At the Helm

IDSA Fellow's Firm Leads Tech Design for Elite Yachts

"What’s the opposite of status quo? The first Palmer Johnson SuperSport is the answer to this question.” —Cecile Gauert, senior editor, ShowBoats International Magazine

For select technology design elements such as the Sky Helm in its newest line of Super Sports, Palmer Johnson Yachts turned to the Portland, OR design and development firm Modern Edge, Inc., led by IDSA Board Chair Emeritus, Austen Angell, FIDSA.

"Palmer Johnson has a legacy of creating the world’s most beautiful and advanced yachts, so we were thrilled to be asked to contribute to the design of its latest project,” says Angell. "The 48M (161 foot) golden Khalilah SuperSport is advanced particularly with an all-carbon fiber hull and state-of-the-art propulsion system.”

He adds that when Modern Edge reviewed the context of the design concept by Nuvolari Lenard and the Palmer Johnson team, it was clear the Skyhelm “demanded a form factor and experience that would make it uniquely iconic, while maintaining a realistic manufacturing cost envelope.”

“The Skyhelm and surround needed to compliment the overall yacht’s dominant lines and the stunning hull, while making an individually bold statement,” Angell explains. “Integrating dual controls and touch screens in conjunction with the robust technologies demanded by an open air environment was challenging and further complicated by the high degree of design and human interaction issues, but utilizing robust Praxis electronics widens the design envelope for these types of projects.”

The yacht made its press debut in what’s been called the world's most prestigious yachting magazine—ShowBoats International—in an article by Cecile Gauert, senior editor. Immediately following, a second yacht sold. While the exact price tag was not been disclosed, it’s believed to be in excess of $20 million.

“It’s good company in the yachting world to be mentioned alongside such prestigious ship design veterans as Nuvolari Lenard,” says Angell. “Helms, pilothouses, cockpits and control centers present specific challenges and yet it seems only the finest yacht builders make an attempt to truly innovate in this area.”

Angell hails Mike Kelsey, Jr., as the visionary leader of Palmer Johnson. “He’s justifiably proud of this spectacular creation; it’s truly an amazing result from an amazing company.”