06 September 2023
From day one, the owners had a particular goal in mind – to have their new yacht built in New England, USA. The result is Project Ouzel, a 29-metre modern interpretation of a classic pilothouse cutter, which is taking shape at the Rockport Marine yard in Maine under the management of MCM.
“When the clients were choosing a builder, they were focused on Maine boatbuilding, and they were given an opportunity for this unique industry to show the best it has to offer,” says Sam Temple, President at Rockport Marine.
Project Ouzel blends classic and contemporary influences in lines drawn to the owners’ brief by Langan Design Partners.
“In late 2021, we were contacted by Peter Wilson of MCM with an intriguing request: Could we meet with some potential clients interested in discussing a new 90-foot-plus project?” says Tom Degremont, partner at Langan Design.
“This couple had some serious sailing experience, an excellent eye for aesthetics, and a desire to build in New England. Not a request one turns down.”
The hull is a hybrid of traditional and modern materials, with a cold-moulded wood construction using Douglas fir and western red cedar – a technique, that yields a strong shell while requiring less framing than a traditional plank-on-frame wooden yacht, says Degremont.
A powerful sail plan means significant forces are imposed on the structure, so the entire mid-section is made from high-strength carbon. This approach helps to reduce weight, reduces the volume of the internal structure, and provides ample internal tanks.
The engineering prowess continues to the systems, which MCM says will feature an EPA Tier-3 compliant 400 hp engine that will deliver more than 1,000 miles under power at speeds over 10 knots. There is also a state-of-the-art hydraulic power pack operated off a 48-volt battery bank, backed up by a 32 kW generator.
The MCM team has over three decades of experience since the company’s founding in 1988. The firm has overseen the builds of 106 yachts, including 86 sailing yachts, with a combined length of 3,284 metres.
“The design was entirely bespoke and the result of design meetings to ensure we ended up with a design that ticked all the clients’ boxes,” says Peter Wilson, co-founder and partner of MCM.
“She is, perhaps, a wolf in sheep’s clothing – above the waterline, she’s a current interpretation of a classic pilothouse cutter, but below the waterline, she has a modern underbody featuring a high-aspect rudder and a generous 12-foot (3.65-metre) draft keel.”
The owners’ plan, he says, is to use the yacht for exploration cruising as well as coastal cruising and perhaps competing in a regatta at some point in the future.
For the interiors, the owners turned to Mark Whiteley after being introduced to him by Wilson, who says that Whiteley’s portfolio included two interiors that really appealed to the owners’ aesthetic – the 56-metre called Aquarius and the 36.4-metre Nautor Swan Audrey the First.
The result is a simple and functional layout tied to a design sensibility that gives the interior a superyacht feel yet stays in keeping with the classic elements of the yacht.
Bright-painted upper panels will be complemented by mahogany cabinetry in an airy mix of tradition and modern design.
“The best Langan Design projects are the product of a true collaboration, and working with Mark on tying the interior spaces to what happens on deck was critical to the project’s success,” says Degremont.
“Mark suggested some modifications to the house geometry and applied his magic to our original general arrangement – the resulting yacht has only improved.”
Construction on the hull of Project Ouzel is well underway, with the provisional delivery date set for July 2025.