Diamond Spas is thrilled to have played a small part in such a monumental feat; The largest Yacht made in the USA since 1930. "We knew we were fabricating one of our products for a yacht, but we had no idea who it was for, or how big a yacht, says Caleb Salazar, Diamond Spas Sales Director. We don't ask a lot of question in regards to the names of the owners or the size of their boats or houses that we make our products for, so we were pretty psyched when the news came out that this was going to be the largest Yacht on record since 1930 and that the owner was from right here in Denver."
Check out the Launch of the Cakewalk.
Since opening in 2001, the Connecticut operation of Derecktor Shipyards has built, repaired or upgraded tug boats and lobster boats, fireboats and ferries, sailing yachts, motor yachts and catamarans.
But one vessel — owned by Denver resident Charles Gallagher — overshadows all the others.
At 281 feet, Cakewalk is the longest yacht built in the United States since the 1930s, when Bath Iron Works of Maine delivered J.P. Morgan Jr.'s 343-foot Corsair IV, a vessel that spent its final years as a commercial cruise ship and ended up a shipwreck.
And at nearly 3,000 gross tons (a measure of volume, not weight), Cakewalk is believed to be the most spacious yacht ever built in America. It cost more than $82 million.
Next month, after nearly four years of construction, the six-deck maritime marvel will cruise away from its Long Island Sound birthplace for a public debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Gallagher, a private equity investor who hired Derecktor to build Cakewalk, said that size was not his main concern.
"There's no such thing as having the largest yacht in the world," he said Wednesday by phone from Denver. "But it is important to us to have the finest-quality yacht in the world. That's what I set out for."
Gallagher, Derecktor and others in the U.S. yachting industry view Cakewalk as more than a uniquely grand vessel. They see it as an assertion of American prowess in large-scale luxury yacht construction, an act of daring even for a firm as celebrated as Derecktor, which built "Stars & Stripes '87," the 1987 America's Cup winner.
Cakewalk — Gallagher's fifth yacht of that name — features a spiral central staircase with balusters of ivy-like wrought iron, a formal dining salon (with chandelier), a fireplace, an elevator and "Versailles-patterned woodwork." There are six staterooms for guests and separate quarters for captain and crew.
The master stateroom has a separate sitting room, his-and-her baths and walk-in closets. There's a grand piano on board, original art and a walk-in cooler just for fresh flowers.
With a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 15 knots, the ship can easily cross the Atlantic. Its belly will hold three custom-built tenders for ferrying guests to and fro, along with recreational craft, including two "underwater scooters."
"This is a go-anywhere boat," said Bill Zinser, the Connecticut native who is captain of Cakewalk and its full-time crew of 25.
Despite the size, splendor and cost of the new Cakewalk, it is not the world's largest yacht, or even close to it: On Power & Motoryacht magazine's 2010 list of 100 largest yachts, Cakewalk ranks No. 38.
The reigning champion is the 557-foot Eclipse, built in Germany for Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.
Gallagher, 72, an experienced leveraged buyout engineer who remains involved in companies bearing the family name, expects Cakewalk to inspire awe and respect all the same.
"I think it will surprise a lot of people that feel only the Dutch and Germans can do this," he said. "I wanted to be the first one to demonstrate to the yachting industry that the U.S. shipbuilding capability can produce quality that meets or exceeds the quality standards of the large yachts that are built in Holland and in Germany."
Click here to get the 3D version of the ship.