Since four guest staterooms is the norm for both custom and semicustom yachts in this size range, experienced owners might naturally wonder how ten friends and/or family—plus the owner him/herself, seven crewmembers, and the captain—could be accommodated in anything other than shoebox-like spaces in 142 feet.
One trick Richmond employs to avoid this is pushing relaxation areas on the main and upper decks to full beam. Some people may argue that side decks are a necessity for crew movement, but since Sun Chaser's owner doesn't mind them cutting through the saloon or skylounge, for example, when necessary, the extra volume gained through their elimination really pays off. It works particularly well in the VIP stateroom, located just aft of the pilothouse, where positioning the bed at a 45-degree angle makes the room feel even larger. And restricting the en suite head to three-quarters of the width of the room aft allowed Richmond and the owner to tuck in a cozy writing/reading table next to it.
Another trick is employed solely for the master stateroom, located forward on the main deck. Richmond's previous launch, the 138-foot Status Quo, featured the suite in the same location, though two feet shorter, partly due to stowage areas beneath the foredeck. Because these stowage spaces were eliminated on Sun Chaser, the suite—including a study/office at its entry, his and her heads forward, and the three oval windows to each side that give the yacht her distinctive profile—gains volume. Eliminating the stowage also permitted the inclusion of an emergency escape hatch from the stateroom, something required by the MCA Code.
As for crew spaces, they're split fore and aft on the lower deck. The engineer's cabin, with an en suite head, is by the engine room, close to a workshop space with everything, including wiring runs, neatly hand-labeled. Two staterooms lie fully forward, both with bunks and separate heads. The captain's cabin, containing an en suite head plus a queen berth with a twin above it, lies opposite the crew mess—though Sun Chaser's owner decided to give his captain the VIP stateroom. (Nice touch.) The Richmond team also included a laundry room down here akin to the size of a guest stateroom's head on some similar-size yachts; there's an extra washer and dryer (plus additional Sub-Zero freezers) in the lazarette.
So what about other rooms and amenities meant to help everyone relax? The foyer outside the guest staterooms contains a convenient two-drawer Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer, should anyone be an early riser or late-night snacker. The wood-soled skylounge has club-like appeal, between the assortment of leather chairs and couches forward to port (with a 42-inch TV that rises up opposite) and a bar complete with backlit bottle stowage aft to starboard. It's easy to imagine quite the crowd gathering and lingering for the evening here amid the sapele pommele mahogany paneling (found throughout the yacht). The crew's job of serving them is made easier by the inclusion of another wine locker (this time containing just reds) and two dishwashers behind the bar, the latter eliminating the need to run below decks to drop off and/or pick up glasses.
But it's the sundeck that stands out most as far as entertainment options are concerned. Nicknamed the "fun deck" by Don Davis, a Texan who owns Richmond Yachts, the open-air spot includes a granite-topped bar and a grill plus a handful of options as to where to enjoy drinks and snacks: at the barstools, at the seat-and-triangular-table combos fully forward, or (a favorite spot for many yachts' guests) in the Jacuzzi, which is shaded by the small hardtop. A Surround Sound system and a plasma TV that swings out from one of the radar arch's supports ensure no one will miss a single moment of the World Series or other big game, and a day head conveniently tucked into the other arch support means no one clad in dripping swimsuits need traipse below decks.
Whether in swimsuits or formal suits, the owner will be about halfway through his Med vacation aboard Sun Chaser by the time you're reading this. What's next? While Richmond is readying another 142-footer (equipped with five staterooms as well) for launch this month, Sun Chaser's owner, a pretty private individual, has kept his plans to himself. But I think it's fair to say he'll ensure his worldwide wanderer keeps the party moving to warm climes. Nothing wrong with a little sol ambition, after all.
For more information on Richmond Yachts, including contact information, click here.
This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.