Marilyn Mower steps on board Admiral’s unconventional 55-metre superyacht Geco, discovering the indoor-outdoor lifestyle on offer...
One glance, and this 55-metre yacht serves notice that she has no intention of being a copy or derivative of anything. Geco – and yes, that is how it is spelled, because it is the owner’s nickname and not a bug-eyed lizard – is one of the most recent deliveries by Admiral, part of The Italian Sea Group.
Admiral refers to Geco as the first of its S-Force line but, in reality, she is in a class of one. The yacht started on what was intended to be a 52.9-metre semi-displacement aluminium hull platform, but is so customised for her eventual owner – something that happens often within The Italian Sea Group – that series or no, Geco will remain unique.
The story began when Admiral designed a model it labelled S-Force and attracted a customer who began the project but was unable to see it to completion, according to Michel Chryssicopoulos, global managing partner of IYC. That left the yard in possession of a hull, which at that time featured a typical enclosed stern and a reverse bow.
There is a place for such things; in fact, Admiral has built quite a few yachts with the former and has designs for several models featuring the latter, but The Italian Sea Group founder and CEO Giovanni Costantino thought perhaps this construction needed a tweak. He called Chryssicopoulos, who had brokered nine projects with the builder, to tell him that the hull was available and to solicit his comments about what might make the design more appealing.
“With six cabins, including two that were full beam, the boat was already suitable for the option of charter, but it would need better water access,” says Chryssicopoulos. “We talked about several changes like transforming the bow and opening up the stern. Then I told him I might have a client for the boat if they could make some changes. The CEO became personally involved in the transformation and they made two new renderings.”
The client Chryssicopoulos had in mind, although relatively new to the world of large yachts, is enthusiastic about boating and watersports. A Cypriot national living in Greece, he reached out to IYC’s Athens office in 2017 to ask if Chryssicopoulos would meet him at the Cannes Yachting Festival and help him select a large dayboat. Walking the docks, he quickly saw the attraction of spending more time on the water and decided that he wanted more space.
“He left the show with a brokerage contact for a 2003 Custom Line 112,” says Chryssicopoulos, who admits to still being surprised by the turn of events. Such a departure from a plan could have gone wrong, but the client “absolutely loved it”.
IYC managed the boat, now named Tacos of the Seas, including its refit and charter programme. The following year, the client called to say he wanted “an upgrade”. While the broker worked out the detail of what that upgrade would look like, Costantino’s call came, and the stars aligned. “We knew we wanted to stay under 500 gross tonnes and increase outdoor-living options. The client also wanted to be able to enjoy being close to the water,” Chryssicopoulos says. “With the rendered modifications, we showed him the boat.”
The hallmark of this S-Force project is fresh ideas. “Her DNA has been written starting from a blank page,” says Costantino, and he was not afraid to modify it. “When we had the opportunity to meet in person, I was able to tell [the client] the idea I had in mind for the realisation of this extraordinary yacht.”
The CEO got involved, jumping in to supervise The Italian Sea Group’s in-house design team led by Gian Marco Campanino. What resonated with his client, says Chryssicopoulos, was the yacht’s sinuous low profile, the ability to open up spaces and the fact that he could have a 55-metre custom yacht in 18 months. Although he doesn’t intend to use it himself, the client could also appreciate the potential value of the touch-and-go helipad on the bow and how it contributes to the yacht’s lean look.
“The [design] inspiration came from the automotive world,” Campanino says. “The aim was to translate some of the typical sport supercar features to a yacht design. So dynamism, aerodynamic volumes and sexy curves were the keywords we had in mind from the very beginning. It wasn’t easy to follow that idea because of the big difference of scale and characteristics belonging to such different worlds, but I guess we made it.”
One of the intriguing things about Geco – and there are quite a few – is that it delivers on the helipad, the indoor-outdoor lifestyle and the beach club without relying on mechanised tricks such as folding terraces and platforms. “Mechanical unfolding things are nice and sometimes needed, but in Geco we wanted to keep it simple to be sure that everything worked at any time in any situation,” says Campanino. “I think that simplicity is always a plus, especially when you are building a charter yacht that must be perfect and ready to go all season long."
“Then, apart from these technical issues, we designed the yacht in terms of a full sea-life experience and maximum joy [while staying] on board,” he adds. “Guests must be safe and happy being surrounded by a luxury state-of-the-art environment with no unnecessary complications.
The open-stern beach club is Geco’s signature element, which evolved from a simple swim step into a deep platform reached from the main deck by a pair of cascading teak steps. It is flanked by tinted-glass panels set louvre-style into the hull sides to shield occupants from wind. Laying the teak strips forward to aft for full optical effect seems to lengthen the space even more, while the final touch of bending the wood down to meet the sea emphasises the connection with water that the owner clearly sought. Articulating stairs and a submersible platform roll out from under the deck to facilitate swimming or water sports. Loose furniture and a portable barbecue stores in a space hidden behind the transom door, adjacent to a dayhead and shower. Recessed lighting and a gleaming nameplate give this exposed beach deck a high-glam look.
“We worked a lot in detailing the overall project, searching for freshness and the unconventional to reach a higher level of contemporaneousness and eye-catching design, always keeping the line of good taste and the mission,” says Campanino.
Up from the beach deck are fixed sunpads and then a seating area, like an outdoor living room, under the shade of an alfresco dining deck above. In a departure from more conventional layouts, a formal dining area is the first indoor space, although its curved and sliding floor-to-ceiling glass walls almost make it seem part of the outdoor environment as well. A custom chandelier from Czech crystal specialist Preciosa anchors the space. The main saloon is tucked forward in a more easily darkened and quieter area for watching television or a movie. Staircases to the accommodation below or bridge deck above, plus the portside galley, buffer the living area from the owner’s suite, which is forward on the main deck.
Up a level, and aft of the bridge and captain’s cabin, is the prime guest entertainment area with its enormous 5.5-metre indoor-outdoor bar, a covered outdoor seating area, open-air dining and a sunny lounge. Sliding-glass panels bisect the bar, and when they are retracted it is an uninterrupted counter ideal for wine tastings and aperitivo time, says Campanino. “The interior design flows, creating a huge loft-style entertainment area that is the epicentre of life aboard,” he says. “Here you can catch the mood that reigns on board. Fluidity, easy living, a young vibe is the atmosphere you get there. Geco is definitely a cool yacht.”
The entertainment spaces continue even forward of the bridge. A large sunbed faces the helipad, which sits atop the tender garage and extends beyond the hull sides. When not hosting a chopper, this round platform is often used as a Moroccan-style cocktail area, especially at sunset, or as the perfect place to stargaze. Campanino notes that the helipad is “a bit polarising” but that he would do it again. “They say it is always a must at sunset time,” he says, “full of guests enjoying a drink; at night as well, it’s the perfect place to watch the stars in complete relaxation. Very emotional.”
“We added much of the sundeck structure,” says Chryssicopoulos, speaking of the hardtop that protects the spa tub and exercise equipment. It is beautifully integrated into the mast and electronics arch and mirrors the shape and colour of the main deck fashion plates.
Beyond the fluid and bright exteriors, Costantino calls the yacht’s interior design “refined and striking”. Also created with his input by Admiral’s in-house team, he says it expresses a “super glamorous atmosphere that sees a timeless French allure mixed with more contemporary Italian design.”
The owner did not request many interior changes beyond updating some of the materials selections in consideration of charter usage and adding more storage. “The style was already both luxurious and young, a modern mix of French and Italian to give that international flavour [that is] perfect to suit every kind of guest you may have the pleasure to host,” says Costantino.
The colour palette is warm and reflects what the designer says is the dichotomy between luxury and sport – bleached open-grain white oak is paired with high-gloss Macassar ebony for an unconventional mix of classic and contemporary. Other areas see dark walnut accents on light oak planks – and vice versa – or milled white oak panels decorating walls, alternating with others upholstered in precious fabrics or 3D-printed fake leather.
“Motor yacht Geco represents the frontrunner of the Admiral fleet. Everything is new, from the style of the bow to the revolutionary layout of the stern that features a stunning and never-seen-before kind of beach club,” Costantino sums up. “Geco represents a real one-of-a-kind yacht, made to measure to fulfil any expectations.” Although there’s only one person whose expectations really matter – and she’s certainly fulfilled those.
This feature is taken from the July 2021 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.SHOP NOW