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Boating: Fearless Factor

Marilyn M. Mower

“If you think about an object’s function,” Ferdinand Alexander Porsche once observed, “the form sometimes creates itself.” Certainly this dictum applies to his brainchild, the Porsche 911. But for this designer, cars were only the beginning. In 1972 he founded the independent Porsche Design Studio to develop consumer products that, like the 911, look beautiful and function beautifully. Today, the studio churns out designs for objects ranging from sneakers to eyewear, bullet trains to bathroom fixtures, and, most recently, performance boats.

The Porsche-designed Fearless 28, from Fearless Yachts of Miami Beach, Fla., is built for extraordinary speed. The 28-foot, 5,000-pound vessel, which debuted at the Miami Boat Show in February, jumps effortlessly from a 36-mph cruise speed to an 80-mph thrill ride, and it does so relatively quietly: The Silent Choice muffler system, which vents exhaust through the side of the boat or below the waterline, mutes the engine’s growl. The absence of deck hardware reduces turbulence, and a low, topaz-colored windscreen deflects hurricane-force winds from riders wrapped in the boat’s adjustable bucket seats.

The striking lines of this slim silver craft are, indeed, functional. Fearless uses a vacuum-assisted molding process to make the fiber-reinforced plastic/carbon-fiber hull, allowing the company to eliminate the usually clunky hull-deck joint. Porsche Design managing director Roland Heiler, working with naval architect Chris Elms and the engineering team at American Marine Holdings, which builds Donzi and Pro-Line boats in Sarasota, Fla., wrapped the lines of the deep-V hull up and around into the curve of the deck. The cockpit and deck supports drop into the hull, where they are fixed by both adhesives and mechanical fasteners, creating a stiff, virtually compression-proof structure.
 
Of course, beauty is part of the package. Handsome re­cessed running lights extend along the bow, and in the teak-floored cockpit, which has seating for five people, a stainless steel throttle and shifter and Livorsi instruments gleam against carbon-fiber control panels. A powerful sound system with an iPod dock and satellite radio are standard equipment.

The price of the Fearless 28 begins at $300,000. Forty-five boats are scheduled for production this year, and the company says that it already has deposits for about half the run. The first 30 will feature the same Porsche silver paint scheme as the prototype. “After that,” says Fearless COO Chuck DeAngelo, “we’ll talk about custom colors.”

Fearless plans to introduce a 44-footer at the next Miami Boat Show and a 68-footer with a sunroof later in 2008. The Fearless 68 will feature a customizable interior with a two- or three-stateroom layout, consisting of either an aft master cabin and a forward VIP cabin, or a forward master and two aft cabins. It also will include a stern garage for a tender or a personal watercraft. Look for 125- and 150-foot versions of the powerboat to follow. 

Fearless Yachts, 305.674.7292, www.fearlessyachts.com

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