Vicem’s new flagship cruiser provides blissful refuge from Turkey’s brutal
Turkish builder Vicem, famous for its Down East-style boats featuring superb joinery, is shifting its emphasis to larger semi- and full-custom yachts. (Actually, the company has always been willing to modify its vessels to suit owners’ tastes.) I had been invited to come see the first example of this new focus, the 107 Cruiser.
The first thing that caught my eye about the 107 was her decidedly conservative profile. With her upright angular superstructure and near-plumb bow, she is salty and handsome enough to look at home in any Maine harbor.
Her semidisplacement hullform is perfectly consistent with her businesslike appearance. Although a misaligned propshaft precluded a meaningful sea trial, builder-supplied test results indicate a top speed of just under 20 knots and a cruising speed of 15.5 knots (half load) while burning 119 gph. I was able to measure sound levels at that speed: a modest 68 decibels in the saloon and 71 decibels in the midship master just forward of the engine room.
The 107 is now the flagship of Vicem’s Cruiser line, which also includes a 78 and a 92. She is also the largest Vicem to be built using cold-molded construction; the new Vulcan line of megayachts employs conventional cored-FRP construction. My test boat’s errant propshaft highlighted one advantage of cold-molding: insulation. Not only were her sound readings low, but the greater vibration due to the bent shaft was audibly undetectable and barely sensible through my feet. And although the best speed we could make was around 15 knots, I fancied that I could detect that special solidity that cold-molding creates.
But of course molding technique is not the first thing you’ll notice about the 107. So much has been written about Vicem’s superb joinery, but words sometimes fall short and cannot convey the impression you get when you actually see it in person. In an industry where outstanding joinery and varnish work has become the accepted norm, Vicem’s work still excels. One example: At the bow, the mahogany toerail must make a turn far more acute than the wood could bend. So Vicem laminates the toe piece out of more than a hundred ultra-thin mahogany plys that can make the bend yet blend together visually as a single piece. When I asked how many man-hours are involved in such a process, my host simply rolled his eyes as if to say, “Don’t even ask.”
It’s obvious much thought has gone into the lower-deck accommodations plan, but keep in mind that the 107 is a true semicustom yacht. The boat had been laid out for chartering, which explains her arrangement: a midship master, forward and port-side VIP cabins—all with en suite facilities—and two starboard guest cabins, each with bunks, that share a head. Accommodations for the captain (who gets his own stateroom) and three crewmembers (in two cabins), along with a crew mess, are clustered between the large lazarette and engine room, a design that ensures privacy for the owner/charterer and guests. Alternative accommodation plans are limited only by your imagination and budget.