Haute Yachts: Largest Palmer Johnson Sportyacht Hits the Water

When Palmer Johnson began building sleek, sporty yachts instead of the traditional-looking megayachts it had been delivering for decades, jaws dropped—and not in a good way. People within the yachting industry were shocked at the radically different style, and many couldn’t envision steady demand for it.

Nearly six years later, the critics have been quieted, as several sleek Palmer Johnson Sportyachts from 120 to 150 feet in length now cruise the waters of the world. Making them stand out even more, each additionally bears bold metallic paint jobs. Last month, Palmer Johnson marked a significant milestone in its Sportyacht series, with the launch of the first PJ 170. This marks its largest to date as well as the first yacht launched from its UK-based facility. (Palmer Johnson was founded in Wisconsin and, while it still operates there, has expanded to both British and Norwegian shores.)

Commissioned by a repeat client, the 171-foot length of the yacht arguably makes the exterior profile grab more attention. The look is from the design firm Nuvolari-Lenard, enhanced by an expanse of windows at the yacht’s center. The black paint job for the radar and communications-equipment arch lends an aggressive air as well.

The yacht name is being withheld for the time being, so Palmer Johnson is referring to it by its hull number, PJ-501. Details about the interior design are also being withheld, though all PJ 170 series yachts bear a 31-foot beam, which should make the various rooms comfortable. Alfresco spaces are designed to please, particularly the foredeck pool, accompanied by a sun-lounging area. In addition, the approximate eight-foot draft will ensure the yacht can pull into a variety of ports when it’s delivered in a few weeks. In fact, PJ-501 is expected to spend a few months in the Mediterranean. A gyro-based stabilizer system, a first for the large Sportyacht models, should smooth out the ride as well.

In the meantime, two more 170s are on order. But don’t get too comfortable with the idea of this model being the largest Sportyacht. Palmer Johnson also has two 210-foot Sportyachts under construction, scheduled for delivery in 2011. And while it’s not a Sportyacht style, the code-named PJ World, measuring 269 feet and anticipated for a 2012 completion, will gain the crown for being the largest Palmer Johnson ever built.