Liquidity — By
Diane M. Byrne — February 2002
A large yacht is at her best when she's kept on the move. That's the spirit embodied by the 155-foot Christensen Liquidity.
Beefing up this profile, the construction methods Christensen employed closely follow its typical approach and are suited to the type of cruising the owner is doing. Liquidity's hull is more than two and a half inches thick, constructed of double Airex-cored fiberglass. Vinylester and isophthalic resins are also used, and for extra strength, there's Kevlar in the bow and carbon fiber in the mullion structure of the pilothouse. While all Christensen yachts are built under full American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) classification and inspection, Liquidity is the first to receive a certificate of compliance with the safety rules of the MCA Code. This required the installation of things like a fire-resistant steel door to the engine room and fire pumps, located to port in the engine room. On a related note, it's astounding to realize that the fire rating for the engine room is 1,200°F for 45 minutes (remember, this is a fiberglass yacht). Even though ABS permits piping to be concealed behind removable panels, Christensen prefers leaving it exposed for easier access. And even though it's not required by either ABS or MCA, all plumbing was continuously pressure tested throughout construction.
Something else that was well-tested--especially during demonstrations at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show--was the elevator, to port. It's a blessing to be able to move about a large yacht so quickly, especially one with four decks. Clad inside in the same high-gloss black walnut paneling and green marble as the yacht's main-deck foyer, the elevator comfortably fits two adults, although it operates a bit noisily (Christensen says future models will employ more hydraulics to address this). A few safety features are built into its operation. For one, a key is required to open the hatch and door to the shaft on the sun deck, preventing anyone from accidentally falling down the shaft. An alarm sounds up here as well when the elevator is approaching and when the fiberglass hatch that covers its shaft is about to close upon the elevator's descent. A few seconds' delay precedes the hatch's closure, giving the crew time to ensure their hands are clear.
Most impressive, however, is the emergency shut-down feature that I accidentally witnessed at the boat show. I say "accidentally" because yard president Joe Foggia and sales manager Wes Dickman were proudly about to demonstrate the elevator's operation for me while we were standing on the sun deck, when the elevator failed to arrive. Foggia discovered that a cable got caught on a pin in a hinge, automatically halting the elevator's motion. Good to know.
When it comes to other creature comforts, Liquidity has ample areas for relaxation and entertainment. As stated earlier, the owner liked the space planning Christensen had executed, but what he didn't like was the cherry paneling chosen for bulkheads, the installation of which was nearly complete throughout the 155-footer. The yard complied with his request to replace it all with high-gloss black walnut, which is grain-matched and so well fit that Christensen is giving some of the famed Italian yards a run for their money. All the wood was done at Christensen's on-site shop, where craftsmen hand-sanded the panels in between applying the nine coats of varnish that are flawless in appearance--all told, a 14-day process.
The bulkhead forward in the saloon may look like just an ornate showpiece, but it also serves a practical purpose, concealing the 42-inch plasma-screen television and other components of the entertainment system. It also provides concealed stowage for glassware behind backlit stained-glass doors.
A similar approach is used in the master stateroom, where the 42-inch plasma-screen TV and the rest of the entertainment system are hidden behind cabinet doors opposite the king-size four-poster bed (itself noteworthy due to green marble orbs atop each post). Related to this is the way the owner wanted drawers to appear--or rather, not appear. They're all hidden to keep the overall look of the decor neat and clean.
The five guest staterooms--each with a pullman--have the same hidden-drawer approach and fine joinery, but their real attraction is the well-executed marble inlays in the en suite heads. Various combinations of nine marbles are used, all waterjet-cut (making for more precise edges) and some book-matched; the inlays and designs were created by Jeff Homchick of Seattle, who works with many of the world's top yards on similarly spectacular marble work. The most dazzling display is reserved for the VIP stateroom's en suite bath: an elaborate compass rose marble inlay in the shower wall.
While it's not an area where guests would typically be spotted (save for midnight raids of the refrigerator), the galley is notable for its unusual layout. Sinks lie to port just inside the pneumatic doorway leading from the dining room, while the main cooking area is forward and to starboard; a separate pantry forward services the upper deck's wheelhouse and sky lounge.
Despite the busy schedule Liquidity maintained, I couldn't find signs that any of those guests had, say, clandestinely tossed an overnight bag in the stowage compartments beneath the sunbeds or "accidentally" left behind an article of clothing in a stateroom closet--something that the culprit would decide is just too important to live without and therefore require a return trip on the yacht to retrieve it. After all, if anyone ever needed an excuse to become a permanent wanderer, Liquidity was it.
Christensen Shipyards Phone: (360) 695-3238. Fax: (360) 695-4762. www.christensenyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.