Feadship’s Barbara Jean - By Diane M. Byrne — August 2002
One Step Beyond
Part 2: Barbara Jean recaptures the essence of the oceangoing Feadships that her owner admired.
When the owner of Barbara Jean began planning the interior, he again used Rasselas as a jumping-off point. As classic-looking inside as she is outside, Rasselas is highlighted by rich mahogany paneling and off-white overheads set apart by dark beams running the length and width of the gathering spaces. That decor was created by John Munford, and the traditional appeal of Barbara Jean's interior also comes from his studio.
Interestingly, the most immediately recognizable similarities also reveal the differences. For example, each yacht features a large compass rose woven into the carpeting in the main entrance. But aboard Barbara Jean the initials B and J are interlaced in the design. The entrance is made even more grand by a staircase flanked by mirrored alcoves in which marble bases support two three-foot-high statues of Poseidon and his wife Amphitrite. Below them, two hand-carved gilded eagles look across the room at one another. And perfectionists, take note: Feadship says that if you draw an invisible line from either side of the doorway to the corresponding side of the staircase's base, they'll line up within millimeters.
Even the familiar use of dark joinery reveals differences. Both yachts feature abundant mahogany, but Barbara Jean additionally incorporates burr madrona and sycamore to outline every panel, adding depth and richness. Upon first glance, the cabinets in the aft corners of the dining room appear to be simply standard stowage for the fine dinnerware. But behind their curved doors, which pick up the design theme of the forward bulkheads (curved to conceal the engine-room air intakes), the cabinets can actually open further at the touch of a button to reveal even more stowage for china.
You can actually feel the rest of the differences. There are molded edges in many areas aboard, and handrails have not only curved endings but also carved sections and carved details along their undersides. While not within arm's reach, there are carved ceiling cornice moldings in all of the areas where guests gather and elaborate carvings above all doorways. There are even more elaborate ceiling cornices in the master stateroom, plus a remarkable headboard featuring a carved leaf and honeysuckle theme, nestling between a double scroll. Even the master bath features intricate woodwork, due to the creation of a recessed sculptured shell that crowns an equally intricately carved wooden alcove. All of these complex details kept the in-house joinermen at De Vries on their toes.
Yet a further difference between Barbara Jean and many of her contemporaries, regardless of whether they're Feadships, is the way stairways are employed. The number are kept to a minimum aboard this 185-footer to preserve the openness of gathering spaces, and those that exist are straight, not curved, with landings. If you've ever tried negotiating a spiral staircase--even a wide one aboard a megayacht--while the vessel was underway in big seas, you can appreciate the idea.
The guests who get to cruise aboard Barbara Jean will certainly appreciate the below-decks stateroom arrangement. The owner requested just four cabins arranged off a central circular lobby instead of the customary five or six for a yacht of this size, thereby ensuring each is commodious. Another room that can serve as an office or day cabin for extra guests as well as a gym lie off the same lobby area. Just as the woodwork above decks is remarkable, there are intricate shell carvings and alcove treatments; the doors to the guest cabins themselves are curved, and, even more impressive, sandwiched within that joinery are steel fire doors to comply with MCA safety regulations.
Like the sculptures of the Greek god and goddess of the sea that stand in her formal entrance, Barbara Jean recaptures the essence of the oceangoing Feadships that her owner admired. The design elements she employs are original in their re-creation and creative in their originality, ensuring there's more than meets the eye aboard this yacht.
Feadship America Phone: (954) 761-1830. Fax: (954) 761-3412. www.feadship.nl.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.