An American Custom Redefined
Hargrave hits a new stride with its 101 and reveals a fresh take on customer service.
It’s early, just after dawn on a rare cool South Florida morning. As I make my weary way to the last slip at Roscioli Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, a bevy of folks who are no doubt more awake than I am move sprightly about the new Hargrave 101 Carbon Copy. Amid this frenzy of engine specialists, electronics gurus, captains and crew, Hargrave Custom Yachts CEO Mike Joyce seems almost defiantly relaxed on the afterdeck. He scarcely utters a word, yet remains in total control. Despite the hubbub, it’s apparent that this—the last in a series of manufacturer’s sea trials before delivery—is one smooth operation.
Spend any amount of time with Joyce and you sense you’re dealing with a yachtsman. He’s a straight shooter, and his mantra on custom yachtbuilding is clear: Know your owner, and make things easy for him. So it’s no surprise to me that during our chat his eyes are working the salon, homed in on the owner’s body language as he explores his newly purchased pride and joy.
And Joyce detects a hitch.
“That button giving you trouble?” he queries the owner, referring to the state-of-the-art, Star-Trekkian push button that electrically opens the salon door. “We’ll have it replaced.”
And as a wide-eyed pupil to Joyce’s philosophy on customer support—underscored by Hargrave’s new one-number-to-dial “concierge” for anytime, anywhere service—I have every reason to believe they will.
Before I know it, a technician is diagnosing the pesky push button, and just to make sure there is no repeat of the problem, Joyce orders a different switch design from the yard on the spot. “[The owner] could probably figure out how to make it work, but his guests might have a problem,” Joyce says. “When the owner and guests are only on the boat for a couple of weeks or months at the most, every hour counts. Solving 90 percent of their problems gets you one star. Solving 100 percent of their problems gets you five stars and repeat business. It’s not the big problems that wind these owners up, it’s the little things.”
Jack Hargrave’s legacy is alive and well on this 101. A pioneer of American yacht design from the 1950s until his death in 1996, Hargrave combined timeless exterior lines with practical interior layouts that defined an evolving American lifestyle. When the recent economic downturn chased countless builders into hibernation, Joyce, as Hargrave’s successor, saw an opportunity to revitalize the brand once again, investing in cutting-edge computer-aided design technology to produce all-new models starting in 2012. The 101 is a result of those efforts, packing an impressive one-two punch of American practicality and modern elegance, and hitting a sweet spot in the trendy 90- to 110-foot market.
There’s no dearth of social areas on this yacht. Being a fan of alfresco, I’m always happy to see a foredeck with real usable space, and the voluminous bow area on the 101 offers two seating lounges: perfect for relaxing on the hook. The flybridge is expansive; one could host a small gala with a hardtop covering the bar, dining area and hot tub. A country kitchen is synonymous with American yacht design, and Hargrave got it just right with natural light pouring in from oversized windows, a lovely granite-topped island and plenty of seating.
Being inside this vessel gave me an ethereal sense of well-being. The roomy, light interior fuses sleek lines with elliptical curves in the cabinetry and ceiling design. Yacht Interiors by Shelley achieved a modern chic décor through rich walnut millwork, bisque faux leather upholstery and chocolate accents with pops of garnet red, and the quality and craftsmanship of the glossy walnut cabinetry is spectacular. The 101’s fit and finish are everything you’d expect from a Hargrave, and yet, so different. Suppressing the urge to exclaim, “Yep, it’s a Hargrave!” is a feat of will power—and would be a flawed assertion, in fact, as no two Hargraves are exactly alike.
Customary for Hargrave, the crew quarters are a destination. “Jack Hargrave started his career as crew, so he had a real appreciation for what top-notch crew bring to the yachting experience,” Joyce notes. “When you find a great crew, you want to keep them happy.” Hargrave’s answer is a well-appointed captain’s cabin and two sizable crew cabins employing the same fit and finish as the elegant master stateroom. The comfort here is a key reason why, today, more than 50 percent of the Hargrave fleet is in charter.
During our 18-knot cruise up the coastline, I’m captivated by dialogues taking place around me. On the afterdeck, a technician is educating crew on the docking remote plug-in technique. In the pilothouse, a Hargrave captain is walking the owner’s captain through the particulars of the nav system. In the salon, the electronics guru is programming a TV remote to the owner’s preferences. Supervising it all with a hawk’s eye is Joyce. And as for the new owner, he and his guests are enjoying the good life on the flybridge. Sandwiches in hand, champagne on ice, breeze in their hair and not a care in the world on this crisp Florida day … just as it should be.
LOA: 101ft. (30.78m)
Beam: 21ft. (6.4m)
Draft: 5ft. 10in. (1.78m)
Displacement: 105 tons
Engines (standard): 2 x 1,700-hp Caterpillar C32
Speed (max./cruising): 22/18 knots
Fuel: 3,200 gal. (12,113L)
Water: 600 gal. (2,271L)
For more information: 954 463 0555; hargravecustomyachts.com