Johnson’s Anson Bell — By Diane M. Byrne — November 2002
Safe & Secure
|Part 2: As much as Anson Bell emphasizes safety, so, too, does she emphasize comfort.|
The special emphasis on safety doesn't end there. Three generations of family, some of whom are youngsters, will cruise aboard, so exterior safety gates were custom-constructed to block access to certain areas. One such spot is the set of stairs leading from the upper deck to the main deck, and another is the set of stairs leading down the center of the foredeck to the anchor-handling area on the bow. If any of the kids do happen to reach the bow, however, the large freeing ports are fitted with metal bars, preventing anyone from accidentally slipping through.
As much as Anson Bell emphasizes safety, so, too, does she emphasize comfort. She's fitted with Quantum Marine four-fin stabilizers--impressive for a yacht this size--for comfort in rough seas as well as at-rest stabilization. And while you may not think of navigational equipment as playing a role in providing comfort, it does aboard Anson Bell in that it sets minds at ease. The units are more sophisticated than those typically found on yachts; indeed, some are traditionally found mainly aboard commercial ships. There are two Raytheon X-band radars, which offer greater resolution and detection of smaller targets, as well as a Raytheon S-band radar, which has longer range and is less subject to interference from rain and sea clutter.
Comfort was key from a decor perspective as well. According to Laura Ramsey Engler, design principal of the interior-design firm Ramsey Engler & Associates, the owner was hands-on, eschewing traditional dark-wood paneling and instead selecting light, warm anigré, even discussing the ergonomics of the various seating areas. And like the King of England who enjoyed speaking with an old sailor aboard the HMS Anson, the owner of Anson Bell recognized the importance of attending to the crew's needs, providing them with a larger-than-usual crew area.
Engler also says that the owner and Palmer Johnson wanted the yacht to make a strong statement about the aesthetics and quality of design that can be achieved on this side of the Atlantic. That goal is achieved in particular in the dining area and the upper-deck foyer. A specially commissioned tryptych lies on the forward athwartship bulkhead in the dining room, cleverly concealing stemware stowage. Created by artist Tony Berlant, it's a low-relief, intricate collage of metal, almost woven in appearance. While you'd never know it to look at it, the tryptych is a clever solution to another problem: what to do with the built-out portion of the bulkhead housing plumbing stacks.
Regarding the upper-deck foyer, a literal wall of art that's comprised of copper conceals a pantry. Contemporary and quite striking, it introduces tones ranging from warm brown to cool greens and blues, a departure from the lower decks. According to Engler, the idea arose from the Anson's bell--it was a way to incorporate its elements of style and design.
Speaking of that bell, the niche that was created to showcase it is a resplendent combination of etched glass and various dark and light woods. The story of the HMS Anson is inscribed in the glass, and a wood arch that curves behind and above it, replicating ship "ribs," houses lighting to draw more attention to it.
There are some similarly innovative and functional design solutions elsewhere onboard. For example, the aft deck is really more of "an outdoor living room," to use Engler's words. Sliding glass panels can enclose the area, and air-conditioning can be pumped in. At night, illumination comes courtesy of a virtual constellation of stars created by fiber-optic lights fitted into high-gloss, automotive-finish, curved panels overhead. So, too, are the stair rails illuminated--functional and artistic without being glitzy.
In the four guest staterooms--two twins, two full, all with seating areas--beds are athwartships, making the rooms feel bigger. The two twin staterooms also have Pullmans. All are equipped with plasma-screen televisions, as are the master stateroom and the saloon, the latter featuring not one but two of these televisions for the ultimate in enjoyment. Grand total: nine plasma-screen televisions, fed by a central entertainment system.
The team effort, which included the owner's broker/build consultant, Chuck Irwin, has resulted in one of the safest yachts around. And just as the story of the HMS Anson played a large role in inspiring the standards set by Anson Bell, perhaps this 156-footer will serve as the inspiration for other safety-conscious yacht owners.
Palmer Johnson Phone: (920) 743-4412. Fax: (920) 743-1190. www.palmerjohnson.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.