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Enlightened One: The Westport 125…

Westport’s 125 recently demonstrated her offshore prowess by running 6,500 miles nonstop from the builder’s Washington state shipyard to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, where she premiered. While that distance exemplifies ­Westport’s bluewater heritage, the builder’s latest launch is also a departure, with a more modern exterior and first-time features for Westport, including a beach club, full-beam master in a yacht under 130 feet LOA and raised pilothouse.

The raised pilothouse design came about by polling owners of the Westport 112, who favored the easier access of a raised pilothouse versus a traditional trideck such as the Westport 130. The builder has always relied on owner opinions to help shape designs, and with 65 Westport 112s on the water, owners helped to ensure that the new yacht shares many of the 112’s best features. The 125’s profile is sleeker than that of her siblings, and the superstructure has a softer look, though the straight hull lines could not be mistaken for any brand but Westport. The design is a solid evolutionary leap, similar to what BMW did by adding its 4 series years after the 3 and 5 series.

When I saw her dockside at Westport’s Fort ­Lauderdale headquarters, the 125 had a just-minted look despite having been through the equivalent of two transatlantic crossings. I saw the swim platform slide out, offering access to the water. This 125’s owner loves diving and watersports, so an onboard air compressor, scuba sled and dive gear were side by side with the beach-club furniture. This stern arrangement, a nod to European yards that include beach clubs as standard, showed Westport’s understanding that the yachting world is changing.

The master suite is a similar answer to competitors in the 120- to 130-foot range. Before the 125, the 164 was Westport’s only model with a full-beam master. Designers configured the forward part of the 125’s main deck into a light-filled suite. They included a king-size berth against the forward area rather than the aft section, plus a his-and-her bathroom divided by a central shower. Add the chairs, table, closets and dressers, and the master feels closer to one found on a 150-footer.

One deck down are two VIP staterooms aft (both en suite with queen berths), a third stateroom forward and a fourth stateroom that, on this 125, was converted into a gym. In a separate section are captain’s quarters and crew cabins for five to six people.

In superyacht circles, Westport is seen as a value brand, and it is, if value is a measure of price and quality. I would put the fit and finish of the 125 up against any European or American yacht I saw at the Fort Lauderdale show, in terms of both workmanship and design elegance. Westport doesn’t outsource its boatbuilding, so many of the same carpenters and stone specialists have been working at the yard for decades. Their experience shows in the detailing of the sapele (mahogany) joinery on the bulkheads and cabinetry, in the furniture that is made in-house and in the backlit onyx displays in the salon. The owner’s shower on this 125 had a green marble sole and walls. When the marble wouldn’t work on the ceiling, an artist was brought in to paint a replica. The artwork was indistinguishable from the real marble, a testament to the yacht’s caliber of craftsmanship.

The salon, a highlight of the main deck, has an aft section with lounges and a table, plus a forward section with a dining table for eight. The Kaleidescape in-house cinema turns the area into an entertainment center. This 125 is a smart yacht too, controlled by iPhone or tablet. The owner and guests can control the entertainment system, while the captain can monitor engine and other onboard functions remotely. Like the rest of the yacht, the salon is spacious, with 7 feet 2 inches of headroom. The 125 also has a country kitchen forward that doubles as a professional galley, and another social area for guests and owners. Since most Americans love to hang out in their kitchens at home, why not the same on a boat? The pilothouse is also a social area while underway, with a raised lounge and tables abaft the all-glass helm station.

On sunny days, guests can lounge or dine on the flybridge, with its hot tub, settees, bar and barbecue. Another, private guest area on the bow makes for a great escape, especially if the yacht is docked stern-to.

Performancewise, Westports are known for being fast, seaworthy rides, and the 125 is no exception. With her twin 2,600 hp MTUs, the yacht cruises at 20 knots and tops out at 25. She has both Naiad and Seakeeper 35 series stabilizers to minimize rocking and rolling, both at anchor and when running.

One detail I loved was Westport’s decision to ­locate the air-conditioning exhaust vents high on the raised pilothouse deck, rather than down near the waterline. This choice meant extra engineering, but ­eliminated exhaust blowback that could ruin a fun day at the beach club. Such details are what distinguish any yacht in its class, and the Westport 125 ­represents the evolution of a strong American brand.

Country Kitchen

The country kitchen on the Westport 125 is one of the yacht’s most distinguishing features, adopted from the Westport 112. The space forward of the salon includes a professional chef’s galley but with a dinette forward and a drop-down TV along the port side. The country kitchen idea is aimed at U.S. owners, many of whom started in smaller boats with no crew and who didn’t want to abandon the homey atmosphere in their larger yachts.

“It’s what we Americans do: We like to hang out in the kitchen,” says Alex Rogers, Westport’s director of sales. “This was one of the features that our 112 owners asked about keeping on the 125.”

Sliding exterior doors close off the galley for formal dining at the eight-person table in the salon.

Form and Function

The Westport 125’s open salon has sapele joinery on the bulkheads and cabinets, all constructed in-house. Note the use of a mirror behind the dining area’s artwork, further enhancing the sense of spaciousness. Five 26-inch LCD monitors in the pilothouse console give the helmsman crucial information at a glance. A second helm station is on the flybridge, with wing stations to provide a 360-degree view when docking.

Proud History

Westport currently builds four mega-yacht models: the 112, 125, 130 and 164. But the yard actually got its start constructing commercial
fishing vessels that had to handle big water day in and day out. Since 1964, Westport has launched more than 100
recreational yachts, 170 commercial fishing craft and 35 commercial passenger vessels. The yard specializes in composite construction.

Efficiency Meets Customization

Westport currently builds four mega-yacht models: the 112, 125, 130 and 164. But the yard actually got its start constructing commercial
fishing vessels that had to handle big water day in and day out. Since 1964, Westport has launched more than 100 recreational yachts, 170 commercial fishing craft and 35 commercial passenger vessels. The yard specializes in composite construction.

The Glass Helm

The Portuguese bridge on the Westport 125 was a handy way to avoid a full-blown trideck design while making good use of the space. In addition to the social benefits of the Portuguese bridge — including two tables around a raised settee and a pop-up TV where guests can gather — the setup allows for a glass helm with five 26-inch LCD monitors, and throttle and gear controls. This system, incorporating 24 computers with multiple redundancy protocols, is a first for Westport. Edison Chouest Offshore, the parent company of Westport, has been using the system on commercial vessels for years.

“There are 200 of their vessels with similar systems,” Rogers says. “That kind of scale means everything has been tried and tested and is highly operational. No one else in our space has anything like this.”

The glass helm has a space-age look. For a more regular vibe at the wheel, there is a second helm on the flybridge with wing stations on both sides for docking.

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