CL Yachts can claim one of the longest-lived pedigrees in all of yachting. The company traces its roots back more than 140 years to Cheoy Lee’s commercial shipbuilding endeavors in Shanghai. Today, it turns out yachts with a focus on efficient design with tough, seaworthy hulls.
The latest from this builder is the CLB88, designed by New York-born, Milan-based designer Jozeph Forakis. The CLB88 won a 2019 Good Design Award for transportation, presented by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.
The CLB88’s exterior lines intricately weave the feminine with the masculine. An arrow-straight sheerline allows the gentle curve of the superstructure to play coyly against the sky, while also invoking an undeniable sense of sturdiness.
But the yacht’s look is not just for show. It was built using carbon fiber and Kevlar, as well as multiaxial fiberglass. The carbon fiber is used for weight savings and at key structural points on the boat’s swim platform and flybridge, as well as in handrails, where Forakis chose it for its aesthetic appeal.
The CLB88’s hull is resin-infused and a key part of the structural engineering standards that CL pursues with the help of Gurit Composite Engineering. The result is a yacht that is RINA certified. CL Yachts prides itself on RINA certification, which it believes helps to set the brand apart from its competitors. This certification requires CL Yachts to meet certain standards, which can limit customization requests. For example, outsized windows are a popular desire among owners that RINA won’t allow in some instances due to perceived structural integrity issues. Thus CL cannot help an owner with that particular customization.
Fuel is stowed in integrated fiberglass tanks, which add structural strength to the hull, act as ballast and tend to last longer than the aluminum tanks. CL says the yacht’s range is 431 nautical miles at a 22-knot cruise with twin 1,600-horsepower Caterpillar C32 Acert diesels.
Those big, throaty Cats purr inside an engine room with a white gelcoat sole that makes spills easy to spot, and are accompanied by twin 53-kilowatt Kohler generators. There is excellent access to the engines from vital points, as well as chunky handrails for stability in a seaway.
The main-deck galley aboard the CLB88 can be open or enclosed thanks to an opaque, electrically operated glass panel. If the yacht is crewed, the chef can have his or her own space to work. With owner-operators, the cook can remain part of the conversation while whipping up a meal. A breakfast nook forward of the galley (and across from the helm) is an optimal spot for less-formal meals or a hot cup of coffee in the morning while keeping the captain company.
Inside, the master stateroom is full-beam and amidships with an island king berth; a walk-in, cedar-lined closet; and a shower with 7 feet of headroom and a rainfall fixture overhead. Just forward of there is a VIP that effectively doubles as a second master, with similar features and 6 feet, 10 inches of headroom. Two more staterooms forward allow the yacht to sleep eight guests in total.
On deck, the flybridge is a highlight. Amidships, it has a wet bar with seating for five across from an alfresco dining table. Above, a black carbon-fiber hardtop provides shade while doing little to upset the yacht’s center of gravity. The choice of black acts as a camouflage of sorts, and allows the CLB88’s profile to appear sleek and low-profile at a distance.
Twin chaise-style lounges aft with signature CL-orange cushions are unfettered by the hardtop’s shadow and make an excellent place to burn away the afternoon hours. In some ways, the flybridge is indicative of the CLB88’s personality on the whole. Whether it’s weathering rough seas or hosting lavish parties, this is a yacht that offers options.
For more information: clyachts.com
LOA: 88ft. 11in. (27.1m)
BEAM: 22ft. 6in. (6.86m)
DRAFT (full load): 5ft. 5in. (1.65m)
SPEED (max./cruise): 25/22 knots
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: CL Yachts
EXTERIOR STYLING: Jozeph Forakis
INTERIOR DESIGN: Jozeph Forakis
BUILDER: CL Yachts
This article was originally published in the Spring 2021 issue.