The RIGHT CHOICE
When John Richards went to designer Bill Upfold he had a simple set of ideas in mind. He wanted a comfortable cruising boat that would handle the adverse weather so prevalent around the New Zealand coast, allowing him to virtually go cruising whenever he wanted. He also wanted to make his first choice the right choice.
he result was the magnificent Joandra, the first Upfold 16m mid-pilothouse motoryacht to be launched and is the largest boat yet seen on the water from this talented designer.
Interestingly, even after only a few months, Richards says he definitely made the right choice and if he started looking all over again he would still go back to the same boat and any changes would be so minor they just wouldn’t be worth discussing.
It doesn’t take a genius to spot an Upfold cruiser and Joandra follows similar lines as many of its predecessors. However the big difference is how the builders, Vaudrey & Miller have interpreted the ideas. The attention to detail and the extra effort that has gone into choosing the timbers and fittings throughout the boat set it apart from many of its contemporaries. This is a superb example of kiwi craftsmanship and whilst ‘only’ 16m has the feeling of being very much larger vessel.
Due to the volumise hull shape there is room for two generous sized staterooms. Which one the owners choose to call the their own is their choice, but in Joandra, they decided on the aft option. Both have huge island berths, loads of storage lockers, drawers and private en-suites. Like the rest of the boat, the cherry timber panelling and soft fabric head linings radiate a sumptuous decor. Bold brazen blues with bright yellow accents counter the deep cherry timber finish and give the boat an extra touch of elegance.
A nice feature is the TV that drops from the ceiling on a linear actuator operated from beside the bed. The en-suite has a double entry so it can also be used as a day head from the cockpit area and eliminates the need for guests having to go forward through the main saloon. Along with the Lectrasan head, Athena vanity top and mirror panelling, the en-suite incorporates a full size household shower with curved glass door.
Attention to detail is evident throughout the boat, right down to way all the doors are flush fitted into their own recesses when open. Each incorporates a custom designed frosted glass porthole, with the panelling finished to a herringbone pattern.
The two accommodation areas forward have double entry to the head, which also includes a washing machine and a slightly smaller shower than that found in the aft en-suite. The guest’s stateroom is generous in size with large storage areas and hanging lockers surrounding the island double berth. There are a further two single berths provided in the side cabin and all the areas are kept warm with the inclusion of an Eperspacher heater system.
As can be found in many Bill Upfold designed mid-pilothouse motor yachts, the galley and dinette are situated aft on the starboard side. The large U shape dinette encompasses a solid cherry wood and burr madrona timber table, touched off with a brass insert. The area is raised so you’re outside visibility when dining isn’t impaired by wall panels and shelves.
The large rear bulkhead window operates vertically and allows for a varied mix of air and breeze for those aboard. It also ‘opens up’ the lower aft area of the boat and gives a feeling of greater space.
Forward, the galley with its oak flooring, is designed to be both functional and stylish and works nicely in conjunction with the dinette servery. A custom-made stainless steel bench with leather pattern and raised edges is surrounded by deep storage bins and plenty of spaces to keep all the necessary equipment.
The four-burner stove and full size oven are set between Italian laminated panels where the attention to detail is very evident. Every extra space has been utilised, from the small bottle rack to the knife locker.
The eye level fridge is built in behind cherry panelling and the galley is completed with a large pantry opposite. Any cooking odours from the galley are quickly expelled through the unobtrusive slimline AEG range hood.
The central evening lounge has a small ship feel about it, with plenty of curved seating and a very convivial atmosphere. The fluted corner posts add a graceful aura, that also incorporate well placed concealed lighting, with the dominate woven star in the carpet reflected in the mirrored ceiling panel. Venetian glass dolphins are enhanced by green back lighting that radiates a beautiful ambience throughout the lounge.
From the evening lounge to the pilothouse are only a few steps and it is easy to see that the owner likes all the necessary navigational aids around him. A PC screen takes centre position and is surrounded by depth sounders, radar, GPS, plotter, autopilot, fax, etc etc etc. Placement of everything was an important criteria, right down to the easily accessible circuit board, which is hidden away behind wooden panelling, chart stowage and even the space for a filing cabinet.
“The old trend was to have the switch panels on display, but today there is a move to hide them, something that we have done throughout Joandra”, said Upfold.
No steering is fitted, rather a simple small toggle, which the owner admits has taken a little getting used to.
“The first time out I felt like I had lost my trousers in the middle of Queen St”, he said “I’m still not quite used to it yet, but I am improving”.
Twin custom helm chairs have ‘every-which-way’ adjustments and are well placed for a full view of the expansive woodgrain fascia. The throttles can be left flush mounted or extended on their own arm if the helmsman wants them closer.
The pilothouse also doubles as the day lounge, where those aboard can communicate on the same open level as the skipper. Blue leather side loungers either side offer ample seating and areas to relax or convert to extra berths for unexpected overnight guests.
Double doors open to a small upper deck area with a sun seat and a large area to stow the inflatable and the electric davit crane. A duplicate set of controls is conveniently placed outside, plus there’s another set in the lower cockpit. Both are ideal when you’re backing the boat into the marina or up on a marlin.
A curved companionway with access to and from the cockpit is topped with a lockable double overlap hatch so the upper area can be completely closed off. The cockpit has again been given the full finish treatment, with attention to detail very evident. There’s no doubt the builders have pride in their workmanship and the ability to produce a boat of such a high calibre of finish as Joandra is evidence of that. This has been extended through to the areas that are often left neglected because they are not readily visible. The engine bay for example is fully carpeted and finished to the same high level as the areas above.
Power comes from a pair of Volvo Penta TAMD122EDCs, amongst the first pair on the water in New Zealand. Cruise speed is 18 knots @ 1800 rpm, with the combined hp giving Joandra a top speed of knots.
The builders used a composite laminate engineered by High Modulus based on a ply/grp/balsa/grp hull bottom, with Durakore and grp on the topsides. This is the first time an Upfold boat has used such an engineering laminate and according to Upfold, it will certainly not be the last.
“Not only have we achieve a boat that is both strong and reasonably light displacement, but the biggest benefit I feel is you can achieve a really clean bilge”, said Upfold.
Future plans for Joandra include an extended cruise to the South Island with a look around the Marlborough Sounds and Fiordland.
NB: Joandra had a hull extension and new interior styling in 2019
- Name of Boat: Joandra
- Design Name: Elite 17.9
- Builder : Vaudrey & Miller Boats
- Designer: Bill Upfold
- LOA: 17.9m
- Beam: 5.4m
- Draft: 1.1m
- Displacement: 25000 kgs
- Maximum Speed: 26.5 knots
- Cruise Speed: 20.0 knots
- Construction: Ply/balsa/grp & Durakore
- Fuel Capacity: 4000 litres
- Water Capacity: 1800 litres
- Year Launched: 1998
- Power: 2 x Volvo Penta 122 PEDC @ 610hp