Tj Torrance - Captain of M/Y Acala

Can you tell us something about your yachting career, and your relationship with the owners of Acala? I was fortunate enough to start my yachting career at a young age of 21. I have been working with the family for over 6 years; started off as a Deckhand on a previous boat of theirs and have worked my way up to their now running their new Explorer Vessel. I have been very lucky and traveled to many remote locations throughout the Pacific and Asia with the Family, searching for the most incredible dive sites that the world has to offer. It is such a pleasure working with the Family on these incredible journeys we have done together and I am privileged to have been part of them. I have many memories that will last forever and have to thank them for these.

You have spent 9 months in Ancona following the build and taking care of every single detail of it: can you please explain to future owners of a custom yacht how important is to have an owner representative onsite? Is it 9 month the minimum time needed, or it could be less? Personally, I think 9 months is the perfect amount of time to be on site in Ancona. Having someone on site over looking the build means you will end up with a boat more tailored to how you will use it, and it is very important for both the shipyard and the owner to have someone in between that can make all the small daily decisions that need to be done straight away. I would highly recommend having a Captain at the yard full-time for at least 7 months.

You have been involved since the beginning of the build, looking at plans and specifications and working with the yard on almost a daily basis. What was your impression in the beginning and how this has changed (if it has) during the build? The thing that really impressed me with the yard is the management side of it. I really believe that the yard is being run by very great people who are so passionate and believe in what they are building, so much that there is no limit of what they will do to make sure you are happy with the boat you are building.

We heard that you cruised for 14 hours in a very big storm with winds up to 50 knots and 4 to 4.5 metres waves immediately after the delivery of the vessel. This sounds incredible in an industry where you normally hear: ‘it will take one full season before I can really go for bluewater cruising...’. Can you tell us something about it? Yes, that is correct. We definitely tested the boat to its limits, that’s for sure. I can happily say that CDM have exceeded my expectations on the seaworthiness of the boat and really believe we have a real Explorer Vessel.

Immediately after the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show you left for the first cruise with the owners onboard. Where did you go and what’s your first impression of Acala in full operational mode? We did a one-week trip in the Bahamas. There was not much moving around due to very bad weather but everything went smoothly.

We know you love your beautiful Darwin Class 102, but would you tell us which are the three things of her you like more? First, I think the custom lazarette area that we have turned into a complete dive store is the key on this boat because the owners are very passionate about diving. Second, the spacious engine room; everything is spaced out to allow the maximum room for servicing. Third, is the wheelhouse; it works very well with all the controls in one confined space and lots of room on either side for charts. Having the captain’s cabin behind the wheelhouse is a huge advantage as well.

And now, a Christmas note: If you could ask Santa Claus a gift related to Acala, what you would ask? The only thing I could ask for now, is that, the owners use her as much as they can so they can get the most fun out of this incredible big little boat and take away memories with them that last a life time.



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Vasco Buonpensiere - CdM’s co-founder and CEO
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ON RJ 115

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