Preview of superyacht Lady Petra

Boat International recently explored the 47m Heesen superyacht Lady Petra in Montenegro.

The 47 metre Lady Petra, owned by Frans Heesen, founder of Heesen Yachts, is the seventh in the award-winning 47 metre full-displacement class that includes Raasta (ex-Elandess), 2008 and Blind Date, 2009.

‘Frans’s boat is pretty unusual among the 47s because at the forward end of the main deck, instead of the conventional owner’s cabin, there is a media/family room,’ says Dickie Bannenberg, co-director of Bannenberg & Rowell, the design studio responsible for the yacht’s interior.

This area gives the youngest of the Heesen clan space for fun, and the senior members the rest of the boat for relaxation. The displaced owner’s suite replaces an upper saloon, making the large aft bridge deck a private terrace.

Exterior space is generous throughout the yacht. There is a large sundeck with a relaxed seating area aft, a wet bar and dining table for 10 amidships, and a spa pool forward. Downstairs, there’s a good-sized main aft deck leading into the saloon and dining saloon (an open plan space).

Forward is a twin cabin with en suite shower and down the central staircase (with stair lift) four more guest cabins lie amidships – two doubles and two twins, all with en suite showers.

Many of these spaces may be conventional in layout, but the Heesens, through Bannenberg & Rowell’s scheme, have made the interior their own. ‘They made it clear they liked what we’d done on Bacarella and Elandess in terms of a contemporary but liveable and approachable interior,’ says Bannenberg. ‘So we proposed a “Dutch industrial” design direction.’

This theme, in part a nod to Heesen’s career in Dutch shipbuilding, incorporates shapes based on industrial equipment and industrial-looking materials. For example all interior cabin doors have vertical steel panels with holes punched in them and the guest bathrooms have rust-effect panels on the floors (in fact a ceramic tile).

‘Throwing around these industrial terms might sound a bit off-putting,’ says Bannenberg. ‘So while that was an underlying design theme, the day-to-day comfort had to be very high.’

The designers therefore made the industrial features ‘punches’ in an otherwise neutral, calming palette. The predominant timber on board is a brushed spruce, which is ‘very pale grey, like washed-out oak’ and in the saloon the sofas are neutrally toned.

The palette is also neutral in the master cabin, with a Champagne velvet bed head and foot, and brushed spruce walls. A lot of thought was given to the owner’s shower room.

‘In the walk-in shower we wanted to use some kind of textural finish which had relevance, a nod towards Frans’s joiner background,’ says Bannenberg. ‘So after hunting, we found 10,000 or so cut-off rounds of timber, which we backlit and encased in glass. It’s a very interesting textural backdrop.’

In terms of the yacht’s performance, Captain Jason Smith says: ‘She’s nice, heavy and responsive. She doesn’t ride bow heavy or stern heavy and you don’t get a lot of pendulum motion.’ With a keel of just under three metres she holds her own in most conditions – the Force 6 or 7 experienced on the North Sea, ‘was a bit bouncy’, but she coped.

Twin MTU 8V 4000 M70 engines, offer 1,160kW each. The top speed is 15.5 knots, with a range of 4,000 nautical miles at her cruising speed of 12 knots – everything the Heesens need.

For the full feature on Lady Petra, including comments from Frans Heesen, see the September issue of Boat International, on sale from 12 August 2012.

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