Carpe Diem sails off to her happily ever after.
Once upon a time, in a land called Gulfport…” began Capt. Ryan Butterwick as he described to me one of the final sea trials of Carpe Diem before she was handed over to her owners.
Returning to the Trinity yard, the 191-footer was fighting 30-knot winds that had begun to kick up in advance of a front. The yacht had been at sea for 24 hours, and despite six-to-ten-footers, she’d hit 21 knots (24 mph) with a comfortable ride.
In the diminishing light, Capt. Butterwick spotted a blue kayak empty and floating off the starboard stern. And so began the crew’s first man-overboard drill.
The strong winds led many onboard to assume the kayak had been blown off a porch, but Butterwick called all hands to the aft deck to look. And soon, the crowd at the transom saw two people clutching another drifting blue kayak approximately two miles upwind. Fortunately, a call in to the Coast Guard yielded a quick response from a marine patrol in a RIB, which collected both the drifting kayakers as well as the second kayak. Butterwick said the incident meant “good karma for Carpe Diem.”
With a veteran team assembled by an experienced owner, this 191-foot Trinity has a pedigree that makes good karma merely an added bonus. She’s currently the third yacht in the owner’s fleet (which includes the 150-foot Trinity Carpe Diem II, available for sale or charter, and the
55-foot sportfisherman Carpe Momentum) and was the culmination of past experiences combined with future expectations. His team included Butterwick, his captain of eight years; Carol Williamson, who had designed the refit of the original Carpe Diem; Nick Wise, the owner’s rep and his go-between; and Kevin Green, his on-site coordinator.
Then there was the yard. Since he owned a Trinity that performed as desired previously, the owner chose to stay with it to build this bigger yacht. “He liked the speed, shallow draft, aluminum hull, and the ride,” said Wise. And by choosing people he had worked with previously, the owner could let each person expand their role. For example, Wise said the new yacht was “a chance to give Carol the opportunity to work from the ground up.”
So, armed with pages of ideas from Architectural Digest and other interior design publications, the owner and Williamson first created a basic design that she describes as “very modern.” “We added more architectural detailing as the design evolved,” she explains.
One thing consistent with the original concept was white onyx, which can be seen in various iterations throughout the yacht but nowhere more impactful than in the contrast between the bar top and the borders around the main-saloon carpet. To the owner it was an important component. It seems that the first piece of onyx chosen for the bar top had too much veining, which clashed with the onyx edging the room. So the team found a new onyx specialist and sent him to Italy to search for some with less veining. The specialist found a slab from Iran that was finished in Carrara, Italy, and had it shipped to the yard by way of Seattle’s Pacific Coast Marble.
To say the owner was focused on the details is an understatement. On the sundeck, the bar stools had the manufacturer’s name etched on them. The name didn’t stay etched long before being removed. In the galley, the exhaust for the range was moved so that it would be invisible. Finally, white caulk—rather than the more common black—separates the teak decking planks.
Throughout the interior, the bold contrast of black and white plays out. There’s the contrast provided by black-and-white photography and also the vintage Parisian lighting fixtures, both from the owner’s private collections.
The result is jaw-dropping. When I stepped into the main saloon, the white furniture and carpets seemed to glow against the black lacquer walls. The chairs of the main saloon are antiques and two of the many that have been reupholstered in modern fabrics.
For a hint of pastel color, just forward on the main deck a full-beam foyer is lined in color portraits of Marilyn Monroe. But the color disappears again in the owner’s cabin. The walls are upholstered in tufted white sateen and the black lacquer returns in the furniture. The bed lies athwartships, facing a sitting area and a large starboard window.
If the lower accommodations deck is more traditional, it at least is more flexible. The full-beam VIP is aft with two cabins forward, one to port and the other to starboard. But the breakout cabin is forward. With a couple of quick door changes, the two cabins—to port a cabin with a queen-size bed and to starboard two twin beds that look remarkably like a settee—become a single VIP. Slide a wall away, lock the door to the port cabin, and you have a luxurious VIP cabin with sitting area.
Each of the five cabins down here has its own look, with different textures creating “different environments but [leading] to a strong design cohesiveness,” explains Williamson.
On the bridge deck, the highlight of the skylounge is an additional onyx bar top. But the exterior dining table is where most of the meals will be taken. “The custom furniture for outdoors was designed to feel like living room furniture,” detailed Williamson. Beginning with a table that mimics the formal dining table to the brightly colored interior fabrics Williamson chose for the sateen accent pillows, hints of interior comfort escape outside. “Several iterations of the color orchid purple can be seen through the boat,” Williamson points out.
I predict that most of the time onboard at anchor will be spent on the beach club. Located at water level and featuring inflatable patio furniture, the large transom area is the perfect place to stretch out after a swim. To make room for such an expansive area, the tenders, a 22-foot Nautica and 23-foot Novurania, were moved to the sundeck, where they are launched via a davit and where they share space with a bar, hot tub, and large forward sunpad. And that black-and-white contrasting luxury reaches all the way up here, thanks to a black-on-white painting displayed behind a protective waterproof glass.
Carpe Diem’s cohesive design and exacting level of detail make it obvious she’s the result of a loving—and detail-oriented—owner. After nearly five years of designs, planning, and construction, she’s finally ready for her happily ever after with a very satisfied owner. After her delivery and with several cruises aboard, there’s only one thing the owner would have changed. Wise explained, “The only thing we’d do differently is get the yacht sooner.”
Carpe Diem is number 47 on America's 100 Largest Yachts 2011
This article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.