Capt. Jamie Farnborough joined Arkadia from a pretty advantageous position — he had already spent a year as captain of an identical boat, Omaha, the first in Heesen’s 50-meter steel displacement class.
Arkadia, built on spec as Project Triton, is hull No. 2. She was sold after completion to her American owners, who spent about six months fine-tuning her before taking delivery on March 30 of this year, and Capt. Farnborough was on board from the sale.
“We knew what the main warranty items were on Omaha. So we were able to walk into this project with a pretty clear view of what we needed to look at immediately,” he says, adding that to its credit, Heesen had already rectified many issues.
Noting some similarities in how both owners use their yachts, he says, “I took what works and what didn’t work from Omaha and made everything work on here.” Now he’s in command of what he considers a better boat.
Designed by Clifford Denn, Arkadia has classic car-inspired good looks. “The bow pretty much makes the boat, and I love the swept-back windows on the bridge deck. I think it gives it a really aggressive look but still with quite delicate lines,” Farnborough says. Inside, Reymond Langton conceived the spec project’s interior while Dickie Bannenberg helped the owners tweak the style to suit their tastes.
In the months from sale to delivery, the owners’ team had the yard increase the guest accommodations from 10 to 13 by adding a Pullman berth in one of the lower deck cabins and transforming the skylounge into a convertible sixth stateroom, which necessitated growing the dayhead into a full ensuite.
In addition, they added sliding glass doors on the sundeck and made the area just aft into a full gym, complete with weight machine, punching bag, yoga gear, and Peloton bike. Combined with the forward Jacuzzi/bar area and the aft Paola Lenti sun loungers, and fitted with 42-inch and 65-inch televisions, the deck is one of the boat’s standout features. “I think it’s pretty unique to a 50-meter because there’s literally so much deck up there. It’s huge,” says Farnborough.
He also appreciates the stern setup. With the owners being very active, the crew devised a functional system using an inflatable docking platform to host a slew of watersports. The tenders are stowed on the foredeck, so the beach club itself is a chic waterside chill-out space for the guests.
The yacht’s round bilge hull led by a bulbous bow is steady in the water, able to reach 15 knots. “It’s a really good boat to drive, both in open water and when you park it,” Farnborough says. “It handles really well.”
His only complaint is operational; since the yacht was originally intended for 10 guests, the crew complement of nine falls a bit short of ideal to handle 13. “Really the only way that we can fix it is to have some type of support tender with a couple cabins and put two seasonal crewmembers in there,” he says.
But all in all, he’s quite happy with how Arkadia has turned out. “We’ve ended up with a really, really cool platform. I’m very proud of it and the whole crew are very proud of it,” Capt. Farnborough says. He has plenty of comparative experience, having been in the industry since 2006 working on yachts spanning 37 to 93 meters. “(As a captain) I love how every day is so different,” he says. “One day I could be stuck on the computer all day emailing. The next day, I’ve got to get my project-management hat on. Other days, I’m down helping the engineer in the engine room. In the last sixteen years of being at sea, I don’t think any day has ever been the same.”
This article originally ran in the November 2021 issue of Dockwalk.