The decision was made to have Graceful completed by Blohm+Voss because she has unique, complex equipment and design characteristics. Unlike most superyachts designed for cruising the warm waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, Graceful is built for voyages to predominantly cooler climates. Instead of beach areas and sun decks, she has welcoming guest amenities within the yacht. Along with the large indoor pool and generous lounging and dining spaces, she offers impressively sizable owner and guest accommodation. The duplex master suite extends over the main and lower deck and there are two VIP suites and three guest cabins.
Graceful has a folding balcony to provide direct sea access from the owner’s duplex suite to the sea. Her 15m pool – unusually large for an 82m vessel – transforms into a dance floor.
Michael Leach Design, the UK practice responsible for both the exterior and interior design, called on its car styling background to create the yacht’s organic lines. Any protruding fixture would obviously compromise such smooth natural contours, so Blohm+Voss engineers avoided the need for visible hinges to the shell doors and bulwark hatches. The tender garage doors are in three sections – a half-height door in line with the profile and upper and lower doors recessed about one metre inboard. To further protect Palladium’s sleek organic profile, the bridge wing stations swing out through a full 90-degree arc when required, and then hide away after use.
Aesthetics and technology came together to deliver Palladium’s organic design concept. Preserving the yachts smooth, uncluttered contours, functional fixtures such as shell-door hinges and handles were replaced by sophisticated hidden mechanisms.
The partnership of arguably the world’s most famous and prolific designer, together with the technical expertise of yacht designer Martin Francis and the engineers at Blohm+Voss, was an inspired piece of matchmaking. Just as Starck’s ‘inversed hull’ concept broke the rules of yacht design, our long experience of maritime engineering has taught us that rules can be obeyed in imaginative ways. Life rafts, for instance, are mandatory yet no rule states that they cannot be hidden away within the ship’s bulwarks. Bridge wings are an essential safety feature, yet no rule lays down that they cannot be replaced by cameras. Philippe Starck describes the result as “The elegance of the rigour of engineering”.
Normally, swimmers must choose between the sea and the static water of a pool. Not onboard A, as we built a pool with an active current, and another with a glass window in the floor so it can be viewed from the discotheque below.
Working with Tim Heywood on the exterior design and Terence Disdale on the interiors, we overcame many engineering challenges to introduce a series of innovative features. These include a tender garage with doors that seamlessly merge into the hull and glass sliding doors that disappear to create an unencumbered route between deck and saloon. Drawing on our experience building large naval ships and cruise liners, we are able to achieve the vision of yacht designers while delivering vessels that perform perfectly at sea. With a crew of 24, Mayan Queen lV has luxurious accommodation, including an owner’s suite and VIP guest suite, for 16 people.
The VIP suite has an ‘invisible’ balcony. A balcony platform slides out from the superstructure when needed, preserving the yacht’s sleek lines and demonstrating how B+V engineers deliver seemingly contradictory solutions without compromising either one.
When yacht designer Martin Francis was commissioned to design Eco, we were asked to join the design development team on the basis of our experience with high-speed vessels. The team’s calculations showed that the radical hull design incorporating a hydrofoil would require 25,000hp to achieve a top speed of 38 knots. This could be provided by two 5,000hp diesel engines driving steerable water jets for regular cruising at 18 to 20 knots and a centrally positioned 18,500hp gas turbine engine driving a fixed water jet to reach a maximum speed of 32 knots. Following a two-and-a-half-year build, the final sea trials proved that the owner’s brief and the team’s aspirations had been met.
Working with our design development partners, we calculated that two 5,000hp diesel engines driving steerable water jets plus one 18,500hp gas turbine engine driving a fixed water jet would achieve the owner’s desired top speed, a record-breaking 38 knots.
As naval architect and shipbuilder, we were able to push the boundaries of design and engineering. A hydraulically operated system of shell ports, doors, flaps, roofs, bath platforms, gangways and cranes delivers effortless operation and optimum guest comfort. She is also equipped with a stabilisation system to reduce roll motion effect and deliver a smoother, more enjoyable cruising experience. Most equipment, including tenders, is hidden behind hydraulically operated doors to achieve an uncluttered, streamlined look. The giant yacht has seven decks including a top deck featuring an indoor swimming pool with a roof that slides open.
Many of our most innovative and carefully planned engineering solutions are destined to remain unseen. To maintain a clear hull, Lady Moura’s tenders, anchors, life rafts and navigation lanterns are hidden behind hydraulically operated doors.
The owner is a keen diver and amateur oceanographer and the yacht has a large live coral aquarium rising through two deck levels below a glass-bottomed swimming pool. A glass wall in the formal dining room also looks onto the aquarium. Golden Odyssey’s interior style is nautical, traditional and timeless, with dark wood bespoke furniture and opulent marble bathrooms. The elegant air-conditioned guest accommodation features two double staterooms with dressing rooms, one double cabin and four twin cabins, all with en suite bathrooms. The large outdoor mosaic swimming pool can be transformed into a dance floor.
Building a double-deck aquarium with one side acting as a glass wall to a dining room and the top acting as a glass bottom to a swimming pool is no simple task. Our engineers made it happen.
With a propulsion output of 7,200 horsepower, Savarona could almost be regarded as a medium-sized cargo ship, yet she was designed to accommodate 33 passengers at most. Her spectacularly intricate staircase was a striking feature and there was also a saluting gun. In 1949 Jane's Fighting Ships described her as “probably the most sumptuously fitted yacht afloat”. As for her safety installations, the watertight door control mechanism, alarm system and lifesaving equipment matched those of a passenger ship. Such solid, high quality workmanship has helped keep this stunning vessel afloat for over eight decades, as the Savarona is still in service today.
Blohm+Voss craftsmanship came into its own as our skilled artisans grasped the opportunity to turn functional items such as bollards, cleats, gratings and bulwarks into bespoke, artistically worked fixtures.
Her stern was rounded and her richly decorated clipper bow featured a bowsprit ending in a figurehead of Victoria Luise, a German princess. All staterooms were luxuriously appointed and passengers could make use of a library, a gymnasium, a ‘conversation salon’, an ‘inner promenade’, a smoking salon and a darkroom for the development of film by amateur photographers. A crew of 161 assiduously met all guest needs. Each of the yacht’s cabins featured an en-suite bathroom, electric lighting, steam heating and ‘all modern comforts generally’. The owners were particularly proud of the accommodation awaiting their wealthy clientele.
Powered by quadruple expansion steam engines, the yacht cruised at a steady 15 knots. Two tall, slim funnels stood amidships between a pair of fore and aft masts and her trim hull was painted pure white.