by Rebecca Cahilly
When it comes to building a custom yacht, some owners are hands-on because they want to experience the process; others are hands-on because they already understand the process. The 57 metre Lady Linda was a project for the latter type: a couple who used their past boat-building and ownership experience to create something special.
Lady Linda is the second custom Trinity build project for owners Doug and Linda Von Allmen of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but the third Trinity and the fifth large yacht they have owned. Her inspiration came almost on the heels of the delivery of their first Lady Linda, a 47.8 metre yacht also built at Trinity Yachts. That project had been delayed due to Hurricane Katrina, during which time the Von Allmens completed and took delivery of a much larger vessel, the 60 metre Linda Lou (now Lime Light), which they had in the works at the Lürssen shipyard in Germany.
It was immediately apparent that Linda Lou’s 3.48 metre draught would prohibit her from being docked behind the owners’ home on Florida’s Intracoastal Waterway. This was one factor that led to the conception of Lady Linda. The owners envisioned something between the 47.8 metre and the 60 metre in interior and exterior style – a yacht that afforded similar interior space to Linda Lou, but featuring a shallow draught like the 47.8 metre yacht that allowed her not only to be docked in Fort Lauderdale but also to manoeuvre through the owners’ favourite cruising grounds in The Bahamas. So, in 2006, their third custom-build project began.
Doug Von Allmen and UK-based Evan K Marshall were very involved in her exterior styling, which resulted in a breath-taking profile. ‘We love the look of the Lürssen,’ says Linda Von Allmen, ‘so we wanted to fashion this Lady Linda after her.’
The shallow draught necessary for The Bahamas and docking behind the owners’ house was achieved by giving her a wide beam of 10.1 metres, which allowed for just a 2.4-metre draught.
The Von Allmens also specified Lady Linda’s layout and set several parameters into her design learned from years of cruising. Doug already had a working general arrangement plan in place by the time Marshall was brought in to execute the interior design. ‘In many respects there is nothing ground-breaking about this layout,’ says Marshall, ‘but it was very carefully planned. The owners know how they like to use their boats and each space is given much consideration.’
While the layout went through a number of evolutions, Doug Von Allmen had a basic mandate that was adhered to: keep all guest suites equally sized – an important consideration when cruising with friends and a beneficial one for chartering. Thus, four king-sized suites were specified for the lower deck, a spacious master suite incorporating an office was situated forward on the main deck and a sixth smaller suite with a pull-down Murphy Bed was set up as a gym and positioned directly behind the pilothouse on the bridge deck.
Working closely with Linda Von Allmen, Marshall executed an elegant décor around the couple’s space planning. Lady Linda does not adhere to any particular style trend, but is a calculated blend of contemporary and transitional styling with art deco touches. ‘The Von Allmens’ style will always have a certain serenity, a certain understated elegance,’ says Marshall.
One of the most striking features of the yacht is the mural painted on the stairs – a spectacular hand-painted mural based on the Chariot of Aurora art deco relief once installed in the famed luxury French liner SS Normandie. Painted by Florida artist Karen Wagner, the mural was executed in the same bas-relief style of separate panels as the Normandie installation, yet the challenge here was to present the concept vertically, as it ascends from the guest level to the bridge deck.
Exquisite stonework is a focus of the bridge deck level, where marble graces the foyer as an inlay and covers the surfaces of the upper saloon, extending even to the exterior deck area. The upper saloon styling is a bold departure from the rest of the boat. Featuring pearlised lacquer, leather, carpeting sculpted in blues, silvers and cream, a wood floor inlay by Czar Floors and stunning art deco-styled hand-carved panels by Florida-based Ken Salowe, this large area is simply beautiful.
Farther forward, situating the convertible suite/gym behind the pilothouse moved the captain’s quarters to the main deck. This is a good-sized suite and finished to guest standards, but does force the captain to access the bridge via stairs. What the captain does enjoy, however, is a spacious alcove just behind the bridge that is perfect for chart plotting, manual storage and paperwork.
Another layout compromise, specifying four large suites below decks eliminated the room necessary for a well-sized tender garage, so the Von Allmens decided to stow stow the 7m Novurania and the 3.9m rescue tender on the sundeck, where they are launched by a 2.7 tonne davit. Flush-mounted stainless steel inserts allow the tender and toys to be bolted down in a cradle when in transit, and all can be easily removed to make the space a large entertaining area.
The sundeck itself is a fantastic space, reinforced as a touch-and-go helipad and equipped with extra outlets and amps to allow for bands and dancing in the aft section (which is fitted out with disco lights). Doug also saw to it that a full glass windbreak was incorporated forward, sheltering guests while they enjoy the sun from the sofas near the spa pool or take cover from the elements at the covered stand-up bar.
The semi-displacement Lady Linda is a relatively fast boat, capable of a maximum speed of 20 knots thanks to her 3,384hp Caterpillars. Her hull features a spray rail/chine forward that deflects water from running up the hull at speed, yet is high enough to eliminate the slapping of water at anchor. The hard chine fades to a moulded hull aft, which was confirmed by tank testing to be seven per cent more fuel-efficient over a conventional hard-chined hull design at 20 knots and below. This will be Trinity’s standard hull shape for semi-displacement yachts from now on.
In June, the 57 metre Lady Linda gently slid alongside her dock behind the Von Allmens’ Intracoastal home, silent and magnificent. Six years in the making, the project included unforeseen subcontractor delays as a result of the struggling economy, but experienced owners know that such situations come with the territory of building a custom yacht.
‘Is there a sixth boat on the horizon?’ I ask. Linda and Doug look at one another and smile. Prepared for charter, Lady Linda set off for a very busy schedule that would take her to the Mediterranean this summer and the Caribbean for the winter through Burgess. ‘For now, we’re going to enjoy what we have,’ she says.