ELITE 18M – CRAZY DIAMOND

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SHINE ON YOU CRAZY DIAMOND

Text by Barry Thompson

Interior images by Bryce Taylor & aerials by Richard Milner 

Pink Floyd’s lyrics to their hit song Shine On You Crazy Diamond starts with – “Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun. Shine on you crazy diamond”. Crazy Diamond 3, the latest Elite 18m Sport fisher to be launched and the 75th from the talented pen of designer Bill Upfold, is definitely young, and it certainly shines.

It is also the first full custom new build for Weber Marine of Gulf Harbour. Designed by Elite Marine Design for an Auckland businessman for sport fishing and family cruising, the 18m, Crazy Diamond is a timber composite build, utilising the best materials available for strength and weight-saving, such as epoxy resins balsa and foam cores where applicable. A variable deadrise monohedren hull form, it has been developed by the designer over the years for his sport fishing series. The last third of the hull has a constant deadrise of around 14 deg, with a massive flared bow and silent chines. Being Braden Weber’s first new build, you might expect a few clichés during construction and the presentation of the boat. Not so. The fitout is exemplary, and the attention to detail from the Weber Marine team is as good as I have ever seen on a custom build. The owner’s expectations have been fulfilled to the highest standards by a very talented group of boat builders.

Both Braden and Bill also had high praise for the owner, who they said was a dream to work with and was able to appreciate some of the problematic issues during construction caused by Covid-19. “Everything went smoothly from the day we laid the keel to launching the boat, and even with two Covid-19 lockdowns, with all its issues, he was a pleasure to deal with”, said Braden.

SISTERSHIP

While in discussions with both the builder and designer, the owner had the opportunity to check out Peregrine, another 18m Elite Sport Fisher recently launched. “We took him for a ride and showed him through the boat. He liked what he saw, and the result is Crazy Diamond which in many respects is a sistership to Peregrine,’ says Bill.

However, while the basic format of the boat is very much the same, there are some significant differences. Most notably, Crazy Diamond has an internal staircase to the bridge, whereas Peregrine’s access is from the cockpit. There is also more rod storage in the cockpit, plus a set of stabilisers, and while the engines are the same, they have been tweaked from 735hp to 800hp.  

Power comes from twin MAN i6 800 engines and features full hydraulics and EJS manoeuvering system, which incorporates bow and stern thrusters and both engines for joystick controlled close quarters manoeuvering. The power is transmitted through conventional shafts into shallow tunnels, running ZF 5B propellers. As Crazy Diamond will be used for game fishing, the retruse transom is set at 45-deg for backing up on a big fish.

While 1600hp is an excellent match for the 18m Elite, Bill says that the design will easily handle a lot more and even suggests a couple of 1000hp engines to give the boat a speed well over 32 knots.

Initial sea trials saw the boat easily reach design parameters. The maiden voyage was from Gulf Harbour to Whitianga just four days after launching. This was to have the remainder of the upholstery fitted due to Covid-19 not allowing the upholster into Auckland to be open. A case of taking the mountain to Mohammed. Braden Weber reported the boat ran perfectly at 21kts. Crazy Diamond has maximum speed of 28.5 knots and uses 280L total. Interestingly the lpnm changes very little change between 15kts and 21kts, which is around 8.0  lpnm.

Fitted with TRAC stabiliser fins for passage making and trolling, it will be an asset for planed Pacific Island trips. Crazy Diamond is also equipped with long-range tanks negating the need for bladders. 

“If you just want to sit in a bay and have no roll, then the gyro is the way to go. But if you are underway, and especially considering this owner plans some serious offshore passages, I recommend fin stabilisers every time. This is the first of my boats to be fitted with stabiliSers”, says Bill.

SOCIAL LOUNGE

Interior fit-out is satin finish Walnut exquisitely executed by the talented master craftsmen at Weber’s yard with interior colours coordinated by Parkhurst Design. Kim Forkert of Parkhurst Design, has had a long standing relationship with the designer and was once again commissioned to give he magic touch to the interior. Her expert knowledge of the practical nature of marine design, coupled with attention to detail, the awareness of use of space as well as in depth knowledge of products that can withstand the environment, has created a reputation unrivalled in marine interior design. From the custom made furnishings to the window treatments and fabrics, the environment surrounding Crazy Diamond reflects the owners individuality. 

The layout is somewhat conventional and, as you would expect in a sport fisher of this style. Being a full-custom build, you can configure the interior to suit your desires. While many serious sport fishing designs inherently have no forward windscreen, Crazy Diamond has broken with convention and features a curved central screen, but still with plenty of structure on either side. This still gives the feeling of a sport fisher but has the bonus of letting in more light.

Crazy Diamond has a very social lounge, with two separate spaces that blend seamlessly together and give the saloon a big open feeling. The pop-up TV is placed so anyone can watch it from either of the lounge suites. To starboard is a large dining table with a wet bar and icemaker aft. 

The port side U-shape galley is finished with all the necessary equipment to feed all aboard and includes a convection oven, fridge-freezer, pantry and drop-down rear window for servery to the cockpit.

Like the rest of Crazy Diamond set up to entertain, the split-level cockpit has a small settee and table on the upper deck with twin Kenyon BBQs opposite. However, it is also functional when it comes to fishing. A central island in the transom has the obligatory live bait tank, plus there is provision for a fighting chair and dedicated rod storage. To starboard is a deep refrigerated kill tank in the sole. Cavity doors on either side lead to the fixed boarding platform. This can be changed to a rise/fall if you prefer. 

THREE CABIN LAYOUT

I am so used to seeing a full-beam master in a boat this size it was refreshing to find that Crazy Diamond bucked the trend with a two-cabin layout; the master and a guest cabin. Add to this a VIP stateroom forward, and you have three cabins complete with sleeping for eight. You can completely customise the accommodation layout.

Bill says by moving away from the full-beam master, he has been able to keep the boat’s profile a lot lower, and the structural integrity is not compromised from having such broad, unsupported surfaces. 

The starboard side master stateroom comes with an en-suite complete with a large shower stall, vanity and head. There’s a queen-size central berth with storage lockers on either side, plus a deep hanging locker. The forward VIP has both a central queen berth and a full-size pilot berth on either side.

The port side guest cabin has single upper/lower bunks and shares the same bathroom as the VIP. Again, the best use of space has been made with plenty of storage options. This area also provides easy access to the utility room, which in Crazy Diamond houses the washer/dryer freezer, air-con system and water maker. Vybar insulation is used on the bulkhead to help keep the engine room noise to a minimum.

Continuing that attention to detail, all the internal surfaces not covered in fabric or lining are finished in high gloss white International paint. Clean, clinical and very user friendly. 

ONE STATION

Being an enclosed flybridge, the upper deck will always be very much the epicentre of the boat when underway. Crazy Diamond’s layout lends itself to be enjoyed by everyone aboard, with the helm aft and a massive wrap-around lounger forward. The centre point of the facia is a trio of Garmin 17″ screens, with Fusion entertainment on hand to pump the sounds around the boat. 

Twin aft helm seats back onto bi-fold doors that open onto an outside upper deck. The owner of Peregrine chose clears for this area. Following the owner’s interest in sport fishing, there is another set of engine controls on the aft railing to go along with another set in the cockpit.

While sport sedans are certainly more popular than sport fishers, we are seeing a resurgence in the flybridge sport fishers, and Crazy Diamond is an excellent example of those latest trends

specification

  • Boat Design Name: Elite 18m Sport fisher
  • Year Launched: Nov 2021
  • Designer: Elite Marine Design Ltd
  • Interior Designer: Parkhurst Design
  • Builder: Weber Marine
  • LOA: 18.2m
  • LOH: 18m
  • Beam: 5.4m
  • Draft: 1.2m
  • Displacement (full): 26800kg
  • Max Speed: 28.4kt (full)
  • Construction: Epoxy/wood composite
  • Fuel Capacity: 6200L
  • Water Capacity: 800L
  • Engines Make/HP: MAN i6 800hp
  • Lighting: Hella
  • Underwater Lights: Lumitec
  • Paint (Topsides): Awlcraft 2000
  • Paint (Antifouling): International 99
  • Hatches: Cule
  • Wipers: Exalto
  • Gearboxes: Twin Disc
  • Drive Train: Conventional Shaft in tunnels
  • Propellers: ZF 5b
  • Generator: Onan
  • Inverter/Charger: Mastervolt
  • Air Conditioning: Webasto
  • Watermaker: Aqua 200
  • Bow Thruster: Twin Disc
  • Stern Thruster: Twin Disc
  • Stabilisers: Trac
  • Anchor Winch: Maxwell
  • Anchors: Ultra stainless
  • Steering: Twin Disc BCS
  • Engine Controls: Twin Disc
  • Remote Eng Control: EJS
  • Windows: Seamac
  • Davit Crane: Davco
  • Tender: Highfield
  • Saloon Doors: Seamac
  • Helm Chairs: Stidd
  • Searchlight: Jabsco

electronics

  • Autopilot: Garmin
  • MFD: Garmin
  • Radar: Garmin
  • VHF: Icom
  • Entertainment Sys: Fusion
  • Base Price of Boat: POA           

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