While Delta Marine is more accustomed to taking a new motoryacht build from concept sketch right through to launch, commissioning and delivery, when Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation (Cat Financial) approached the Seattle builder in mid-2010 with a proposal to finish construction of a partially completed 151-foot tri-deck, Delta was ready and willing to take on the job.
Work on Project Monarch, launched at Delta Marine, had begun at Northern Marine in nearby Anacortes, Wash., but had been halted when financial setbacks forced that company to suspend operations. Having originally funded the project, Cat Financial was understandably eager to bring it to completion.
Caterpillar has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Delta, which also handles extensive refit projects, and identified it to be an ideal candidate for this assignment. At the time that construction of the all-composite 151 was interrupted, Northern Marine had completed fabrication and assembly of the hull and superstructure, and had installed the yacht’s twin 3512B Caterpillar main engines. Additional structure reinforcement; installation of mechanical, electrical, hydraulic and plumbing systems, hardware, electronics; and exterior and interior finish remained to be done.
Instead of following the existing design and specifications, Cat Financial chose to enlist the yacht’s original designer, Jonathan Quinn Barnett, to redraw them, according to a renewed vision of a yacht that Delta describes as balancing “elegance and strength, form and function, performance, range and comfort.” That decision, of course, required a certain amount of rework but minimal backtracking, and the project was completed in remarkably short order. Barnett happily accepted the brief, and went back to work creating a look that on the outside celebrates Monarch’s modern, angular contours, flared forward sections and high sheer line, and inside offers a modern décor with traditional detailing and a pleasing variety of textures, all combining to establish a subtle but unmistakably seagoing ambiance.
Exterior lines merge forward in a dynamic, almost minimalist motif. To showcase the look, Barnett specified an ethereal cerulean blue hull color that extends well upward to meet the white of the superstructure above main-deck level. Large expanses of tinted windows accurately suggest a flood of natural light illuminating the spaces within. Visitors boarding at the stern could be forgiven for mistaking Monarch for a 160-footer or larger, for a generous 30-foot-9-inch beam gives the yacht an unusually imposing dockside presence, while at the same time offering the designer considerable latitude in the arrangement and division of interior spaces. Broad side decks and a six-passenger elevator amidships allow wheelchair access throughout.
The interior décor reflects a variety of diverse yet complementary design influences, and more than a few Barnett hallmarks. “Monarch essentially is a modern yacht with traditional touches and subtle reminders to owners and guests that they’re on a yacht,” he says. Among these reminders are classic molding styles, planked and coved overheads, louvered doors and brushed-nickel cabinet hardware with rope detailing. Barnett chose combinations of translucent and opaque blinds and restrained window treatments to frame the view outside.
Elegant understatement is a recurring theme; witness the main-deck salon. “Guests most often enter any yacht here through the aft doors,” Barnett says, “so it’s this space that makes the all-important first impression.” But, he adds, “It’s also one that many owners eventually discover that they rarely use. So instead of trying to create an overwhelming grand-ballroom feel in this space, we chose a more intimate scale.” The result is a remarkably welcoming environment that calls to mind—notwithstanding a different color scheme—the likewise friendly ambiance of the salon aboard Slojo (Yachts international, May 2009), a 156-foot Delta launched two years ago. Asian-style cabinets flanking the aft entry conceal air-handling ducts as they further define the space. Here and elsewhere, the décor combines natural wood—from an existing inventory of makoré and crotch mahogany stock acquired for the build in its original form—and the brushed look of satin-painted finishes, wall fabrics, contemporary-style furnishings and geometric-themed custom carpeting.
Peninsula bookcases separate the salon and the dining room, where parchment-textured panels and sideboard china cabinets surround a table that adjusts to accommodate up to 12 guests. A portside doorway opens to a galley that’s arranged in a logical and efficient sequence, from dry- and cold-storage to preparation, plating and service; an additional walk-in refrigerator and freezer in the crew area immediately below augment provisioning capacity. Just to starboard is the midship foyer and a centrally located dayhead, elevator and main staircase brightened with a tall expanse of mirrors. Here, too, a doorway opens forward to a full-beam main-deck master suite featuring an office with desk and bookcase, a starboard-side settee, a forward-facing king berth, dressing table and portside built-in bureau, with large-view windows on either side. Forward, a his-and-hers bath includes a large double vanity, jetted tub, shower and generous wardrobe space.
The central staircase and elevator offer access to the lower deck and four ensuite staterooms including two with California king-size beds, one with a queen and the fourth with double twins. Each guest bath is lavishly decorated with accents of Asian copper and marble sole with an inlaid perimeter. A service door leads forward to the crew area fitted with a large lounge and mini-galley, three double-bunk staterooms and a double-berth accommodation, all ensuite. An engineer’s stateroom is located aft of the mechanical spaces. A large utility room includes a laundry area, dry store and the aforementioned walk-in cold storage with freezer compartment. A separate crew stairway ascends to the galley. Hatches in the crew passageway open to a tank-deck alleyway for access to Monarch’s two 1,800-gallon-per-day watermakers and two hot-water tanks.
Broad expanses of glass surround the pilothouse on three sides to ensure excellent sightlines for the captain and for guests seated on a raised settee just aft of the helm station. A navigation and communication center is immediately to port, and sliding doors on either side lead to exterior docking stations. Just aft along a starboard-side passageway is a dayhead and access to the queen-berth captain’s suite. Farther aft, the skylounge extends well outboard to take full advantage of Monarch’s broad beam, with plenty of room for a game table, lounge area and a peninsula bar with four stools and adjacent wine cooler.
Exterior decks provide a variety of open and shaded venues to allow socializing, sunning or simply curling up with a good book. Aft on the main deck is a large curved banquette with facing chairs and pedestal tables, and a refreshment center close by. The settee is separated from the transom bulwark by an athwartship passageway allowing unrestricted crew access to either side for service and dockline handling. A hydraulic passerelle extends from the starboard aft corner for Med-style docking. The Portuguese bridge leads to the bow along a centerline deck separating two recessed areas for securing the yacht’s two Nautica tenders, at 15 and 19 feet. A 4,000-pound-capacity Steelhead Marine crane is mounted at the port side of the foredeck area. Designating the foredeck for tender storage, of course, frees up the aft portion of the flybridge for lounge furniture or sun pads, or to accommodate a lengthy guest list for the occasional cocktail reception. This deck extends forward beneath a composite hardtop that shelters a full-service bar, occasional seating area and the elevator trunk. Well forward and agreeably exposed to sunlight is a large spa tub with adjacent seating and two sunning beds.
Twin 3512 B-series Caterpillar main engines each produce 2,250 horsepower to drive Monarch at a top speed of 21 knots, and at 12 knots achieve a 2,500-nautical-mile range. Monarch is fitted with a bowthruster and a four-fin stabilizer system with at-rest stabilization. A bulbous bow diminishes wake amplitude at speed, to the improvement of fuel efficiency and cruise range.
One year to the day after its arrival at the Delta yard, Monarch was lowered into the adjacent Duwamish River for final detailing and a series of sea trials. Beyond its considerable merits by any measure, Monarch also offers compelling evidence of the yard’s adaptability in responding to an unusual assignment, and of its resolve to complete the project quickly, and to a standard worthy of the Delta nameplate.