Aboard Heesen’s latest 50m semi-custom design

Heesen’s 49.8-meter boots are delivered at lightning speed after purchase Except is a case study of how a semi-custom build can turn into a beautiful personal yacht in no time, you know Kate Lardy

Except She is a stunning yacht, with an elegant plumb bow and a lightness to her personal appearance thanks to the large expanses of glass. It’s parked on the corner of the prominent Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is the reason why Heesen Sales Director Thom Conboy’s phone rang recently. But this is not a one-time custom creation. Instead, it’s identical on the outside to the other three Heesens that came before it.

It is safe to say that the Dutch shipyard has managed to contain this market from 50 to 55 meters of yachts practically available on demand. “Our spec-building business model has led Heesen to great success in the past 20 years,” Conboy says.

The back beach platform is large enough to comfortably fit lounge chairs with room to spare

All photos courtesy of David Churchill

Transformer platform adds to the fun by the water

The builder replicates a modern exterior design, popular overall arrangement and a proven mechanical platform to produce precision-engineered, outstandingly livable yachts. But in this super-sized range, no one wants a production yacht. This is where interior designers like Cristiano Gatto come in. The Italian has built a symbiotic relationship with the yard since he worked on the interior of the fully custom yacht I’m crazyDesigned by Gary Grant, the 50m was launched in 2013.

“We started to see that the Italian way and the Dutch way could work together very well. A little bit of my madness with a little bit of its pre-engineered structure of everything is good chemistry. From there, we started working together,” says Gatto, who jokingly calls himself “Mr. 50.” “For many of the 50-meter-high interiors that he worked on with Heesen. He’s lost count, but he thinks he’s about 12 so far.

One of these last fifties is Except, the fourth delivery in the Heesen 50m aluminum FDHF series (Fast Displacement Hull Form), and a perfect example of how a semi-custom platform-built yacht can be. Like the three yachts that preceded it – residenceAnd the Erica And the my second life Except It has exterior design by Omega Architects, hull design by Van Oossanen Naval Architects and interior design by Cristiano Gatto Design. But of these three companies, only Gatto needed to develop a look and feel completely different from the previous versions.

So how does he do that? Mullins says.

On the sundeck, stainless steel tables – which rise and combine to form another outdoor dining area – are a joint effort between Cristiano Gatto Design and Paola Lenti

He explains that any inner vision starts from the outside. “I always create an inner effect that reflects what we have on the outside.” For example, a notable feature in Omega Architects’ exterior design for this series is the floor-to-ceiling glazing that borders the main and upper floors. The wide windows, which are lined with cutouts in the berms, allow for extraordinary views of the interior. So, indoors, Gato began with duels. “Everyone in the series I’m designing has a new Mullion concept,” he says. From this detail a distinctive inner vision is born.

ExceptSimple yet bold concept: arcades you’re not afraid to see and notice with robust architecture, rich materials, and a pleasing eye-catching illusion. Warm Canaletto walnut dominates, trimmed with almost dark black walnut. Topped with downward-facing lights that illuminate the path at night and backed by mirrors that touch the glass, they magnify and multiply those gorgeous views of the sea.

“I was happy when clients said, ‘Do you know what I really like on the inside? Gato says.

In fact, the owners had an immediate meeting of minds with Gatto when they came to the project late in construction. They signed the contract just three months prior to delivery and worked closely with the designer to improve his concept to reflect their tastes. “We immediately had a good feeling for each other. We went to see other things together and were able to set their expectations compared to the standard project,” says Gatto.

ExceptThe entire interior concept started with window screens whose reflective edges reflect the sea

This period was a whirlwind of activity, a race against time. Fortunately, first-time owners and old tenants moved quickly. “We made the major decisions within three days,” says Gatto. “We changed a selection of materials, added some upholstery elements, and then completely redesigned the loose furniture.”

The latter would run Gatto all over Italy, from Milan to Venice. Working with four craft companies, each responsible for one aspect of his original designs, such as an ultra-lightweight lacquer or marble finish, he painted and repainted while testing and prototyping. “That was the fun part. We got to do things I hadn’t done before.

The owners added their character by choosing loose furnishings such as the main salon chaise longue by Promemoria and working with Cristiano Gatto Design on bespoke pieces. These include a sofa upholstered in a Loro Piana fabric, a crack-lacquered coffee table and a dining table that changes color by remote control.

Tables are some of his favorite creations. The unique pieces in the main and upper saloon feature unusual shapes and special finishes. However, it is the lighting inside the main salon dining table and the upper salon coffee table that makes the biggest impression. Embedded inside onyx four millimeters thick, it changes the color of the stone – from pink to purple to blue to green to yellow, and so on.

The overall effect of the owner’s redesign is a warmer feel, achieved by covering some gorgeous painted leather surfaces and panels in Majilite’s Novasuede. Revisiting loose furniture also gave the design “a little less drama,” according to Gateau. The organically shaped pieces come from Italian powers such as Zanotta, B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau and Promemoria, or as in the case of the main and upper salon sofas and tables, custom-designed by Gatto. The owners haven’t changed the walnut joinery and floors, which contrast nicely with the hand-stitched white saddle leather floor tiles that define the salon’s central seating area.

The upper salon is a convenient space with a bar, color-changing coffee table, and game table; It leads to the main outdoor dining area on the upper back deck. Handwoven wool rugs here and throughout the yacht are provided by Luxury Carpet Studio in Milan

“It does not have to look luxurious, nor does it need to look charming; simplicity looks rich. I think it is Except He achieved this result,” says Gatto. The main foyer lends character to the bianco lasa covelano marble floor and walnut floating staircase adorned with a touch of polished stainless steel. ExceptStone, leather and walnut create an elegant interior but aren’t over the top. For example, smooth, patterned leather borders the wall behind the owner’s suite bed, and limestone is infused into the baths and saunas.

Flexstone marble lines the main stair well

“We try not to over-decorate because the seascape should catch your eye as much as possible,” says Gatto. The idea is not to compete with opinion. “Imagine waking up in the morning in the main sitting room; you should feel comfortable, not cold at all, because you want to be fresh and calm. Open the window shade and you’ll see, let’s say, the Bahamas. Nothing between relaxing in your bed and a view of the ocean outside should confuse you. Then during the day, when you are sitting on sofas or armchairs, in a salon and looking at the details of the ceiling or the corridors or whatever, you need to be aware of the richness of the details of the structures but without the excessive glamor that would block your vision.”

The main deck owners cabins have full height windows. The lower deck has a full-beam VIP forward and two single and double picture cabins. Pullman berths in twin cabins increase guest accommodations to 14

However, the success of the project goes beyond its aesthetics, Gatto points out. Each semi-custom delivery allows him and the shipyard to build on their expertise. For example, we make the geometry behind the cabin more perfect. It is very important because, in the end, the quality of interiors is not only about what you see, but I always say that it includes all of our senses – hearing, smell, touch, etc. With the things you see.”

And what you hear should be nothing. Conboy says the yachts in this series, also known as the Nova Class or Nova Plus, are very quiet. Two of the four births, including ExceptNova Plus is considered to have conventional diesel engines with shafts, struts and struts. The other two are in the Nova class; They have hybrid drivetrains with shaft-driven motors, and Conboye says, “They’re nearly silent.”

on me Excepttwin MTU 2000 series M72 V12s, combined with the lightweight aluminum frame and efficient quick-displacement chassis of Van Oossanen, deliver a top speed of 19.5 knots and class-leading fuel efficiency.

“The other thing that is attractive, especially in this part of the world,” says Conboy, speaking from Fort Lauderdale, “is that the draft is 2.1 meters high. So, it’s a great platform to take sailing in shallow waters or to the Bahamas.”

What Captain Nicholas Ruiz loves about the platform is the flexible forward bay on the deck. “I am not limited to a tender garage,” he says. “If I wanted a different bid, let’s say I have a client who says, ‘Let’s go bone fishing this week,’ OK, we’ll lay the flatboat down. Or, ‘Let’s go diving.’ All right, we’ll put on the big rubber duck.” Next to the tenders, there is space left for surfers, kayaks or windsurfs. “It’s almost like an explorer bow.”

Moreover, the thin bay turns into an open-air cinema. What at first glance appears to be a tender cover is the top of an inflatable surface that fills the bay when the tender is emptied. The crew can then set up an Icon Connect monitor and projector and this utilitarian space is now an entertainment area. This concept is perfectly in line with the way owners love their yachting experience. They use the basement gym every day when they’re on board, but they like to spend most of their time outdoors, says yacht’s chief stewardess, Antonia Jokic.

The gym free weight rack cleverly hides the fastener cover

Emphasizes that the surface of the sun is the preferred place for entertainment. It features lounge chairs by Paola Lenti (which furnished all the loose deck furniture and cushions), a large hot tub, a color-changing onyx bar, and two custom coffee tables that rise and merge into one. The owners occasionally use this place for al fresco dinner, although they enjoy most of their meals at the custom table that Gatto designed for the bridge deck.

Closer to the water is a stern platform of gigantic proportions for a yacht of its size. In the center is a transformer platform that rises eight degrees from the deck and lowers into the water. As its name suggests, it can be many things, a long platform for diving boldly or low. Falling below the water line and surrounded by bars, it becomes an ideal place for young children to roam. The captain even suggests that it could be the stage for a DJ setup towering over the deck dance parties.

There is sure to be a lot of fun to be had, and ExceptThe owners get it. According to the crew, since the owners took over, they’ve spent all of their time aboard the ship instead of in the beach-side penthouse.

Conboy describes the specific business model as being win-win for both the builder and the customer. It was a success for ExceptThe owners, who enjoy the lifestyle so much that, as of this writing, have been in discussions with Heesen to build a larger boat.

First published in the July 2022 issue of BOAT International. Send this magazine straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss a problem.

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