No fewer than 125 years ago an industrious german engineer named Friedrich Lurssen built the first powerboats with legends like Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, the inventers of the first gas-combustion engine. the Lurssen family”s now in their fourth generation of engineers-slash-shipbuilders are still dedicated to firmly keeping the business in familiar hands.
The quality factor revealed itself to us last September when shipyard owner Peter Lurssen gave us a tour of the 200″ Lurssen Phoenix at the Monaco Boat Show. Peter grew up working at his family”s shipyard, graduated from a German engineering school and decided to add to his experience by traveling to the Far East in his early twenties: first working on customs boats for the Malaysian government and later a year in Japan designing 8000-ton steel freighters at the Mitsubishi Shipyard in Shimonoseki City and at NKK Ship-yard in Osaka.
It was in Monaco four years ago that Lurssen met with the owners of Phoenix, on their 156″ Trinity Allegra. The owners had known they wanted a larger yacht and in the preceding years they bought a Feadship that they refit and later sold, but their other boats were intermediate steps toward the ultimate goal: to build a world-class 200″ motoryacht.
The owners” bid specs had gone out to Lurssen and Blohm & Voss in Germany; Feadship and Amels in the Netherlands; Pendennis in England; and Trinity and Delta in the U.S. The owners had been leaning towards Germany and Holland because of the respective yards” experience with large, steel hulled displacement vessels. The ultimate decision, according to the owner, was based on developing the conпfidence that their project would be engineered and constructed to the highest possible standard. After visiting most of the yards and meeting with their various representatives, the owners were finally convinced that Lurssen could deliver on their value proposition.
From the beginning, the owners got involved in every aspect of the project. Six months of pre-construction design took place before everything was ready to be signed off by the owners, who hired a very large team of specialists to help. The entire engineering department at Lurssen, including Phoenix Project Manager Dietrich Kirchner, who had been the PM for the notable 296″ Lurssen Carinthia VII in 2002, were on the job. Naval Architect Espen Oeino reviewed the extensive tank testing and hull design below the waterline; Patton Marine surveyors and Adrian Farmer reviewed engineering drawings; yacht broker Robert Moran assisted with logistics and contract execution; engineering consultants IMA consulted on the bridge design; and Larry Smith Electronics installed the navigation electronics.
Andrew Winch Designs created the exterior and interior styling and Dawn Moffit of Dawn Moffit Design, Inc. did the interior decorating and stone selections. The Lurssen interior PM was Katrin Fritze and contractors for the majority of the interior construction were the German subcontractors Loher.
Espen Oeino performed the initial naval architecture on the original hull design with an emphasis on the yacht”s sea-keeping abilities. The owners had chartered numerous large yachts all over the world, including the 245″ Leander, and wanted to get the right roll characteristics for all the world”s oceans so Phoenix could go anywhere in comfort. The tank testing was done at HSVA in Hamburg and involved tests for typical conditions in the Atlantic and Pacifi Oceans.
Espen did a great job because she now handles exactly like the model, said Captain Ruiz. We actually went back and looked at tapes of the models made at the time of the testing and the roll is exactly like Espen predicted. In the North Sea near Oslo last summer we could perform emergency crash stops and 180-degree turns within 1.5 boat lengths at 13 knots.
While Espen designed the underbody, Andrew Winch developed a strong Art Deco Design style for Phoenix”s hull, superstructure and interior. Although at first glance the exterior looks like a traditional tri-deck, Winch introduced some subtle Deco elements such as a logo with deco typeface and soft curves with strong yet elegant deco-period-inspired lines.
Winch”s interior project manager was Matthew Chatt-Collins. For inspiration, the owners and designers immersed themselves in the Art Deco movement, which was originally popular in the 1920s and 30s. The movement took its name from the Parisian Arts Deccoratifs Exhibition in 1925, so the owners decided to go directly to Paris with Andrew Winch and Matthew Chatt-Collins to get down to the heart of the movement.
Artwork and furniture are congruent with the design theme. Original works by Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Marc Chagall and Picasso are displayed throughout the yacht. One of the most famous furniture designers of the period was Jacques-Emile Rulhman, whose company, Rulhman and Laurent, was to become one of the most famous interior design companies in France, so the owners studied numerous original works by Rulhman and others of the period, then went back and hired contractors to recreate the pieces.
We had to make some pieces softer, some bolder, and we tied everything together with the hand-knitted carpeting, which we integrated into the marble soles to help the theme flow Chatt-Collins said. There is a distinct holistic quality that resulted from the owners” constant attention to the project.
The owners mandated five strong interior layout ingredients for Phoenix: a two-story owner”s apartment forward on the main and upper decks; a central staircase and elevator connecting all levels; a cinema/skylounge with a back-lit glass cathedral ceiling; a top-deck gymnasium and hot tub; and an engine room that maximized space and freed up lower-deck guest accommodation space.
The owner”s suite is unrivaled in its elegance. A divider the owners saw in a Parisian Art Deco gallery inspired the gold-leaf wall mural on the forward bulkhead, and its depiction of cranes in п¬‚ight reп¬‚ect the Chinese inпfluence of the period. The mural was made by DKT, a group of talented artists in Lon-don. His and her bath suites in onyx with Serdaneli gold fixtures are hidden by curved, sliding doors. A secret passageway in her closet can secure owner”s valuables while charter guests are on board.
According to Chatt-Collins, the central staircase and elevator were extremely difficult to engineer and construct. The circular stairs, which seem to float in the space, incorporate polished stainless steel; ebonized timber end pieces; hand-woven carpet wrapped around each step; twin stringers that act as spines and supports; fiber optic lighting inside each step; and modern deco waves in the balustrades. The elevator has a clever onyx and-marble sole: mirrored walls turn two spires extending from a corner into a starburst pattern.
Glass plays a key design function in the upper deck skylounge, which incorporates both a bar area and a back-lit stained glass cathedral ceiling over the media center that includes a huge movie screen; Linn sound system; and deco-styled, polished, stainless air vents that unobtrusively let in the Heinen & Hopman
n-conditioned air. Soft, indirect lighting is emitted from the ceiling and cold cathode lighting is in-between the ceiling and the cove molding.
The main deck saloon has black lambrequins over gold curtains and a huge ebony coffee table inside a comfortable lounging area. The dining area, which has a gold, hand-painted mural with cheetahs, is separated from the comfortable main deck saloon by a piano rotunda paneled in red leather fea-turing a Dakota Jackson designed Steinway. Amidships on the main deck is the commercial quality galley designed by the owners outside consultant.
Guest areas include the top-deck gym and Jacuzzi bar, upper-deck sky-lounge, main-deck saloon and dining area amidships, and the four guest suites below. The crewmembers have their own passageways accessing the top deck and lower deck pantries, upper-deck captain?s cabin, wheelhouse and seven crew cabins well forward.
The owners really maximized space on this boat, Captain Nick Ruiz said. This included the mechanical spaces and engine room. One of the things we found, for example, with most engine room designs is that it is usually a huge area with lots of wasted space, which takes away from interior volume. Phoenix”s two-tiered engine room is big. However, certain equipment that required its own space was accommodated and located elsewhere in the overall design. To illustrate, there is a separate climate-controlled room for water systems so the overheating of vital membranes does not occur.
According to Ruiz, the engineering spaces have been optimized by utilizing Lurssen”s milspec 3D CAD system that allowed each piece of equipment and pump to be viewed from all angles before installation. Before we began construction I could tell you how much space there was around any piece of equipment, Ruiz said. Whether there was room to swing a wrench and if the engineers could service all parts of a piece of machinery. The results speak for themselves.
The engineers room and engine room are large, and flaunt strong engineering elements that Lurssen is famous for: the area directly around the twin 2364-hp MTU 12V4000s is roomy for engineers or for expansion.There are also twin auxiliary CAT engines/generators and a third CAT 3306 DITA. In addition, housed in their own watertight spaces separate from the engine room, are two Quantum QC-2200 stabilizer fins that function both at anchor and underway. A 200-kW bow thruster and twin 65-kW Jastram stern thrusters aid in maneuvering.
The massive pilothouse is deceptively finished in wood paneling and leather to guest quality, but it”s all business and designed with a large, separate navigation table and radio room that can be closed off from the helm station by sliding dividers when running at night. The helm station incorporates a fully integrated glass bridge with a full set of communication and navigation equipment installed by Larry Smith Electronics. The long list of state-of-the-art equipment includes NERA, Furuno, Raytheon, Leica, Sea-space, SeaTel, Panasonic, and Erickson. Any output from the ships system, engine data, radar, plotter, cameras and alarms can be displayed on any of the six screens at the wheel station or in the navigation and radio room. All of the black boxes for the wheelhouse are concealed behind paneled walls on pullout racks in the climate, humidity and п¬Ѓre-controlled electrical space.
Below decks the aft tender garage has huge gull wing doors and launches twin 25″ Special Craft tenders on each side with gantry cranes. Adjacent to the tender garage is a fully equipped diving center that includes all the latest Nitrox and conventional diving gear and a portable recompression chamber.
After her impressive North Sea tests, Phoenix headed down to Gibraltar and out to the Balearics to complete her shakedown cruise. She even got in a seven-week charter season in the South of France last summer. For Christmas the owners will head over to the Caribbean and after the New Year to the Pacific, cruising in Central America and eventually for the summer of 2005 season will head up the coast to Alaska, where the stunning natural beauty will be the perfect backdrop for this superb superyacht.