Marine’s Machiko — By Diane M. Byrne
Blue Horizon Belle
|Part 2: The owners wanted to ensure that Machiko would be a refuge of peace and quiet.|
While on some yachts husbands have relegated their spouses to the duties of pillow pickers and interior decorators, that wasn’t the case with Machiko’s owners. In fact, since the wife runs an Internet-related business, it was important to her that the yacht be wired with the latest satellite equipment. Starship had been fitted with satcom-A, a reliable yet expensive setup for her needs, so it was replaced with KVH TracNet, a less-expensive method of ensuring broadband Internet access—and one that was not available when the yacht was built. With it, the couple can enjoy 24-hour satellite TV and simultaneously surf the Web. The system’s two antenna domes are also much smaller than the large one Starship was fitted with, dramatically altering the yacht’s profile. (Referring to that dome, MacMahon says, “I told [the husband] I wanted to paint it pink,” then adds with mock incredulousness, “but he didn’t find the humor in that.”)
Because of the pace of their respective jobs, the owners wanted to ensure that Machiko would be a refuge of peace and quiet. With the assistance of Joe and Sam Smullin of Soundown, which manufactures noise-control products and provides technical consultation, Machiko received special attention in the engine room, in the aft house sides (from the windows down to the deck, since this area lies just above part of the engine room), and in the port-side guest stateroom’s aft bulkhead, since it is also the engine room’s forward bulkhead.
As far as safety was concerned, the Halon fire-suppression system that Starship had been fitted with didn’t cover three locations the couple felt were key, these being the lazarette (where dive equipment and a compressor are stowed), the midship main-deck area, and the pilothouse console. Those areas are now protected, and the owners additionally replaced the engine-room’s Halon system with a CO2 system equipped with “a horn that’ll drive your brain out of your head,” as MacMahon puts it, and a mechanism that automatically shuts down the engine and gensets.
Of course, not all of the changes are hidden from plain view. As some of the pictures here show, there are dramatic interior design differences between Starship and Machiko. While Starship was, as described earlier, more of a media lab, Machiko has a wind-down-and-relax atmosphere. For example, in Starship’s honey-tone teak-paneled saloon, the entire port side was occupied by a double-length desk stacked with video equipment, and opposite it sat a large lounge and table that would have looked more at home aboard a commercial ship. MacMahon says “substantial destructive removals” ensued during the refit because all of this “chewed up available space.” Now there’s loose furniture that can be moved as the couple wishes, lighter-tone anigre paneling, and a solid-teak book and knickknack shelf to both sides of the room.
Just as the saloon lounge chewed up space, the lazarette setup did the same. Starship was outfitted with an enormous commercial dive system. Machiko’s owners also like to dive, but they don’t need such an extensive setup so they replaced it with a smaller system. However, they did keep the dive lockers. There are about half a dozen of them, but they’re multipurpose now, with upholstered cushions on top to create more seating.
Below decks, the owner’s stateroom and the starboard guest stateroom remained basically the same, but the port-side guest stateroom changed dramatically. It had served as the editing room for all of the photography and digital video footage that was uploaded to the Starship Web site. Now, the room reflects the couple’s health-conscious lifestyle, complete with a Bowflex home gym and free weights, but could easily serve as an additional stateroom with the removal of the exercise equipment.
“This boat’s been where others [only] dream...and is ready to go again,” MacMahon says. Beyond everything described here, an enormous amount of work went into giving Machiko the self-sufficient and relaxing atmosphere her owners dreamed about. In fact, given the rebuilding, replacing, and upgrading of electrical systems, machinery, and appliances throughout, as well as cosmetic improvements like the rich-looking granite countertops in the galley, it’s safe to say that Machiko, like her alter ego Starship, will still make many a man’s head turn.
Special thanks to The Marine Group Phone: (954) 922-6667. www.marinegroup.com.
Northern Marine Phone: (360) 299-8400. www.northernmarine.com.
This article originally appeared in the June 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.