MCP Yachts in the province of São Paulo began building large yachts in the late 1980s, first in steel and then aluminium. Vripack has been collaborating on and off with the family-owned yard for over ten years and provided the naval architecture for 42.5m Raffaella II, one of the largest all-aluminium yachts built in South America when she was launched in 2013.
“Last year at FLIBS we decided to team up again,” says Bart Bouwhuis, Vripack’s creative director. “Manoel Chaves [president and CEO of MCP] had been following our work closely, especially some of the more out-of-the box stuff, and this led to a long-term design development agreement signed earlier this year.”
Seaview is the first project to result from this agreement. The full-height glazing and sky lounge with windows that protrude beyond the 7.60m maximum beam for forward viewing, provide the reason behind the yacht’s project name. But the most innovative feature is the general arrangement designed specifically for the Brazilian market.
“Brazilians, and South Americans in general, tend to use their yachts very differently from Europeans,” explains Bouwhuis. “They cruise in large groups with their extended families—children, grandchildren, grandparents, and so on—and prefer their crew to be out of sight and out of mind. This meant re-thinking the traditional layout, so we sat down with MCP and came up with a ranking of what represented the owner’s most valuable real estate on board.”
The main deck and upper decks emerged as the priority areas from this analysis, and the layout was defined accordingly. The galley, for example, instead of being on the main deck to shorten routing, is on the portside lower deck. This meant that two VIP suites could be relocated to the main deck in addition to the owner's stateroom. There are two more guest cabins on the starboard lower deck, while the galley provides a service corridor between the crew quarters forward and the engine room and aft spa area with gym and storage for diving, fishing and other water sports.
“We then turned our attention to the upper deck and decided to raise the wheelhouse half a deck to create a forward-facing observation lounge,” continues Bouwhuis. “It’s effectively a three-and-a-half decker, which I’ve never seen on a 120-footer before. The bottom line is that we added a lot of additional value to the owner and guest areas by rearranging the layout, while the sundeck is also protected from the wind behind the raised pilot house.”
Busy Brazilian owners also like to get from A to B quickly, which is why MCP builds all-aluminium, semi-planing yachts and Vripack was tasked with designing a fast displacement hull form to extend the reach of destinations and reduce transfer times. Seaview will be equipped with 1925-hp CAT C32 engines for a top speed of 21 knots and a cruising range of 3,500nm at an economical speed of 10.8 knots, when the engines consume a frugal 88 litres of fuel per hour.
Once considered the next hot market among the BRIC group of nations, Brazil’s yachting industry has lost ground in the last few years due to ongoing economic and political uncertainty. Last year, the economy suffered its worst slump for quarter of a century in the face of a global commodity rout, a political scandal, and rising inflation that forced businesses to cut spending and jobs. Although the latest indications are that the economy is on the road to recovery, it will take time for new boat sales and domestic production to recover (MCP’s last new build to launch was 106-foot Paradiso in 2015). In this climate, HNWIs are holding on to their hats and keeping a low profile.
“I wouldn’t go as far to say that this new project represents a revival for the boatbulding industry in Brazil, but at around €13 million it certainly represents excellent value for money," says Bouwhuis. "That’s almost half what you’d pay in northern Europe. I’m not saying you get Dutch quality for that price, but it’s equal to or better than a lot of Italian brands. MCP is a great company to work with because they’re boat fanatics and financially sound; I’m confident we can help them build even better boats in the future.”