For owners and designers, the space between the personal and the coldly impersonal is wide and uncertain, but the most successful find a decorative approach that makes a charter yacht feel like an ultra-luxury home-on-sea – and not someone else’s. When the owner of the 55.4 metre superyacht Turquoise bought the 2011-built boat in December last year, the interior was in good nick, but, as one yacht designer put it, “extremely plain”. Comments from charter guests backed this up. “A bit ordinary,” was the general consensus, not the kind of feedback any self-respecting superyacht owner wants to be hearing about his pride and joy, especially when it’s up for hire in an ever more competitive luxury charter yacht market. Turquoise’s Captain Ben Craig-Cameron recalls diplomatically that while the boat had the bones of a great charter yacht, the interior was “definitely not to the owner’s taste”. “But,” he adds, “I think he saw an opportunity.”
The refit plan followed an interior design concept that improved the use of rooms and deck space, creating a more glamorous, yet thoroughly accommodating atmosphere. An outdoor cinema was installed, furniture was repositioned in the saloons to create more intimacy and wonderful dining spaces were created on each deck. “Every good superyacht revolves around eating and drinking,” says the owner. “To this end we built a strong kitchen team and ensured that dining could take place across all three decks. Theatre has been created with the different sets of glassware and crockery and the interiors team try to make each meal on board a memorable experience.”
Having owned luxury hotels and chartered widely, including a 56-metre Perini Navi, the owner had the experience and skills to revamp Turquoise into a top-notch charter boat. “I had experienced time on the original Turquoise (now Double Trouble) and had chartered a sistership to Turquoise, Talisman Maiton (ex-Talisman). I liked the exterior look of the yacht and the layout. The Ed Dubois naval pedigree added weight. She was also extremely quiet and fuel efficient.” The brief was for “seven star service” – enhancing the attractive outdoor spaces and creating a warm and comfortable interior that would work for families as well. “Timeless elegance so that the yacht would not date overnight,” says the owner.
Steel-hulled with an aluminium superstructure, Turquoise was built in 2011 by Proteksan Turquoise in Turkey, 17 years after the first Turquoise was launched for the same client. She was designed by Ed Dubois and had the bones of a great charter yacht with a functional, service-oriented layout. The basic structure was kept, but the treatment changed. In the main saloon, for example, a storage unit by the aft doors grew into an art deco-influenced bar, while further forward an arrangement of coffee tables and footstools created greater intimacy, as well as a visual treat.
With her long, sharp bow and extravagantly swept back radar arch, she perhaps gives the impression of boasting a higher top speed than the 17 knots she’ll do flat out. Turquoise’s external looks are a mix of the purposeful and the luxurious, the working deck space at the bow giving way amidships to acres of private deck space over three levels. An al fresco beach club is found on the top deck, enclosed by solid bulwarks for privacy. The original owner specified a large lazarette that was kept free of tenders and toys, reserved for only diving equipment. Refitted with charter in mind, it is now stuffed with water toys.
“It’s a modern interpretation of art deco,” says Jonny Horsfield of H2 Yacht Design, the British design firm that was brought in to reimagine the on board lifestyle. “We wanted to introduce a lot more contrast, so you have dark macassar wood in high-gloss varnish – really rich and sexy – and stainless steel, which highlights it. There are beiges, whites and greys and only little bits of colour here and there, for example in the main saloon with that petrol blue.” Velvet is used in main saloon upholstery, while suede treated to mimic shagreen covers walls in the owner’s suite. Cream leather panels and mirrors are common throughout, creating a feeling of richness and depth. In terms of layout, a small but important feature is the existence of a main deck VIP suite, guarding against the possibility of any unsightly squabble over the master cabin by the two primary charterers.
The exterior decks have also been reconfigured. The sun deck, which was laid out for sunbathing alone with a large spa pool and sunpads, now features a stylish bar, barbecue and dining area, becoming a far more accommodating place to while away the afternoon at anchor. Snazzy touches include the light colour scheme and the bronze splashes in the glass bar top that shimmer in the sun – typical of the level of detail and thought to be found throughout this redesign.
Engineering and performance
Captain Ben Craig-Cameron joins the owner in complimenting Turquoise on her quietness and fuel economy. “We can be doing 15 knots, and burning 290 litres an hour, whereas with previous yachts I’ve been on, we’ve been doing 14 to 12 knots, burning about 800 litres an hour,” he says. Craig-Cameron also praises the engine room and wheelhouse layout.
Superyacht Turquoise specs
Displacement: 631 tonnes
Engines: 2 x CAT 3512B at 1,500hp each
Speed (max/cruise): 17 knots/14 knots
Range @ 12 knots: 5,500nm
Owner and guests: 12
Classification: LR 100 – A1 – SSC – Yacht Mono, G6, LMC, UMS, MCA LY2 compliant
Builder/year: Proteksan Turquoise/2011
Superyacht_ Turqouise _is available for charter with OCEAN Independence.