A stunning new 63-metre Feadship that puts the accent on relaxation. By Frances & Michael Howorth
You come on board a yacht to relax, of course, but some yachts are more relaxing than others. Take the new 63-metre Feadship Lady Britt. To starboard on the bridge deck there is a space that has been dubbed the wellness spa. This is not just a massage room, but also a barber’s shop and hairdressing salon, and is quite capable of being utilised as a beauty parlour as it boasts a range of exclusive Elemis skin and bodycare products. Not only that, but among the crew is a trained beauty therapist, masseur, reflexologist and hairdresser. And that’s not all: adjacent to the swim platform and beach club is a fully equipped sauna, with a side-opening door-cum-terrace that allows you to take a plunge into the cool ocean.
Lady Britt is, therefore, not only a beautifully fashioned Feadship superyacht, but she is also one of the most exclusive spas in the world. It’s not surprising to learn of the charter party who drew up a shortlist of ten possible yachts to charter, before choosing Lady Britt precisely because of the sauna and spa – features that other yachts of this size couldn’t match.
The yacht’s owner is a Scandinavian businessman who has never owned a superyacht before, but what he lacked in previous experience of building a superyacht he made up for with the attention that he paid during the build, living and breathing every moment of the design, construction and fitting out. Indeed, he asked so many questions during the pre-contract period that at one point Henk de Vries, the financial and commercial director at Feadship, quipped that he should be seeking to build the yacht himself without the need to involve the yard at all!
His first superyacht it may be, but this owner’s course towards ownership has moved past a familiar set of waypoints: a love of small boats and the sea at a young age, followed later in life by regular spells chartering, and watching and learning what works well aboard superyachts. Previous Feadship charters included the 61-metre Secret and the 60-metre Paraffin. It was while enjoying a charter aboard Paraffin that the owner first met Captain Patrick Cowley, the man who now commands Lady Britt. Prior to the start of the build Patrick had maintained contact with Lady Britt’s owner and made himself available to assist in the discussions and meetings with designers and the build yard, while the build management team at Burgess took on the task of writing up the specification and overseeing the early stages of hull construction. When Cowley felt a full-time owner’s representative was justified, he set up home in Holland, working ashore for two years to see Lady Britt through to launch.
Since launch late last year the yacht’s programme has been hectic – catching up with this Lady has been no easy matter. Since leaving the shipyard she has clocked up an impressive 16,000 miles in 16 weeks. Within ten days of delivery she was on her way to the Caribbean. Back this side of the Atlantic, she managed a quick call into the Isle of Man before she shot off to Russia, making it to St Petersburg in time for the Global Economic Forum. From there she went to Sweden, where the owner hosted several parties and business meetings. Throughout this hectic start to life, Lady Britt has delighted Captain Cowley. Her behaviour at sea has been exemplary, while her long keel and rudders placed well aft have made her the smoothest running of all the Feadships he has worked aboard.
Lady Britt has thus far been doing the owner’s work, but her life for the rest of the summer will be as a charter yacht – and, as one might have anticipated, the combination of a hands-on owner and a yard with a reputation for the highest standards, has produced a yacht that feels as if every single aspect has been pondered over and designed. Nothing, it seems, has been left to chance.
Take, for example, the bridge deck. Large glass doors from Alukwa open up onto the spacious deck aft. Instead of running athwartships as is so often the case, the beautiful dining table runs fore and aft, so that when eating, guests on both sides of the table have a view of their surroundings. The same area doubles as an intimate open-air movie theatre when a huge cinema screen drops down into position. What looks like an ordinary deck-support column on one side is in fact the air intake for the scuba compressor stowed several decks below: the thinking behind this is sound, because the higher up the intake the less likely it is to suck in exhaust fumes.
Furniture inside the salon has been custom made by Hugh Garforth-Bles at Dudgeon Sofas in London and Silverlining in Cheshire. The bar, with its sit-up stools, will be a popular area, but we think the crowning glory that will win the hearts of would-be charter guests is the fact that the bar can serve two different types of draught beer! The carpet in this room is a hand-woven piece from Guatemala (elsewhere on board the carpets are in Chinese silk).
Pop up the stairs one deck and the sundeck again demonstrates what a versatile charter yacht this truly is. The bar is inside a walk-through area that can be left open or closed off in inclement weather. The gym up here has personalised and programmable Technogym Visio equipment with an iPod dock and TV. Clever use of deck space means that sunloungers are stowed flat when not in use and are fully adjustable to catch the best of the sun. The area can also be used as a disco or party venue and even for live concerts. Smaller groups can gather to watch a movie together, and it is also a great place for serving breakfasts and intimate dinners.
The couple who own Lady Britt get to share the stunning master suite on the main deck. Conventionally the area is entered on the starboard side but unconventionally both bathrooms are here as well, his separated from hers by the study. Creams and soft colours dominate the space, while the sculpted silk carpet is sensuous and feels just right to bare feet. The wood is warm and rich and carries its lustre well. Elegant and simply designed, this space perfectly illustrates what is right about this yacht: nothing jars the eye or offends the senses and we feel confident in predicting this will be one of the most successful charter yachts to enter the market in a very long time.
The main salon is an area far less formal than found on other yachts of this size and stature. It converts effortlessly into a cinema when a hidden 100in screen and projector are deployed. The exquisite dining table from Silverlining can be extended to accommodate 14 guests. Cabins for ten guests are conventionally sited on the lower deck but even here the design has an unconventional twist in that the VIP suite can be sub-divided into two, split by a partition that is a fully fledged bulkhead with the same soundproofing and insulation values of all the dividing walls. The sofa in the sitting area turns into a queen-size bed – but it’s not a fold-out. Underneath the bed on the port side are the components for the crew to build a full-size bed. The same good design sense and understated luxury pervade all the guest areas.
The bridge is the perfect example of what the captain means when he says he has achieved quality for his owner. An Imtech fully integrated bridge control system is fitted with five screens, which unusually for Imtech are capable of providing a full electronic chart display and information service from Transas, a system that does away with the need to carry printed charts. Why then was the first officer correcting paper versions? “I am a cautious and careful captain paid to command, not to take risks, and therefore I will always carry paper charts, no matter how good the electronics are,” says Captain Cowley, as he proudly shows us around.
The bridge is a mix of work space and passenger socialising area. Cowley has conceived pull-out tables that serve as somewhere guests can place refreshments when visiting the bridge but equally where his senior officers can work when the yacht is not in passenger-carrying mode. Electronics that are not needed when in port are hidden from view by sliding wooden panels. Equally important is the way the lighting is arranged so that at night on passage, crew can leave their cabins and move directly to the bridge in alleyways that are illuminated with red light so as not to impair their night vision.
These are things that guests don’t usually see, of course – they’re too busy enjoying all the facilities of Lady Britt, a yacht where relaxation is not just an option but a way of life. SyW
This feature is taken from the September/October 2011 edition of SuperYacht World. Click here to buy the issue for your iPad.