After cruising Lunasea continuously since her 2017 launch, the owners of the 73 metre Feadship superyacht finally found a moment to invite Risa Merl on board to take a look around...
“This yacht was built to be used,” says John Symond, former owner of the 73-metre Feadship Lunasea (previously named Hasna), designed inside and out by RWD. “We built her to go virtually anywhere in the world, and she stood up to that. In the first two and a half years, we did the equivalent of twice around the globe in distance.
A balcony looks out across the sea. Interior imagery courtesy of Jim Raycroft.
“We [pictured] how we were going to live in each space. We wanted to have everything a family could need, from the big swimming pool to the cinema room to a beautiful spa on the sundeck – and a great galley,” he continues. As soon as Lunasea was launched in 2017, Symond and his wife, Amber, set out on a voyage, travelling through the Mediterranean, South Pacific, Caribbean and up the East Coast of America.
Lunasea became a home from home, and they found they were on the yacht more than at their houses in Australia and London, spending at least half the year on board, along with Amber’s children. When they weren’t cruising on Lunasea, Symond’s adult children made good use of the boat. Since the owners and their family have been busy enjoying her from day one, it’s no surprise that we haven’t had a chance to look on board, until now.
The upper saloon is the main communal area. Its bar is in white statuario marble, the loose furniture is by Holly Hunt and Promemoria, and the flooring is fumed eucalyptus with a Tai Ping silk rug.
The Symonds have owned a slew of yachts, working their way up in size to a 37-metre Benetti. They had it for nine years, but as they could only use it for a month each year, the yacht was also chartered. When Symond sold his business, he knew he’d finally have the freedom to do some long-range cruising. He timed Lunasea's launch to coincide with him officially stepping away from his business in 2017. “I wanted to make up for lost time,” he says.
The Symonds had met designer Justin Redman, of UK design firm RWD, several years before Lunasea's inception, when the couple were originally looking to invest in a refit. “We looked at many nice [brokerage] yachts, but every one had serious flaws,” says Symond. “My wife and I are finicky – we believe in quality and good architecture, and if we can’t afford to do it right, we’d rather not do it at all. I convinced myself that I wouldn’t be 100 per cent happy, nor would Amber, unless we built.”
A lounge space on board Lunasea.
Symond was drawn to Feadship and signed the contract for Lunasea in mid-2014. With hull design by De Voogt Naval Architects, she was built by Royal Van Lent at Feadship’s Kaag Island facility. “We were on the same page when it came to maintaining quality, integrity of the architecture and not cutting corners – we gelled with them,” he says of the Feadship team. “Every time we had a meeting, I felt more and more confident they were serious professionals who take an immense amount of pride in their work.”
Symond briefed RWD to create an exterior that was elegant and timeless with subtle detailing. It should have character without being too shouty. “He had this idea that he wanted to build a Rolls-Royce, not a Mercedes or BMW,” says Charlie Baker, team principal at RWD. Scalloping details on Lunasea's superstructure catch the light and break up the exterior surfaces so they don’t seem fat or bulky. “These surface changes create a highlight – it’s actually quite a sharp line, but when you do it in a subtle way you can’t tell how angular it is,” says Baker. Symond also wanted the mast to be a work of art while hiding all of the technology and ventilation – the wings that hold the domes on the mast were based on the shape of fish tails.
Imagery courtesy of Mike Jones/Waterline Media
The owner also loves the look of stainless steel, which was employed generously on the sliding aft doors, floating staircases and cap rails, the latter of which are an RWD signature. “The floating cap rail and glass bulwarks on Lunasea are some of the biggest we’ve done and weighed a huge amount,” says Baker. “The use of glass on board in general was a challenge. We didn’t want to break up the glass with any mullions.” Swathes of curved glass are found on the bulwarks, exterior stairways and, of course, the eight-metre-long infinity swimming pool on the main deck. The glass pieces for the pool were made three times to ensure perfect fit and stability.
To say the owners were hands-on in the creation of Lunasea would be an understatement. The Symonds met the RWD design team religiously every six weeks, whether it was at their home in Australia or on board their Benetti in Italy. The owners visited the yard more than a dozen times during the build, often bringing family and friends along to see the progress.
Lunasea was built to travel the world as the perfect family yacht.
“It was fantastic to have someone who was so engaged. We’ve attracted owners like that in the past, but no one quite like John,” says Baker. “That was the making of the project for us, to have someone who wanted to be part of everything, who was genuinely so interested with what was going to be on his boat.”
As Symond attests, he and Amber were involved in every square inch of the build. “I wouldn’t even buy a chair without me sitting on it first,” he says, noting that he made mistakes in the past by selecting pieces without trying them out and being disappointed after buying them.
The pool on board Lunasea.
Symond credits his ownership experience for forming the basis of what he wanted on his new boat. Must-haves were generous living spaces, high ceilings and wide doorways to give a sense of space. Also on the wish list was an exterior and underwater lighting plan to make Lunasea sparkle at night. For bespoke tenders, Australian company Vikal created an open chase boat and a nine-metre limo tender, which has electrically descending stairs off the bow. “When you pull into the beach at Saint-Tropez, you don’t have to awkwardly climb over the side,” says Symond.
Lunasea's distinctive layout speaks directly to how the Symonds planned to use her. A formal dining room is found upon entering the main deck, followed by a 10-seat cinema and casual day office, while the galley and owner’s suite are forward. “It might be odd for some people to have a cinema on the main deck, but it’s probably John’s most-used space. He’ll go in there to watch the news in the morning or a movie night with the family,” says Baker. “It’s purposefully designed to feel like a different space from the rest of the boat – the walls are blue velvet, the floor a dark blue Tai Ping carpet. It feels like going into a blue cave, a little hideaway.”
By contrast, Lunasea's other interior living spaces are light and airy. The styling is indicative of the owners’ wishes to create an elegant beach house – relaxed and liveable (but not at all rustic); a space where anyone could feel comfortable. “I wanted the yacht to feel like a home that just happened to be on water,” says Amber Symond. “We didn’t want any ‘themeing’. Rather we wanted a tranquil, restrained feel in decoration, letting the emphasis be on the lines of the yacht, pushing the attention back to the natural beauty of the ocean.”
Amber worked with the design team to choose accent details that became staples of the interior. Leather straps appear to be holding up the mirrors on board, a detail that matches the stitched leather found in the cinema. Bronze is a hallmark as well, with a thin bronze trim along the joinery borders and where the mullions touch the top of windows designed to look like a beautifully dovetailed jewellery box. Walnut, eucalyptus and limed oak tie everything together. Stained walnut flooring runs throughout all the communal living areas, starting in the beach club and extending through the corridors and staircases.
Artwork decorates the master cabin.
A pure white colour scheme sets the owner’s suite apart, with light Loro Piana fabrics on the walls pairing with a silky eucalyptus flooring, chosen as a nod to the owners’ Australian roots. Their suite is filled with interesting materials, such as a wall panel in blue fanned straw marquetry trimmed in bronze that comes into view the moment you step into the cabin. Dyed blue vellum parchment was used in the cabinets opposite the bed and on door fronts. The pure white marble found in the his-and-hers bathrooms comes from two enormous pieces that the designers and the Symonds discovered in Italy.
The walls are limed oak in all four lower deck guest cabins, which are almost identical in styling – including Carrara marble in the bathrooms – except for subtle variations in fabrics. The two VIPs and two convertible twin/doubles have direct access to the stern beach club. There are also two supernumerary rooms for a nanny or teacher, which came in handy when Amber’s children were on the boat for six months. “We were down in Bora Bora, where the kids could do home schooling then get off the boat and swim with sharks and turtles in crystal-clear waters – it was just incredible,” says Symond.
Owner John Symond wanted Lunasea, designed by British studio RWD, to have a timeless, understated look.
Though the main deck forgoes a saloon, there are still plenty of places for the family to gather on board. The upper saloon serves as the main convivial space with a comfortable, window-filled saloon and large bar to port, all opening up to an al fresco dining area seating up to 16 when the table is extended. It’s also a space that Symond gravitated to, writing emails here rather than in the master suite office below.
The sundeck presents another unexpected saloon option. The mid-section of the deck is designed as an indoor/outdoor living room – with an enormous bar – that can be closed off entirely. This space is outfitted more like the interior of a beach house rather than an outdoor patio and can be accessed from the interior staircase, so there’s no need to go outside in inclement weather. Aft on the sundeck are loungers with optional shading, and forward is a spa pool, smaller bar and dining sofa.
Lunasea's sundeck offers an inside/outside wraparound bar.
The Symonds’ intention to spend extended periods on Lunasea influenced how they designed the crew quarters – and crew schedules. The size of the crew cabins was expanded and the styling enhanced. Crew hires were also upped from 20 to 30, so 10 crew could be on rotation. “We’ve had no crew burnout,” says Symond. “I’ve always been a believer that if you take care of your people, they will take care of you.”
Lunasea recently sold, and the Symonds are dreaming of what could come next. Much like its predecessor, a future boat would be based on their real-life needs. Since building Lunasea, Symond has become a grandfather, so his focus is on how to make a yacht even more family friendly, with a playroom and nanny’s cabin adjacent to the kids’ rooms – all of which would be set away from guest cabins to limit disruptions. The Symonds also value privacy, so they would like a dedicated owner’s deck. “The next yacht would probably be at least 10 metres longer, but there are no plans to start building yet,” he says.
Of course, going from 37 to 73 metres was already quite a step up for Symond. “I was fulfilling my dream,” he says. “When we started designing the GA for Lunasea, the boat kept growing. I started at 66 metres, then it went up to 68, then 70, then at 73 I said ‘Stop!’ But everything I wanted, everything I dreamt of, I got.”
This feature is taken from the November 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.