Heesen Yachts’ 50 metre superyacht Crazy Me was a head-turner and a head-scratcher during a 2013 tour of the Dutch yard. The allure of her unusual exterior design is piqued by the well-founded suspicion that an owner bold enough to commission this exterior may have made equally individual decisions inside. These include ceiling heights so tall they could have reduced them and fitted in another deck, sections of upper saloon superstructure that open hydraulically, and glasswork so complex it prompted innovation at Heesen.
Another highly bespoke aspect is Crazy Me’s custom audio visual system. ‘It’s through the whole boat, but the upper deck aft has become a professional-standard disco,’ says Hans Boerakker, Heesen production director. The pool can be covered to become a dance floor, with a bar and DJ booth nearby. High-spec custom speakers by California Audio Technology are built into the bulwarks. ‘They used it at our trial grounds near Rotterdam and they got complaints from five miles away,’ says Boerakker.
Crazy Me was inspired by a 40-metre penned by Nevada-based designer Gary Grant. The decision to translate this exterior look into a yacht 10 metres longer was a daring one that hints at an experienced and determined owner. But it’s success was down to Heesen. ‘Although a lot of people know us for building platform yachts, what most don’t know is that behind the scenes more than half of our production is custom, one-off boats,’ says Mark Cavendish, Heesen’s sales and marketing driector. ‘Because these are very private they don’t tend to see the light of day. So going far from the conventional is actually quite conventional for us.’
Three black stripes of glass accentuate the yacht’s sweeping lines. Most noticeable are the main deck glazing, which runs from the tip of the bow aft, and the flush upper deck stripe, which wraps around the wheelhouse. Compound curves made these complex studies. ‘If you look at the bridge, for example, the glass is curved in two directions,’ says Boerakker. ‘This meant the windows had to be produced in moulds and also built up in layers of glass, including tints.’ Because flush windows must seamlessly join a faired superstructure, the moulds could only be made once the boat’s surfaces were finished.
‘It has a sculptural influence,’ says Grant of his exterior design for Crazy Me. ‘It’s a form distilled into its essence, but it still incorporates maximum technology and engineering.’ Aerodynamic shapes are in evidence, particularly in the mast, with elements resembling wing sections and air foils. From the foredeck the wheelhouse looks strikingly like the cockpit of an aeroplane – Grant was inspired by the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. He also went to lengths not to break the spell he’d created. ‘We minimised obstructions,’ says Grant. ‘There are no protrusions or rails showing and we have details like retractable navigation lights.’
The 2.2 metre-high windows of the upper saloon curve into what interior designer Cristiano Gatto describes as a cocoon. In the centre is a round of seating facing a large television, while the upper aft deck teak flooring continues inside to connect the areas. Below, the open-plan main saloon and dining has 2.85 metres of headroom and huge windows – it’s an airy space of ballroom-like proportions. Forward is the full-beam master cabin (pictured below) with a dressing room opening onto an en suite bathroom with a central shower. The palette throughout is pale, with bamboo accented with mauves and soft greys.
The upper aft deck pool has spa jets, a current for serious swimmers, a shallow lie-down platform and a glass panel at the bottom. ‘The sun passes through and reflects water down to the main aft deck, so that you feel the connection between the sun and the water,’ says Gatto. On the lower deck there is a small spa, with sauna, steam room and a fold down swim platform.
Engineering and performance
Crazy Me may be all-aluminium, but she carries six tonnes of glass. While seriously high-performance was not in the brief, a top speed of at least 21 knots was. ‘We used a process that goes back 25 years to when we built ultra high-speed vessels like Octopussy,’ says Boerakker of the 38 metre, 53-knot motor yacht built for serial superyacht owner J ohn Staluppi in 1988. ‘We have lightweight methods – honeycomb structures, door construction, we cut out any wood that doesn’t need to be there for strength.’ On sea trials Crazy Me did 22.4 knots and she has a range of 3,200 miles at 12 knots.
Images: Jeff Brown for Superyacht Media/Emilio Bianchi