CL Yachts launches lucky CLB88
CL Yachts unveiled its flagship CLB88 in Hong Kong before hull one headed to the US for its world premiere at the Fort Lauderdale show. By Andrew Dembina.
The much-anticipated CLB88, the second model in the CLB series by Hong Kong-headquartered CL Yachts, debuted in August after production of the first hull remained almost on schedule despite Covid-19.
The motor yacht was temporarily berthed at the company’s office and service yard in Hong Kong, having been built at its production shipyard west of Zhuhai, a city now connected by bridge to Hong Kong.
The Asian ‘reveal’ of the CLB88 preceded the planned world premiere in the US at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which is scheduled for October 28-November 1.
The CLB88 is CL Yachts’ new flagship and has a RINA-certified hull that planes when underway, tracking smoothly and rising to avoid spray on the bow in most conditions.
The hull was built in consultation with structural engineering firm and composite developer Gurit, utilising carbon-fibre and advanced resin-infusion technology.
ON THE LEVEL
Milan-based designer Jozeph Forakis designed the interior and exterior on the CLB88 in his first yacht design, having created the logo and branding for CL Yachts. The main-deck saloon plays on a long sweep of marine teak flooring laid from aft to helm station, with matching ceiling panelling.
“Everything is on one level, so it’s less hazardous. A lot of times when you step on a boat, you’re going up and down, and you take it for granted that there are different levels and you don’t even notice it,” says Hans Lo, CL Yachts’ Deputy Director.
“It’s not an easy task in design. You often see levels going up and down to give headroom downstairs in the cabins. It takes a lot of juggling to have that and keep one level upstairs.”
Saloon visibility and sightlines are uninterrupted, with large unobstructed windows accentuating a sense of openness. Forward of the dining area, a counter-cum-serving hatch can look onto the galley and helm. Alternatively, for privacy, its semi-opaque, ridged-glass windows can be closed by remote control, as can matching glass-door access.
HEART OF THE MAIN DECK
“The galley can be an inviting place to gather for friends and family, so we’ve made it as such for the first layout for CLB88,” Lo explains.
A square marble-topped island counter offers plenty of space for food preparation or casual drinking and snacking, as well as twin steel basins. Ample space around the island allows easy access to reach a dishwasher, large oven, one of three icemakers on board, a freezer and deep fridge drawers. The galley’s main double-door fridge is unusually large, even unexpected outside a domestic kitchen.
Just forward of the island counter and its surround utilities are the only two raised areas, a dinette and the helm, to allow elevated visibility for both. “A raised dinette allows you to see your surroundings in your peripheral vision and adds to your comfort while underway.”
A day head at the cockpit end of the saloon features the luxurious materials and use of space seen throughout, incorporating walnut veneer on cabinetry, all of which uses light honeycomb construction material to reduce weight and offset heavier wood and stone surfaces.
LUXE TOUCHES OUTDOORS
In the cockpit, broad banquette seating sits by an elongated hexagonal riser table with an immaculate French-polished teak veneer top, in keeping with the general on-board design theme of melding classic and contemporary elements with full marine function.
A few steps away is a small bar counter with refrigerator, ice machine, and storage for drinks and glassware. At the stern is access to the crew quarters and a sizeable engine room, containing the twin 1,600hp Caterpillar C32 engines. Further aft, the submersible swim platform can hold a tender, as can the aft area of the flybridge with the addition of a davit crane.
The flybridge can be reached by either cockpit or spiral saloon stairwells. The fully open-sided upper deck is so spacious that several groups of people can find their own space whether it’s the main dining table, long wet bar counter, grill station, aft sun lounger area or forward helm station with companion seating for two.
Back downstairs, the generously wide side decks – which can also be reached through a door behind the main-deck helm – lead to the bow’s banquette and sun pads, which overlook a large stainless-steel windlass and anchor that form focal points at the prow that might be expected on a much larger pleasure craft.
AND ON TO BED
On the lower deck, the CLB88 manages to fit two full-beam staterooms midships, making the most of the yacht’s 22ft 6in width. In fact, panelling against the hull is avoided to gain extra inches.
It might be an injustice to call the very roomy en-suite bathrooms in each ‘heads’, especially the one in the master suite. All are a combination of tactile wood veneers, marbles and high-quality composites. As well as the two full-beam suites, there’s a twin cabin and a double in the bow, both also ensuite.
The brand’s next model, scheduled to launch in the first half of 2021, is the CLX96, designed inside and out by Forakis, with Florida-based naval architect Earl Alfaro handling the hull design.
“The CLX 96 will be a ‘crossover’ boat that encourages you to go on a serious voyage or adventure, to navigate all seas and to give confidence when facing rough conditions. It’s completely new, with new hull and mould designs,” says Lo, who also says the yard is developing additional models.
For now, though, attention is on the new flagship, which Lo hopes will enjoy similar popularity to its little sister.
“We know that in this size category, the CLB88 has a very attractive price for what you’re getting. All the equipment is equal to or better than that on European-built boats,” Lo says. “And although we’ve been making spec boats that have sold quickly, particularly in the US, we can also make yachts using appliances, outlets and layouts to suit buyers worldwide.”