Yacht & Company Profiles
Chartering Superyacht "Phoenix"
A 201-foot beauty with myriad irresistible attributes
Jul. 13, 2006 12:15 PM
Even before her 2004 launch, the Lürssen-built Phoenix was being spoken of in reverent tones among the yachting set. Here our writer Scott Rose details this 201-foot beauty’s myriad irresistible attributes.
The megayacht Phoenix is a crowning glory of contemporary Art Deco style. Indeed, her many world-class technical refinements combined with the artistic sophistication
of her design and décor distinguish her as a supreme fulfillment of the spirit of the 1925 event in Paris from which the term Art Deco was derived, L’Exposition Internationale des Art Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes.
Some interpret her name, Phoenix, to stem from her genesis. So exacting was the owner in his technical specifications for the yacht that it seemed no shipyard was going to be able to achieve his vision. Yet the broker Robert Moran, inspired by the potential magnificence of the project, convinced the owner to not throw in the proverbial Frette towel. Lürssen, the venerable builders in Bremen, Germany, accepted the challenge and succeeded brilliantly.
Certainly, the aspect of this awesome craft being revived out of limbo makes of Phoenix a fitting name. Yet the word “phoenix” may also be used in reference to anything that is a paragon of excellence or beauty. It is in this latter sense particularly that M/Y Phoenix is an absolute, unquestionable Phoenix.
Among the owner’s paramount concerns was stability. He had a lifelong yachting culture behind him and had either owned or chartered boats of between 116 and 245 feet. One of his goals was to have built a 201-foot megayacht with maximum stability in whatever situation. Lürssen tested the hull in a trials tank that allowed them to simulate Atlantic, Pacific, and Mediterranean conditions.
Ultimately, a complex of structural elements produced Phoenix’s state-of-the-art stability. Among the relevant factors are the yacht’s hull shape, beam, and weight, placement of equipment and stores, as well as stabilizer fins protruding beyond the 40-foot, 6-inch beam. Moran confirms that compared to yachts of similar size, Phoenix experiences a greater stability, and that enhanced stability is perceptible to passengers.
Of course, man does not live by stability alone. The owner’s other technical requests for Phoenix involved speed, range, 30-day self-sufficient cruising capabilities, minimal noise, and low environmental impact. The finished sea-worthy masterpiece boasts of maximum sound readings in the owner’s suite of 45 dB, a 16-knot top speed, and a 7,000nm range. Additionally, Phoenix can perform 180o turns at 13 knots and emergency stops within 1.5 boat lengths.
The owner engaged Nick Ruiz, an experienced yacht captain, as a very significant consultant in the construction of M/Y Phoenix. Ruiz’s sage advice contributed in weighty measure to the five-star quality of Phoenix’s pilothouse. Finished to aristocratic standards with leather and wood paneling, the pilothouse was outfitted with navigational tools from a who’s who of top-drawer equipment manufacturers, including Raytheon, Erickson, NERA, Furuno, Leica, Sea-space, and SeaTel. Aft of the pilothouse are the first officer’s dedicated office and a radio room with navigation table that can be separated off by means of a soundproof glass partition.
Entering the Phoenix’s main deck by means of the commodious passarelle, guests could well believe that their fantasies of starring in a remake of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ movie “Swing Time” are being realized. The atrium staircase on this megayacht is a jaw-dropping dazzler. A freestanding spiral extending four levels, it features twin stringers as spines and supports, and ebonized timber end pieces. Each step contains fiber optic lighting within, and without is wrapped by hand-woven carpet. Art Deco wave patterns in the polished stainless steel balustrades are nautical elegance personified.
Yacht-wide access is additionally facilitated by a jewel of an elevator. Mirrored walls surround the onyx-and-marble sole, with two spires extending from a corner reflecting into a starburst pattern. The owners and designers researched various period ocean liners and then had etched on each of the elevator’s outer stainless double doors images inspired by those ships of yore: images including a Phoenix, and a grand ocean liner in profile. Those doors open at the wave of a hand. They also illustrate the owner’s concern for keeping guests and crew separate while providing amply for both. The crew-side doors of the elevator only open when the guest side is not being utilized.
Andrew Winch Designs of London were initially contracted to design the Phoenix’s exterior and interior spaces. Many elements of the interior décor were chosen on advice of Dawn Moffitt, a North Carolina–based specialist who had previously worked on residences, yachts, and planes for the owner. The designers worked with a mandate that everything on Phoenix should harmonize with the prevailing Art Deco style, and to be sure, a streamlined, masculine Deco.
To that end, they did extensive research in classic Art Deco, which they combined with the owner’s known appreciation of the work of master French ébéniste Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann to create a unified look throughout the yacht. That look, while entirely original, strongly evokes Ruhlmann’s sumptuous aesthetic, typified by one-of-a-kind luxury articles for upper-crust connoisseurs.
Ms. Moffitt worked full time from 2002 to 2003 bringing the interior decoration of Phoenix together. She says it was “good to be able to source both Europe and the United States.” Traveling between the US, London, Paris, and Italy she found breathtaking velvets, 24-karat gold bath fixtures, the fine leathers on the doors in the staterooms and, in the Carousel du Louvre in the City of Light, a Ruhlmann-influenced chandelier to hang above the cocktail table in the main salon. Of course she made sure that the gold in those bath fixtures matched the gold used in a decorative screen in the owner’s king-sized sleeping area. “Everything, just every last detail was scrutinized to the nth degree,” she says of the creative process that produced Phoenix. Dawn also made multiple visits to Lürssen in Bremen during construction to see the progress being made, advising on such questions as placements of fabrics on the bulkhead, and molding inlays.