Used Boat Review: Derecktor 90
By Capt. Richard Thiel
Can you buy a proven passagemaker with a classic profile and a flawless pedigree for a mere fraction of her replacement? Above All may be the turnkey answer.
A lot of boaters will tell you that there’s nothing like a brand-new boat, but new is not necessarily for everyone. A lot of buyers are looking for a more traditional vessel, one that has a proven track record and maybe even some history behind it. If that sounds like what you’ve been searching for, the brokerage firm of Bartram and Brakenhoff has just the boat. Not only does she have a colorful history but so does the yard that built her.
Above All is a 90-foot aluminum-hull expedition yacht that has lived a number of different lives since she was first launched in 1979 as Titania. Built to Lloyds’s 100A+ class and formerly known as Minnow and also Atlantic Rover, she has seen a lifetime of world travel. Her handsome profile brings to mind a time when a 90-foot vessel qualified as a megayacht (although the term had not yet been coined) and expedition yachts had profiles not unlike commercial vessels, from which many were indeed derived.
This 90-footer was built from the keel up as a yacht, and she has the bloodlines to prove it: Titania was designed and built by one of America’s most experienced and revered shipyards, Derecktor. Established by Bob Derecktor in 1947 in Mamaroneck, New York, it first gained notoriety for its sailing yachts, including a number of America’s Cup defenders, then went on to build both power yachts and a large number of commercial vessels for various entities, including the U.S. Army and Coast Guard. In 2010 Derecktor launched the 281-foot megayacht Cakewalk, the largest yacht by length built in the United States since the 1930s and the largest ever built here by volume.
Most of the early yachts built by Derecktor were wood, but beginning in the ’50s the yard began to earn a reputation for its work with aluminum and steel. Above All’s hull is of the former, unusual for an expedition-style vessel—especially one built in 1979. Her relatively lightweight construction is one reason she can reach a cruising speed of 12 knots and maintain transatlantic range when properly configured with fuel. The other reason for her admirable performance is her efficient underbody, a hullform that was created in-house. It’s a design that has not only proven itself over the years but one that lives on today: Derecktor continues to offer it as a new build under the model name Marathon 90. Although Above All is modestly powered (by modern standards anyway) by a pair of 500-horsepower Caterpillar 3408s, the Marathon 90 offers the owner the option of a pair of 800-horsepower diesels or four 450-horsepower diesels. The last configuration, besides offering extra security through multiple redundancies, also provides a good turn of speed with superior fuel efficiency and transatlantic range when one or more of the engines are shut down.
Above All’s engineering details reflect her long-range intentions. The CATs, which were rebuilt in 1994, have both prelube and preheat systems to minimize wear on startup. Both her stabilizers and bow thruster are hydraulically driven off the starboard engine so overheating after prolonged use is not a concern. Besides her main controls on the helm and bridge, there is also a set of Kobelt mechanical-backup throttle controls, and her fuel system is protected by large Racor separators. Lube oil is stored in both port and starboard tanks for maximum convenience, and the fuel-transfer system offers three pumps—110- and 12-volt units and a manual backup—for maximum security. Above All’s fuel capacity is a generous 4,675 gallons.
The current owners have done a fine job of retaining the pleasures and appeal of a period motoryacht, including superb joinery and woodwork, while upgrading her to provide the state-of-the-art systems necessary for true expeditionary voyaging. Electronics include both 48- and 72-mile Furuno radars, the latter with autoposition tracking; Trimble and Furuno GPS units; Sperry gyrocompass and lever-control steering, and B&G Hydra 2000 instrumentation.
There have been major upgrades to keep Above All up to the comfort and convenience demands of today’s long-distance cruiser. In 2008, she returned to the Derecktor shipyard in Mamaroneck to have her flying bridge enclosed and her upper control station outfitted with modern controls and instruments. The refit, which extended into 2009, also included exterior paint, red-leather dinette upholstery, a swim platform and ladder, Iridium satphone, Stidd helm chair, Bosch washer and dryer, new A/C system, updated kitchen appliances and TVs, and even custom-fabricated rubrails.
There’s still plenty of finely varnished teak and oak to give Above All’s interior spaces that characteristic warmth of a classic vessel. And with a 20-foot beam, she has plenty of space for guests and extended family. Besides the large owners’ stateroom, which is all the way aft, there are two large guest staterooms, one with bunks, the other with a queen-size bed. To ensure maximum privacy, the large crew’s quarters are all the way forward, accessed from the main saloon. They include one large double cabin and one single cabin, which could double as an office, plus a lounge area and crew galley.
Although not currently in class, Above All’s original Lloyd’s certification is indicative of her quality construction, engineering, and attention to detail. With a current asking price of less than $700,000 she offers all the amenities and capabilities of a true expedition vessel at a mere fraction of what it would cost to build a comparable vessel at a top-tier American shipyard today. Add to that the fact that the current owner has spent more than two years refitting and upgrading her to the point that she is truly turnkey, and you can see why Above All would be an attractive offering for any would-be expeditionary voyager.
Power & Motoryacht spoke to three brokers who each had a Derecktor yacht for sale on BoatQuest.com. Here’s what each had to say about this revered American shipyard and some of the vessels that were produced by it. ▶
Displ.: 150,000 lb. (half load)
Fuel: 4,675 gal.
Water: 1,200 gal.
Power: 2/500-hp CAT 3408 diesels
Years Built: 1979-Present
Asking Price: $695,000 (subject to change without notice)