The radical new 85-foot yacht from Arcadia shows how new design can also add new fucntion and new performance
There are many new projects in the world of motor yachts that set out to be different. But just being different isn’t enough. There have to be good, practical reasons for being different, and it is not enough just to introduce a new style that will catch the eye. If a new concept is to succeed, then it must work well and look good, otherwise it will fall by the wayside.
The new Arcadia 85 certainly looks different with its stealth-like appeal, but would it meet the demands of modern motor yachting out on the water? That was the challenge of this new concept, and a sea trial in the waters of Genoa was to provide the acid test. On this sea trial, the Arcadia ticked nearly every box, and it is a testament to the creators of this new concept that they have introduced new thinking into a challenging market. The design is certainly different and anyone with a sense of tradition might be offended by the style, but this concept makes a great deal of sense – it performs well and points the way to a newer, greener concept of yachting.
You will not break any records with the Arcadia 85 because is has a modest speed of a little over 18 knots. What you get in return is a great deal of practical comfort, a style that follows the modern minimalistic concept, and a fuel economy that will certainly not hurt your pocket. For the modern yachtsman, who is no longer looking for high speeds, or who is converting from sail to power and values the ability to cruise in comfort and style, the Arcadia 85 could be the answer.
Looking the part
The 85 certainly stands out in the marina, with its unique style of dark, hard-edged superstructure contrasting to the unusual shape of the white hull. The angular nature of the superstructure runs almost to the bow, and its shape is dictated by the need to accommodate the flat glass panels that make up most of its sheathing. In the Arcadia, this use of a glass superstructure has been taken one stage further, as these glass panels incorporate solar panels that can produce a whopping 4 KW of electric power in bright sunlight; enough to power the lights, the fridge and most of the basics of living on-board without recourse to a generator or shore power.
This is the green side of the 85, but the glass panels do more than just provide electricity.
The glass has a new type of double glazing that has insulating properties equivalent to a thick brick wall. Consequently, the air-conditioning in hot weather will be more effective. In cold weather, heat remains inside. During the daytime, the mainly glass superstructure allows wonderful outside views. At night, a more intimate atmosphere can be created by pressing the buttons that automatically cover all windows with concertina blinds.
The glass panels of the superstructure are supported by a structure that is constructed from stainless steel, which is covered with composites to give it rigidity. At a height of two metres, the sides angle in and then meet in a flat roof section. This gives enormous headroom in the interior, stretching up to over three metres (nearly ten feet). Combine this with the effect of the extensive glass superstructure, and you have an almost cathedral-like interior that sets the Arcadia well apart from its competitors. This interior is lower at the fore-end, as the deck level rises towards the bow. But there is a great feeling of comfortable space throughout the interior.
This is the dramatic feature of the 85 but the technology starts in the hull shape, which is based on a semi-displacement hull with a pronounced chine that both generates lift and keeps the spray down. At the bow, below this chine and the near vertical rounded stem there is a fine entry so the yacht rides well in waves. Above the waterline the hull curves out into the topside to generate interior space with protection offered by rubbing strakes along the hull. The stern has an angular look with the transom combined with a bathing platform that lifts to open up the large stern garage.
The Arcadia has a very different but pleasing shape. It has a purposeful look accentuated by the sculpture-like mast structure that is balanced by the satcom dome aft. With the superstructure extending well forward, the helm station is just three metres from the bow. This takes some getting used to when driving the yacht, but the benefit is that it adds another three metres to the superstructure, which is reflected in the huge cockpit space. Nearly half of the deck area is taken up by this cockpit, which becomes the focus of life on board when the weather is fine. Much of the area is covered by the superstructure extension, leaving just the aft sun beds open to the sun. The side supports are part of the angular look and the access to the engine compartment is housed in one of these supports, with a small bar in the other.
From the moment you walk on-board, the Arcadia welcomes you. The open space of the cockpit is huge but embracing and where you might normally expect to find the saloon doors there is more open space and it is only when you continue to walk forward that you eventually find the saloon doors, one sliding door on each side. From here you enter the lounge, a large glassed area that still feels like the open cockpit. Forward from here, the superstructure closes in to enclose the galley and the lower deck access. It then opens up again into the dining room and the helm station. In the dining area, there are further wide side doors that slide aft so large areas of the superstructure can be opened up in fine weather.
These doors, combined with wide passageways and handrails in the right places make movement around the yacht safe and easy. It is evident that a lot of thought has gone into the development of this yacht. Even though it breaks away from convention, it all makes a lot of sense.