Mega-yachts sell faster than Vancouver shipyard can build them

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

yacht0907.jpg
AHOY
Hull 035 is 160 feet in length and can hit speeds of 17 knots. Sorry, it’s been sold.

In the realm of dream purchases, yachts rank near the top. However, today’s mega-yachts, those longer than 150 feet, are rarely seen in Oregon. If the choice falls between sipping cocktails on the aft deck in Portland or meeting the vessel in the Riviera or Caribbean, which would you choose?

The best place to see these water beauties is the Christensen Shipyard in Vancouver, Wash. Christensen is a 27-year-old luxury yacht-builder, known not only for its mega-yachts but also for detailed interior woodwork. The company’s 450 employees are gearing up for the 2008 launch of their first vessel in the custom 160-foot series.

Christensen began the custom series about three years ago and produces about five yachts in each series, says John Lance, marketing and advertising director. The 160 series began last year. Each yacht takes an average of 28 months to build from the fiberglass composite hull to the inlaid marble in the main cabin.

While no two custom series vessels are alike, Lance explains that each follows the same basic layout. In the 160 series that includes six staterooms, quarters for nine crewmembers and a four-floor elevator that travels through all three decks and the flying bridge.

Christensen finishes about three yachts per year and has six under construction. However, custom-series yachts are selling before the company has a chance to start construction, says Lance. In fact, hull 036, the latest edition to the 160 series, recently sold to a U.S. buyer but won’t be ready until 2010. No word on the number of Oregon buyers; Christensen guards client information closely.

This luxury item comes with a hefty price. Christensen custom 160 yachts cost about $35 million. Unlike a cigar or handbag, though, classic yachts rarely go out of style.  

COLLEEN MORAN


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