FLOATING FANTASY

As powerful as a small steamer and loaded with luxury gear, the 'Rhonda III' was tailored to the tastes of Shipbuilding Executive Robert I. Ingalls Jr.
May 05, 1957

The Rugged steel yacht Rhonda III, whose gleaming interior is pictured at right and on the following pages, is the kind of boat you might build if you owned the third largest shipyard in the United States and could, therefore, have your own men make you just about anything you wanted in the way of a luxury vessel. Obviously, this is an opportunity that comes to very few people. But it did come to Robert I. Ingalls Jr., of Birmingham, Ala., who owns 90% of the stock in Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., and who has been "thinking about a yacht since I was about 15, 16 years old."

"My first idea in this boat," said Ingalls, "was to have all the comforts of a small home afloat. I wanted a dining salon separated from the main lounge. I sometimes have 25 people for cocktails, 30 for a buffet, and I knew I was going to want a lot of room. Then I wanted a completely separated afterdeck; I wanted wall-to-wall carpeting, and air-conditioning all through the boat. And I had to have six feet five inches of headroom all over. I'm 6-foot-4, and I didn't want to be cracking my head all the time. I jotted down all my ideas, and I took them to M. Rosenblatt & Son up in New York."

Rosenblatt & Son are naval architects and marine engineers who have built their reputation primarily in ship and small craft design for the Navy, but have also done some fine work on civilian yachts. The elder Rosenblatt took a quick glance through Ingalls' sketches and said, "Look, you'll have to junk these. You don't want a boat. What you want is a small ocean liner."

Then the Rosenblatts set about tailoring a ship to Ingalls' exacting tastes. "This was a question," said the younger Rosenblatt, "of taking a 6-foot 4-inch man in space and designing a boat around him." The boat that the Rosenblatts designed, after some 14,000 man hours of drawing and erasing, was 95 feet 10 inches long, 20 feet 10 inches in the beam, and 5 feet 10 inches draft. The engines agreed upon were two beefy, 490-hp Superior diesels that could push the tremendous weight—roughly 150 tons—which had to be packed into a 90-foot 6 5/8-inch waterline.

With plans in hand, Ingalls got on the phone to find the materials he wanted. "I talked with the president of the U.S. Steel branch in Birmingham," he said. "They made me a special rolling of 3/16 Cor-Ten steel for the hull. Then the Carrier Corporation worked for several months and produced two special, five-ton air-conditioning units. And I got ahold of some of the electronic people to make a TV-hi-fi unit that will play continuously for 10 hours."

With this kind of help and planning, Rhonda could hardly miss; and when she was completed in January of 1955, she was one of the finest yachts built in the U.S. in the past 15 years. Her insides, as these pictures show, are the ultimate in seagoing luxury. Her sailing characteristics are excellent—good stability from the broad bottom and a bow that throws the water well. Her two big engines give her a cruising speed of 12½ knots and a top speed of 14. Five thousand-gallon fuel tanks let her cruise 2,500 miles without refueling. But best of all, she is a pretty boat with no feeling of stubbiness or overcrowding. She is, in short, everything that Bob Ingalls was hoping for when he ordered a yacht.

PHOTO"RHONDA'S" RUGGED STEEL BOW PLOWS THROUGH CHOPPY WATER IN SPEED RUN OFF MIAMI BEACH, FLA. PHOTODINING SALON is richly decorated with upholstered rosewood chairs, mahogany dining table and buffet, original Montague Dawson painting on wall. Open door at right leads into pantry area. PHOTOMAIN SALON (below) measures 18 feet 6 inches by 14 feet 3 inches, has handmade India carpet, TV and hi-fi set with phonograph on gimbals. Passageway (right) connects with dining salon. PHOTOPILOT HOUSE has controls compactly arranged on mahogany counter. Automatic pilot is directly in front of wheel, with twin throttles and reverse controls on either side, radarscope at right. PHOTOGALLEY (below) is made entirely of stainless steel, has 36 cubic feet of refrigeration space. Gas stove with six burners and two ovens sits directly behind ladder leading upward into pantry. PHOTOBOB INGALLS JR. is head of third biggest shipbuilding company in U.S., spends two and a half months each year cruising Gulf Coast and Bahamas aboard Rhonda III.
ILLUSTRATION"RHONDA'S" THREE DECKS have 6-foot 5-inch headroom throughout, are subtly tapered fore and aft to give boat streamlined look. Designed for 14-knot top speed, Rhonda has maximum cruising radius of 2,500 miles at an average speed of 8½ knots, gets good seagoing stability from her 20-foot 10-inch beam despite shallow-draft keel which allows her to cruise Inland Waterway.
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BOAT DECK AND PILOT HOUSE

1 Six-man balsa life raft
2 Shatterproof windows
3 Chart table
4 Binnacle
5 Radarscope
6 Control console
7 Mahogany shelf over passageway
8 Transoceanic portable radio
9 Chair
10 85-watt radiotelephone
11 Settee (engine room hatch beneath)
12 Locker for four 35-gal. gas drums
13 Pitometer (speed, distance indicator)
14 Electro-acoustic Fathometer
15 Stairway to main deck
16 Stairway to main deck
17 Air supply fan for engine room
18 Stack
19 Air-conditioning unit
20 Air-conditioning ducts
21 Fiberglas sailing dinghy
22 Fiberglas owner's launch
23 Boat deck
24 Deck box with cleaning gear
25 Teak handrail
26 Stern light

CUTAWAY VIEW OF MAIN DECK

1 Jackstaff
2 Bowline chocks
3 Bowline bitt
4 Anchor davits with electric winches
5 Hawse pipes
6 Chain stoppers
7 Windlass
8 Auxiliary anchor
9 Teak forecastle deck
10 Steel hatch to crews' quarters
11 Deck boxes (butane gas tanks and firefighting gear inside)
12 Foam rubber settee with removable cushions
13 Formica-topped mahogany buffet
14 Steps to forecastle deck
15 Air-conditioning and heating ducts
16 Spring line cleats
17 Upholstered rosewood dining room chairs
18 Mahogany dining table
19 Wall-to-wall carpet
20 Window
21 Dumbwaiter to galley
22 Stairway to galley and crews' quarters
23 Seven-cubic-foot refrigerator
24 Cleaning gear locker
25 Hot plates
26 Sink and counter
27 Dresser
28 Door and screen door (pantry to main deck)
29 Cocktail bar
30 Pantry
31 Stairway to pilot house
32 Gas locker (four 35-gal. butane gas tanks)
33 Entrance to engine room ladder
34 Stairway to boat deck
35 Doorway to liquor storage
36 Door to raingear locker
37 Deck toilet
38 Lighting switch control and rectifier lockers
39 Door and screen door (main passage to main deck)
40 Door to main passage
41 TV-hi-fi console
42 Wall-to-wall India carpet
43 Easy chair
44 Coffee table
45 Convertible sofa bed
46 Writing desk
47 Lamp
48 Fire-retardant curtain
49 Bar
50 Teak main deck
51 Aluminum stairway to guests' and owner's quarters
52 Open-deck doors
53 Door and screen door (main salon to afterdeck)
54 Afterdeck box and serving bar
55 Afterdeck with hemp matting
56 Rattan lounge chairs
57 Foam rubber settee
58 Teak handrail
59 Stern line bitts
60 Jackstaff

CABIN DECK AND ENGINE ROOM

1 Forepeak (storage for bumpers, fenders, lines, etc.)
2 Watertight steel bulkhead
3 Locker
4 Washbasin
5 Head
6 Crew's washroom
7 Crew's shower
8 Hanging lockers
9 Captain's and chief engineer's quarters
10 Two berths (28 inches by 74 inches each)
11 Crew's quarters
12 Locker
13 Transom berth (28 inches by 74 inches)
14 Two pipe berths (28 inches by 74 inches)
15 Watertight door
16 Crew's mess
17 Mess table
18 Messroom seats (electrical equipment beneath)
19 Cook's and steward's stateroom
20 Two bunks (28 inches by 74 inches)
21 Dresser
22 Galley
23 Dish and condiment lockers
24 Sink and sideboard
25 Air port
26 Galley range (six burners, two ovens)
27 Ladder to pantry
28 Dumbwaiter to pantry
29 36-cubic-foot refrigerator and freezing compartment
30 Door to engine room
31 Engine room
32 12-circuit power panel
33 12-circuit lighting panel
34 Air-conditioning condensor
35 Starting air compressor
36 Five-ton air-conditioning compressor
37 Hand tank for refrigeration fluid
38 Starting air tank for engines
39 Main switchboard
40 Sea-water strainer for port main engine, generator
41 Fresh-water pressure pump
42 Fresh-water pressure tank
43 Sump pump controllers
44 56-hp 30-kw. diesel generator
45 Fresh-water transfer pump
46 Generator
47 Fresh-water transfer pump controller
48 Starting box controls for motor generators
49 Exhaust for main engine
50 Controls for water-heating circulating system
51 Lube oil filter for main engines
52 Heating boiler for air-conditioning, hot water
53 Main battery charging panel
54 Main battery charging panel resistor
55 Fuel oil transfer pump (main engines)
56 Diesel generator lube oil tank
57 Salt-water pressure system controller
58 Salt-water pressure tank
59 Salt-water pressure pump
60 Bilge and general service pump controller
61 Bilge and general service pump
62 Workbench
63 CO[sub 2] cylinders for fire fighting
64 490-hp Superior diesel
65 Starboard and port guest staterooms
66 Guest bed (37 inches by 75 inches)
67 Hassock
68 Chest of drawers and mirror
69 Vanity table and chair
70 Chest of drawers
71 Linen locker
72 Lobby
73 Aluminum stairway to main salon
74 Doorway to steward's cleaning gear locker
75 Guest bathroom
76 Sink
77 Shower
78 Owner's stateroom
79 Bed (39 inches by 79 inches)
80 Wardrobe
81 Armchair
82 Folding ironing board
83 Owner's bathroom
84 Tissue and toiletry locker
85 Fire-retardant curtain
86 Chest of drawers
87 Battery lazarette (30 Exide storage batteries)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)