If the old shibboleth, “blondes have
more fun” could be applied to yachts, NECHA would be one heck of a party girl. With the exception
of the soles, the owners chose to finish the entire 93-footer in soft-hued, unstained maple—in all
its variations and gradations. Flat walls display the wood’s gentle, flame-like structure while
doors are inlaid with variegated bird’s eye maple. And then there are cabinet doors and various
insets which are clad with artistic, quarter-cut maple veneers resembling spiderwebs or bull’s
eyes. Curly maple adds yet another tone. The Interior design by David Boudreau,
The effect doesn’t hit you in the face — it’s subtle,
understated, low key. No ostentation here, no frou-frou frills. One might think that the
honey-colored waffle carpeting, earth-tone furnishings and off-white deckhead panels would make the
interior too monochrome. Instead, it’s light, modern and airy. Perhaps the large windows on all
levels are there to remind you that beyond the comfort of the yacht’s pale interior, nature with
all its colors and verve are there to enjoy.
The contrast with the yacht’s exterior
is arresting. It almost brings to mind
the commercial, “crispy on the outside, creamy
on the inside.” NECHA is a robustly built,
all aluminum expedition yacht with a bow that seems to reach to the skies. Like a breaching great
white shark, the bow rises one-and-a-half decks above the water, with the solid bulwark adding more
Designer Ed Fry of Fry Associates, Inc.
created the yacht’s styling and incorporated the high bow for anticipated long wave pitches and a
model-tested bulbous bow to improve fuel efficiency and reduce pitching motion. The anchor pockets,
flanked by shiny, stainless protective plates accent the bow’s
impressive dimensions even further. “She’s built to survive 20-foot waves without shipping water,”
explained NECHA’s captain, Jason Milton. “This is a vessel that can cross oceans and happily tell
Her owners chose this style yacht to do exactly that, and Fry delivered their
wishes. They wanted room, range and efficiency. And those choices influenced the yacht’s
full-displacement design, its four Guest staterooms, its preferred speed, tanks holding nearly
12,000 gallons of fuel, size of engines and space for provisions.
When you step aboard the extended swim platform, a full-sized, waterproof door
leads directly into the lower level, the guts of the yacht where much of the work takes place.
Immediately, it’s clear this is a boat created for passaging while leaving the smallest
environmental footprint possible. Thus the aft lazarette, besides offering the huge amount of
storage space necessary for long-distance travel, contains a Fox 1800 Pollution Packer, an
industrial waste compacter that reduces 15, 30-gallon bags of waste to a single cube.
The engine room ahead of the lazarette uses the full 23.5-foot beam to ergonomically position its
machinery and make it all highly accessible. Two white 500-hp Lugger engines are balanced to
starboard and port of center. These engines, manufactured by Northern Lights, are designed to
propel the yacht at a maximum of 12 knots, with a preferred cruising speed of 10 knots, giving the
yacht a range of 5,000 miles. The owners know, of course, that speed and water don’t mix, so they
chose lower horsepower engines that burn about 2.5 gallons per nautical mile at cruising speed.
Compare that to a semi-planing yacht of similar size with twin 1,600 horses moving at 21 knots, and
the fuel consumption will reach 10 gallons/nm. Thus, NECHA emits only a quarter of the carbon
dioxide that the faster yacht burps out.
The space between the two Luggers is filled by Headhunter’s aerobic biological
sewage treatment system, called Tidal Wave, which meets both U.S. Coast Guard and international
Marpol certifications. Again, NECHA’s owners opted to minimize their impact on nature by
discharging only clean water. The treatment tank uses oxygen and naturally occurring bacteria to
digest solids in an aeration chamber. A mild disinfectant kills any harmful pathogens and the
process is odor-free. “This yacht is ahead of future regulations in its black-water management,”
said Milton. “It’s not yet required to have sanitation treatment in many harbors, but its coming.”
The engine room also contains two Village Marine watermakers and twin 65kW Kilopack marine
generators, the latter supplemented by a compact, quiet, 30kW “on the hook or at the harbor”
sForward of the
engine room, crew quarters are much more spacious than usual. Twin screens allow the crew to
monitor 14 separate views of the yacht’s interior and exterior, while a separate screen is
available for television. The Captain’s cabin has a queen-sized bed and a full head. A
supplementary double-bunk cabin is available to house the additional two crew needed when the yacht
A door leads from the crew quarters to the forepeak, which offers storage for three large Danby
freezers and an extra fridge. Milton points out the yacht’s sturdy ribs. “This boat is tough as
nails. It’s a true bluewater vessel.” Naval Architect McIlwain, who did the earlier ABD yachts,
designed many Pacific Ocean fishing boats capable of withstanding storms and Ed Fry created the
NECHA styling based on this early design. Ed Fry incorporated his years yacht building knowledge
into this yacht. The bow’s frames are on one-foot centers and only further aft do they become
four-foot centers. He also added a bulbous bow, collision bulkhead and six watertight compartments
to meet one compartment subdivision rules of the Classifications Societies and MCA.
Stairs lead from the crew quarters into the galley on the main deck. The
galley is unusual in that it’s compact and completely self-contained. No one can sit nearby and
distract chef from the food preparation
The counters, center island and back splashes are covered with gray-black granite
highlighted with silver flecks, which are replicated in the brushed stainless cabinets and
appliances. Need to add water to the soup or potatoes? A “pot-filler” faucet has been installed
above the Viking six-burner induction cooktop. The Sub Zero fridge includes four built-in crisper
The food can be served in the combined saloon-dining area, which contains a stained
maple dining table for six, as well as sofas and easy chairs organized to watch the Sony 60in
pop-up television. Throughout, the fronts of buffets and cabinets display artistically cut maple.
The living area exits onto a spacious covered California deck with a lifting teak table that can be
unfolded to seat additional diners. A fridge/icemaker will keep everyone supplied with
Moving forward from the living space, a corridor displays the first of
several areas with ebony-stained Brazilian cherry soles—a sharp contrast with the blond walls.
Again, the effect is soothing and the hallway has much less of the “coffin-like” feel sometimes
experienced in narrow passages sheathed in dark wood. Two double guest cabins mirror each other on
port and starboard, their private heads featuring a marble-lined, walk-in shower. The sinks are
recessed in bronze, black and maroon-veined marble, a theme repeated in the other guest heads.
After passing one of three washer-dryer sets aboard, a roomy VIP king suite fits into the bow, with
high, large windows providing both illumination and privacy. The peaceful, low-key theme carries on
in the staterooms through restful sage-tinted bedding and pale carpeting. Again, figured maple
walls provide restrained decorative motifs.
A starboard stair leads up to the pilothouse. The staircase is unusual in that its
treads are inlaid with carpeting, providing non-slip security in a seaway. The pilothouse also
presents an innovation: its console is freestanding rather than built into the superstructure. You
can stand in front of the helm, hold on to a stout railing and peer directly into the distance —
without leaning forward over the console with its distracting lights and the five, 21in NEC
Another advantage of this novel arrangement is that the extensive cabling under the helm is
easily accessible from the console’s rear.
A settee and table, with chart drawers underneath, are located behind three Bostrom “Wide Ride”
helm seats, which face the console furnished with top-of-the-line electronics. The depth sounders,
radars, fishfinder, GPS, compass and fax—all by Furuno—make servicing easy from Alaska to Cape
Horn. The Simrad autopilot and Icom VHFs, along with a Hanse security camera system, complement a
host of other electronic gear to make passaging safe and fun.
The master suite lies aft of the helm and is thus completely private. Sizeable windows on port and
starboard, as well as opening doors onto a personal aft deck make the space look less like a cabin
and more like an open-air bedroom. The windows prevent the suspension of a television, so the
screen is embedded into a stand at the foot of the king-size bed.
A walk-in closet offers built-in dressers and ample space for hanging clothes. The head features a
jetted tub and steam room.
Owner’s double washbasins with
View forward in Master Suite with rotating hi/lo TV at foot of the bed.
Complete navigation can take place from the flybridge deck, where all the
essential electronics are duplicated.
Behind the helm, covered bench seats, a U-shaped dinette and a Magnum barbecue
make entertaining a joy.
On the open aft deck next to the two Zodiac 12-person life rafts, is a Steelhead
four ton tender davit located on center is ready to haul the Mako 224™ tender or the Nautica™ 18
Enclosed stairwell to quarters allows easy passage even in foul weather
ABD took two years to custom-build NECHA. The 20-year-old Vancouver yard is
known for its meticulously built, stout expedition yachts. It’s why Captain Milton, is happy to be
aboard. “In the past, I skippered Exodus, another of ABD’s strong boats,” he concluded. “I like
this builder. They’re small and construct one boat at a time. That means their whole focus is one
thing and one thing only. That allows for attention to detail and an overall superb job.”
By Ed Fry
ABD Aluminum Yachts facilities in North Vancouver is ideally located in one
of North America’s most densely populated areas of experienced yacht builders so there are many
qualified sub-contractors for quality interior completion to the highest standards.
Prices are competitive with worldwide builders and the can-do attitude of
the management makes ABD a good source for aluminum yacht construction. www.abdaluminumyachts.com