Shooting Star: Scandinavian style at 50 knots
by Tim Thomas
This 38 metre, 50-plus knot carbon flyer Shooting Star has deceptively simple lines, belying the extensive technology that has gone into her design and construction.
‘We were trying to do something fairly simple, not over-styled like some boats in this segment tend to be, so that it would be something timeless incorporating large glazed surfaces to get as much light in as we could, as well as improving vision out.’ says Espen Øino who was brought on board to develop the styling.
But if the acres of glass seen from her exterior give an inkling of her interior style, nothing quite prepares you for the reality. ‘We wanted to really ooze all the qualities associated with Danish design, both classic and contemporary, in order to create a timeless elegance, and that I think we have done,’ enthuses Danish Yachts director Christina Lötter.
Developed from an interior concept by Art-Line, high gloss maple, pale fabrics and leathers and a distinctly understated approach to decoration make Shooting Star unmistakably Scandinavian, yet the most striking feature – aside, of course, from the abundant natural light and the giant opening sunroof in the saloon – is the introduction of dramatic curves and the avoidance of perpendiculars.
The deckhead rolls up toward the sunroof opening; the lateral bulkheads rising from the main stair splay subtly as they reach toward the skylights; the four seats overlooking the bridge console appear caught in the swallowing yawn of a breaking wave. ‘The idea behind the curvature of the interiors,’ Lötter explains, ‘was really to introduce interesting spaces and utilisation of the compartmental structure of the interior. By mixing angular surfaces with curved surfaces you add a layer of interest to the boat. It hasn’t really been done before. Along with the wood, the Italian marble, and the leathers we have used, it is all about creating textures and layers, and if it was all angular it would be too symmetrical. But if it was all curved you would probably feel terribly seasick all the time, so it is a combination of the two.’
This unusual styling might well prove problematic in its realisation even for a standard boat – but for a lightweight carbon flyer like Shooting Star the challenges were considerable. Even before the complex nature of the interior was taken into account, the demands of the design brief were stringent. ‘There was a set weight in the brief which was obviously very low,’ recalls Thomas Foxby-Jacobsen of Nautech Design, a Danish company specialising in the engineering element of interior construction. ‘It was only 75kg per square metre – normally a lightweight interior would be around 125kg per square metre,’ he continues. ‘We had to use composite carbon fibre to get the strength, especially in the curved sections of the bridge area. It was quite a challenge to achieve that while keeping the weight down.’
There is a reason the weight needed to be kept so low – Shooting Star, in her current configuration with twin 16 cylinder MTU diesels, is designed to reach 50 knots at top speed – and that isn’t the hull’s ceiling. ‘We have made space in the engine room for engines of up to 20 cylinders,’ says Michael Pedersen, naval architect at Danish Yachts. ‘But a variety of combinations are possible for larger or smaller diesel engines with or without a gas turbine in the middle depending on what a client wants for cruise and top speeds. The hull has been tank tested all the way up to 65 knots, which we could achieve with the big diesels and the gas turbine, and the hydrodynamics hold up.’
The hull is notable too for its unique design elements – details of which remain secret – which have effectively minimised the hump speed associated with planing hulls, ensuring viable cruise speeds across the range of the hull.
Says her captain, Carl Beve, ‘She is a fun boat to drive, a sports car. She turns like a small tender, and she stops from full ahead in around two boat lengths. She’s very responsive – but then she does have a lot of horses in the stable!’
The design team also added an extra chine in the bow to give more volume forward, and the result is that the lower deck guest accommodation is in the forward part of the hull, with the master suite located up towards the bow. This degree of separation, coupled with superb acoustic insulation, ensures that guests are not disturbed by mechanical noise or vibration, which has been kept exceptionally low throughout. Moreover, the crew mess and galley benefits from the beam of the midships area, making for a distinctly homely space.
For all the curves and Scandinavian styling cues, though, what strikes you most is that single tenet – light. Natural light floods the interior, even on the lower deck, where light wells from the main deck and double height deckheads reach up to skylights creating an immensely airy interior feel. Shooting Star, then, is a masterpiece – an ingenious design expertly realised by a progressive yard, as likely to wow you with her interior styling as she will when the throttles are opened on the high seas.