With its aim of combining innovation and artisanal composite boat building to create the ultimate yacht for modern explorers, CL Yachts is no stranger to pushing boundaries and, in turn, pushing the boundaries of what owners of its yachts can experience.
At the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2022 the shipyard is pushing boundaries once again with the world debut of its new flagship, CLX96 SAV.
Her aggressive and angular profilerecalls the purpose and agility of hardy workboats, refined to a level of luxury that hints at the yacht’s SAV moniker – the 29.5metre CLX96 is the world’s first Sea Activity Vessel. “The SAV acronym represents something uniquely different to each individual owner, reflecting the way they enjoy their time aboard,” offers Earl Alfaro, the naval architect responsible for CLX96. “Some will find solitude at a leisurely pace while venturing towards their far-off destination, while others take pride in the exhilaration that accompanies a vessel in this category having the prowess to achieve higher speeds.”
The striking profile is more than a mere styling exercise – the forward-raked windscreens on the main and upper decks are designed to reduce both glare and heat while also increasing interior living space. Combined with the expansive glazing, the result is an interior that is not only light and airy but that seamlessly integrates with the outside areas and seascapes with near-uninterrupted 360-degree views. It speaks to a design philosophy that incorporates style and substance in equal measure.
“In early 2017, CL Yachts reached outside the industry and asked me to rethink yacht design and yachting experiences,” says Jozeph Forakis, CLX96 exterior and interior designer. “They gave me a clean slate to conceive a new vision for the yacht of today and tomorrow. With in-depth research methodologies and a focus on intelligent design, complementing my passion for sailing and ‘outsiders’’ imagination and dreams, the result is a vessel that departs from convention.”
While her bold double-reverse-angle profile and iconic wing-like flybridge bulwark are visually distinctive, Forakis explains, these elements were born from a holistic, functional reconsideration of the way to live on a yacht and informed by precise structural principles. “CLX96 pushes boundaries of innovation and yachting experiences with flowing indoor and outdoor spaces,” he continues. “Unprecedented amounts of light penetrate the interiors – made possible by advanced composite structures with lightweight, thin, strong mullions allowing oversize windows throughout.”
This is reinforced on the main deck with trifold doors to starboard that open the midships area to the side deck and bulwark cutaway, creating a near-alfresco dining area in the heart of the main deck’s open plan living space. This area blends seamlessly with the comfortable aft saloon and forward country-style galley with island and Champagne Lounge – the perfect spot for cocktails or nature-watching depending on where in the world your CLX96 has taken you. What’s more, the lack of pillars thanks to the ingenious carbon construction of the super structure means there are clear views from aft deck to bow.
The sense of space and the inside-outside feeling continue on the upper deck, with the enclosed helm and Sky Lounge forward offering shade and climate-controlled comfort, and the huge aft sundeck area combining everything needed for outside living – sofas and dining table, grill, fridge and icemaker. The Sky Lounge’s electric windows can be fully opened to create the feel of a hardtop fly, and the aft coach roof extension that provides shade to the alfresco seating and dining area offers a sunroof.
In front of the Pilot House Forakis has created the ‘Terrazza Portoghese’, a generous additional deck space perfect for sun loungers, while on the foredeck there is an inviting ‘Piazza del Sole’ – a circular aperitif lounge that converts into a giant sunbed. Aft, the generous swim platform makes for a perfect beach club, with the Z-lift central transformer section not only easing tender launching but also creating an additional terrace extension on the water.
Below, CLX96’s standard configuration offers four guest cabins including a vast master suite forward complete with skylight over the king-size bed, a full-beam midships VIP cabin with virtual skylight, and two twin/double convertible guest cabins with ensuites. There are crew quarters aft for up to four crew.
The master stateroom includes his-and-hers ensuite in the bow, while a bow-mounted forward facing HD camera can send the forward view for display on the 65-inch television on the bulkhead forward of the bed which, combined with the views through the large hull glazing to port and starboard, completes a panoramic view. The ensuite features smart glass for added privacy.
Finishes throughout are luxurious but considered. “The materials, finishes, and colors are restricted, giving a sense of continuity to the spaces for this new series – and emphasizing pure daylight as an essential ‘material’, ”Forakis enthuses. “Through seamless surfaces, subtle curves, and flowing planes, we wanted to remind people at all times that they are on a ‘vessel’ meant to transport them through space and time toward the future.”
The materials and palette include walnut for the walls, teak and holly soles for the main and upper deck interiors, black marquina and satin snowflake marble for the bars and countertops, and a range of textures and materials in off-whites, warm greys and browns punctuated with occasional orange highlights.
CLX96 is not just a design masterpiece, however – all the elements combine in a technical tour de force. “The SAV concept demands big viewing areas which require an abundance of glass, and amount of real estate remaining for structure is relatively slim,” says Albert Horsmon, who oversaw the structural engineering of CLX96. “In keeping with SAV requirements for speed and range, the composite structure needs to be light – and compact, light, strong and stiff leads the whole design and build team to carbon fibre.”
An example of the extensive structural engineering are the mullions that support the glass, with the corner mullions for the windscreen proving a particular challenge. “The mullions are carbon unidirectional and double bias infused composite ‘hoop’ beams that run continuously and unobstructed from the main deck on one side, up and across the salon and then down to the deck on the other side firmly bolted to reinforced locations in the main deck,” Horsmon continues. “The arrangement allows good headroom, tight corners for doors, and robust stiffness to support the upper deck and pilot house.”
The hull itself is built to RINA classification, with naval architecture focusing on cruising speed at 65-80 percent engine load with capacity for occasional prints at wide-open-throttle. To achieve the required hydrodynamic efficiency, Alfaro introduced a mild warp into the planing surface. The result is a hull that transitions seamlessly from semi-displacement to planing modes with minimal changes in dynamic trim. Furthermore, the hull design has not compromised the interior, with forward underbody of suitable volume, and a deep deadrise and strategic use of spray strakes that combine to create a generous forward suite without compromising hull efficiency or seakeeping.
“From the very beginning, both form and function were evaluated concurrently to combine the bold geometry of CLX96 with the proper hull form,” Alfaro explains. “The result is a thoroughly modern vessel from the waterline up, complemented by exceptional performance achieved through an in-depth analysis of her hydrodynamic properties and an innovative approach to applying proven principles in planing hull naval architecture.”
This attention to detail is reinforced with the yacht’s variable operational profile. Powered by twin Caterpillar C32 engines rated at 1,900hp each, CLX96 can achieve a top speed with full load of 25 knots with a solid 22-knot cruise. Her 15,520litre fuel tanks, meanwhile, ensure the range to explore far-flung destinations, and her 10-year standard hull warranty will give owners the peace of mind to go there. Her 1.62-metre draft also means she can sneak into shallow bays, making her the true realization of her Sea Activity Vessel rationale.