foggy is slated to stay dockside at BBY while the crew completes the boat’s interior. That includes final installation and adjustment of the boat’s electronics and climate control systems.
The yard is also awaiting the arrival of a unique, Gehry-designed Plexiglas and canvas dodger for the cockpit.
Once that arrives and the interior is complete, the boat will spend the summer cruising around New England. After that, the plan calls for Foggy to transit the Panama Canal en route to her home base at Marina del Rey in Santa Monica, Calif., where Gehry will reportedly have the opportunity to explore the boat’s accommodations and capabilities.