But not in the rugged expedition style currently in vogue. Castro and Royal Huisman have created an elegant yacht with timeless looks that will seem perfectly at home in Cannes or Monaco. Her interior, styled by UK-based Dick Young Designs, is paneled in traditional dark Swietania mahogany, with contrasting creams and whites in the upholstery and overheads. “It’s Edwardian with Colonial references,” explains designer Jonathan Rhoades, adding that the entire interior, apart from a set of antique dining chairs, was custom-built in prefinished modules by the shipyard’s carpenters.
The guest accommodation is focused in the aft section of the hull, behind the engine room, and arranged in four en suite cabins—although heavy sliding partitions between the aft pair can open them up to make a comfortable full-beam suite. The forward pair of cabins comprises a double on the port side and a twin with an extra drop-down Pullman berth. The owner sensibly has his cabin forward on the main deck, where it enjoys great views and plenty of light. It is neither large nor ostentatious, but with its big bath, ample stowage compartments, fine detailing, and brass fittings, it successfully combines comfort with a traditional yachting feel. A book of Winslow Homer paintings sat by the bed.
As ever, it’s poking around behind the scenes that reveals the true character and quality of a vessel. The escape hatch in the guest accommodation is a good example: With its sturdy folding ladder(see photo at right), it would be practical and easy to use, more than can be said about some examples I have seen, which seem designed merely to be checked off on an MCA surveyor’s clipboard. Then there is the heavy stern anchor-handling system, a highly complex piece of engineering that is invisible when not in use.
Down in the engine room, chief engineer Ray Adorian, who cut his teeth at Vickers working on nuclear subs for the British navy, was anxious to sing the shipyard’s praises: “They take real pride in their work,” he says. By way of illustration he showed me a T-wrench for use with the top row of valves of the fuel manifold, where there wasn’t room for conventional handles. So that he can’t drop the wrench into the bilges, it’s attached by a wire—and so the wire doesn’t get in his way, it’s weighted and led down a steel tube. “They have a great approach to problem solving,” he adds, somewhat unnecessarily.
In the galley, chef Nicole Johnson, from Portland, Oregon, has another favorite shipyard story. “They asked if there was anything I needed doing,” she recalls. “I mentioned that with full hands it was awkward to pull the trash compactor open. When I came back they said, ‘Try this.’ They’d fitted a handle so I could open it with my foot! And it works. They were just great.”
This article originally appeared in the November 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.