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Areti: Lürssen’s 85m tour de force superyacht

Areti’s full-beam decks and profile signal that she has room to host a crowd, or a peloton even. Her owner is a former Olympic cyclist and long-time competitor at the highest levels of road cycling. Now, among other endeavours, he sponsors a world-class team and he likes nothing better than getting his professional riders together to train and to enjoy the sports lifestyle, which does not preclude the occasional beer.

That was the nexus for his recently delivered yacht, complete with convivial bar and beer tap, and why he decided to have it built to the demanding rules of the Passenger Yacht Code (PYC). “He loves to be surrounded by family and friends and, of course, his team,” relates Andrew Winch, whose firm Winch Design created both the exterior styling and the interior design of the 85 metre Areti.

“On his last yacht [a 60.35 metre Trinity, now Mia Elise II], which had the maximum accommodation under MCA, inviting the team meant he often found people sleeping on airbeds or sofas. He wanted more accommodation with this yacht, which is how we came to the PYC notation. It is our third or fourth PYC build and, although it is the shortest one overall, it measures more than 2,800 gross tonnes and allows billeting 22 among the owner, guest and staff quarters and 28 crew.”

Lürssen is well acquainted with the safety-focused PYC, having built 12 yachts compliant with the code. Areti is the smallest yacht built according to the rules to date. “In general, the major challenge based on the large number of passengers was to combine the rules and regulations of the Passenger Yacht Code with the owner’s requirements concerning the design and functionality of the vessel,” says the builder’s spokesperson, Sylke auf dem Graben.

Areti’s keel laying, in February 2015, came after some of the first PYC yachts had finessed the rough edges off the new code, resulting in a few more superyacht-friendly modifications. However, PYC ramped up regulations regarding the embarkation of passengers and escape routes for guests and crew.

The layout of Areti’s main deck alone shows eight escape hatches and four stairways for crew. Add to this such requirements as a mandatory sick bay with an isolated HVAC system, a safety station, a pressurised sea water fire-fighting system and required single cabins for officers, and you have more hurdles than a track and field event.

“The corresponding components, such as the crane beams for launching the liferafts, are located on the aft decks, which are the main social areas for the owners and guests. Therefore, it was essential for us to integrate the equipment as invisibly as possible and to guarantee safe operation at the same time,” Auf dem Graben says.

And, of course, the yacht still has to be the pinnacle of relaxation, a source of calm and a place where nearly two dozen people can find a place to unwind. Which is why Winch Design started with the superyacht spa. “This isn’t your typical girl spa,” says Winch. “It’s a toning spa for athletes. It had to be designed like an important sports facility and it has its own spa manager.”

So what does a toning spa for athletes include? A 5.68 square metre steam room for starters and an eight square metre sauna. These are off a 20 square metre sauna/steam lobby covered in mosaics by Andjelka Radojevic that features a 12 seat spa pool, a full-depth plunge pool chilled to 8˚C and an ice fountain. The sauna comes complete with a selection of birch and eucalyptus twigs for smoking on the small brazier.

Experience showers offer multi-temperature, light, acoustic and aroma settings to simulate a Niagara Falls or a Caribbean storm. On the opposite side of the hull is a hair salon, a massage room and a pair of hydrotherapy showers, including a horizontal Vichy shower that pummels the body with water jets in computer-controlled sequence.

Add to this a 24.65 square metre “wet lounge” with a teak floor that connects the two spaces and features a transom door that opens to the bathing platform and you have a space it would be hard to leave. Windows in the transom door make it a welcoming lounging spot even if the door is closed.

“The idea is that the guys can come back from a ride and go for a swim or relax their muscles in the spa surrounded by everything they need,” Winch says. In the meantime, the support team puts the bikes away in an adjoining dedicated bike and Segway storage room and workshop. Its glass walls framed in stainless steel make it a showcase for the custom equipment. Forward of the spa are four supremely convenient convertible guest cabins that can be arranged with twin or king-size beds.

“What I like about Areti is how calm it is on board,” Winch says. “The owner said ‘no bling’. He wanted a monochromatic palette in soft creams and taupes, and accent colours chosen in concert with paintings curated just for this project by an American art adviser.” In creating the GA, the Winch team also sought to balance spaces that could seat 18 people for a meal with spaces where one or two people could relax. “Everyone needs a place to let the smile come down,” Winch says.

The main deck has one of Areti’s large-scale gathering spots aft, with a handsome curved bar sporting the aforementioned beer tap and copious sofa seating. Glass doors slide away linking this covered outdoor lounge with a formal main deck lounge complete with an auto-play baby grand piano and a beautiful dining room that seats 18.

Winch is proud of the fact that, to serve these guests, the crew can enter the dining room either via a pantry lobby and a unique wine presentation area facing the dining room or from the guest corridor. Either way, a door never opens directly from the pantry to the dining room to spoil the elegance.

Forward of the dining room is the main circulation centre for guests, with a discreet lift and a grand superyacht staircase offset to starboard so that it can feature windows throughout its height. “Staircases are a Winch signature and there is some Winch history in that staircase,” he notes.

Areti's style is what Winch calls American Classic. “It’s not a mansion house style of elegance and it’s not classic European; it’s more a Midwest, nautical style,” he says. “The joinery is makore throughout with a variety of strong architectural mouldings.”

The owner’s previous yachts, a pair of Burgers before the Trinity, informed the selection, although makore is a bit lighter in colour than the traditional American favourite, mahogany.

“Of course, it’s in complete contrast to PYC rules against flammable materials,” Winch says. As part of the creative solution, all of the panelling — the interior was manufactured by subcontractors Vedder and Würzburger — was impregnated with a fire retardant material under high pressure.

The balustrade of the owner’s staircase was designed as a very traditional element, with turned wooden spindles and a complex shaped handrail. With staircases classified as escape routes by PYC and with escape routes having the toughest restriction on flammable materials, solid wood was vetoed for the spindles and handrail.

Working in conjunction with the interior contractor, Winch Design found a way to conform to the rules and keep the look. According to Nick Brosnan, who heads the interiors team for Winch Design and who was project director for Areti, the solution for the spindles was a combination of brass and veneered aluminium tubes.

The handrail is 3D milled foam/fibreglass over a steel core for the necessary rigidity, finished with a faux-wood painted top coat. In other places, a fire retardant plaster is shaped into mouldings and faux-wood painted. Even if you know where to look, it’s difficult to believe the surface isn’t solid timber.

“One of the reasons most of the joinery and bespoke furniture has a matt finish is because gloss lacquer is highly flammable,” Winch notes. Throughout Areti, light and dark Emperador and Botticino marble graces the floor. More than just aesthetically pleasing, stone floors easily meet the rules for non-flammable material requirements for PYC yachts and reduce what is called “fire loading” for interior spaces.

Two guest cabins and a staff cabin are secluded between the main deck entrance lobby and the tender garage and mooring deck forward. Each guest suite has neutral décor but with a unique accent colour — emerald, dandelion, camino, blue, crimson, indigo, lilac and coral — portrayed in scatter cushions and curtains.

As with the previous Areti, there is a full deck dedicated to the owner and his family. Concealed doors allow the two guest cabins aft of the master suite to be included in an owner’s family apartment when the children are on board by linking this hallway with the owner’s suite lobby.

The owner’s wife was concerned about the safety of the children with regard to the staircase. “We mocked up the entire thing so they could make sure there were no sharp corners or places for the children to fall through. That’s one reason for the landings,” Winch says. Tiny dots of escape lighting are hidden at the edge of each step.

There are his and hers dressing rooms and bathrooms, each with its own steam room, and it should be noted that, although we aren’t showing photos of these spaces at the owner’s request, her voluminous dressing room could make a photo essay of its own.

The bedroom is situated forward, surrounded by windows that face a partially covered outdoor lounge with a sofa, eating area and a superyacht spa pool. An overhanging brow and a carefully considered placement of the bridge make this out of sight of crew. The fully certified superyacht helideck, for day or night-time use, is forward and its slightly raised position provides a bit of a wind break for the owner’s outdoor lounge.

Aft of hidden crew circulation and another excellent pantry on this deck is the owner’s lounge, with a games table, a large wet bar and a beautiful seating area on starboard with oversized sofas and chairs. A large flatscreen television is disguised by a specially commissioned seascape by Alexander Creswell.

Elsewhere, televisions — and there are many — hide behind mirrors, drop out of ceilings or rise out of cabinets. Glass upper saloon doors slide open on another covered aft deck with a dining table than can expand to serve 16 people.

The bridge deck above is split about 50/50 between crew and technical spaces, and guest areas. In fact, the bridge itself has two banquettes where guests can observe Areti’s operation. The main staircase terminates in a guest lobby that opens on to a superyacht gym with exercise equipment, wellness balls, weights and yoga gear, as well as fantastic views aft over a bar, 12 person spa pool and sunpads.

While this area is partially covered from the sun, a staircase on port connects to the bona fide superyacht sundeck with chaises, a giant sunpad and a sofa that faces forward, which is the perfect spot to watch from when coming into a harbour.

Areti presents a balanced profile and a homogeneous design aesthetic inside and out, with the exterior areas — directed by Andreas Iseli on the Winch team — matching the interior stride for stride. The layout is very practical for the yacht’s mission and the non-extreme profile is at once timeless and youthful.

First published in the December 2017 edition of Boat International.

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