Feadship’s Barbara Jean - By Diane M. Byrne — August 2002
One Step Beyond
There's more than meets the eye onboard Barbara Jean.
You could say that Barbara Jean is an original re-creation, drawing inspiration from previous Feadships but still very much a reflection of her owner's tastes. But even that doesn't scratch the surface--literally--of the story of this 185-footer from Feadship's De Vries yard, for it's what you don't see upon first glance that's as important as the things you do.
Having purchased the 125-foot White Rabbit on the brokerage market a few years ago and renaming her Lady Columbo, the owner was familiar with Feadship. He'd also admired the style inside and out of three De Vries deliveries, namely Rasselas, Aurora B, and Iroquois, launched in 1994, 1992, and 1998, respectively. He drew inspiration from all three, but particularly Rasselas, when he approached De Vries to build Barbara Jean.
In working with the yard and De Voogt Naval Architects, which designs most Feadships, the owner conveyed a desire that the aluminum superstructure essentially mimic that of Rasselas, embodying classic appeal while incorporating modern elements like a midship tender placement on the bridge deck. While the original plan was to create a hull about six and a half feet longer than that of Rasselas, with a swim platform featuring a fighting chair, the project grew another eight-plus feet mainly due to the inclusion of two 22-foot Novuranias, which were larger than originally planned. The extra length also resulted in a larger wheelhouse and capacious full-beam master suite forward on the main deck.
Even with the similarities, Barbara Jean breaks new design ground. Her hull and superstructure aren't just longer, they also embody many more curves--softer ones, at that--than the yachts that inspired her, as well as other recent Feadship deliveries. The lines of Barbara Jean significantly taper and arc as they flow aft from the midship engine room; the effect is most noticeable when the yacht is viewed from above, such as from a helicopter or the wing controls. All of this combines with a continuous sheerline to create an elongated appearance.
There's true design innovation when it comes to the sundeck. Even though Barbara Jean's owner liked the superstructure of Rasselas, he didn't want to incorporate her extended sundeck, which was designed to shade the bridge deck's aft portions. Instead, this 185-footer features a clever slide-out panel, constructed of fiberglass and reinforced with carbon fiber for weight savings, to provide shade. It's not the first time Feadship has employed fiberglass: Its masts are typically constructed of FRP for weight savings as well.
Masts are the bane of many a naval architect's existence because the domes and other equipment they support tend to clash with the rest of a yacht's design. While some yards and designers rake the mast to minimize such contrast, Barbara Jean's design and construction teams gave hers a variety of angles and shapes that were difficult to fabricate, even after they lofted the mast using a computer.
Another innovative approach was used for the stern. Since the owner requested a single entrance here, which is centered on Barbara Jean's transom, the design and construction teams had to come up with a way to avoid adding a hatch for a passarelle or creating a drop-down transom, since that would conflict with the owner's desire for installing a fighting chair. The solution: Two of the steps in the staircase fold out via hydraulics so that the passarelle can deploy--no lines detract from the stern's overall appearance.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.