Elite 18m – Antipodes

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Author :  Barry Thompson

Of all the vessels born to date from the unique working collaboration of designer Bill Upfold and builder Lloyd Stevenson, Antipodes is arguably the finest. From the moment I stepped aboard, my expectations were exceeded by the reality of a vessel that by anyone’s standards would be a privilege to own.

Launched in July this year, Antipodes is the first Upfold design built for its Auckland owner and whilst previous Upfold’s such as the similar sized Joandra have had some influence on the styling, it features a whole bag of new and innovative concepts and styling that are firsts for the designer. Most obvious is the external treatment which while still very much in the mid pilothouse mode, features European styled elliptical shaped windows and soft sight lines that have obviously been inspired by top selling Italian and English production motor yachts. “The owner came to me with some reasonably serious ideas about what he wanted and my task was to incorporate those, along with my own concepts into a clearly personalised and luxurious package”, said Upfold. “We worked together with the boat builder, Lloyd Stevenson and interior designer Kim Lilley to create a boat that everyone could be justly proud of.”

The owner had been looking at bringing in an imported brand and when he first approached Upfold about a custom Kiwi build, his request was quite clear. “It had to be up to the same standard in exceptional finish as the very best  from England or Italy”. For the Kiwi designer and builder, that was not a challenge, it was a statement of fact. “We knew we could do something as good, but in our minds we would produce a vessel that was simply better, much better”, said Upfold. In fact while the owner insisted on the highest quality build, he didn’t want an opulent interior, rather one that was toned down, without sacrificing the beautiful timberwork. Antipodes is finished throughout with cherry timber, finished to a gloss standard, with burr madrona used on the table and servery surfaces. Cream on cream leathers and soft fabrics throughout are complemented by rich cherry wood cabinetry and timberwork. Gineico supplied over 60 lights to bring richness at night to the warm interior. You would struggle to find a superyacht with a better standard of finish in the timber and cabinetry work than Antipodes.

Intricate Detailing – There are a lot of influences in the layout from Joandra, although the galley is inverted from starboard to port and the accommodation areas forward are quite different. The layout is defined into three separate cabins with the forward owner’s stateroom and the guests’ aft stateroom complete with queen size doubles and the other guest cabin to port with a pair of singles. In all cabins there is an emphasis on storage with a proliferation of hanging lockers, drawers and open surfaces to stow gear. The owners have the added comfort of a matching pair of built-in leather occasional seats. The aft stateroom en-suite, which is a slightly smaller model of the owner’s, has two access doors and is also used as the day head. Every aspect of the finish has been taken that one step further to achieve the result desired. Detail such as curved, rather than straight lines radiating out from the headboard that follow the natural flare of the hull and again in the ceiling panels, reveal the capabilities of the builder to make such a subtle change so impressive. The only access to the forward en-suite is from the owner’s stateroom. It is a generous size with a large shower stall with curved glass screen, Corian vanity top with semi flush mounted bowl and head. Rather than use the traditional teak and holly timber finish on the sole, interior designer Kim Lilley, chose Karndean, an extremely hardwearing vinyl. This planked effect pattern vinyl has also been used in the aft en-suite and in the high traffic areas around the galley and aft dinette areas. Access to the engine room and laundry is via a door in the port side cabin.

However, if serious work needs to be carried out, large hatches on airstays in the saloon sole can be opened after removal of the carpet. With 50mm of sound insulation throughout the engine room and an underwater exhaust system, Antipodes is exceptionally quiet when underway. “Silent running”, according to Upfold. In keeping with the traditional pilothouse configuration, the main saloon is raised over the engine room. This is an area where you go to relax on either of the two L-shaped soft leather lounges, while you listen to Andrea Boccelli or watch your favourite programme on the flat screen TV. There is storage behind the settees in the radiused corners and in the deck head above the accommodation, opaque glass skylights allow in more natural light. The coamings are covered in soft vinyl panels, which is a first for both Upfold and Stevenson. The change from painted surfaces has certainly done a lot to enhance the quality aspect of the interior. Pelmets with Cherry timber accents hide Duet blinds. Dividing the saloon from the galley, is a cherry wood credenza, which features an eye level fridge built-in beneath the burr Madrona surface. The galley itself has the usual appointments such as convection oven, F&P dishdrawer with integrated facing and dedicated storage areas behind roller shutter doors for cutlery and crockery. Corian has been used for the galley surface, which has a top loading freezer built-in.

Aft of the galley, the U shape dinette seats six comfortably and with the electrically operated drop-down rear window, there’s a natural flow through from the cockpit, with an atmosphere of el-fresco dining. The dinette is elevated to provide good sightlines both aft and through the port window for dinner guests. Five stairs elevate you from the saloon to the pilothouse, which on Antipodes doubles as the second lounge. Again there is a dominance of cherry timbers and cream leathers, offset with a darker coloured leather helm seat and dash fascia. Furuno’s Navnet integrated system takes care of most of the electronic requirements. Two L-shape leather lounges provide ample seating for guests. Above is a large sliding roof hatch and a three-piece sliding door opens to lead through to the upper deck, where the tender is stowed beside the davit crane. A builtin spiral staircase leads down to the cockpit, which has been designed as a social entertainment area rather than one dedicated to serious fishing. Twin hatches lead to the large lazarette.

The wide boarding platform is accessed through extra wide sliding transom doors and all the surfaces are finished in solid teak. 12th New Build Antipodes was built by Lloyd Stevenson Boat Builders Ltd (the company’s 12th Upfold design) with a ply inner skin, sheathed with E-Glass

inside, balsa core and then finished with a multi-layer GRP on the external areas. The exceptionally high standard that the builders set themselves is evident in the engine room and lazarette areas with high gloss painted surfaces that rival the best external finishes. Equally impressive is the dedicated plumbing and electrical systems that are neat, functional and intelligently laid-out in a systematic formation. Interestingly the engine room is fed totally by natural airflow with the intake in the coamings and an aft facing venturi system that sucks hot air out of the engine room as soon as the boat is moving. This is the largest vessel that Upfold has tried this system on and it works very well. Underwater sections have been refined over the Joandra hull, with a slightly finer entry forward and the transom deadrise has been increased to 11 degrees.

While Antipodes is powered by a pair of 635hp Cummins QSM11 engines, Upfold says that this is at the lower end of the power range and he would be quite comfortable with 1000 hp per-side. Look for the maximum speed to jump from 27.5 knots to over 35 knots. Antipodes cruises at 22.5 knots @ 1900 rpm. On the shake-down cruise to Great Barrier, Antipodes performed above expectations, in very rough sea conditions with 35 knot plus winds and a steep sea running. Upfold says that there is a certain leaning towards larger boats of Antipodes size both in the sportfisherman and mid pilothouse designs and it is a trend that he sees continuing. Currently, Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders is completing three more Upfold designs, two 16m pilothouse and an 18.3m dedicated sportfisher, which is currently awaiting an owner. Antipodes is certainly a superb example of the combined talents of Bill Upfold and Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders and anything that follows would have to be exceptional to better it. Antipodes is one of the largest Upfold designs yet built, exceeded only by the 19.5m Westpoint.


  • Boat Name: Antipodes
  • Design Name:  Elite Mid Pilothouse
  • Year Launched: 2004
  • Designer: Bill Upfold
  • Builder: Lloyd Stevenson Boatbuilders
  • Interior Designer: Kim Lilley
  • Structural Eng: High Modulus
  • LOA: 18m
  • Beam: 5.4m
  • Draft: 1.2m
  • Displacement: 24000kg
  • Max Speed: 27.5 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 22.5 knots
  • Construction: Epoxy Composite
  • Fuel Capacity: 3100 litres
  • Water Capacity: 1200 litres
  • Engines: 2 x Cummins QSM11 @ 635hp each

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