Drawing Board: Eclipse Yachts

A dream team is assembled to create a new breed of outboard-powered express boats.

What if I told you that in 2023 there was a new company being launched that aimed to carve their territory out of the U.S. outboard yacht market? You’d probably say that they’re either incredibly bold or incredibly crazy, maybe both. The newcomer–Eclipse Yachts—appears instead to be a combination of brave and, dare I say, confident.

One glance at the names behind this new build and that confidence starts to make sense. Being built in South Africa by Two Oceans Marine—a builder of high-end cats that we’ve previously reported on—the design and sales horsepower comes via a pair of household names: Michael Peters Yacht Design and HMY Yacht Sales. There’s also serious interior design prowess on loan from the German automotive experts at Silver Arrows Design.

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For designer Michael Peters, it’s the improved horsepower and torque offered by the Mercury 600s that allows for larger express-style yachts like the Eclipse 505 and 605 (50 and 60-feet LOA respectively) to be possible.

“I think that the outboard market for us has become a very ‘been-there-done-that’ market, and purely from a design point of view, there’s a lot of saturation in center-console-type boats,” said Peters shortly after the brand’s announcement on the docks of the Ft. Lauderdale show. “Mercury had a vision to do bigger boats without telling anybody. And we’ve always been on the side where you can only do what technology’s ready for, and you can only do what engines can do. So, when there’s a game changer that comes in, like a big outboard, it allows us to create new products. What I like about this is that we’re branching off and saying, ‘there’s another market for this technology if you just give it a different layout and aesthetic.’”

Being different looks to be the calling card for this new builder as it works to elbow its way into the American market. With the American center and super console market already saturated, Peters said he could likely sell some boats if they came in at a significantly lower price point, but that would only be a short-term play. Instead, offering the accommodations of a Down East or express boat with outboards is where they’re planting their flag.

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I studied the look of the boats from scale models placed inside HMY’s boat show tent. In many ways, it appears a blend of modern (especially when looking at the cockpit and triple outboard configurations) but the hull and lines evoke a more classic build—something like a cross between a Hinckley and a Palm Beach.

In many ways, that was Peters’ goal, to design something contemporary that would also age gracefully. “We don’t want to do a boat that is so wild that it’s out of style two years from now,” says Peters. “Nobody can afford to tool up for something that’s going to land a 2- or 3-year shelf life. We got to make sure we’ve got a 10-year shelf life or better for the product, it’s a lot of expense getting all this going.”

Peters is quick to point out that while the lines are classic, this brand was created from a clean sheet of paper to be a line of modern motoryachts. “We aren’t taking anything from the past,” he said. “We’re moving it all forward, but we’re trying to clothe it so that it’s familiar enough to appeal to people. But everything about it is what we can do today, right down to a folding balcony, Seakeeper, cabin layout—everything about it is a completely contemporary approach.”

The 505 will offer a two stateroom, two head layout with the choice of twin or triple Mercury 600s; the 60-footer offers a two or three stateroom layout and triple or quad engine configurations. Both models boast a near-single level main deck and a lower salon that opens up fully to the cockpit. One area of customization will be offered via hull paint and custom cowlings. Bright color schemes should help to bolster this new builder’s literal and metaphorical visibility.

Just weeks after the announcement of this new brand, the builder was set to begin construction on the hulls. When thinking about Eclipse’s plans, I’m reminded of the quote: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2023 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

Source: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/outboard/drawing-board-introducing-eclipse-yachts