The skylounge—the first such full-beam space built by Christensen—looks almost as if it's furnished backwards, with matching curved sofas facing two large sliding-glass doors that lead to the outside deck. Instead of carpeting beneath the sofas, there's teak that's meant to blend into the outdoor space. There are also back-to-back flat-panel TVs in the middle of the sliding doors, so guests inside and out can watch simultaneously. "When he entertains, those sliding doors remain open," Pavlik says of the owner. "The air conditioning is built to work with those doors open, too. It just becomes one big entertaining area."
The sundeck is organized to maximize that same feeling. Sunpads and a hot tub are far forward, with five stools surrounding the tub and its swim-up bar. Amidships to starboard is another bar with seven stools, some of them well in view of the dance platform to port. It's surrounded by L-shape seating that is two-way, meaning guests can look forward or aft while sitting back-to-back. Aft is a long benchseat with still more cocktail tables. People and conversation will flow easily.
Decor in the skylounge—and throughout the yacht—is masculine, with leathered inlays on some walls and backlit, caramel-colored onyx tops on the skylounge bar and counters. There's a silver-leaf recess above the main stairway that features individual glass panels with multicolored lights and a repeating topless mermaid detail. "The skylounge is relatively contemporary," Pavlik says, "but downstairs is raised panels and a more traditional feel. [The owner] gets bored with stuff. He wanted to be able to go to different areas and have different experiences."
One of those experiences is watching the chef at work without actually entering the galley. The wall that separates the formal dining room from the galley contains a panel that lowers at the push of a button to reveal a large, rectangular window. The chef's preparations thus become pre-meal entertainment for the guests. It's an idea the owner liked onboard the 142-foot Christensen Primadonna, which Emerson also oversaw in the yard.
Many of Party Girl's features, though, have never appeared onboard a Christensen. They include a mister system on the top deck to keep guests cool, a vertical windscreen on the top deck, engineer quarters aft for two crew, vertical "destroyer-style" windows in the pilothouse (that give it an incredibly voluminous feel), a hydraulic tender garage, and a Delta-T intake/exhaust system in the engine room.
Party Girl is only the second Christensen to have zero-speed stabilizers, following Lady Joy, which was under construction at the same time but launched first. Party Girl is also just the second Christensen in a decade to have a VIP cabin aft with a sliding pocket door that turns the space into two rooms (the first was the 155-foot Silver Lining). She's also unusual in that she has Caterpillar engines instead of Christensen's more commonly installed MTUs, though the yard has worked with Cats before, according to marketing director John Lance.
One "first" for Christensen caught my attention the minute I stepped onboard: a silver-leaf, recessed ceiling in the pilothouse that matches the one in the main foyer. I noticed it because there was a glare when I stepped toward the bridge instruments beneath the bright, 2 p.m. Caribbean sunshine, and I stuck my foot in my mouth by asking the captain whether the overhead finishing was actually complete. It has a masculine look that borders on industrial in this part of the yacht, and the captain agreed that the material was a decor choice instead of one made for optimal at-sea vision—with the caveat that the vertical pilothouse windows do allow less sunlight in than more common, angled windows.
Most guests won't notice this, as they'll be seated on the comfy leather sofas that surround cocktail tables behind the Stidd helm chairs. Or they'll be relaxing in their cabins, three of which (the master on the main deck, the VIP below decks aft, and the port cabin below decks) have king-size beds.
That's an excellent feature for luring charter clients, which Party Girl is meant to do as part of the fleet at International Yacht Collection, with a weekly base rate of $185,000 for 12 guests with ten crew. "We really want to put a lot of emphasis on it being a world-renowned charter boat," McConville says. "The galley was all done with extra stoves, deep fryers, extra refrigerators, freezers, an extra washer and dryer—all for charter service and guest service. And the sixth stateroom was done to act as a full-beam VIP that is larger than the master. So if you have two couples who want to charter and be treated equally, they'd probably be fighting over both those rooms."
The team in charge of Party Girl took extra time to get every detail the way they wanted it, leading to a total construction period of 41 months, according to McConville. That's longer than her original build plan dictated, at least in part because of what Shear described as "hundreds of change orders."
They, plus Tropical Storm Olga, were a large part of the reason she pulled into St. Barts with so little time to spare before her first charter. As I finished my tour with the upcoming week's clients still watching from the dock, now with their cameras trained excitedly on the yacht, the captain finally eased Party Girl into her slip, right next to another charter yacht called Blind Date whose owners decorated her in honor of their lifetime of love for each other. It occurred to me that Party Girl's owner doesn't sound like the kind of guy who will be going down that path anytime soon, but it does seem that he may have finally found his true love.
His new yacht is borne, as with most winning relationships, from years of commitment by all parties involved.
For more information on Christensen Shipyards, including contact information, click here.
This article originally appeared in the May 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.