The latest launch in Baia’s ultra-sexy 100 line is Argonauts, went to a Hong Kong buyer who’s a repeat yacht owner, and clearly needs to be seen and heard
Standing out in the sleek Baia 100 is easy. Standing out in Argonauts, the fifth yacht in Baia’s 100 series, with its hull drenched in purple, is a certainty. As our captain edged the yacht gingerly out of its berth at the Aberdeen Marina Club, we were the focus of attention for nearly everyone in the harbour. It is quite a stroke of the ego to have hundreds of people staring at you, cameras flashing away, as you sit back on the flybridge of a very sexy-looking yacht while it makes its way out to sea.
Our test day on the Baia 100 was perfect for this boat – calm seas, light breezes, and the sun finally peeping out after days of cloud and grey. For this is a yacht that’s built for fun in the sun, and you know it as soon as you step aboard.
There is also the colour scheme. Throughout Argonauts, the exterior themes are maintained in the interior, with a mix of purple finishes, dark wenge wood panels, cream coloured fabrics and clear acrylic art pieces and furnishings. Argonauts was purchased by a Hong Kong buyer (his other yacht is an Azimut 103s)
The yacht series was first launched in 2009 and though Baia hasn’t sold many of these distinctive yachts (a sixth is now in production), there is a lot to commend it to Asian buyers.
Start with the wow-factor: the main saloon and aft deck are separated by a curved, glass wall that lifts up (in its entirety) into the superstructure. It’s a feature worthy of the bad guy’s boat in a James Bond movie. It’s not just looks though – the clever bit is that the main saloon and the aft deck become one, large socialising area when the door is up. The disadvantage of course is that the whole thing must be either open or closed. That won’t matter much if you plan to spend a lot of time partying in Sai Kung on weekends.
And you will get to Sai Kung (or anywhere else for that matter) rather quickly aboard the Baia 100. Though built for luxury and style, this boat also has plenty of power to push it along. According to our captain, Argonauts really gets into her groove around 35 knots, and with top-end engine options, you can enjoy a real thrill at up to 50 knots.
Arneson surface drives are the propulsors aboard the Baia 100, while our test yacht had an engine configuration, which comfortably gave us over 30 knots on our cruise. Indeed, Argonauts doesn’t really get into her groove until you motor past 30 knots. Then the classic rooster-tail starts, the wake decreases dramatically, and you are on your way.
All those open spaces
Walking through the Baia 100’s open spaces and enjoying the really beamy feel, it’s hard not to imagine yourself at anchor on this yacht. Heading up the starboard side stairs, one gets to a relatively truncated flybridge. This is not much of an issue, as this area is almost completely given over to sunpads. To preserve the sleek lines of the 100 series, there isn’t much else up here, and even the helm station is kept to a minimum, with the wheel positioned near the deck. If you want to be up here while at speed, be sure to be lying down, as there isn’t much in the way of protection. At anchor, you have a beautiful place to soak up the sun.
The real treat of the Baia 100 is the dining area – an unusual thing to say about most yachts. Typically, moving forward from the aft deck, there is a saloon and then a dining area. Baia did a rethink on that and, love it or hate it, it certainly puts a new direction into what the dining area can be.
The key is the helm station, which is placed between the dining area, positioned forward, and the saloon aft. The helm is quite high and prominent. Walkways on either side lead down a couple of steps to a dining space that enjoys a cathedral-like effect, with enormous windows that become the ceiling and stretch right down to the deck.
Sitting at the dining table on a normal yacht normally makes you feel distant from the water. On the Baia 100, dining guests enjoy a spectacular view – windows above you, to the sides and in front create an incredibly well-lit area that is a joy to be at. You might think that all that glass would lead to huge heat build up in the middle of a summer day’s in Hong Kong or just any day in Singapore. Large generators have been installed on the Argonaut and aircon vents work overtime to keep the dining area cool. Special blinds have been installed that allow the ceiling part of the windows to be blocked off, without covering the deck level windows. Tempered glass has been built into the forward area to protect against overheating.
This is a yacht that’s built for enjoying the scenery. Open the forward hatch-door and you can comfortably exit to the expansive and inviting forward deck area. Here, the sun-worshipping luxury continues, with huge settees in a C-shape that includes two tables for drinks and snacks. A bimini can be installed overhead if needed. With the forward door open, guests and owner can easily move back and forth, with perhaps a buffet lunch set up in the dining area that’s easily accessed from the forward deck area.
Surveying the completed layout, one can’t help but notice the presence of large, JL Audio speakers everywhere. In fact, there are 28 speakers located throughout Argonauts, with five discrete sound areas – the yacht was having its sound system software modified so that all 28 speakers could blast your favourite tunes, easily downloaded by the Wifi connection located throughout the boat. The five sound areas are in the main saloon; the aft deck; the dining area; the flybridge and the forward deck. Each one has 5.1 surround sound capability. Once they are connected, owner and guests will be able to turn Argonauts into a floating night club.
There is a nice separation between the up-top entertainment and socialising spaces, versus the living quarters down below. Should you find yourself spending the night aboard Argonauts, you will note that the outdoors spectacle on offer gives way to a cozy embrace as you descend the tight spiral staircase accessed via the forward dining area. Though the captain confirms that the current owner normally uses his yacht as a dayboat, the cabins are both luxurious and tastefully designed.
Descending the stairs, one enters a small foyer, with a small hall that accesses the main cabin, situated amidships, two guest cabins on either side (on Argonauts, these are twin cabins) and finally a VIP cabin in the bow. All are ensuite, with streaked marble countertops adorned by clear-glass washbasins in the ensuites. The dark wood-cream fabric combination continues, with some of the enthusiasm for purple and acrylic left behind.
The main cabin has the bed situated along the centreline of the boat, and with its full beam, it is a very roomy space. Aside from the bed, there is also a desk on one side and a vanity desk to the other. Though the owner may not get much use out of this space, should that be a priority, it should be comfortable.
The main bath has been positioned aft of the main cabin, which provides some sound insulation from those large MTU diesels and huge generators, and the crew areas.
A total of six crew (including captain) were onboard during our test trial. The crew are well looked after for sleeping facilities. This space and the galley are accessed via a discreet door that’s housed in the main helm station. This door reveals the staircase down to the main galley, and opens up at the dining area, which makes direct food service easier. The crew areas (galley plus cabins and access to the engine room) are all aft of the guest areas, which helps to create a good sound barrier to the hum of the generators.
Access to the engine room is quick and easy, via a large passageway through the crew quarters. The room itself was clean and neatly laid out, with physical access to the engines on either side quite easy (though the position of the tender launch directly above restricted head room a little). Access to the aft portions of the engine and to the shaft areas is much trickier. Overall, maintenance should be straightforward.
The galley area, close as it is to the dining area, makes the delivery of cooked meals and an array of beverages easy. It was not immediately apparent however, that there was enough storage space to have enough food stores for a longer period aboard the yacht.
The tender garage is aft, with a fold-up transom door revealing a sliding space for tenders up to 28 feet. Argonauts has yet to have a tender toy, but given the serial yacht purchasing tendencies of her Hong Kong owner, it’s likely to be something new and rather fast.
The Baia 100 was first launched in 2009, and though not many have been built, it does offer yacht owners a fantastic way to enjoy Hong Kong’s local bays and islands. Built to RINA standards, the Baia 100 is classified as “Charter Class – Short Range.” That alone sums up much about what makes this a potentially great yacht for Hong Kong’s waters.
Performance on the Baia 100 standard edition is pretty spectacular. Twin MTU diesels can offer speeds up to 50 knots. Though you may not be able to enjoy this speed so much when on the flybridge, which has little in the way of handholds and not much protection. Indeed, the larger spaces on the main saloon offer little in the way of handholds, so if you want to go 50 knots (and who doesn’t?) you’ll a good place to be sitting first.
At the Baia 100’s cruising speed of 37 knots, the yacht has a range of about 500 nautical miles. Cruising more slowly still should allow a trip to the Philippines, but that would almost be a mis-application of this yacht. If laying about at anchor, enjoying the breeze and the sunshine and pleasant drink to the musical sounds of your choice is your idea of a good time, consider the Baia 100.
- with special thanks to Starship Yachts of Hong Kong
In Asia: www.starshipyachts.com
Technical Specifications – Baia 100
Beam (max): 7.34m
Fuel capacity: 7500 lts
Fresh water: 1200 lts
Displacement: 80 tonnes
Engine options: MTU 16V 2000 M93 (x 2) 2430hp x 2
MTU 16V 2000 M93 (x 2) 2430hp x 2
MTU 12V 4000 M93L (x 2) 3510hp x 2
Fuel consumption at cruise: 300l/h per engine (MTU 16V 2000 M93 series)
Fuel consumption at top speed: 446l/h per engine (MTU 16V 2000 M93 series)
Propulsion: Arneson Surface Drives
Guest accommodation: 8 guests (including owner)
Crew accommodation: 6 crew (including captain)
Exterior styling: Carlo Galeazzi
Interior design and concept: Baia Yachts/owner
Naval architecture: Baia Yachts
Builder: Baia Yachts