Haute Yachts: Man the Torpedoes

It’s only fitting that a speedy yacht model is called a Torpedo.

The colorful 41-footers seen here are from J Craft, a Sweden-based boatbuilder manufacturing mahogany-topped runabouts. Offered with more than a dozen different hull tones, including the timeless wood look, the Torpedo is capable of speeds nearing 50 knots.

Of course, there’s more to the Torpedo than just speed. J Craft uses fiberglass for the hull for ease of maintenance but insists on mahogany for the decks, for classic appeal. Its craftsmen apply 18 coats of varnish over the wood, for that all-important high-gloss look (and, of course, protection). The overall profile of the Torpedo is reminiscent of that of the all-wood powerboats that plied shorelines around the United States in the first half of the 20th century and even the Mediterranean in the 1950s. This throwback styling has held great appeal in recent years among boat buyers on both sides of the Atlantic. In fact, a few boatbuilders are achieving successful sales of models incorporating it. J Craft has certainly done well for itself, taking orders for eight Torpedos so far this year and planning 12 to 16 launches for next year. It even signed a contract at the Monaco Yacht Show two weeks ago with an American buyer, representing its first Torpedo to head stateside. It’s increasing its marketing efforts in the United States, too.

Construction will begin soon on the boat signed at Monaco, something that distinguishes J Craft from other builders. Each J Craft is built on an as-ordered basis, and the company works with buyers to tailor essentially every area of the Torpedo to their tastes. Generally speaking, though, buyers so far like the fact that four people can sleep aboard, and that a berth can be included for a captain. The 265-gallon fuel capacity and twin Volvo Penta IPS500 engines permit a 350-nautical-mile range at 43 knots, ideal for weekend trips or just poking around a handful of ports. In addition, the IPS drive system for the engines is so intuitive — featuring an easy-to-use joystick control — even a buyer new to boating will feel at ease at the helm.

The standard J Craft Torpedo is €750,000 ($1.022 million at press time), plus tax and delivery. Upgrade to the Torpedo R pack, which boosts power, and the price is €800,000 ($1.09 million at press time), plus tax and delivery.