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Peculiar power cat keeps its footing

Rich Guglielma’s boat is an odd-looking duck, but his purpose in building it was noble enough that you can forgive its appearance.

Rich Guglielma’s boat is an odd-looking duck, but his purpose in building it was noble enough that you can forgive its appearance.

As the name suggests, the Stability 60 motoryacht is designed for — stability. Guglielma wanted it to be safe, comfortable and accessible enough that if a skipper, crew or passengers were in wheelchairs, they could have the run of the boat without fear of being pitched on deck in a seaway. Guglielma — a Cape Coral, Fla.-engineer — says it meets all applicable standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“A person in a wheelchair can go out on it, go swimming, get back on the boat and come back in — totally unaided,” he says.

The forward-deck walkaround and passages all through the boat are 36 inches or wider. An elevator lift at the stern brings those with limited mobility safely aboard from the water, a tender or any level dockside. Heads are wheelchair-accessible.

“Everything’s on one level except the pilot station, and we have a lift to bring you up to that,” Guglielma says.

Yet he insists the Stability 60 is not just for the disabled.

“The boat is built to take 5- to 6-foot waves and be comfortable,” Guglielma says. “You’re not going to play billiards [in a head sea], but you won’t have this business of being tossed around with wave acceleration anymore.”

The boat doesn’t slam down off waves, he says. It doesn’t pitch or roll much. That means fewer seasick passengers.

What’s not to like about that, whether you’re in a wheelchair or not? he asks. The yacht’s stability lies in the hull, which also accounts for its resemblance at times to an ugly duckling. The hull is a SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull) — twin submarine-like hulls that are water-ballasted and attached to long struts beneath the boat. In the ocean, the hulls are filled with water so they submerge and provide stability in waves by running below them; in shallower waters like those found just off Florida’s west coast, the hulls ride unballasted and float at the surface, where their sharp entry turns them into wave-piercers.

Unballasted, the 17,000-pound boat draws just 18 inches, and Guglielma says you can run it up onto beaches or sand bars like a gunkholer.

“It was a tricky engineering feat,” he says.

The Stability has an enormous cockpit, ideal for entertaining or taking groups on the water. He says he packed 26 people in the cockpit at one time.

Guglielma, 58, a retired consulting engineer to corporations, assembled a brain trust of what he calls “The Frustrated Retired Engineers of Florida” to invest 25,000 hours over seven years refining the boat. “I got some guys who have really taken a lot of smart pills,” he says.

The hull and superstructure are lightweight epoxy resin and E-glass sandwiched around a Corecell center. “You can cut off the hulls, and the boat will still float,” Guglielma says. It is waterjet-powered with twin 135-hp diesels and has joystick controls for precision handling.

The boat has a top speed of 30 knots and range of about 750 miles, Guglielma says. Newer models will be powered with twin 250 diesels, which should add about 10 knots to its speed, he says. The vessel can be stored in 2 feet of water or on a 20,000-pound, four-post lift.

Guglielma admits the Stability 60 is unusual-looking — it turns heads, and at $699,000 it doesn’t come cheap. But he says the yacht is ideal for organizations that serve the disabled and for trawler cruisers or others who yearn for a really soft ride or can’t climb steps anymore.

“This boat is the ultimate,” he says. “It makes life so easy.”

For more information, e-mail or call (239) 540-0514.