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Luxury Yachts Transformed with Help of BLK360

By lindsay.walker

The Newport Yacht Collaborative Uses BLK360 Scan Data for Improved Interior Fittings 

What makes the Leica BLK360 so valuable for creators of all types is its versatility. We’ve seen how it can help restore architectural gems, virtually recreate Frank Lloyd Wright marvels and even construct Hollywood movie sets. Each of those structures is impressive, but they all involve spaces with right-angle corners and upright walls. What happens when you need to build something incredibly precise, but with practically no straight lines? 

We caught up with members of the Newport Yacht Collaborative in Newport, Rhode Island to answer that question. The Collaborative offers its clients a seamless experience in yacht refits and rebuilds, covering everything from concept through delivery. Their biggest challenge, however, is creating new interior spaces that fit the boat hulls’ curved shapes and limited spaces. 

The Collaborative credits much of its success in overcoming this challenge to using the BLK360. The device’s accurate scans and point clouds allow the design and construction teams to complete their jobs more efficiently, saving everyone time, money, and headaches. 

The Collaborative’s three-step process involves Ashley Reville of CaptureRI, who manages the 3D yacht scan; Ezra Smith of Ezra Smith Design, who concepts and designs the interior packages; and Jim Thompson of J. Thompson Marine Carpentry, who builds and installs the new interiors. 

Saving Time 

For Ezra Smith, incorporating the BLK360 into his design process has transformed his workflow. He imports the point cloud as a mesh into Rhino, where he can then build out highly accurate 3D components using his AutoCAD layout drawings. 

He values using the BLK360 because it makes it easier to design with the unusual materials and measurements. “[We’re] fitting complex shapes into a very complex space—it’s pretty awesome.” 

In addition to saving Smith design time, the new workflow also saves the builders time in execution. “I would design the bunk components in the morning,” Smith recalls. “I would send the drawings off at noon. They would have the pieces built by noon the next day, and they would be in the boat that afternoon—with no trimming, no sawdust, just glued right in and off to the next piece. We were able to basically fabricate and install the whole forward cube of that boat in a few weeks, which was unheard of.” 

Smith shares the interior plans he completed for Contraband, a 93-foot aluminum power yacht, using BLK360’s detailed scans.

Maximizing Space 

Time isn’t the only efficiency gained. The precision of the scans also allows the team to take advantage of space that might have been lost in measurements done by hand. This is particularly important on a boat where space is at a premium. 

“We’re not worried about inches but about quarter inches, eighth inches, to really maximize every available spot,” Jim Johnson explains. Using BLK360’s data, his team can correctly install the interior pieces on the first go, minimizing installation time and maximizing usable space. 

Jim Thompson takes us on a tour of Contraband as it is refit for its owners.

Client Satisfaction 

The Collaborative team cites one more advantage to using the BLK360—pleasing their clients. Says Smith, “I have an incredibly accurate rendering for the owners. We can look at it from any view and put all the surfaces in. We can put whatever type of leather they want to use on the couches, whatever the countertops are going to be, different veneers, different types of wood. We can do it all from one master model now, which is wonderful.” 

The project moves along smoothly and quickly with everyone on the same page. Ashley Reville likes that the scans serve as a “collaborative access point for our designers, builders and clients alike.” Thompson notes how significant the evolution of his team's processes have been: “Compared to the typical techniques we are used to, work with the BLK360 is revelatory.” Smith agrees. “It’s an amazing process. It’s completely changed how we do this stuff. We’re really excited about it.” 

Disclaimer: This article features the Leica BLK360 G1. Explore the expanded capabilities of the latest BLK360 model here.