New Zealand–Based Diverse Projects Delivers Black Pearl

  • Danielle Cutler

The unique virtual shipyard Diverse Projects, based out of Auckland, New Zealand, handed over the custom 103-foot (31.5-meter) long-range displacement yacht Black Pearl to its owners at the end of January. Named after a Tahitian black pearl, the yacht carries out a lighthearted pirate theme while proving to be more comfortable than the fictional boat of the same name in Pirates of the Caribbean.

The cruiser sports a dark hull matched to the color of a Tahitian black pearl, spiffed up by an orange boot strip. This same orange recurs in accents throughout the interior of the yacht, whose sleek and minimal yet warm decor came from the drawing boards of Australian firm Chris Connell Design and was executed by New Zealand’s SMI Group.

These Southern Hemisphere providers link in to Diverse Projects’ virtual shipyard concept, where the builder acts more like a project manager, guiding its clients to the appropriate subcontractors.

“We don’t have our own shipyard,” explains co-director Lars Bjorklund. “We lease a location and then contact subcontractors to do all the work. We project-coordinate the whole job, with the client actually subcontracting the various trades people. It’s a very transparent way of boat-building.”

A Diverse Projects team member sits down with a client and talks through a design concept. From there, the representative determines what is needed in terms of labor and materials. “We then obtain quotes and estimates from all the subcontractors, put them all together and come up with a total estimate for the job, which we present to the client. As the person subcontracting the work out, the client is in full control of the whole job; we just pull all the strings together. The benefits to clients are, first, that there is no risk of a shipyard going bankrupt and them losing their money (and yacht); second, that we arrange the subcontracting at trade prices, so they save quite a lot; and third, the client enjoys full transparency, 24/7. We charge a project management fee, which the client pays on a monthly basis till the job is finished,” Bjorklund says.

Designed by New Zealand–based LOMOcean Design, Black Pearl recently made it through its sea trials and systems check successfully. Harmonizing with its seaworthy hull painted in piratelike black, the playful decor inside includes pirate-themed art, furnishings, and details, all complementing the relaxing neutral backdrop. The well-lit and comfortable interior accommodates 10 guests in its three streamlined staterooms plus one cabin with four bunks—perfect for children—And there is space for four to five crew members.

Two C18 ACERT Caterpillar engines, rated to 600 hp, power up Black Pearl, which cruises at 12 knots. The yacht can carry a 30-foot tender on the main deck, plus a couple of smaller tenders or safety boats on the foredeck.

Diverse Projects’ involvement doesn’t end when the boat is delivered. The organization is set up to look after the owner in whichever areas need attention—supporting the boat once it is built, managing charter requirements, doing refit and maintenance along the way, or even selling her when the owners move on to their next boat.

Guided by directors John Vitali and Bjorklund, Diverse Projects has two new designs drawn up. Stay tuned for more from this new builder. (+64.9.358.5331, www.diverseprojects.com)

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