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Maritimo 2023 S-Series LEADERBOARD

A closer look at CLB88, the motor yacht reimagined for the modern era

by CL Yachts 24 Jun 2021 07:32 PDT

When CL Yachts revealed CLB88, the new model was framed as the motor yacht reimagined; a quintessential vessel updated for the modern era.

Working with Milan-based designer Jozeph Forakis, in CLB88 the esteemed yacht builder successfully produced a timeless vessel that simultaneously reminds us of the company's traditions and reputation for authentic reliability while also delighting us with something exciting, bold, fresh and effortless.

Critical acclaim and numerous accolades soon followed, with CLB88 receiving a GOOD DESIGN Award, as well as a shortlisting for an International Yacht and Aviation Award and being a finalist for a BOAT Design and Innovation Award.

CL Yachts is renowned for its expertise in smart engineering and 'strategic optimization' approach to construction material selection. CLB88 is meticulously built using a combination of carbon fiber and multiaxial fiberglass, the former being used for weight saving and at key structural points, and the resulting resin-infused hull is RINA certified.

When it comes to maximizing performance and range, CL Yachts uses honeycomb-cored furnishings and composite foam-backed stonework to reduce weight. Powered by twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT diesel engines, CLB88 delivers a range of over 400nm at a cruising speed of 22 knots, supplied by the 3,000-gallon fuel capacity, while it has a top speed over 25 knots.

Integral fiberglass fuel tanks add strength to the hull, acting as ballast for stability, and are more durable than aluminium alternatives. To ensure comfort for up to eight guests in four cabins, plus four crew, the floating framework isolates the interior from the hull and support members to minimize the sensation of noise and vibration, while the active interceptor system and optional gyro stabilization deliver a smooth and enjoyable ride.

Based on the philosophy that simplicity is the truest form of luxury, for CLB88 the design team used a deliberately limited yet rich palette of materials and colors, astutely combining noble and natural materials - from wood, leather and stone - with high-tech and high-performance materials like carbon fiber, Corian and Fenix.

A personal tour of the CLB88 with international designer Jozeph Forakis

"For me, good design is like peeling back the layers of an onion," comments Forakis, an Industrial Design graduate from Rhode Island School of Design and the Domus Academy in Milan who has worked in a host of sectors from wearable tech and cutting-edge aviation to furniture and lighting. "You get your first impressions of something the moment that you see it and experience it. But then, as you dig deeper and spend more time with it or on it, these initial thoughts should be reinforced through your interaction with the yacht. A beautifully designed yacht should engage those who experience it on an emotional level."

Below, Forakis takes us on a personal tour of CLB88 while highlighting some of his most memorable design features and details onboard.

Aft deck

After stepping onboard, the first space you experience is the aft deck, with its commanding panoramic views across the stern. Although the space has an effortless simplicity to it, like much of CLB88, a closer inspection reveals thoughtfully detailed design wherever you look.

There is teak decking throughout, which instantly signals the quality of the yacht's finishing alongside thoughtfully detailed design and premium materials like marble, natural hardwoods, Corian and polished stainless steel. Everywhere you look, the design has been carefully considered to ensure it is practical and ergonomic while also being beautiful.

With the focus on experience and lifestyle, a convenient full wet bar on the aft deck provides a space for entertainment with cold storage and a marble-fronted cupboard for glasses and cocktail mixing, while the generous dining table and sofa offer space for everyone to come together and enjoy the surroundings.

Salon, dining area and galley

It is in CLB88's interior that the project really shines and makes a new statement. It was important to us that guests never forget they are connected to the outside - to the air, seascapes and landscapes - and that the outside follows you indoors as you enter.

Walking through full-height sliding doors, there is an effortless blending of the inside and outside as the teak and holly hardwood flooring of the interior continues the visual flow from the exterior teak decking. The living space is reminiscent of a New York loft; it is clean, elegant and modern but not trendy, with a timelessness that is warm, relaxing and contemplative rather than being minimalist and cold.

In approaching CLB88 interior, we used the concept of sunlight as a core construction material, trying to sculpt the space with light, and around the light. Vast windows with narrow mullions invite in splendid views of the seascape to further emphasize a sense of proximity to nature. Overhead, the ceiling mirrors the floor with vertically inlaid teak to draw the eye lengthways and give an increased sense of depth, and it is possible to see the full length of the interior from the threshold. Inset with soft, linear lighting, the edge of the central wood panel curves elegantly upward, overlapping a curved dropped ceiling that conceals vents for a unified and seamless look.

Convenient for after-dinner drinks, the dining area features a wet bar integrated into the starboard cabinetry while there are fantastic views to both sides of the table as well as forward through the galley and across the forepeak via a large hatch. A stylish spiral staircase with hardwood treads leads up to the fly deck and down to the accommodation.

The galley is designed in a country kitchen style with a central island, large serving hatch to the dining area and comfortable seating forward to inspire conviviality when the space is in use. For added privacy, especially convenient when CLB88 is used for charter, the elegant sliding glass hatch window and door can be closed to separate the kitchen from the dining and salon area.

For practicality, we integrated smart synthetic materials alongside natural ones across the yacht. The galley cabinetry, for example, is finished with Fenix, a nanotechnology material that is pleasingly smooth to the touch as well as being scratch resistant and self-repairing.

New signature helm

Located to the starboard of the main deck interior, flanking the kitchen, with CL Yachts we created a completely new design DNA for the brand's signature helm on CLB88. Not only is this helm also found on the yacht's fly deck, but it will be instantly recognizable on future models from CL Yachts, including soon-to-be-launched CLX96. Stylish and functional, the helm comes in a two-screen configuration on CLB88 and features an integrated, structural carbon fiber frame that also serves as a grab rail when descending forward to the lower deck.

Luxurious accommodation

CLB88's cabins each feature the finest materials including striated hardwood paneling, seamlessly sculpted Corian, polished stainless steel and black glass, while every room has sound absorption elements for added guest comfort. Storage has been integrated into wood paneling and under seating for added convenience in the cabins.

Through seamless surfaces, subtle curves and flowing planes, I wanted to remind people at all times that they are on a 'vessel', moving through space and time towards the future. One of the most striking things about the accommodation is how the numerous subtle details and considerations add up to an overall sense of peace and everything being in its right place on CLB88.

The ensuite bathrooms are fitted out with Marmara marble from Turkey, which is traditionally used in hammams; its beautiful natural lines echo those of the natural wood, and the master suite features a monochrome black marble floor and shower wall to give it a special, unique touch. The bathroom counter heights match those of the cabinetry in the cabins, while the shape and position of the backlit mirrors in the VIP bathrooms mimic those of the windows in the cabins just a few feet away, providing a visually pleasing symmetry.

The master cabin's walk-in closet features cedar-lined, illuminated drawers and a full-length mirror, a luxurious touch on a yacht of this size. The sunken leather padding and custom-made boxes for storing jewelry and watches while under way offer added reassurance.

The premium luxury textile wall panels of each room are slightly different shades of grey, trimmed with stainless steel, to give the cabins a unique character that underlines the quality of craftsmanship onboard. I believe it is these small, understated design touches that elevate CLB88 in terms of effortless luxury onboard.

Fly deck and fore lounge

Heading up to the fly deck, you get a sense of the real potential for leisure and enjoyment on CLB88. The open space is packed with features and stylish touches typically seen on a much larger yacht. The sit-up wet bar has five ergonomic and stylish stools constructed in marine-grade stainless steel and teak, mirrored in the design of the chaise longue that provides the perfect spot from which to enjoy relaxed alfresco meals under the well-lit hardtop.

There is an expansive aft deck for lounging and sunning with views across the stern. We spared no attention to detail while working on CLB88, including on the custom sun loungers that are cleverly stowed by removing the wooden panels and stacking the stainless-steel frames. The second signature helm is accompanied by bench seating, allowing the person at the wheel to share the spectacular view while navigating to new waters. I especially like how the backrest of the table seating pivots to allow more guests to enjoy views forwards while under way.

No potential space for social enjoyment and privacy is lost onboard CLB88. On the foredeck, the fore lounge has one of the best views onboard, with a large sunpad lounging area and sofa with tables making for the perfect sundowner setting.

A hull for performance and confident cruising

I was conscious that one of CL Yachts' most celebrated values is its skill in building exceptionally seaworthy, robust and dependable vessels. With one of the finest riding hulls ever to come from CL Yachts fused with state-of-the-art technology, CLB88 is bred for performance, born for confident cruising and tailored for ultimate comfort.

While much of CLB88's balanced profile and hull form are reminiscent of the brand's heritage, and a classical flybridge yacht, we carried out a light design edit of its exterior. For example, the lower deck's windows were reconsidered alongside a refinement of the hull's spine, while the engine room ventilation inlets were adapted to create a more seamless integration into the hull. As a novel signature element to CLB88's design DNA, we introduced a 'reverse kink' to the fashion boards that will become recognizable across the CL Yachts fleet.

A singular attention to detail

I believe that the attention to detail on CLB88 provides reassurance that you are on a state-of-the-art vessel; the excellence of what is visible speaks to that which is not visible. Every feature and element has been carefully considered but never overdesigned; I strongly avoid the ethos of "more design is better" in favor of simplicity, balance and thoughtfulness.

Working on CLB88 has been like designing a whole new world in a microcosm. I am particularly attentive to using flowing surfaces and lines that deliver a harmonious feeling, conveying a sense that you are taken care of. In reimagining the motor yacht with CLB88, we sought to create something that feels both familiar and new at the same time, offering reassurance and comfort alongside excitement.

There exists a yacht floating in our collective subconscious, perhaps from our childhood dreams, that displays a certain design language and proportions.

I wanted to capture that motor yacht, re-envisioned for contemporary times. I hope the exterior design of CLB88 will stimulate the collective memories and imagination of real yachting enthusiasts, without it feeling "retro"; to be something that is subtly edgy and bold, but with an effortless beauty and balance that is timeless.

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