Boating: Reopen for Business
It should have been the best of times for NorthCoast Yachts, a Tacoma, Wash., shipyard that had, over the previous two decades, launched 15 yachts ranging from 70 to 130 feet. In 2002, the company completed three of the most striking vessels it had ever built: the 128-foot Lady Val, the 92-foot Tanahoa, and the 84-foot Sailbad the Sinner. However, the launches could not offset NorthCoast’s financial difficulties and prevent the company from closing its doors that same year.
Despite NorthCoast’s shuttering, resale prices for the company’s older boats remained firm. Paul Frederickson, NorthCoast’s designer, credits the brand’s pedigree and reputation for reliability, traits that were recognized by Stephen Yadvish, founder of Seattle-based refit yard Yachtfish Marine. In the summer of 2003, Yadvish purchased NorthCoast’s assets and reopened the company, to the delight of its yacht owners and employees. “Everything was in place: the yard, the molds, the reputation, and even the workforce,” Yadvish says. “I knew we could build some beautiful yachts there—the equivalent of Rolls-Royces on the water.”
Yadvish, who has designed and built megayachts, high-tech maxi boats, and high-performance speedboats, quickly went to work. Six months after he assumed ownership, NorthCoast completed the hull of an 85-foot yacht.
“This is our sixth rendition of this boat, so we have perfected it over the years,” explains Frederickson. “You won’t find elliptical windows or curved staircases. It harkens back to a classic American design, but it’s just as contemporary-looking today as the first one that came off the line in ’97. When you’re investing in something of this magnitude, the design should have longevity.”
The $4.8 million cockpit motor yacht, which was built on spec, has a generous 21.5-foot beam that bestows a sense of roominess. Its twin 1,650 hp Cat V12-C32 diesels give the vessel a 1,200-mile range and a top speed of approximately 32 mph. The interior is finished in natural cherry and stone, and the four guest suites, all of which include enclosed bathrooms, are accessible through a single foyer. Crew quarters are located at the rear of the yacht.
NorthCoast constructed the hull with vinylester resin, a material that does not blister or shrink. Autoclaved coring imported from Switzerland reduces the weight of the yacht while strengthening its hull. “We take great care during construction to isolate both sound and vibration,” says Fredrickson, noting that NorthCoast hulls are designed for ocean running. “We keep the exterior surfaces as a single unitary structure, so you’re not jigsawing a lot of extra pieces together on the outside. That makes it a very solid-running boat.”
Yadvish says that construction of a 115-foot motor yacht will soon be under way, plans for a 142-footer are on the drawing board, and the company is prepared to accommodate additional projects as well. “In one building,” he says, “we can work on four yachts over 100 feet.” That is especially impressive considering that less than a year ago, NorthCoast Yachts had no work and no plans for any.