The Roscioli Yachting Center is featured in the February 2016 Yachts International magazine article; Great Second Acts: Refit In South Florida. View the article and photos here or read the text of the article below:
Acquisition and Merger
What do you get when you marry a cruising-yacht hull with a sportfish superstructure? One family's dream boat.
By Andrew Parkinson
Article in Yachts International, February 2016
"Let me get this straight," I said, shifting in my seat while straining for clarity. "You put a what? On a what?"
On the other side of the table, Tom Glass, vice president at
Roscioli Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, paused
letting the questions sink in before conceding, "Let's just say it wasn't your ordinary work order."
The term 'refit' may refer to any number of yacht refurbishments, from interior redesign to new engines to system overhauls, but this particularly adventurous Roscioli client raised the bar. He decided to turn his 106-foot (32.3-meter) Westship raised pilothouse into a trideck superyacht.
It's a vision that does not seem totally out of the realm of possibility. That is, until you consider his muse was a Donzi sportfish.
"It all started when the father, Mr. Gray, Sr., came to us after
being a Hatteras fan for many years," Glass said, thinking about
the various yachts the family has owned during the past quarter century. "The men of the family are all about 6-foot-6, and when
it was time to trade up, they requested [from Hatteras] certain
customizations, starting with longer bunks." Being a production
yard at the time, Hatteras declined the change orders. Gray then
approached Bob Roscioli of Roscioli Yachting Center, a yard known for semi-custom work. Roscioli agreed to the build order, and the Gray family ordered a semi-custom Donzi 65, which served them well-- and still does today. When the time came again to upsize, Roscioli was at the top of the list.
A number of factors contributed to the Gray family's choice of
a Westship 106. They looked at and appreciated several features on Westport 112s and 130s, but their slip on Florida's Gulf Coast could handle no more than 110 feet of length overall. They also wanted to continue cruising and fishing their favorite grounds-- the Bahamas and the Keys-- which required a fairly shallow draft. Ultimately, the Grays determined that a Westship 106 with a 5-foot-10-inch draft would serve their purposes with a few adjustments.
"We knew we would make some changes to Hello Dolly VII,
but decided to hold off for about a year," said Michael Gray, one of the sons. "After using the boat for a few months, we determined we needed a sky lounge, and with our sportfishing heritage, when you start talking sky lounge, then you start thinking, 'Okay, let's put something on top of that sky lounge: a flybridge.'"
After what Glass calls some "imagineering" by Gray and his
brothers, and a crude cut-and-paste drawing on a single piece of
paper, it was game on. "I thought, Why can't we just put a sportfish salon on top of the
main deck?" Gray said. "So I measured the salon of a Donzi 73. It was about 6 inches too narrow, so I measured up the 80, which was within half an inch, so I asked Tom [Glass] to send me a concept."
There were no formal plans at the outset. "You're building to a rule that doesn't exist, so it was kind of shot from the hip," Glass said. "We built a one-off mold of the 80 that would fit exactly. Then it was just making the necessary adjustments to meet the family's needs, such as raising the freeboard and increasing the bulwark 19 inches, which allowed more
privacy on the bow, where the hot tub was to be relocated. We added steps across the bow to new lounge areas forward of the flybridge and the new pilothouse, where a Portuguese bridge was also installed."
On paper, the finished interior layout benefited from spiral staircases, a roomy pilothouse with a reverse windshield, the sky lounge, an open-air flybridge with a hardtop, and true crew quarters. "The main difference we found between the 106 and the 112 was crew quarters, which we configured in the footprint of the old pilothouse," Gray said. "We didn't visualize in the beginning it would be all that important, but it turned out to be really important. It's unusual to be able to house four crew members in a humane way on a 106."
According to Gray, the key was making it all pretty. "We didn't think Bob (Roscioli) would sign on to doing this project if he had any doubt it would look beautiful in the end," said Gray. Countless hours were spent reshaping and fairing the lines. Additionally, the 7.2 tons of weight added to the boat would most certainly affect performance, which Virginia based
naval architect Donald Blount addressed during sea trials. Part
of the solution came in the form of a Seakeeper gyro, which effectively aided in both the yacht's performance and her stabilization. After 15 months and somewhere north of $2 million, the Gray family couldn't be happier with their decision to refit.
"Looking back, a Westport 112 at the time was about $6 million
more than it cost us to do this deal," Gray said. "And now we have an easily driven hull with good pedigree, great living spaces, a shallow draft: It's everything we wanted."
Admittedly still getting used to having a crew, Gray has found
the hardest part is learning to be what he calls a "yachter," as
opposed to a boater. "For me, yachting is so different from boating," Gray said. "It's socially more complex. It's like having a whole business, whereas when you're boating, it's just you, the wind and the elements."
Staring out at the horizon from the flybridge of his shiny new
creation, his voice trails off. After a moment's pause, he glances back with a twinkle in his eye.
"But what I thought was fun when I was 35, I'm changing my
opinion at 55," he adds. "Maybe I can learn to be a yachter."