Crews' views on the best layout for a yacht
A Crew Wish List (continued…)
Crew mess and galley
So far, the elements to be incorporated on the crew-designed yacht might seem relatively straightforward, without having much of a negative impact on guest spaces, but here is where we take the turn.
Aboard nearly every yacht, the crew mess is tucked below decks near the crew cabins. The area, often with none or tiny windows, might feature a small galley, a TV and settee with dining table used for multiple purposes; eating, reading, organizing, ironing, etc…
Aboard the crew-designed yacht, however, a crew mess and separate lounge would be situated not below decks, but on the main deck forward, in the area most commonly claimed by the master suite and bosun’s locker. Can this be done successfully? It was aboard_ Laurel_, which features a crew mess to starboard and a TV lounge to port, both of which are light and bright, thanks to large windows.
‘Situating the crew mess forward on the main deck was a calculated decision,’ says Captain Clarke. ‘This part of the boat is the most uncomfortable and most noisy when underway, and we didn’t like waking the owners when bringing up the anchor or using the bow thruster.’
From here the crew also has access to the bow through the large bosun store and A/C room. Placing a crew lounge or even small office on main deck has security benefits as well, possibly cutting valuable lost time in an emergency.
This is where the squeeze begins to take effect. The crew-designed yacht would also call for the guest staterooms – all of equal size or at least two VIPs – to be on main deck.
What does this mean for the galley, the dining room and/or the main salon? The 44.5m Feadship _Harle _has all of its guest rooms, including the master suite, situated on the main deck. The galley is positioned below decks and service is facilitated via a food lift, and multiple pantries and service areas on the upper decks. The dining room has been eliminated altogether.
The below-decks galley is a no-no on many a crew-designed yachts as the chef and stews argue the galley should be located on the same deck as, and as close as possible to, the main dining area, wherever that may be. Other chefs prefer having a larger space lower in the boat where there is less motion and they are closer to their stores. This, of course, requires a food lift. And so begins the conundrum on how it integrates with the rest of the boat.
While opinions differ on whether an open-style, country kitchen is preferred over a private galley, the consensus is that the galley should have plenty of natural light and should feature a very efficient layout.
Dining and main salon
Opinions are divided on whether to do away with the large main salon and dining room and situate more living space outdoors. Captain Coxon favours the idea; he’s worked on yachts with enormous saloons that were never used. But Captain Lauridsen is not so keen. His dining room is used by his guests, especially those with children and on days when the weather turns bad.
Regardless of where the main dining area is situated, most crew would appreciate the ‘service from afar’ implementation that is found aboard_ Laurel_. Strategically positioned cameras monitor the dining areas throughout the boat and have the ability to zoom in on a guest’s drink or plate, alerting the server as to the status of the meal without the need to hover.
Storage comes into play once again in Laurel’s dining areas. Most efficiently, the china, glassware, coffee cups and cutlery are housed in a dedicated china store just forward of the galley. Plates can be brought from the china store to the galley for plating, returned to the galley to be washed and then easily stowed without entering the guest area.