MCA also requires fire
doors in stairways and staircases to have steel bases. The idea is that
when all of the fire doors are in place, staircases essentially become
enclosed metal boxes, preventing fire from funneling elsewhere onboard.
The trick comes in ensuring the hallways and stairways remain elegant.
Having performed the task on two previous launches, the Feadship team
camouflaged the automatically deploying fire doors onboard Cakewalk
with the same dark-stained cherry panelling covering her bulkheads. When
the doors are open, guests walk past the painted metal edges none the
wiser. And when they ascend the staircases, particularly the dramatic
one that is the centerpiece of Cakewalk’s main entry, they
have no inkling of what lies beneath the exquisitely crafted cherry-wood
steps and curving green-black metal balustrade.
This main staircase posed a challenge to the construction team as well
as the space-planning, interior design, and decor teams from De Voogt
International, Andrew Winch Designs, and Dalton Designs. The owners wanted
it to wind through all four decks, with spiny metal acanthus leaves comprising
its curvaceous balustrade. The shapes were drawn by hand and then reproduced
in 3-D on a computer, where their curves were “flattened” to
create templates for the construction teams to use when cutting the steel.
Once that was accomplished, the flat steel pieces were welded onto metal
sheets and pushed through rollers to make them curve, following the sweep
of the stairs. Once the curves were removed from the backing sheets, they
were tinted and finished. More hand-cut and -wrought ancathus leaves were
tinted and added to the assemblage. Two and a half years of planning and
design paid off when the balustrade—the last item to go onboard given
its complexity—was installed.
Less complex but equally significant in the minds of the Van Lent team
and the owners was the issue of stability. While Feadship used traditional
approaches like a tested hull design and fin stabilizers to take care
of at-sea motion, it also paid great attention to minimizing movement
at anchor and dockside. Customary features such as bilge keels and improving
vertical weight distribution certainly help lower the center of gravity,
but on Cakewalk Van Lent also employed an antiroll tank. Adapted
from the commercial-boat industry, the tank damps 70 percent of zero-knot
lateral motion, according to Feadship.
Further innovation lies on the foredeck, in the tender bays. The previous
Cakewalk’s tenders were stowed on deck, reducing the amount
of usable space outside and breaking up her lines, something the owners
wanted to prevent on this yacht. Therefore her 26- and 27-foot tenders
are housed in a full-beam bow locker. Custom-built cranes launch them
through hinged hatches in the hull side. For safety the hatches are secured
by giant hydraulic locks, and since the seams are only a fraction of an
inch wide, they’re invisible unless you get up close. Adding to the
complexity of the design, the doors in the sides of the yacht perfectly
follow the flare of the steel hull. The 14-person crew doesn’t have
to use the side decks to access the tender bays; a stairway leads from
their area below straight into the space.
While not technical in the same vein as the tender-deployment system,
the entertainment system onboard Cakewalk is nonetheless a study
in intricacy. Employing equipment that, according to Zinser, has only
recently appeared in the airline industry, it allows guests to choose
from among 75 films and 500 CDs stored on a hard drive. The system permits,
for example, the owners to watch a movie on the pop-up TV in their stateroom
either simultaneously or at a different time than someone in the saloon
selects it for the 50-inch, flat-screen, pop-up TV there. There’s
an entire room below decks housing the satellite receivers and other equipment,
and the yacht has been prewired in anticipation of further developments
in the home-entertainment arena. Even with all of this complexity, the
entertainment system is easy to use, thanks to touchpad controls that
also control the air conditioning and lighting settings.
But all of this high-tech emphasis is not to imply that the owners eschewed
tradition. Rather, they embraced it, especially where Cakewalk’s
lines were concerned. Given the nearly two-year refit of Fiffanella
and the three years of cruising they enjoyed aboard, the couple wanted
what’s commonly referred to as the “Feadship look,” the
timeless, traditional styling made famous by the now-retired naval architect
Frits de Voogt. The owners lured him out of retirement for this project.
The couple also wanted the traditional arrangement for the various staterooms.
The owner’s suite lies forward on the main deck and includes an office/study,
while the six guest suites (each named after a different sea) are below
deck, off a central hallway. Each is outfitted with a double bed, a pullman
berth, and what appears to be a chaise lounge that becomes another bed
when the scroll headboard is removed. The owners wanted these staterooms
to look like “the Orient Express of yachting,” and the elaborate
marble, beautiful woodwork (incorporating various angles and intricate
carvings), and individualized color scheme make them that way.
While Cakewalk’s namesake is a term often used to describe
something that was easily accomplished, that’s hardly the case with
this 204-footer. She’s the most technically and artistically challenging
yacht Feadship has attempted. Happily, all the parties involved, from
the owners and captain to the construction and design teams, believe they
did indeed get the no-compromise yacht they wanted.
Feadship America (954) 761-1830. Fax: (954) 761-3412. www.feadship.nl.
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