I've never had the urge to pet a yacht the way I'd pet a puppy, but this time I just couldn't help myself.
I was standing in the skylounge of Ability, and there before me was a veritable fur fest: a large animal-skin rug on the floor and about a dozen or so pillows (each the size of a small child) covered with mink, fox, or rabbit, scattered about the settees and chairs. And those seating areas were literal sensations in their own right, some covered with crocodile skin, others with leather.
Each room provided a new sensory experience, and while most sensations centered around fur and plush velvets in rich tones, there was far more to this nearly 178-footer than just luxurious pillows and bed coverings. These, as well as some novel twists on engineering and outfitting, combined to reflect an emphasis on lavishness and wellness—to be exact, peace of mind, physical health, and nourished spirit.
You might think I'm exaggerating the idea of wellness as a theme here. After all, cruising on your own yacht—and a megayacht at that—should automatically enhance peace of mind and buoy the spirit, right? And with the abundance of alfresco areas at your disposal on a yacht this size, serenity at sea should be even more of a guarantee, yes? True on both accounts, but if you're going to build a custom yacht like this, why limit yourself to the same experiences anyone else with a large yacht—even a production one-—enjoys? Ability's owner was heavily involved in the evolution of his yacht, and one of the biggest—and best—examples of how he personalized her is a surprising feature that's located in the master suite: the balcony.
Located to starboard in the bedroom area, the balcony features automatically opening doors that lead to a teak-decked area outfitted with two chairs and a small table. Smoked-glass windows that can lift up and lock overhead provide versatility: Up, they permit the owner to get fresh air while admiring the view; down, they're privacy screens. (Naturally they're down in rough conditions.) While other builders have projects under contract with similar balcony concepts, CRN is the first to launch a yacht with one; but more significant, both Lloyd's Register and MCA tested and approved the construction details. (If those stamps of acceptance don't lend peace of mind to this or even a subsequent owner, nothing will.)
Another personal touch—and one which particularly showcases the emphasis on wellness—lies just off the swim platform, tucked inside to starboard: a sauna. Some people claim saunas help soothe sore, tired muscles, while others believe the increase in blood flow and sweat they create purges toxins; regardless, everyone agrees that a sauna accentuates relaxation and a general sense of well-being.
Mental health has a big impact on physical health, of course, and Ability's owner requested some additional features to further address the latter. As you'd expect on a megayacht, there's a gym, outfitted with equipment from Technogym, a company which has supplied fitness systems for the athletes in recent Olympic and Paralympic Games and whose systems are appearing on an increasing number of yachts. The gym (which also contains the sauna) occupies the entire lazarette, which many owners and even spec builders of yachts in this size range typically reserve for a tender garage and/or gear stowage. (Ability's tender is stowed and launched just forward of here, with an additional tender and PWCs stowed on the foredeck.) Free weights, a bicycle, a stair machine, and Kinesis equipment (bands on pulleys that help improve balance, flexibility, and strength) are all on hand. For an even more intensive workout, a speed bag can be hung when the lazarette is in "beach deck" mode: with the doors to the gym open, transforming the teak-lined swim platform and workout area into one indoor/outdoor spot.
This article originally appeared in the January 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.