Love. Life. Liberty. Luxury. Those are the four ‘Ls’ that the owner of the 88 metre Lürssen – delivered in 2013 – had in mind when he commissioned Quattroelle. The words come from a saying of the owner’s mother about the four essentials of existence.
Quattroelle’s length plus her massive beam – 13.8 metres – could have resulted in a yacht that looked like a mini-cruise ship. Thanks to a directive to stay below 3,000GT and determination by the designers to make her look sleek and balanced, Quattroelle is stunning from every angle.
Her profile is a matter of pride for design studio Nuvolari-Lenard, especially so as this yacht is the Venetian company’s first project with Lürssen. The firm also designed the interior, crew uniforms and the two custom Colombo tenders.
While Quattroelle may have been the designers’ first boat with Lürssen, the yard was a known entity to the owner, whose last yacht was the 58.5 metre Capri, launched in 2003. He bought that yacht on the brokerage market when she was barely a year old. Rob Moran of Moran Yacht & Ship was the broker on that deal and he represented the owner on Quattroelle, too, and served as project manager during the build.
The owner, a North American businessman, prefers the Caribbean and wanted lots of outdoor areas to enjoy warm island weather. And several areas for multiple simultaneous activities are a central design element.
Paul Bell is Quattroelle’s build captain. The relationship began in 2000, when the man who would build Quattroelle needed a captain for his Sea Ray. He stepped up to a 24 metre Sunseeker and dreamed about building his own yacht.
At that time, said Bell, his goal was a 40 metre, which soon stretched to 48 metres. "About two years into the Sunseeker he bought Capri. He invited me along to see if I was comfortable running it." From Capri at 1,226GT to Quattroelle at 2,925GT is a big leap. The former has 15 crew; the latter has 28 and offers cabins for a further four personal staff.
The owner wanted something completely his. "The size was based on the 86-metre platform developed at Lürssen, the same hull form as Phoenix 2. All engineering and tank testing had been done, but there was lots of leeway to make it look different," noted Bell. "He was already acquainted with Dan Lenard and Carlo Nuvolari."
In March 2008, he signed a contract for the new boat. And in May 2010, the same year he sold Capri, Lürssen began cutting steel for his new boat. Considering that Quattroelle was handed over in February 2013, it was a quick build.
Bell credited that partially to the two-year design and specification refinement process – driven by the Moran team – and that there were just 16 change orders during the build. One of those was adding an extra frame to the stern to expand the swim platform – which sinks to become a true bathing platform.
Quattroelle stands out for her smooth lines, high bow with sugar-scoop window shapes and reverse angle on the stack. Artistry is evident in the profusion of stainless steel railings with their gleaming caprails.
From a distance, the profile of Quattroelle looks deceptively low – the horizontal bands of dark windows and white superstructure draw out the horizontal planes, fooling the eye. The bulwarks are sensibly higher than the current fashion and the overhanging side decks are wide and give good coverage from the elements. From a quay or tender alongside, however, what stands out is mass.
"Quattroelle’s owner is a real gentleman and a family man. When they get together on the yacht, there can easily be a group of 20," said Moran. "It was very important that they have plenty of room to enjoy being together as well as space to separate for different activities." Indeed, the yacht has a remarkable eight indoor communal areas in various styles for different purposes.
Rather than one cavernous main deck space the saloon is separated from a library area forward by a partition wall, predominantly of glass, while structural elements form a break between the main seating area and an aft gallery where arriving guests are welcomed. The elaborate formal dining room is also separate.
The owner’s deck above is truly that: it could be considered a complete apartment, with three cabins, four bathrooms, dayhead, office, pantry and two outdoor terraces. The clever layout and a series of doors that recess into wall pockets mean the owner can open or exclude sections of this suite to guests. While the master cabin itself is modest in size, it has 180-degree views and a private seating area forward.
The two dressing rooms and his-and-hers en suites make up an area even larger than the cabin. This and two family cabins and a very masculine office fill the deck forward of the lobby, with the owner’s saloon aft.
Again, this area is multi-functional with a TV-viewing alcove forward separated by the bar from a grand seating area facing a Steinway piano. The lightness of this saloon and its variety of uses is one of the elements the owner asked to be repeated from Capri.
On the bridge deck above, the upper saloon opens to a lovely shaded seating area facing the infinity pool and sunpads. A pair of exterior staircases connect this pool deck with the sun deck, featuring a gym, sauna, steam room and spa pool forward overlooking the bow.
From this deck, down all Quattroelle’s five levels to the stern section – which descends into the water for easy boarding of water toys or access for swimmers – the aft decks are open and connected by double sets of stairs.
Quattroelle’s décor defies categorisation. Some spaces signal formality with velvets and elegant trims, while others are more barefoot-friendly with a contemporary, casual approach. According to lead interior designer Valentina Zannier, the woods used range from a dark gloss walnut anchoring the stair columns, to natural teak and a pale sycamore on the bridge deck and even straw marquetry.
Floor timbers in the lobbies and main corridor are patterned to replicate a cross-cut tree, its rings clearly visible. The juxtapositions of elements – gloss and satin woods, and the 13 stones used – create an additional layer of interest. In many places, they have backlit thin sheets of stone to create gentle lighting effects.
Quattroelle owes her performance to a pair of polished ladies in the engine room, which engineer Robert Miller has named Greta and Juliette. Miller, with 27 years as an engineer, was a vital part of the build team, and the engine room and all the technical spaces of the lower and tank deck are text-book perfect.
Moran gave Miller a lot of credit for revising the GAs of the lower deck spaces to maximise functionality. "We’ve got less gross tonnage than Cakewalk (now Aquila) because we’ve optimised the layout," Miller said, comparing his charge to a well-known yacht of the same size.
He also considered the needs of the 27 other souls who make Quattroelle work. Showing me around the crew mess, for example, he proudly points to charging ports, internet access points, reading lights, high-low swivelling tables, and hot water dispensers for making tea at both sinks.
Miller also found room to put two pieces of exercise gear in the air-conditioned bow thruster room, while a treadmill rides along in the starboard steering compartment, which is so large it also has room for a washer and dryer for the beach towels.
Lürssen sales director Michael Breman commented: "Every (Lürssen) build has something new and different. Rob (Moran) referred to this as being based on the 86 metre platform. That’s true, but it is not a platform as other yards would explain it.
"Having the hull designed and tested did save time, but this project came with its own set of specifications. The efficiency was most likely for the workers who found familiarity with installing equipment in some spaces, but this is definitely a custom project."
For some owners, the desire to build a custom yacht starts with the designer, to create a masterpiece of personal expression; for others, like Quattroelle’s owner, the nucleus was the desire to create a piece of portable paradise on which he could spend time with those who mean the most to him. The sweet irony is that in creating one, the owner of Quattroelle also created the other.
All photos courtesy of Klaus Jordan