Billy Joel’s new commuter

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Following the success of the Shelter Island Runabout, singer/songwriter Billy Joel has again teamed up with Zurn Yacht Design and Coecles Harbor Marine to build the new Shelter Island Commuter, Vendetta. The 57-footer retains the performance of the 38-foot Shelter Island Runabout, while harking back to the age of Long Island Sound commuter boats.

“He was trying to revitalize the old commuter era,” says Marblehead, Mass., designer Douglas Zurn, who worked with Joel on both the Shelter Island Commuter and Runabout projects. Zurn says that Joel came to him with the idea for a commuter boat in 2000, and after the pair tossed around some ideas, design work began in January 2001.

Capt. Gene Pelland has been overseeing the construction of the boat as Joel’s representative, Zurn says, and has been very involved in both the design and building processes.

Coecles Harbor Marine in Shelter Island, N.Y., will assemble and finish the Commuter after taking delivery of the hull, deck and various other parts from North End Composites of Rockland, Maine. The modified-vee hull was built using the SCRIMP resin infusion process to inject vinylester resin into a Kevlar hybrid cloth. The hull is cored with Core-Cell foam.

A gentle sheerline runs from the 40,000-pound yacht’s plumb bow to its torpedo stern. A prominent mast further enhances the Shelter Island Commuter’s classic look. The bridge deck, covered by a hardtop and equipped with Raymarine electronics, seats six on four STIDD Series 500 Low Back chairs and a twin bench seat aft.

Below decks there is a private head compartment forward, while the rest of the interior is open. A settee/bunk, with storage above and outboard, resides on each side of the boat abaft the head compartment. A raised galley on the port side and a dinette to starboard occupy the aft end of the air-conditioned cabin.

The boat will employ twin 1,300-hp MAN diesels coupled to Power-Vent surface-piercing drives to reach a top speed of 60 mph and cruising speeds of about 45 mph. Zurn says this is the same drive system used on the Shelter Island 50, another of his designs. He says the 50-foot lobster yacht, also built by Coecles Harbor, was intended to run at a little better than 57 mph. It reached a top speed of 68 mph while running with low fuel on the Connecticut River, Zurn says.

Peter Needham of Coecles Harbor Marine was comfortable with giving the Shelter Island Commuter “10 percent more speed” by using the surface-piercing drives, Zurn says. The drives are tucked well underneath the hull, according to Zurn.

Joel has homes in Sag Harbor and Oyster Bay, N.Y., on Long Island, and makes frequent trips into New York City. The relatively skinny Shelter Island Commuter should provide a smooth ride in Long Island Sound’s short chop, according to Zurn.

The current plan is for Vendetta, due to be commissioned early this fall, to be a custom one-off boat, but Zurn says there is a chance the Shelter Island Commuter could be made available to the public.

“There’s been some interest in it,” Zurn says, “so [Joel] may decide to tool it up and make a production run of it.”

LOA: 57 feet, 3 inches Beam: 8 feet, 6 inches draft: 4 feet Displacement: 40,000 pounds HULL TYPE: modified-vee fuel capacity: 684 gallons water capacity: 132 gallons ENGINE OPTION: twin diesels PERFORMANCE: 45 mph cruise, 60 mph top ESTIMATED PRICE: $2 million. Coecles Harbor Marine, Shelter Island, N.Y. Phone: (631) 749-0856. www.chmb.netZurn Yacht Design, Marblehead, Mass. Phone: (781) 639-0678. www.zurnyachts.com