PHONENIX 2 – “it”s a bit like a little black dress.”

Every design element builds on the next in this chic homage to New York”s Deco era.

PHONENIX2″ DESIGNER ANDREW WINCH TELLS ME AFTER OUR tour around the yacht, “it”s a bit like a little black dress.” I pause. It takes a moment to reconcile that Winch is talking about the same extraordinary 90 metre Lurssen we have just left, with its vibrant interior and its four-metre silver phoenix figurehead pointing purposefully from the bow. “There”s nothing too fussy,”he explains, sensing my puzzlement, “just elegance.”

Reflecting on the sensual and emotive assault I have just experienced, I am inclined to agree. Phoenix2 is a turnkey project, the largest that the renowned Andrew Winch Designs studio has undertaken in terms of conceiving both the exterior and interior design to the level of detail so that almost everything —down to door handles and cutlery — is custom. However, in spite of her wealth of rich colours and details, there really is something understated about Phoenix2.

Describing her interior is a challenge — not so much in listing the materials and craftsmanship employed in her realization, but in conveying that sense of understated elegance. If I were to say, for example, that her main deck saloon and dining area takes you from an aft seating area themed in gold, past an area that feels lifted straight from a Parisian nightclub housing the custom-built Steinway, to a jet black and gold dining area overlooked by a giant relief of swirling gold musicians, you might question word “understated”. Yet in reality the combination of metal and glass, of black and white, of deep reds and golds, and of high art and flights of fancy, is alluring. You want to experience eveiy texture, sink into every chair and caress eveiy exquisitely hand-crafted piece of furniture.

The project had its genesis in 2004, not long after the launch of the 61 metre Phoenix. “I met the owners when they were considering buying the first Phoenix,” says Winch. “We had designed her for the original owner. Six months after she had launched, and with the help of Rob Moran of Moran Yacht and Ship, she had new owners who decided to keep the name, but refit the interior. Within a year they were talking about building Phoenix2, which started out at 82 metres but gradually grew to her current size of 90 metres.”

Lurssen developed the total naval architecture and engineering so that the brief for new Phoenix included maneuverablity, good speed, a helipad, a duplex owners” suite and larger spa and gym. “We developed the exterior from preliminary sketches,” explains Winch, “and developed the deck plans, and the concept for the yacht”s design within the Lurssen engineering. We also worked with the captain, purser and chief engineer to understand the owners” lifestyle, whilst Rob Moran oversaw the entire project along with his supervisory team.

The benefits of such an exhaustive design process are clear. Nothing about the GA is standard. The sundeck comprises a 7.5 metre pool and a spa pool, with an after section given to a multi-function seating area that converts variously between dining space, giant daybed, cinema area, and teppanyaki dining. A large and superbly equipped gym, forming part of a bridge deck spa with hammam, and a hair- dressing salon with massage table overlooks the helideck.

Below, an informal saloon and bar leads out to a “winter garden” dining area, surrounded by retractable glass screens that create an indoor/outdoor social area that has already proven capable of hosting 120 guests. Amidships lie two guest cabins with large doors that open to the side decks, with screens that deploy to give guests private terraces. The forward part of this deck houses the panoramic saloon forming the upper part of the vast owners” apartment. The lower part, accessed via a striking glass spiral staircase, comprises an aft-facing sleeping area and a large, open-plan bathroom forward. Two further guest cabins sit on this deck, with the last two nestling amidships on the lower deck in a configuration that allows for them to be converted to a full-beam VIP suite.

Even the tank deck is pressed into service. Descending the riveted aluminium staircase that spirals through the yacht to the illuminated giant pearl at the bottom lands you in an chic foyer taking influences from Radio City Music Hall in New York with black carpets, black lacquer walls and doors, a black dayhead, and the cinema. The doors conceal popcorn machines and a Champagne bar. The screening room itself offers five double chaises finished in black ostrich with mink and cashmere throws. Fibre optics twinkle a starfield across the luxurious black carpet.

The owners” suite is staggering; the lower foyer features a Modigliani sculpture on a plinth surveying the glass spiral stair that ascends to the saloon around a double helix. The bed area itself, where pure whites mix with verre eglumise screens and backlit onyx partitions, is where art deco meets a minimalistic approach to design. The forward bathroom area, stretching across the full beam of the yacht, continues seamlessly from the sleeping area, with his and hers sides exactly mirrored.

The owners” saloon offers spectacular views through a 180-degree arc of windows, yet such is the design and quality of the bespoke Andrew Winch Designs furniture here you might never gaze toward the horizon. “Different people in different companies made the furniture to our designs,”Winch enthuses. “They are all the best in the world.”

The detailing throughout the yacht is astonishing and the whole ha
s been thought through to an infinite degree. The back of eveiy tall chair carries a unique skyscraper motif, a theme continued in the five-stoiy glass lift where a polished outline of a skyscraper stands out from a matte metal background, rising from the tank deck to the bridge deck. In the upper saloon, a black strip of carpet runs aft from the relief of a sun that hides the television screen on the forward bulkhead. Between black-and-white yin and yang sofas, the black strip runs aft, past the bar with it”s illuminated decanter shelves, and out through the retracting doors to the dining area. A strip of black marble stretches across the teak deck beneath the black dining table, through the winter garden to the aft deck seating area, narrowing at each stage. It ends with the black carbon fibre flag staff overhanging the main aft deck. The result? A projected shadow of a skyscraper that stretches nearly a third of the length of the yacht inside and out.

This cohesion of themes is not limited to the skyscraper motif. The giant Phoenix on the bow is reflected in subtle styling cues throughout. The fantail white gold deckhead in the upper saloon is reminiscent of the bird”s tail feathers; the sundeck is its nest. The main staircase bannisters follow a Phoenix wing theme, and the handrails themselves are finished in ostrich. The flag staff is the tail. “She was always going to be called Phoenix,” says Winch.

It seems that every inch of Phoenix2 holds a surprise. Nestling on the sideboard between the Steinway and the dining table is a small gold statue of a conductor. Between this figure and the musician-themed relief on the forward bulkhead, the dining chairs are each embroidered with a different member of the orchestra, and the dinner service matches each individual place. “The owners love design, art and music,”Winch explains. As conductors, they direct the orchestra — the guests. You can”t be a mouse in this space, you have to be a lion; the owners and their friends are able to live to that.”

When walking through Phoenix2″s guest areas, it is easy to forget that you are only seeing half the yacht. Hidden doors on eveiy deck link to the crew areas; their circulation has been considered to the nth degree, ensuring ease of working with minimum disruption to the owners and their guests. The crew quarters are comfort-able and well finished, while the crew mess features catering style bain maries to ensure food remains hot as various watches pass through. Phoenix2 was the first Liirssen to feature a fully enclosed foredeck working area, ensuring that the owner has a clear view through to the Phoenix on the bow and that his private seating, sunning and spa pool area is not overlooked. It also means that the crew have a space to relax without being seen. The tank deck includes a passage back to the technical spaces and the tender garage aft. On the lower deck, a port side hull door allows the crew tender direct access not only to the crew areas but also to the large, refrigerated garbage store.

There is more to this yacht, though, than interior design and a well thought out layout, and her hull has already proven itself. “On our recent transatlantic,” says her captain, Ennes Marchevich, “we encountered 25-foot seas, and she ploughed through them like it was nothing. En route to Germany, she was like a destroyer. And we did 180 miles through a mistral at 16 knots. She”s perfect. With her aft shape, at anything over 12 knots she looks like she”s on the plane, and what”s more she gets to 18 knots from a standing start in 25 seconds.”

She”s no fuel guzzler either — at 16.8 knots she burns around 600 litres per hour and her range at 10 knots is impressive — around 12,000 miles.
Phoenix2is an extraordinary yacht with a standard of finish second to none. “The quality is up there at the top end of everything we could do,”Winch concludes. “In fact, I think she is the best yacht we”ve done to date.”To see her in the flesh is to experience a thrill that penetrates to your veiy core. The perfect little black dress indeed.

LOA: 90.02m (295ft)
Builder/Year: Lurssen / 2010 LOA: 90,02 m
LWL: 73,80 m Beam: 13,80 m
Draught: 3,80 m
Displacement: n/a Gross Registered Tonnage: 2667
Engine(s): 2 x MTU 16V 4000 M61,2 x 2.000 kW Speed (max/cruise): 16,7 knots Range at cruising speed: 6.000 nm at 12 kn
Fuel capacity: approx. 1701
Thrusters: Brunvoll FU-37-LRC-1000-240 kW
Stabilizers: Ouantum QC-2200XT
Zero Speed Generators: 3 MTU 2 x 8 V 2000 M50 A, 280kW/350kVA 1 x 12 V 2000 M50 A, 448 kW / 560 kVA
Air conditioning mfr.: Heinen + Hopmann
Freshwater capacity: 42,11
Owner and guests: Cabins for 14 persons (1 Owner”s cabin, 6 guest cabins)
Crew: Cabins for 26 members Tenders)
Rescue Tender: Fassmer FRIR-625-Y, 3rd TendenNautica RIB24CAT
Construction: Steel hull and aluminium superstructure
Classification: LR
Naval architecture: Lurssen Yachts
Exterior design: Andrew Winch Interior designer: Andrew Winch Designs
Owners project manager: Robert Moran/ Moran Yacht & Ship

Moran Yacht & Ship