M/Y Islander’s Transformation
In the early evening hours twenty years ago in a shipyard in Brisbane, Australia the sleek hull of the 192 foot motor sailing yacht The Other Woman effortlessly slid down the launch ways into the Brisbane River. The Owner, Ed Cantor, told his guests as he watched his "Other Woman" hit the water "she looks so beautiful without the masts, do we really have to put them on?”. The evening and festivities went on with the question looming, was Ed Cantor serious? That question is now at rest. The 192 foot motor yacht Islander has emerged out of that statement, twenty years later.
In 1986 when Ed Cantor was developing his dream motor yacht, the challenge was to make the then 142 foot The Other Woman a much more sleek motor sailing yacht from the originally conceived motor yacht. A challenge that both Laurent Giles and Bold Craft Engineering rose to in order to create the motor sailing yacht that eventually returned, this year, to the original Ed Cantor concept, a sleek, efficient, shallow draft and stable motor yacht.
Ed Cantor’s son Michael Cantor now owns the yacht after the passing of his father and faced with not only upgrading the massive and elaborate sail systems of Islander but also the intensive ABS 20 year survey, Michael Cantor enlisted the services of naval architect Boris Kirilloff, one of the original project naval architects when The Other Woman was being designed and built in Australia. Not only did Boris Kirilloff bring an intimate and unique knowledge of the original design and construction to the table but he also brought the knowledge of how the project developed from Ed Cantor’s thoughts to the drawing board to turn the clock back to understand exactly how the motor sailing yacht was originally transformed and how the ABS Class Society would most likely want to require certain aspects of the new motor sailing yacht concept to be developed. Technical considerations beyond the obvious aesthetics included stability, ballasting, tonnage, structural adequacy, performance, steering and general arrangement changes such as navigation mast design. Of course one of the first considerations that had to be determined was conceptual feasibility and cost analysis of a potential transformation.
During the design phase of the motor sailing yacht Islander in the late 80’s much of the final equipment that was selected was done so because of the willingness of key vendors such as Hood Yacht Systems, Hood Sails and Lewmar to design new and bigger systems that tested their prototypes. Over the past 20 years the technology of the prototype equipment evolved into much more sophisticated gear and the cost to upgrade the existing systems that were warranted also grew exponentially. The estimated cost of US $4,000,000 to upgrade the sailing support systems was a key factor in analyzing the financial and practical nature of the proposed transformation. For about 25% of the estimated cost of the upgrades, Islander’s density in being transformed was certain and the final design and modification process began.
When the Michael Cantor made the final decision to transform Islander from motor sailor to motor yacht Islander was in the Caribbean. Several shipyards were considered and finally the selection became evident. The modifications would be contracted to a few very capable subcontractors and the work would be performed in North Florida, specifically revolving around the new mega yacht facility Reynolds Park Yacht Center in Green Cove Springs, Florida. The thought behind this decision was similar to that of going to most shipyards in Europe where a controlling entity (in this case the Owner) would utilize very capable and proven subcontractors that would be in direct control of the Owner and also reduce the typical mark up that shipyards normally charge for using their facility.
Once the two 150 foot masts were unstepped at the mouth of the St. John’s River in Jacksonville the yacht powered her way up the river to the quiet, fresh water docks at Reynolds Park Yacht Center in Green Cove Springs and 1 mile from the offices of the project architects at Kirilloff & Associates. Not only could Kirilloff have unlimited access during the transformation but the proximity also proved to be priceless when conferring with ABS and contractors who were involved in the transformation. Further up the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida a very capable and professional shipyard and team, St. John’s Shipbuilding, was contracted to dry dock Islander and take on the major part of the transformation by sealing up the two massive centerboard trunks, fixing the sail rudders into a centerline position and eliminating all of the many rigging points that existed in most areas of the upper decks of Islander. Additionally, St. John’s Shipbuilding provided extensive support of the substantial 20 year structural hull survey that ABS required to maintain Class and ultimately went through the structure of the yacht with a fine toothed comb that has given new life to Islander.
Other features of Islander’s transformation such as a complete upgrading and modernizing of the bridge electronics, exterior paint job, renewing of key interior features, installation of a Headhunter MSD system, to name a few were also either the responsibility of St. John’s Shipyard or they performed support services to achieve the required upgrades. However, once the dry dock portion of the required work was completed to the satisfaction of ABS the yacht moved, once again to it’s main dock at Reynolds Park Yacht Center for all of the many infinite details to be completed, amongst which was the final work to be accomplished to ABS’s and the flag state (St. Vincent and The Grenadines) Surveyors satisfaction. After all of the work was completed the tedious task of a stability test and load line survey commenced to the satisfaction of the ABS Class Society, the Flag State and the Owner. Because of the reduction of very high weight in the original motor sailing yacht masts and rigging and the elimination of the two massive and heavily ballasted swing keels, only a fraction of the lead ballast had to be reinstalled to meet the IMO stability requirements to obtain Islander’s newly issued Load Line which not only led to a reduced draft f the yacht but it also reduced the mass of the yacht that assisted in the increased speed of Islander.
The Islander is being offered for sale, now as a motor yacht, with the potential to reinstall the masts, rigging and upgrades to the sail systems to, if desired, re-transform Islander back into a motor sailing should a new owner prefer that to a pure motor yacht. The handicapped access nature of Islander’s design would make a sailor who once was able to hug the windward rail to be able to experience sailing again.