The long weekend approaches and the popular coastal anchorages are crammed. Imagine, owning a Valder Yacht exotic locations once too far away are now at your fingertips.
Outrun any weather and arrive in perfect comfort, with accommodation to suit eight and more mod cons than your waterfront apartment, friends and family will feel right at home. Missed the boat? No problem, pour yourself a gin and await their arrival by air, with a specifically engineered heli pad.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|7 persons + gear = 1,500 lbs (680 kg) | 1,250 gal diesel = 8,750 lbs (3,969 kg) | 275 gal water = 2,294 lbs (1,041 kg) | Total Load = 12, 544 lbs (5,690 kg)
|84 deg; 80% humidity; wind 10-14 kts; waves 3-4’
2 x 1,300-hp MAN V8
2 x 1,300-hp MAN V8
by Capt. Gregg Clark
Valder Yachts "The Keys"
Valder Yachts is defining a new class of yacht with all carbon fiber, foiling catamarans designed to combine remarkable performance with super-yacht quality and luxury. Cruising comfortably at 30 knots with top speeds over 40 knots, Valder Yachts “The Keys” is sure to impress.
The 67’7” (20.6 m) Valder model called “The Keys” is designed to be a multi-purpose yacht serving both the cruising and offshore fishing enthusiasts equally well – and particularly ones who want to go long distances. She has a fuel capacity of 2,499 gal. (9,460 L) which is more typical of displacement speed long range cruisers. “The Keys” targets the owner/operator who wants it all – luxury, spacious accommodations, outstanding sea keeping characteristics and unmatched performance.
Test day brought moderate conditions with winds from the east between 10 and 14 knots and seas of 2 – 4 feet on the ocean. The test area spanned from Fort Lauderdale to northern Miami including Haulover Inlet and northern Biscayne Bay.
Leaving and returning to the dock was from a protected private dock off Middle River north of Port Everglades. Current was running between slack and about .3 knots at the dock.
At speed, the foiling capability of this yacht created an incredibly stable and soft ride even in the larger seas experienced on test day. Not once did we experience sneezing, a common characteristic for catamarans where spray between the hulls covers the boat.
Performance Test Results*
Once offshore, our first tests were a series of runs focused on getting the speed, fuel burn and noise level (measured in decibels, or dBA) at specific RPM.
Acceleration Times & Conditions*
The next tests were the acceleration runs. Here, 3 tests were conducted and then averaged to get the time from 0 knots to select speeds. With the MAN V8s generating 1,300 horsepower each, for a combined horsepower of 1,600, “The Keys” had an acceleration time of 53 seconds from 0 knots to 10 knots and 79 seconds from 0 knots to her 30 knot cruise speed.
Range and Optimal Cruise
The range and optimal cruise are a bit more complex on “The Keys” than other yachts of this size due to the catamaran design and the foiling capabilities. However, “The Keys” has something to offer for both the cruiser as well as those who desire speed.
First, for the cruiser. When operating at slower speeds below the RPM where the turbos kick in (about 1,000 RPM), “The Keys” will run between 6.5 and 9.5 knots and yield a cruising range from just over 1,4oo nm down to just over 800 nm; impressive distances for a 67’ yacht that is also capable of cruising at 30 knots and topping 40 knots.
For the more speed-oriented owners, the optimal cruise speed starts just below 30 knots and reaches all the way to maximum RPM of the engines, just under 2400 RPM. The unusual dynamic of range INCREASING as RPM increases above a certain speed is unique to a foiling catamaran.
As the speed increases, the efficiency of the foil increases, creating more lift and further reducing drag from the hulls. As such, at an 80% load, which would be just over 2000 RPM, “The Keys” will cruise at about 29 knots with a range of 564 nm BUT at maximum RPM of approximately 2400 RPM, the boat will cruise just over 40 knots but can cover 169 nm more, with a range of 733 nm.
An operator might ask the best way to run 100 nautical miles on “The Keys”. Is it more desirable to run at 10 knots, taking 10 hours and using 424 gallons of fuel or, to run at 37 knots, taking 2.7 hours and using 365 gallons of fuel. Valder Yacht’s “The Keys” is perhaps the only yacht that gives an operator that choice. Valder Yachts states that optimal cruise considering all factors is in the high 20-knot range.
Like many aspects of “The Keys” getting accustomed to the handling characteristics at speed will take some time. First off, there is no helm wheel. Once above idle speeds, control is shifted from the Aventics Marex 3D controller to steering controlled by a rudder angle joystick located between the helm seats.
The joystick is a “non-follow-up” steering control that moves the rudder angle to port or starboard based on how long it is held. Pushing the lever to port angles the back of the rudders to port and thus turns the yacht to port. Once the joystick is released, it pops back to center BUT the selected rudder angle remains the same and the boat keeps turning to port.
This is the “non-follow-up” aspect of the joystick. In contrast, steering wheels are follow-up steering. Turn the wheel to port and the boat turns to port. Center the wheel and boat will go straight.
Given the “non-follow-up” aspect of the joystick, knowing rudder angle is a critical element in handling the yacht. Rudder angle is displayed constantly on two screens at the helm station. Most operators will use the autopilot functionality of the Garmin system extensively when operating at speed.
Undocking and docking “The Keys” takes some time to adjust to. Close quarters maneuvers are done with the Aventics Marex 3D commander which control the engines and Max Power CT325 bow thrusters. Given the significant distance between the engines in each hull, there is a significant amount of yaw potential available to maneuver the yacht as one desires.
The biggest challenge to become accustomed to is the extent of beam of the yacht, measuring 22’. As “The Keys” lacks a flybridge, judging distance on the opposite side of the yacht from one of the two helm stations takes some getting used to. To help with this, in addition to the main helm on the starboard side of the yacht, there is a second helm station located on the port side at the aft part of the cockpit. This provides clear visibility down the entire port side of the yacht.
Design and Construction
Valder Yachts “The Keys” concept was created by the founder, an experienced offshore catamaran racer and designed by Roger Hill Yacht Design. The design process also involved some of the world’s leading experts in carbon fiber construction and foiling technology. The yacht was build by Scott Lane Boatbuilders in New Zealand.
“The Keys” hull and topside are made from vacuum bagged carbon fiber with a foam core in a female mold. The hull and tunnel are constructed to 44mm (1.7”) while the rest of the yacht is constructed to 30mm (1.2”) thicknesses. Carbon fiber has an incredible strength to weight ratio and can be laid to form complex geometries impossible to achieve with traditional forms of boatbuilding. The light construction of carbon fiber is a major element of “The Keys” performance.
The most unique and differentiating feature of Valder Yachts “The Keys” is the foil located approximately mid-ship of the yacht.
The foil works much like an airplane wing, except in water as opposed to air. Much as an airplane wing provides lift to raise the airplane into the sky, a water-based foil produces lift and raises the hull out of the water. “The Keys” is a partially foiling boat, meaning the hull doesn’t lift completely out of the water, but rather the forward part of the hull lifts partially out of the water. This reduces hull surface in contact with the water thus reducing drag.
15% to 20% Greater Efficiency
The foil on our test yacht provides 15% to 20% greater efficiency than a planing hull. Valder Yachts is learning from the performance of this yacht and continuing hydrodynamic modeling and testing to further increase the foil’s performance. Hull #2 is expected to have an even greater impact to performance efficiency allowing even higher speeds with less power and fuel consumption.
While proprietary, Valder Yachts has revealed the foil is in the shape of a “V” with the point facing forward. The chord length is approximately 5 feet, we’re told. Like the rest of the yacht, the construction is of carbon fiber. However, the foil is cured in an autoclave, giving it mechanical properties that are 10-30% improved over non-autoclave hardened carbon fiber.
• CZone control and monitoring system
• Max Power CT325 48v bow thrusters
• Three Garmin 8416XSVs Multifunction Displays
• Garmin 424 xHD2 open array radar
• FLIR M232 forward looking infrared
• Fusion Stereo system with speakers throughout yacht
• Four staterooms with full-beam master
• 450 sq/ft top deck with 2,200 lb davit. Accommodates helicopter, larger tender, multiple water toys and/or a large sunbathing area
• Tender garage design to accommodate tenders up to 11’ LOA and 6’ in beam
Valder Yachts “The Keys” is a unique looking yacht that appears sleek and fast, even while at rest. Her design and style suggest she is a high performance yacht yet blended with a feel that she is indeed a luxury yacht. “The Keys” will turn heads and solicit inquiries wherever she goes. Potential owners should be prepared to answer questions about her in the marinas and anchorages they venture.
“The Keys” features a three-deck layout. The main deck features the cockpit, galley, salon, bar and helm station.
The lower deck features the accommodations including three staterooms plus a full head / utility room and a full-beam master forward. Also shown in this rendering are the engine rooms and tender garage.
The top deck is 450 SqFt (138 SqM) and is designed to accommodate small to mid-sized helicopters, larger tenders, sea toys or a large party/lounge area.
Beginning with the main deck forward, there is a 14 SqFt sun pad that can easily accommodate 3 sunbathers.
Aft of the interior main deck is the cockpit which is 261 SqFt (79 SqM).
The centerpiece of the cockpit is the powered high-low table with seating for 8-9 that can serve either in a dining or cocktail capacity. The table is made from reclaimed wood from the owner’s property in New Zealand. The tabletop is mounted on sturdy slides to move it away from the settee when in cocktail mode.
Next to the settee is a live well to starboard and docking helm to port.
Moving around the cockpit from port to starboard are the electrical connections, a bosun’s locker, a Corian solid-surface counter atop four refrigeration doors plus an ice maker and then a day head.
The electrical inputs for the yacht include one of each of the following: 32-amp 110V 60hz, 16-amp 230v 50hz, and 32-amp 3-phase.
Valder Yachts challenged every aspect of design with “The Keys.” One such aspect are the cockpit and swim platform soles. They developed a proprietary coating for the teak planking that not only seals and protects but that also has a high-endurance, slightly non-skid characteristic.
“The Keys” has a 94 SqFt (29 SqM) swim platform with access via both port and starboard stairs from the aft cockpit.
Occupying the entire width between the stairs is a cabinet structure with a solid countertop covering 35 SqFt (11 SqM).
The cabinet structure includes a Weber Pulse 2000 grill (see 2 below), a combination sink/cutting board (see 3 below) and a live well (see 4 below), another demonstration of the fishing capabilities of “The Keys.”
The face of the center of the swim platform cabinet structure is designed to show the yacht’s name and hailing port, with lighting per owner specifications, and also raises to provide access to the tender garage. The tender garage is 68 SqFt (21 SqM) and designed to hold tender’s up to 11’ in length (3.4m) and 6’ (1.8m) in beam.
The swim platform railings are removable and store for launching and retrieving the tender or for lowering the center section of the swim platform for access to the water. Each section of railing can accommodate either the movable cutting board or rod holders.
Access to the top deck is via a partially removable ladder over the cockpit counter. The bottom section is removable and stored in the bosun’s locker and the top section folds flat and locks against the cockpit bulkhead.
The top deck is 454 SqFt (138 SqM) and can serve as a helipad, storage for a larger tender or water toys, as a large sunpad area or for any other purpose an owner specifies.
The top deck has a 2,200 pound (1,000 kg) davit for lifting a larger tender or water toys. There are carbon fiber outriggers for trolling both port and starboard. These can be completely removed for those more focused on cruising.
Walkways and Hardware
The walkways along the sides are 1’5” (.4m) wide. Since there are no rails and stanchions, it would be nice to see a handhold located somewhere along the cabin top.
All of the deck hardware is made from stainless steel and with a black powder coat to maintain the aesthetics of the yacht.
Catamarans are known for their ability to incorporate large, open spaces. Valder Yachts “The Keys” is no exception, with this ability on full display in the main salon. Measuring 423 SqFt (129 SqM), the salon offers four distinct areas and four access points to other parts of the yacht.
Forward on the starboard side is the helm station with the bar aft.
Moving around to port, the galley is aft to service the salon, bar and aft cockpit. There is seating for 10 forward.
The helm station holds a prominent place on the salon deck forward and to starboard. It is open and flows nicely with the rest of the salon allowing the operator to always feel part of the mix regardless of area.
The helm station is sleek, stylish and simple. The three Garmin 8416 multi-function displays float above the helm station hinting at the style of a starship. The helm seats are faux leather and have the same diamond accent stitching found throughout the yacht.
During docking maneuvers and at slower speeds, the yacht is controlled by an Aventics Marex 3D joystick. At higher speeds, the yacht is controlled by the Aventics shifter/throttle controllers and the rudder angle joystick located between the helm seats. “The Keys” also has the Humphree Interceptor trim and stabilization system.
The first major socializing area of the salon on the starboard aft side is the 48 SqFt (14 SqM) U-shaped bar (see 1 below). There is a glass storage cabinet on the aft part of the bar (see 2 below) and a 20-bottle wine fridge (see 3 below). Another custom design feature are the bar stools which can provide seating either inside or outside of the U (see 4 below).
The 72 SqFt (22 SqM) galley is thoughtfully integrated into both the salon and the aft cockpit.
The dual sliding doors leading from the salon to the cockpit both fully retract in the bulkhead outboard to starboard (see 1 below). The glass behind the galley sink opens fully into the bulkhead behind the refrigerator freezer (see 2 below); opening up the entire salon to the aft cockpit.
A thoughtful design feature in the galley are storage cabinet doors that lift up vertically (see 3 below) as opposed to being hinged to open horizontally, thus obstructing views into the storage area.
The galley contains a full height refrigerator / freezer, microwave, 4 place convection cooktop, range and dishwasher. All appliances are Fisher Paykel.
Across from the helm and forward to port is the 128 SqFt (39 SqM) seating area that can accommodate up to 10 people. Valder Yachts interiors are inspired by the luxury of a Bentley automobile and this seating area meets that goal. It is luxurious, comfortable and spacious. The fabrics and accents make the space appealing to the eye, yet functional.
Other Salon Features
Other notable features of the salon include: 1) a retractable 50” LED TV that rotates through 90° for visibility through the entire salon; 2) cork flooring that provides excellent grip, easy cleaning and softness to the step; 3) accent wood throughout the headliner; and 4) very realistic feeling faux leather headliner that includes the same diamond stitching accent as the salon seating.
Being a catamaran, Valder Yacts “The Keys” has three areas of accommodations occupying 593 SqFt (181 SqM) in total. First is the starboard hull with 207 SqFt (63 SqM) in a queen suite and full head / utility room. Second is the port hull with 200 SqFt (61 SqM) in the VIP suite and a double berth. Last is the spacious full-beam master suite forward, with 198 SqFt (60 SqM) of space. On our test yacht and keeping with the Florida theme, each stateroom has a different name of a prominent place in Florida.
The master suite is 198 SqFt (60 SqM) of which 147 SqFt (45 SqM) is in main bedroom and 51 SqFt (16 SqM) is in the ensuite to port. The berth is king size and there are nightstands with electrical and charging outlets on both sides. To starboard is a vanity that measures 8’ long by 2’ 8” deep at maximum. Outboard of the vanity is a large window.
The master has a 12 ft3 (4 m3) closet in the suite and a 46 ft3 (14 m3) cedar closet on the bottom of the stairs just outside the master suite door.
Subtle earth tones dominate the décor with tight fabric weave wallcoverings and the same faux leather headliner found throughout the yacht. Two large hatches over the bed bring in extensive amount of light and can be covered with an integrated screen or blackout shade. There is a CZone controller within reach of the bed on the port side.
The 126 SqFt (39 SqM) VIP suite is located forward in the port hull. 92 SqFt (28 SqM) make up the main cabin and 35 SqFt (11 SqM) make up the ensuite forward. It features an athwartship queen berth with nightstands on either side.
A 72 SqFt (22 SqM) queen berth stateroom is located aft in the starboard hull. It has an outboard nightstand with electrical and charging outlets and a 21 ft3 (6 m3) closet.
A 58 SqFt (18 SqM) double berth stateroom is located aft in the port hull. It has a center nightstand with electrical and charging outlets and a 6 ft3 (2 m3) closet.
Full Head / Utility Room
A 38 SqFt (12 SqM) full head and utility room is located forward in the starboard hull. The head services both the queen and double staterooms. The shower has 6’ 11” of headroom with 6’ 4” under the shower head. There is a 70 ft3 (21 m3) compartment that holds a full-size washer and dryer with storage underneath.
Being a catamaran, “The Keys” has two engine rooms. This yields several advantages. First, catamaran engine rooms typically take up the entirety of the beam of the hull with fuel and water tanks being forward, allowing for more open space. Second, mechanicals can be spread out further in this open space allowing for easier access and servicing. Third, assuming the same sound damping strategy is deployed as in a single engine room (which it usually is), a catamaran will be quieter from engine and mechanical noise.
The engine rooms on Valder Yachts “The Keys” are both 84 SqFt (26 SqM) in their footprint and, given their minimum 6’ 2” headroom, a total of 518 ft3 (158 m3) each. That is over 1,000 ft3 (300 m3) of mechanical space!
At the center of each engine room is the MAN V8 providing 1,300 horsepower, for a total of 2,600 horsepower.
Power is transferred to the propellers through an Aquamet 22 shafts driven by ZF 665 Vertical Offset drives (V-Drives).
In addition to the MAN powerplant, the starboard engine room houses the water pumps, chillers, water maker and one of three black water tanks.
“The Keys” has a 556 gallon (2,105 L) freshwater tank on centerline just forward of the engine rooms. Water is double filtered through 10 micron and then 5 micron filters. There is an Sea Recovery Aqua Matic 1800 water maker that converts 75 gal / hour (284 L / hour) of seawater into fresh water.
In addition to the MAN V8, the port engine room houses the 2 Fischer Panda 15000i 12 kW generators each powered by a Kubota D902 engine.
To minimize through-hulls and allow for better control of sea water, Valder Yachts uses 2 sea chests, one in each engine room, for the distribution of sea water to the generators, chillers, water maker and live-bait well.
Access to the engine rooms are from two separate hatches on either side of the aft cockpit. Storage for the aft rail rod holders are on the inside of each engine room door. The doors lead to stainless steel, retractable ladders that, when raised from inside the engine room, allowing for unobstructed access to all the mechanicals.
While Valder Yachts is a new entrant to the yachting market, “The Keys” has emerged from decades of design experience from a passionate owner with extensive offshore catamaran knowledge, leading catamaran and carbon fiber design specialists and a group of the world’s leading experts in foiling and high-performance technology. This is the finest hull number one of a yacht I’ve ever experienced.
Valder Yachts wanted to challenge virtually every aspect of a 60+ foot yacht and they have succeeded with many new and unique design concepts. This is just a first step in Valder Yacht’s vision to create the world’s highest performing, luxury catamaran yachts. “The Keys” comfortably cruises at 30 knots with top speeds of over 40 knots even in sizable seas. The vision for hull number two, now well into the construction process, is to cruise in the upper 30 knot range with a top speed breaking the 50 knot barrier! All while providing world-class luxury, fit and finish.
Any performance-oriented owner/operator would be remiss not to explore Valder Yachts and their vision to transform the segment of the market where extreme performance and luxury intersect. Valder Yachts truly is defining a new class of yacht. I am personally excited to see where their journey takes them and their future owners.
Remember, life is better on a boat!