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Down East, via Turkey

46 Soluna Coupe

Soluna Yachts is a newly established South Florida boatbuilder with a twist — the company manufactures its line of lobster yachts at its own yard in Turkey. The first of these boats to launch is the 46 Soluna Coupe, an enclosed-hardtop express cruiser that company calls “Down-East Retro.”

“What we were trying to do was come up with a ‘retro’ boat — something a little different,” says Soluna Yachts president Wayne Helms.

The Soluna Yachts yard in Tuzla, Turkey, is run by a group of young naval architects and engineers. “I had made a lot of contacts in Turkey,” says Helms, 65, who was a distributor for Turkish boatbuilder Vicem Yachts for several years. “When my contract with Vicem ended, I decided we’d start our own shipyard there.”

Helms describes his Soluna team, which includes a former Vicem lead naval architect, as smart, aggressive and talented. Most of them are in their early 30s, he says.

The 46 Soluna Coupe, which debuted last fall, shows a traditional profile with a gently sweeping sheer line, raised trunk cabin, tumblehome aft and teak on deck. It is expected to compete with other Down East-style cruisers, and it stylistically resembles the Italian-built Mochi Craft Dolphins. The company has 55- and 65-foot versions in development and already has taken an order for the 55. The boats are constructed of E-glass and vinylester resins, and all on-board furniture is cored to save weight.

“The construction is very, very high-tech,” says Helms. “We’re using all the latest materials … The boat is very strong, but also lightweight.” He says the 46 reaches a top speed of about 35 mph with a pair of 440-hp Yanmar diesels.

The layout includes an integrated swim platform, walkthrough transom, an open cockpit with plenty of seating, walkaround side decks, and a fully enclosed saloon and helm area beneath the hardtop. The layout below can be configured two ways, and each includes two staterooms, a galley-down and a head compartment.

One layout places the master stateroom forward, with a centerline island berth and hanging locker; an enclosed head and shower compartment to starboard; an L-shaped galley to port; and a guest stateroom aft with a full berth and hanging locker. The other layout includes the same forward master stateroom, but the head and shower are split, with the head compartment to starboard and the shower to port. Also, the galley is slightly smaller, and the aft stateroom contains twin berths.

The galley comes equipped with a two-burner stove, microwave, refrigerator, stainless steel sink, vent hood and dishwasher. Helms says the first boats built are fully equipped and include electronics, autopilot, leather upholstery, and a vacuum system as standard equipment. Interior woodwork can be done in teak, cherry or mahogany — or whatever wood the owner prefers — and the second boat is being outfitted with twin 480-hp diesels rather than the 440s of the first model.

Soluna Yachts is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where Helms also owns the yacht brokerage firm Monaco Marine Group USA. “But I’ve put all my efforts into the Soluna project since we started it,” he says. “It’s much more time-consuming than I ever dreamed it would be.”


LOA: 46 feet

BEAM: 14 feet

DRAFT: 3 feet, 8 inches

DISPLACEMENT: 29,000 pounds

HULL TYPE: modified-vee


TANKAGE: 422 gallons fuel, 135 gallons water, 70 gallons waste

POWER: twin 440-hp diesels

SPEED: 35 mph top, 30 mph cruise

PRICE: $795,000

CONTACT: Soluna Yachts LLC, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Phone: (954) 462-0116.