Boat International's Books Editor Marilyn Mower reports from on board the recently delivered 82m Blohm & Voss superyachtGraceful in Germany, sharing a preview of her feature on the much-anticipated build, indoor swimming pool and all.
We really can't remember a more convoluted story of a new build than that of the yacht that became Gracefulat Blohm & Voss, or one that better showcases the tenacity of a build captain (Alexander Mozhayskly) and a design firm (H2 Yacht Design) to ensure that the boss gets the boat of his dreams.
There was a lot written about the start of a project for Mozhayskly's owner at Sevmash in Russia several years ago and a lot of misinformation surfacing as dock talk or internet chatter about her status ever since. It was, therefore, exciting to be invited Hamburg, Germany, to see the completed project for The Superyachts book just days before the yacht sailed away. And what a project!
Even though Isabelle Huet, sales manager for Blohm & Voss, had told me Graceful featured an indoor swimming pool, there was nothing in my frame of reference that could prepare me for a 15 metre stainless steel and mosaic tile swimming pool on the main deck, surrounded by teak decking and numerous steamship-style deck loungers and enveloped by floor to ceiling windows.
As advertisers say on TV... But wait, there's more! An hydraulic system — and I use hydraulic in the purest sense of the word meaning water that conveys mechanical force — lifts the glass bottom of the pool to form its cover. Push a button and the white opaque glass floor changes colour, bathing the room in a rainbow of light for a disco or grand ballroom of stunning proportions. But wait, there's more! Turn off the floor, and while the blinds are lowering, a huge movie screen descends from the overhead along with its projector and, voila, it's a cinema!
Graceful took an unlikely path to our list of the World's 100 Largest Yachts; once the project literally ended up on the rocks; once it was nearly abandoned. But through the expertise of a shipyard that in its 135 years has built both the Bismarck and Eclipse, Savarona and A and has refitted both jewel box yachts such as Talitha G and the Queen Mary 2, Graceful emerged as a shiney new custom build with a ready-made history of determination, a classy pedigree and the layout, fabulous finishes and mechanical systems to deliver on her owner's unique vision of what his yacht should be. Look for our feature in The Superyachts and other Boat International publications this fall.