Pity the yachtsmen and
yard management teams that don’t communicate clearly. Some owners
tell custom yards they want a magnificent stateroom soundproofed to the
hilt to lull them into dreamland, when in reality they want every
room to be whisper-quiet. Others fail to get as involved as they should
in the layout of behind-the-scenes areas like the engine room. While those
owners still end up with workable yachts, the vessels aren’t as exceptional
as they could—and should—be, given their custom nature.
Not so with the 204-foot Cakewalk commissioned by the American
couple that Capt. Bill Zinser works for. In fact, they made it very simple
when they approached Feadship’s Van Lent en Zonen yard about building
the yacht: “We wanted the best of everything,” Zinser says matter-of-factly,
adding, “We told Feadship we wanted them to build its best yacht
That’s quite a tall order, even for Feadship, whose two yards (the
other is De Vries Scheepsbouw) have spent the past five decades constructing
superbly engineered megayachts for a demanding clientele ranging from
heads of state to experienced yacht owners. But the Van Lent team welcomed
the opportunity to incorporate the owners’ innovative and no-compromise
ideas—and brought a few to the table itself.
Having bought the Van Lent-built Fiffanella in the late 1990s,
extensively refitting her and stretching her to 142 feet (she launched
in 1987 at 132'7"), the owners were familiar with the yard’s craftsmanship.
Three years of “trouble-free cruising under every conceivable condition,”
in the words of the husband, convinced them to return to Van Lent to commission
a new, larger project when the yacht, which they had renamed Cakewalk,
couldn’t accommodate their growing family—18 members strong.
The project started out on paper at 187 feet, gradually increasing to
204'5" to make her profile even sleeker.
Obviously the time that had passed since the refit meant that certain
technological innovations could be incorporated, and the fact that she
would measure more than 60 feet larger meant it would be an easier task.
Many of these innovations fall under the requirements of the MCA Code,
governing British-, British-territory-, and now Bahamian-flagged yachts
measuring more than 24 meters (about 78 feet).
One of these safety features is up top, on the expansive sun deck. The
emergency genset is here, indoors—it’s housed behind the doors
that lead to the beginning of the grand spiral staircase as well as an
elevator. MCA requires that it be in a different location than the main
gensets in case of catastrophe. And while not an MCA requirement, a second
safety feature lies aft of the mast. The central sections of the aft bulkwark,
made from lightweight composite, can be removed to permit a helicopter
to land in an emergency.
> Cakewalk continued > Page 1,
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