Kismet – Built by a triumvirate of talent

Built by a triumvirate of talent and driven by an owner who knows what will impress guests, Kismet is striking with her sheer size and décor.

Roger Lean-Vercoereports.

Not so long ago – ten years perhaps – a 164ft yacht was considered quite large enough to provide an owner with the optimum blend of space, facilities and affordability, while generating just the right amount of desire in others. But times have moved on and today such vessels appear to have been usurped by yachts in the 197 to 230ft range. At least seven new yachts of this size have taken to the water in the last 12 months, of which the latest example is the 223ft Kismet, built at Lürssen’s Rendsburg facility under the codename Falcon and launched earlier this year. This stunning yacht seems to have it all – handsome good looks, high volume and ultimate quality, all combined with an innovative and tasteful interior. Berthed in the Marina Grande of Charlotte Amalie, capital of the US Virgin Islands, Kismet towers above the 168ft Feadship Enterprise V moored up alongside, while further the slightly larger length Floridian (ex-Aussie Rules) also looks small by comparison. With a 42ft beam and 12ft draft – figures around 20 percent larger than those of Floridian – Kismet is certainly a high volume yacht, while her 66ft air-draft makes her tall too. All these large numbers have been absorbed by Espen Øino’s elegant exterior styling, which blends soft curves with more aggressive angles and shouts to the world that Kismet is a very special vessel. She was conceived four years ago by her owner – who had previously owned the 130ft Feadship Kismet – as well as Robert Moran and Kevin Callahan of brokers Moran Yacht & Ship, together with naval architect Espen Øino. Not only was the new Kismet to be used privately as a world-roaming cruiser, but also as a charter yacht and as a vehicle on which to entertain – and impress the owner’s business clients. Effectively, the project started on a blank sheet of paper, although the layout of the previous Kismet did exert an influence.


Moran and Callahan assembled the design team that worked together closely, creating an interesting interior layout for the new yacht’s six decks – five enclosed, two of which lie below the main deck and two above. Guests usually enter through a lobby on the starboard side of the main deck, and from here, long sightlines stretch aft through a cinema lounge to the main saloon and the open deck beyond, while forward they can look into the vast master suite. The focus of the lobby is an elevator, around which a circular stairway descends to the four lower-deck guest cabins and upwards to the bridge and the upper decks. The bridge deck layout is unusual, with a VIP suite set amidships to starboard. Moving aft, a formal dining room and a disco opens out to a deck set up for outdoor dining. Up one more level, the upper deck offers panoramic views from another saloon that opens forward to an observation deck shaded by a giant “eyebrow” extending from the superstructure. This deck can be used as a helipad, but it is usually furnished with sun loungers.


As one of the owner’s regular pastimes is showing guests around his yacht, the technical and crew areas also had to be impressive – this includes the engine room, machinery spaces and tender garage, which are all sized on a grand scale. With the layout of the yacht pretty much settled and the London-based company Reymond Langton Design chosen as the interior designer, the build went ahead with a team assembled and overseen by Moran Yacht & Ship together with a small owner’s management team consisting of Kismet’s captain Kyle Fultz, his wife Jerry and engineers Paul Marais and Simon England, and Tom Corness of Patton Marine, who were installed at the Krögerwerft facility on the Kiel Canal near Rendsburg, Germany for the duration of the build. In the words of Captain Fultz, “The specifications prepared by Moran Yacht & Ship – which already had several builds at the yard under its belt – were excellent. The yard did what it had to do and did it well, and everyone was happy with the result, including the owner.”

Impressive is what Kismet’s owner wanted, and impressive is exactly what the talented team of young interior designers achieved. Their underlying concept was that the formal atmosphere should decrease and the sense of fun should increase as you ascend through the yacht, while the decorative theme is a rich yet subtle blend of Art Deco and Persian.

The first sight of Kismet’s interior is usually the main lobby, and this certainly has the appropriate “wow” factor. Impressively large and semi-circular in shape, its bronze mirrored deck head creates a sense of height, while the orientation of the black granite flooring focuses your attention on the glass elevator shaft – a futuristic circular affair that serves all six decks and forms the core of the spiral stairway. Glowing welcomingly on either side of the doors are elegant urn lights hand-carved from alabaster, while flanking the stairs are bronze bas relief wall panels from London-based company Davis Keeling Trowbridge. These depict traditional Persian lotus and acanthus motifs. The pattern was first hand-carved from wood, then cast in resin and finished with a hand-worked bronze spray.

In yachts with an engine room positioned towards the stern, like Kismet’s, the saloon can suffer some intrusion because of the need for huge air ducts rising to the upper decks, which can result in an awkward, narrow space. Although Kismet’s saloon is asymmetric, her beam is sufficiently large for the ducts and the exterior stairs to be absorbed into a visually interesting and well-proportioned room in which the resulting alcoves are used to great effect – one housing a Steinway grand piano and the other, a secluded conversation area. A semi-circular granite-top bar occupies the space between the sliding doors that lead out to the aft deck, and the deck head above it reflects its shape. The yacht’s recurring Persian theme is seen in the honey-toned linen panels that clad the saloon walls, which are hand-embroidered with passion flower motifs created from gold thread, glass beads and freshwater pearls. The Art Deco influence is seen in the raised deckhead panels, the pale linen Roman blinds and the marquee try border that is inset into the mahogany panel framing the embroidery. Outside on the deck is a mirror image of the interior bar, along with a cluster of casual seating and tables built into the aft bulwark, which can be used for dining or relaxing.

After drinks, perhaps guests will be shown to their cabins, which with charter use in mind, are all pretty much the same size – the four lower-deck cabins (which can be arranged in either a double or twin bed configuration) being identical, except for their differing marble and fabrics. With a total floor area of just over 323 square feet, these four cabins are spacious and luxurious by any standards. Mahogany joinery, sumptuous fabrics, leather-clad wardrobe doors and perfectly crafted warm honey-onyx in the bathrooms, all allude to high quality. Each of the bathrooms provides a separate head compartment and a “wet-room” with a bath and shower, while the under lit basins sport gold motifs and the laundry baskets are conveniently concealed.

Should any of the guests be accompanied by children, they will be relieved to know that there is also a nanny cabin off the lower lobby. This is decorated to the same standard as the rest of the guest cabins, which means it could be used as a single cabin if required, and in the future could even be converted to a spa or massage room. Also opening from the lower lobby is a service door providing convenient access to the lower-deck crew lobby to port, which is directly connected to the yacht’s laundry and crew areas and has a shell door for loading.

One of the guests will surely be shown to the VIP cabin two levels up on the bridge deck, which opens from the upper lobby at the head of the spiral staircase. Although the woodwork changes to walnut, this room is no larger or more extravagantly appointed than the others, but the bedroom does offer wide views through three large windows – always a draw for guests – and a door that opens directly to the starboard side deck.

While guests are unpacking, Kismet’s owner will probably with-draw to his own suite – a huge 1,485sqft apartment at the forward end of the main deck. It is entered by means of a vaulted passage way, where to increase interest and apparent size, one side is subtly curved and finished in hand-tooled leather with a delicate gold leaf frieze, and the other is clad with mirrors. Instead of leading into a study as is more typical, the passageway opens into a private lobby from which the owner can enter his bedroom directly through a paneled sliding door, and turn left into his study – a more traditional room finished in mahogany and leather and lined with bookshelves, which also has a microwave for preparing late-night snacks – or take the right hand door that leads on to a delightful private balcony – a real surprise! This is sufficiently large to accommodate either a steamer chair or a breakfast table for two; both items are stowed in a handy deck locker. A further door leads from the balcony directly into the bedroom, and interestingly, both of these exterior doors operate with a simple handle, although they can easily be dogged shut to ensure watertight integrity.

An identical balcony lies on the port side of the owner’s vast bedroom, which stretches across the yacht’s entire beam. Inside, three tall windows on either side afford superb ocean views and flood the room and its pale fabric-covered walls with light, while the atmosphere is enlivened by a herd of gazelles carved in low relief, which leap across the wall behind the centrally-placed bed. The dark joinery sweeps around in curves; a sofa and a voluptuous Art Deco-inspired writing desk designed by Pascale Reymond complete the furnishings. On the port side of the room, another door leads into a sizeable dressing room positioned behind the bed, which is useful for storing all the owner’s clothes during a charter.

The suite’s really impressive feature is its stunning bathroom. Sliding doors opposite the foot of the bed open to reveal a palace of honey-onyx that offers his-and-hers facilities at either extremity, each with its own sink, head and dressing room, while the pièce de résistance is the centrally positioned oval spa bath, set between two pillars of solid onyx and backed by an amazing handmade glass panel decorated with peacock feathers (another link to ancient Persia) made by London-based artisan partnership Glass zoo. Behind the panel is a huge, honey-onyx lined steam shower with doors at either end. This is surely the bathroom of dreams.

Rested, showered and changed, guests will usually gather for pre-dinner cocktails in the main saloon, where they can chat against a soft background of live piano music or stroll out on to the aft deck, where their glasses can be refilled at the outside bar. When dinner is announced, they will ascend the main stairway to the bridge deck, climbing alongside a decorative wall panel featuring an obelisk covered with Egyptian hieroglyphs, which run up through the main decks. The dining room opens aft from the bridge deck lobby – a
n impressive Art Deco-inspired room dominated by its large ebony table, which is set on a custom-woven carpet that matches its oval outline. Overlooking the diners are spectacular murals of the New York City skyline, custom-made using silver and gilt leaf applied to the back of a matte glass sheet. The room can also double up as a meeting room. Notepads replace the crockery, and the artwork on the aft bulkhead rolls back to reveal a plasma screen. Whatever the occasion, guests will surely feel on top of the world in such elegant surroundings.

After dinner, guests have a choice: a trip to the cinema on the main deck, where a semi-circle of adjustable seating focuses on a drop-down screen where they can view films from a deck head projector; or dancing in the disco just aft of the dining room, where strobe lights enliven a circular floor of Macassar ebony. Perhaps some guests will stroll – glass in hand – from the disco bar out to the aft deck, where ample casual seating surrounds a large al fresco dining table. Some might climb the stairs to the upper deck, where there are steamer chairs and a bar, and then re-enter the yacht at this level, venturing past the gym into the upper lounge. This room, with its beach house decorative scheme, marks the height of Kismet’s informality, making use of tactile organic materials such as wood bark and faux-crocodile skin, while tobacco leaves are set in a resin tabletop. Hindu statues and a wave-cut carpet enhance the relaxed, casual environment. From here, guests can visit the observation deck just forward, or climb up again to the top deck where another bar awaits, as does a spa pool and a “star bed” – a full double bed on which you can sleep under the open sky. These are also prime daytime relaxation areas that will surely be revisited time and time again.

It is not just the guest areas that are impressive. Reymond Langton also paid particular attention to Kismet’s crew areas, rearranging the original plan that placed the mess forward in the bow on the lowest deck and moved it amidships just forward of the engine room, where the yacht’s motion is much less severe. Arguably, it is now the largest and most pleasant crew mess on any yacht of this size, having the ability to seat all 18 crew around its three tables at any one time, as well as providing a similarly sized lounge with a large plasma television, a computer desk and a crew pantry. The eight twin-bunked crew cabins located on the lower deck are also particularly large, each one providing an en suite shower room and a desk. As a result, Kismet is unlikely to have difficulty in recruiting a first class crew.

The service and technical areas are also impressive, with a full range of sizeable store rooms, a freezer room for garbage and a first-class laundry on the bottom deck, while the galley – located on the portside main deck next to a large pantry – would be the envy of any professional chef.

Laid out with its navigation hub placed centrally and set back from the main console flanked by two semi-circular guest sofas, the bridge holds fewer surprises. It is a modern “glass bridge” equipped with the best that money can buy and is laid out in a particularly uncluttered manner with much of the less-important equipment hidden behind hinged lids set into the fascia. The main control panel has been custom built to disguise the disparate designs from the inevitable variety of instrument and control manufacturers. One particular instrument worth a mention is the forward-looking sonar – the new FS-3 design from Far Sounder that generates a three-dimensional depth map over its entire field-of-view with a single “ping” while providing information on the range, direction and depth of the target out to around 1,050 feet.

One other area of significance to guests and crew alike is the tender garage in the stern. Although not finished as a guest area, this is a huge, clean space that houses a varnished 25ft Chris Craft and a 25ft Nautica RIB with twin Yamaha 150s, which are launched to port and starboard using a beam crane, through 28ft wide upward-opening doors. Just forward, the engine room is also impressive – a vast hall rising through two decks that has the same “wow” factor as the yacht’s interior. In fact, it was built in this way against the wishes of Lürssen’s engineers, who considered it a waste of space and wanted a more conventional room without the central hall. Supported tenaciously by Robert Moran, however, the owner fought for his ideal and ended up with an engine room that he is proud to present to his guests (which Lürssen’s engineers have jokingly dubbed as “The Moran Memorial Hall”).

The bi-level engine room, along with the other technical rooms in the yacht, were built to impress.

In truth, any owner would be proud to show off the whole of this incredible yacht, but Kismet’s owner has particular reason to be proud because his input into the project was so significant. He is extremely pleased with the complete building process and sends his thanks to Lürssen, Moran, Espen Øino, Tom Corness, Simon England, and Captain Fultz for their efforts. With her remarkably good looks and distinctive layout, combined with the extremely high quality of her build, Kismet will certainly grab the attention of anyone who is able to take the tour.

Moran Yacht & Ship