Installing the RiteAire Marine Marine™ Dehumidification System on One-of-a-Kind 78′ F&S Sportfishing Yacht Big Ben
Over the years, the RiteAire Marine Whole-Boat Dehumidification System has been installed in more than 17 different brands of yachts and commercial vessels ranging up to 130 feet. Word of mouth by owners and captains of these boats has spread that the RiteAire Marine system is a proven solution for lowering humidity and preventing its many negative effects in yacht interiors, including mold growth; bad odors; soggy headliners; damp towels, sheets and carpets, and some even health issues.
Colin Page, the new captain of the cold-molded-wood 78-foot F&S sportfisher Big Ben, had heard good reports about the RiteAire Marine from his fellow sportfishing captains and realized it could have an additional benefit for his boat.
“Wood boats are more susceptible to moisture damage than fiberglass boats,” Capt. Colin said. As a result, Big Ben was scheduled to receive a RiteAire Marine Dehumidification System this May.
The one-of-a-kind, fully custom sportfisher was delivered in 2017 by F&S Boatworks as Special Situation. Flagship of the F&S fleet, it is the first, and so far, the only 78-footer to launch from the Delaware boat builder’s yard. Late last year, the yacht was sold to a new owner who has since renamed it Big Ben.
RiteAire Marine Co-Founder Hector Escardo and his assistant, Mike, installed the RiteAire Marine system onboard Big Ben at the new Willis Marine boatyard in Stuart, Florida, where the yacht was undergoing refit work prior to joining the big-game tournament fishing circuit.
Big Ben is a jewel box of a boat, filled with beautiful, book-matched teak woodwork. Curves are an F&S hallmark and there are very few right angles to be found anywhere in the yacht’s interior. Since this was RiteAire Marine’s first F&S, it presented a new challenge for Hector to determine where to locate the two RiteAire units and the system’s proprietary ductwork on board. After thoroughly examining the boat’s layout and probing into its hidden spaces, he had his answer: Behind the pantry.
“The F&S is a very fast, light boat. All the wood panels are lightweight and honeycombed, which made the installation easier for us. The part of the project that took the longest was working out a custom design for the RiteAire system on board, since this is a unique model we had never seen before,” Hector said.
The F&S 78 has a large pantry behind the bulkhead on the main deck, which is split in two by the companionway. After presenting the plan to Capt. Colin and getting his approval, Hector created a new hatch in the back of the starboard-side pantry and installed one RiteAire unit in the machinery space behind it. The second RiteAire Marine unit is tucked behind the wall of the port-side pantry. Testament to Hector’s cabinetry skills is the fact that he created new access doors, and vents for the RiteAire system that seamlessly match Big Ben’s existing woodwork.
Removing excess humidity from a boat with cold-molded wood construction is a significant benefit. In the cold-molded production process, the wood is coated to protect it from moisture. By reducing the humidity to a normal range of 40 to 50 percent will further reduce the likelihood of future moisture issues with the wood,” said RiteAire Marine Co-Owner Ted Reese.