July 10th 2012. By Dieter Loibner.

Better Place: A Mega-Sloop from Wally

What's 165 feet long, with a blue hull and a green pedigree? The latest from Wally.

Bugatti blue and giant: That’s the first impression of the recently launched Wally Better Place, which also claims the distinction of being the world’s largest carbon fiber sloop.

Designed by Bill Tripp, Better Place was built at Wally Europe in Ancona, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. She was committed to her element in a private ceremony after the bottle of bubbly was smashed on her keel bulb by the owner’s spouse, just as tradition would have it.

Better Place, from Wally -- a 165-foot sloop built with energy-efficient materials and techniques.

Taste is always a matter of discussion; hence this vessel’s appearance is bound to stir debate. In any case, the most striking feature of this 165-foot luxury yacht is the deckhouse, which has large windows and accommodates a lounge, an inside steering station, and the nav station, while also offering space for 20 people.

Another stand-out feature is the voluminous yet lightweight carbon hull, which greatly enhances performance under sail. The total displacement is 250 tons, according to the numbers provided by Wally. More than one third of that, or 88 tons, is ballast.

Above the water, the PBO-rigged mast checks in at 11.5 tons. For sailing or anchoring in shallow water, the hydraulic lifting keel can reduce the draft from 6.5 to 4.6 meters.

For motorized propulsion, Better Place is equipped with a diesel-electric system that uses three gensets and develops 705 kW of power. That’s plenty of juice to move her through the water, and to cover the power needs of house loads and onboard systems that on lesser yachts have to be to be driven by hydraulics. One example is the automatic trim system for the 1200-square-foot sailplan, including a staysail that can be launched on demand from a locker in the foredeck.

While sailing might be an important mission of this vessel, it’s by no means the only one. Inside and out, the combined accommodations space totals approximately 700 square meters and offers more than your average dose of luxury on a sailing yacht. A crew of 10 (in separate quarters) and 10 guests in four staterooms with en suite heads won’t have to rub elbows on Better Place.

The 62-square-meter owner’s suite is flooded with natural light from ports on three sides and skylights above. It also offers direct access to a sea terrace on the stern. Forward of the deckhouse is a separate cockpit where guests can recline while sunbathing, or soak in a black jacuzzi that’s installed below deck level. The utility areas include a hidden winch cockpit, storage for two tenders and additional sails, and a sizeable anchor locker.

With her keel raised, Better Place draws 4.6 meters.

A 100-square-meter sun deck on top of the deckhouse includes the upper steering and nav stations, and more space for lounging and barbecuing. Wally is especially proud of a high-tech “dumb waiter,” which assures a continuous supply of food and beverages from the galley belowdecks. Considering so much comfort, leaving Better Place might be hard, but it’s not difficult when using the hull’s side door amidships, which converts to a swim platform and dinghy dock when open.

Better Place Wally megayacht specifications

Better Place is also the first sailing yacht to be certified under the RINA Green Star norm, which is bestowed on vessels that are designed, built, and operated in compliance with strict environmental standards. Energy efficiency underway and in port is improved by the lightweight interior structures that are manufactured from carbon fiber, and other amenities such as the LED lighting system that reduces electricity consumption.

Better Place is scheduled to cast off in June to take her owners on a tour of the Med. And what about Wally? The firm says it has six more vessels under construction, including two racer/cruisers and a 147-foot Mega-Sailer, plus three WallyAce powerboats.

For more information, visit Wally.

- Dieter Loibner



Dieter Loibner