Designed by Bill Tripp, Better Place was built at Wally Europe in Ancona on the Adriatic coast of Italy. She was committed to her element in a private ceremony, after the bottle of bubbly was smashed on her keel bulb by the owner's spouse, just as tradition would have it.
Taste is always a matter of discussion, hence this vessel's appearance is bound to stir debate. In any case, the most striking feature of this 165-foot luxury yacht is the deckhouse that has large windows and accommodates a lounge, an inside steering station, the nav desk while also offering space for 20 people. Another stand-out feature is the voluminous yet lightweight carbon hull, which greatly enhances performance under sail. The total displacement is 250 tons, according to the numbers provided by Wally. More than one third of that, or 88 tons, is ballast. Above the water, the PBO-rigged mast checks in at 11.5 tons. For sailing or anchoring in shallow water, the hydraulic lifting keel can reduce the draft from 6.5 to 4.6 metres.
For motorised propulsion Better Place is equipped with a diesel-electric system that uses three gensets and develops 705kw of power. That's plenty of juice to move her through the water and to cover the power needs of the house loads and several onboard systems that on lesser yachts have to be to be driven by hydraulics. One example is the automatic trim system for the 1,100sq m sail area that includes a staysail that can be launched on demand from a sail locker in the foredeck.
While sailing might be an important aspect of this vessel, it's by no means the only one. Inside and out, the combined accommodation space totals approximately 700sq m and offers more than your average dose of luxury on a sailing yacht. With a crew of 10 (in separate quarters) and 10 guests in four staterooms with en-suite heads won't have to rub elbows on Better Place.
The 62sq m owner's suite is flooded with natural light from ports on three sides and skylights from above. It also offers direct access to a sea terrace on the stern. Forward of the deckhouse is a separate cockpit where guests can recline while sunbathing or soak in a black jacuzzi that's installed below deck level. The utility areas include a hidden winch cockpit, storage for two tenders and additional sails and a sizeable anchor locker .
A 100-square meter sun deck on top of the deckhouse includes the upper steering station and navigation, and more space for lounging and barbecuing. Wally is especially proud of a high-tech "dumb waiter," which assures continuous supply of food and beverages from the galley below deck. Considering so much comfort, leaving Better Place might be hard, but it's not difficult when using the hull's side door amidships, which converts to a swim platform and dinghy dock when open.
Lastly, Better Place is also the first sailing yacht to be certified under the RINA Green Star norm, which is bestowed on vessels that are designed, built and operated in compliance with strict environmental standards. Energy efficiency under way and in port is improved by the lightweight interior structures that are manufactured from carbon fibre and other amenities such as a LED lighting system that reduces electricity consumption.
Better Place is scheduled to cast off in June to take her owners on a tour of the Med. And what about Wally?The firm says it has six more vessels under construction, including two racer/cruisers and a147-foot Mega-Sailer, plus three WallyAce powerboats.
Draft (keel up/down) 4.6/6.5m
Displacement 250 tons
Keel bulb 70 tons
Sail area 1,100sq m