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Best of the Best 2008: Sailing Yachts

Kim Kavin

The Royal Huisman Meteor (+31.?527.24.3131, www.royalhuisman?.com), a 169-foot gaff schooner, features classic design inside and out. Naval architects Gerard Dijkstra and John G. Alden worked with interior designer John Munford to create a vessel that is as elegant as any of the best boats from eras past. From her Edwardian-influenced interior to her wide teak deck planks, Meteor harks back to the Age of Sail while making the most of modern technology and materials. For example, Rondal, Royal Huisman’s sister company, designed the rigging and sails to appear traditional but built the masts from carbon components and the sails from high-performance cloth.

Munford’s interior includes a fireplace, which serves as the centerpiece of the library. The boat holds three cabins for guests, and berths that can accommodate seven crew members. Mahogany is used throughout, including in the crew’s quarters. The teak-finished deckhouses afford cozy nooks, including a wet bar.

Meteor easily cruises at 17 mph, and it reportedly has remained stable in hurricane-force wind gusts of 75 mph.

The Fitzroy Salperton (+64.6769.9380, www.fitzroyyachts.com), a 144-foot, fast-cruising sloop, is the largest yacht yet from New Zealand’s Fitzroy Yachts. Built at a reported cost of more than $20 million, the aluminum craft features an exterior design by Dubois Naval Architects and interior decor by Adam Lay Studio, both of the United Kingdom. The yacht’s owner is so pleased with this combination of players that he already has them working on a 147-foot boat, which is scheduled to launch from the same yard next year.

With his latest vessel, the owner has downsized from his previous yacht, also named Salperton, a 174-foot ketch built by Alloy Yachts. He reportedly wanted a vessel that would be more manageable while under sail and could gain easier access to popular harbors. With her daggerboard raised, the new Salperton draws only 15 feet, making her quite suitable for shallow cruising grounds.

The yacht’s contemporary interior features oak and walnut joinery with wenge detailing and bronze and leather accents. The boat holds an owner’s suite, three guest cabins, and three crew cabins.

The Argentinean firm Germán Frers produced an extraordinarily streamlined and sexy design for the Wally Y3K (+377.931.00093, www.wally.com), a new, 100-foot, fast-cruising sloop from the Wally yard in Italy. The yacht’s German owner frequently enters the craft in races and often takes the helm himself. The $17.5 million boat’s carbon-fiber construction and components render her lighter and therefore faster than most other racer-cruisers in her class. According to her crew, Y3K has reached a top speed of 26 mph.

The yacht’s interior is at once spare and elegant. It holds everything a passenger could require, including an extensive audiovisual system by Bang & Olufsen, but remains uncluttered throughout. Y3K can accommodate eight people in a layout that includes three cabins and a master cabin with two queen-size beds.

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