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Tuesday June 8, 2010

No Compromise in Luxury Classic

By Mike Rose

4:00 AM Saturday Jun 5, 2010  

The Pegiva Retro-Sun 25 will appeal to those who enjoy the finer things in life. Photo / Supplied The old maxim that all boats are a compromise usually holds true. But not always. Some craft, a rare few, show not the merest hint of compromise. Instead, they are so true to their ideal that they come almost to personify it. It seems likely that the Pegiva Retro-Sun 25 is such a vessel. Take a look at the accompanying photos and your first thought, like mine, is likely to be that here is a boat designed, built and destined for either the French or the Italian Riviera.


Here is a boat for the elite of the world: the super-wealthy, the rock gods, the film stars. Here is a boat used largely for ferrying the above to and from their floating palaces in the Mediterranean. Well, one out of three ain't bad. The Pegiva Retro-Sun 25 is certainly for the elite. Its "quarter of a mil-plus" price tag (give or take 50 grand) is very much on the high side for a 7m runabout; more what one would expect to pay for a small cruiser. It also certainly appeals to those famous types. Billy Joel, apparently a mad-keen boatie, scoured the world for a suitable day boat before choosing a Pegiva. You might think nothing surprising there. The thing that makes it surprising, though, is that the Pegiva is built not, as its looks imply, on the Italian coast or eastern US seaboard but rather much closer to home, on Australia's Gold Coast.


Pegiva is the, somewhat accidental, brainchild of retired boat-builder Gerry Wyllie. From the timber "old school" of boatbuilders, Wylie had long harboured a desire to build a classic wooden vessel in which to enjoy his retirement years. He built his dream boat and then, as so often happens, was inundated with inquiries from those who saw, admired and wanted one. Not too keen on giving up his new-found retirement, Wylie was luckily joined in partnership by son Peter. The pair then ensured the success of their new brand by employing a raft of New Zealand boatbuilders, including Lance Silva, once the product manager at Keith Eade's Steadecraft Boats. "There is a very strong Kiwi presence in our factory," acknowledges the younger Wyllie. "Lance is now our production manager and nearly all our boatbuilders are Kiwis, too." Wylie is full of praise for the New Zealanders: "They have the unconditional patience, flair and passion required to build a boat of this style to a world-class standard. "Passion is the operative word." Looking at the Pegiva Retro-Sun 25, it's hard not to agree. This is a boat that, in its appeal, its style and its standard of finish, compares with the great automobile marques: Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, Lamborghini. In fact New Zealand distributor, Wayne Baston of Westhaven-based Laurie Collins describes the boat as a "Bentley on water" and believes his prospective clients will own such a vehicle as well.


It is also a vessel that is full of surprises. Although the first two Pegivas followed Wylie's original and were built in timber, the later versions are not. Instead, despite appearances, the hand-laid hulls are a composite of isopthalic gel coat, a vinylester "tie-layer" and a laminate of vinylester resin, stitched biaxial cloth and 12mm GS PVC foam core.

Timber panels of mahogany and African ash then complement the exterior finish and help provide that traditional wooden look. Another surprise is the Pegiva's lightness. Although it appears a very solid boat, the Retro-Sun 25 weighs in at just 1920kg. Combine this with a great hull shape: traditional fine entry, a 15-degree rear deadrise, twin strakes and a reverse chine each side, and the result is a pretty exciting performance, including a top speed of 44 knots. According to Propeller magazine's Australian correspondent Barry Tyler, who boat tested the Retro-Sun in Queensland; those sleek looks and light hull do not mean a boat that can only handle smooth water. "There's no need to treat this boat with kid gloves in the rough," he reports. "This is an agile performer without any obvious bad habits, and it literally turns on a dime at full speed." There are two engine choices for the Retro-Sun 25: a 300hp Mercruiser MPI Horizon petrol stern-drive package or a Steyr 3200cc inline 6-cylinder 250hp diesel coupled to the same Mercruiser Bravo One stern-leg.


One of the features of the Pegiva that is sure to appeal to its limited clientele is the individuality of each vessel. The company custom makes almost all of its fittings and hardware (both internal and external) and matches these to the client's choice of hull finish and upholstery. Unashamedly a day boat, the Retro-Sun 25 consists largely of a luxurious deep cockpit with a huge lounging area behind, on the engine cover. Add a stylised boarding platform and a classic timber foredeck over such stowage and that's pretty much it. Still, it's a pretty impressive "it". The cockpit contains twin lushly padded leather bucket seats for the driver and the number one passenger. When required these simply swivel around and face a three-seater settee. An optional drop-in table then creates an ideal setting for a picnic lunch or afternoon drinks.


The first Pegiva Retro-Sun 25 is due in New Zealand later this year and Baston believes there will be interest from those wanting to store one in the drystack for use on sunny days. A full review of the Pegiva Retro-Sun 25 appears in the June/July issue of Propeller magazine and at PEGIVA RETRO-SUN 25 * LOA: 7.2 metres * LWL: 6.06 metres * Beam: 2.3 metres * Draft: 0.77 metres * Displacement: 1920kg * Max Speed: 44 knots * Cruise Speed: 32 knots * Construction: Hand-laid FRP * Price: From around $300,000


Contact Marine editor Mike Rose on (09) 483-8284; 021 735 015 or email: By Mike Rose

Robinson Marine Design is a one stop design office with 40+ years in the marine industry, covering all aspects and disciplines. Our collective knowledge and hands on experience covers all medians of yacht / power vessel design & construction, Wood, Frp, Carbon fiber, Aluminum and Steel. Our office can undertake projects from custom design/custom build to production design and development, R&D to mechanical design.


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