Northern Star was built for an extremely experienced and knowledgeable owner

The new 247ft exploration yacht Northern Star was built for an extremely experienced and knowledgeable owner by Lürssen of Germany. Showing superb quality in every department - from engineering down to the smallest detail of the interior fit-out- she is a real star, combining the luxury of a true superyacht with the go-anywhere abilities of a work boat.

The term “exploration yacht” has become somewhat debased, but Northern Star shows what it can really mean. First, exceptional range of 8,500 nautical miles, coupled with very generous storage of all consumables, mean that this yacht can make long cruises to distant parts of the world — including high latitudes — as she is classed for operation in light sea ice. All of her engineering and equipment is robust with plenty of redundancy in case something gets damaged. For example, she has three generators, four stabilizer fins, two side-thrusters, and three tenders. Special equipment includes dynamic positioning and forward-looking sonar, while the communications outfit is the best available.

 Northern Star is a big vessel, with six decks giving exceptionally spacious accommodations for 12 guests and 22 crew. All the guest cabins are placed on the main deck and have large windows, while the owners’ suite on the upper deck has virtually horizon-to-horizon views. The owner expressed a strong preference for natural light, with the result that even the crew areas have bigger windows than you would normally find in guest cabins.

 Northern Star boasts two pools, a Jacuzzi-style spa pool on the sun deck and a more formidable oval one on the bridge deck. Both pools store their water in insulated tanks below decks for ready-warmed water. 

     

To call the owner experienced would be an understatement. His business involves commercial shipping; he previously owned a 210ft Lürssen expedition yacht named Northern Star (now Polar Star), and he is also part owner of the magnificent 120ft schooner Meteor. The specification, the contract negotiations, and the build management were handled for the owner by Robert Moran of Moran Yacht and Ship, one of the most knowledgeable U.S. brokerage houses that had also managed the building of the previous yacht and brokered its sale in due course. According to Robert Moran, Captain Craig Franks was another invaluable member of the owner’s team, having also worked on the first Northern Star.

A number of features have been carried over from the previous yacht, including the forward-sloping windows that give the superstructure a strong and purposeful look and are also practical, keeping off sun and rain, and cutting down reflections at night. There is plenty of open deck space in five different areas, including an attractive sitting area in front of the owner’s suite that is nice and private when the yacht is moored stern-to. The aft bridge deck is very large and incorporates a “touch-and-go” helipad. To make this ready for use, the carbon fiber poles (made by renowned spar-makers Hall Spars) that support the triangular sun awnings and the hand rails are easily removed and stowed.

There are two pools: a Jacuzzi-style spa on the sun deck and a rather larger oval one on the bridge deck that just about justifies the title “swimming pool,” especially when children are the customers. The water from these two are stored down below in a special insulated tank so the pools can be filled quickly with ready-warmed water.

 With two pools, a massage room and beauty salon, and a considerable number of comfortable armchairs and lounging areas, northern star provides the ultimate setting for relaxation.

Of the three tenders carried, one RIB is kept in chocks on the foredeck, from where it can be launched quickly by crane, while the two larger boats, a 29ft Hinckley and a 33ft Zodiac Hurricane RIB, are stored in the roomy garage aft and launched sideways via lift-up doors in the hull side. These substantial boats, which weigh more than two tons each, can be launched or recovered surprisingly quickly; the crew of Northern Star felt that five minutes would be sufficient. With two 6.5-ton sliding gantry cranes and three lifting points, the boats do not swing, and the whole process is drama-free. The garage has plenty of space for other sports gear, and there is a dedicated dive equipment room. A watertight door leads to the aft platform where the boats can pick up or drop off passengers. All the tenders use diesel fuel so only a small amount of gasoline is carried for use by personal watercraft.

Red armchairs and sofas accent the limed-oak panels, While the off-White tongue-and-groove ceilings are offset by painted murals.

The interior designer Pauline Nunns describes the owners’ taste as being “the absolute opposite of glitz,” and this is immediately apparent when you enter the main deck salon and find yourself in the calm, comfortable surroundings of a gracious English country house. There was strong input from the owner’s wife, while the interior design was coordinated throughout the build period by Jodie Mori. Nearly all the interiors are paneled with raised and fielded limed oak, or hand-painted in pastel shades to blend with the fabrics. Floors are generally cream deep-pile wool carpet while ceilings are off-white tongue-and-groove, except where there are raised deckheads with painted sky scenes. Against this neutral background, burgundy red leather sofas and soft-colored fabric armchairs send out a warm glow, as do the real log-burning fireplaces in both principal rooms. Most of the furniture is antique or high-quality reproductions

 

The main salon can be converted into one large party space, with music provided by the self-playing Steinway grand piano or the high-end audio system.

An immediate surprise is provided by the dining room, which is the farthest compartment aft, in the space usually occupied by the main salon. This is because “formal dining” is something of a rarity these days, so the 14-place table, with its lovely hand-painted border, can be reduced in size or dismantled completely and packed away into a special locker. Meanwhile, the double doors to the salon can be folded back to create a large, open party space or dance floor. With the doors closed, it also makes for a safe play space for grandchildren (toys are stored in the ottoman opposite the fireplace). Music can be provided either by the high-end audio system or a self-playing Steinway grand piano. If you prefer to take a gamble, the Edwardian coffee table opposite the piano opens up to reveal a roulette wheel.

Pauline Nunns’ grasp of the owners’ brief and personality led to creative use of accents and the English country manor décor.

You would want children to be a little more circumspect in the main salon itself because, in addition to some delicate-looking lamps and grand arrangements of everlasting flowers, there are two large models in glass cases, one of the schooner Meteor and another of the 1875 steam yacht Aries. Bouncing on the armchairs would probably be all right because they are so well made and over-stuffed with the best duck-down that springs back into shape after being squashed. In general, the atmosphere that Pauline Nunns has skillfully created is smart and comfortable, but not intimidating.

The limestone floor in the main-deck hallway is classic rather than flashy and provides the entry point for both stairs and a very impressive glass-sided passenger elevator that moves quickly and smoothly between decks, including to the fully outfitted theater two decks below. From the hallway one moves forward to the guest cabin corridor, passing on the way the guest office, a neat little room where one could use the computer or make private phone calls. The five cabins are attractive, with lots of closet space and large bathrooms all with hand-painted paneling and furniture in a selection of pastel shades. The fact that they each have big, rectangular windows completely banishes the confined or even queasy feeling than can be engendered by some lower-deck cabins. The two forward VIP double cabins have a connecting door that can be opened to create a double suite or family foursome.

Two of the other cabins are convertible from twin to double, and there is one additional compartment fitted out as a beauty salon and massage room — one member of the crew being a qualified hair-dresser and beautician. The corridor makes an excellent gallery for some of the owner’s collection of Inuit art, which comes to life under carefully situated lighting designed by Sally Story of Lighting Design International.

Delft blue tiles and scandinavian blue décor round out the country house feel, While large Windows
create a calming sense of space and comfort.

 

 The guest cabins are fine and roomy, but the owners’ suite is most impressive. From the upper lobby one first reaches the library, a comfortable lounge that can be used for informal meetings and houses the owners’ extensive collection of books plus a cozy bar. From here, one door opens into the owners’ private study and another into the hallway leading to the bedroom suite. A pair of identical bathrooms are placed on either side immediately adjacent to the bedroom, which is the real knockout of the whole yacht — not so much for its very pleasant Scandinavian blue décor and gracious furniture but because it has enormous windows on three sides that make the entire outside world its wallpaper. And if it is not sufficient to see the world through glass, doors lead to the outside deck that features a small private seating area and breakfast table.

Abaft the stairway and elevator lobby is the upper deck salon, which is just possibly Pauline Nunns’ masterpiece. Generously lit from deep windows on either side, the point of focus is the hearth with its beige leather club fender and surround of Delft blue tiles. Flanking it are display cabinets with fanlights above, containing blue Asian ceramics. The sofas and armchairs that face the hearth are upholstered in blue and white to pick up the colors of the china, while between them is an astonishing glass table that creates the impression of looking down through water to a pebble- and shell-carpeted sea-bed.

Interiors are paneled With raised and fielded limed oak, or hand-painted in pastel shades to blend With the fabrics.
Floors are generally cream deep-pile Wool carpet.

 

 

 

  The guest gym on the bridge deck can also   serve as the departure or reception room      for the helipad.

Against the aft bulkhead is an unobtrusive bar with bentwood chairs and to one side a very old antique Mongolian “yak backpack” — intended to carry one’s belongings when traveling by yak.

The deck outside this salon is clearly the favorite for outside dining, having a large oval table that can be shaded by some of the interesting collection of triangular “sails” sheeted to carbon-fiber poles, and also a selection of settees and small tables set against the aft rail. As with each deck, this one is served by an adjacent pantry, dumbwaiter, and concealed crew stairway.

 

 A nod to German engineering, the large engine room incorporates every technical device imaginable, including a Hug furnace that burns fuel and soot for clean air removal.

This is not the end of Northern Star’s surprises. There are two more levels to explore! The bridge deck, next up, is mostly devoted to crew use as it accommodates the bridge, the captain’s quarters, the ship’s office, and radio room, but abaft the lobby is also a guest gym that doubles as the helicopter departure lounge and is most conveniently served by the elevator. The larger of the two pools is also on this level, conveniently outside the gym.

 Finally, a stairway is necessary to reach the sun deck, which features the smaller spa pool, seating, and sunbathing areas and a pair of forward-facing armchairs offering a commanding view ahead, shielded from the wind by glass screens.

Captain Franks and Robert Moran pushed the shipyard to deliver an engine room that the owner would be proud to present to his guests, and they definitely have, as it is a kind of shrine to German engineering, executed in gleaming stainless steel so clean that it almost hurts the eyes. The Caterpillar main engines stand high above the deck-plates with every working part in full view, surrounded by sturdy handrails. A grand stainless staircase leads to the upper level, where the three generators are housed in sound enclosures. Their exhausts pass through the special Hug furnaces — originally designed for Swiss rail locomotives — that burn any remaining fuel and soot so that only clean, warm air escapes through the stacks.

Other yachts may have bow thrusters, but this one has a far more sophisticated setup linked to the dynamic positioning system, which is equally useful in ice or over coral reefs when anchoring is not an option. The twin-tube Brunvoll bow thruster of 300kW is both effective and quiet, while the Schottel stern thruster is a flush-mounted waterjet that turns through 360 degrees. The waterjet alone can push the yacht along at 4.5 knots, while the two devices together can hold her against a 22-knot side wind. There are far too many technical details to relate here, but a small one worth mentioning is the fueling station where the hose from ashore enters through a special hatch and is connected over a deep drip tray and pump that would suck up the slightest spill long before it could reach the floor.

Northern Star is almost overwhelmingly impressive, both technically and artistically — a tremendous achievement from a team at the top of their form, responding to the wishes of an owner who knew exactly what he wanted and has got it.

LOA:....................................................................247ft 4in (75.4m)
LWL:...................................................................218ft 11in (66.75m)
BEAM:.................................................................44ft 3in (13.5m)
DRAFT:...............................................................12ft 6in (3.8m)
DISPLACEMENT:.............................................2,186 tons
ENGINES:..........................................................2 x Caterpillar 3516b 2,682hp (2,000kW)
SPEED (MAX/CRUISE):...................................17.4/12 knots
RANGE:..............................................................7,000nm at 12 knots
STABILIZERS:...................................................2 x Quantum ZeroSpeed QC-1500E/QC-2200
GENERATORS:................................................3 x Caterpillar C-18, 2 x 315kW, 1 x 440kW, 1 x Caterpillar C-9
FUEL CAPACITY:.............................................63,420 U.S. gallons (240,000 liters)
FRESH WATER CAPACITY:...........................10,094 gallons (4,000liters)
OWNER AND GUESTS:..................................12
CREW:................................................................22
TENDERS:.........................................................1 x Zodiac Hurricane, 1 x Hinckley T29R, 1 x Zodiac SOLAS rescue boat
CONSTRUCTION:............................................Reinforced steel hull, alloy superstructure
CLASSIFICATION:............................................LRS-100A1, SSC Yacht MONO-LMC, G6 UMS Ice Class 1-D
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE:...............................Espen Øino & Lürssen yachts
EXTERIOR STYLING:......................................Espen Oeino
INTERIOR DESIGN:........................................Pauline Nunns
OWNERS’ PROJECT MANAGER:................Team Scout
BUILDER’S PROJECT MANAGER:..............Thomas Winterboer/Lürssen 

Pauline Nunns & Espen Oeino

For Pauline Nunns, this is the third yacht she has designed for these owners. Her first commission from them was to design their English-style country house in Canada. A call came from out of the blue from the owner, who had seen and admired her work aboard Leander and then noticed that she was a chartered architect as well as a designer. Nunns operates from a small studio in North Wales, and Northern Star represented roughly three and a half years of intense work, as she was responsible for every detail of the interior from the layouts to the cushions.

“Having worked on so many projects for these owners, I am very familiar with their taste and understood that they wanted a light, airy, comfortable, traditional interior,” Nunns says. “They are very much outdoor people who prefer natural to artificial light and wanted to have the best possible views from on board. He is a great collector of Canadian art and requested plenty of wall space to display it.

“They both admire craftsmanship and loved the hand-painted panels and furniture, which was done by Angel Studios from London. Quirky antiques such as the ‘Yak cupboard’ seen in the upper salon also appeal to them. Their idea of comfort would definitely include a comfortable armchair in front of a log fire, so there are real fireplaces in both salons with specially-made club fenders.

“The fit-out contractors, Vedder, were great to work with; their workmanship is immaculate. Whenever possible, I use small craft studios, provided they can meet the exacting superyacht standards. A tiny studio in North Wales made some of the superb unique mirrors, including the one surrounded by sea-shells. The amazing glass table in the upper salon was commissioned from a well-known German artist, Mary Baumeister.”

Espen Oeino is the exterior and layout designer of the Lürssen 75m series. Northern Star shares the same engineering platform and basic main-deck situated guest cabins as Madsummer. Aboard Northern Star, many features are different, including the outboard appearance.

“This owner is a really dedicated yachtsman,” says Espen. “He wanted a sturdy seagoing ship, and the appearance reflects this. We revised almost the whole of the hull above the waterline, especially the superstructure, while retaining the wide side decks and the forward-sloping ‘trawler’ windows that were also used on his previous yacht. These are very practical on the outside, although it is a little challenging to fit blinds and curtains on the inside.

“Placing the guest cabins on the main deck gives a better separation of guests and crew and gives both of them larger and nicer accommodations. Even the lower deck gets plenty of daylight with this layout.

Northern Star is classed for light ice, which called for more framing and thicker hull plating in the forward area and also stronger shafts and mountings for the propellers, rudders, and stabilizers.

“Everyone is very pleased with Northern Star, and I think she could be one of the best-looking yachts we have done so far.”

Published: 31st May 2011