When a 55-foot boat has a helicopter on the top deck, it’s hard not to lead with that. It’s also difficult not to fixate on the 1,270 square feet of living space and “full-size galley” (read: home kitchen), not to mention the fireplace, hot tub and washer/dryer. But the unique design of this custom build goes well beyond her rare liveaboard luxuries (“regular-size” furniture and appliances) and head-turning accessory vehicles, which have included a VW Golf and a 15-foot Stabicraft tender stowed on the foredeck.
Billed on the owners’ website as “a Jay Benford small ship,” Teddi Bear does seem to further complicate the already murky line between boats and ships. On one hand, the vessel is well under the generally accepted length and tonnage of a “ship.” On the other hand, there’s the helicopter.
With Teddi Bear, Benford’s challenge was to meet two sets of requirements: One owner wanted the interior to feel like a house, not a boat; the other wanted a helicopter pad and room for a fishing tender. The couple was familiar with Benford’s Florida Bay Coaster, an elegant solution to the challenge of designing a boat that could carry a vehicle, and they wanted a custom take on this “personal freighter” concept.
The result is nothing if not striking. From one angle, she’s a workboat—the surprisingly good-looking offspring of a tug and a Washington State ferry perhaps. From another, she’s a spacious, seaworthy houseboat. One thing is clear: This mini-ship has endless possibilities.
9.5 knots (max.) / 7.5 knots (cruising)