Feadship's 60-metre beauty ROCK.IT is testament to the custom superyacht experience.
“When the doors slide open on the main deck, every time I come in there it just blows me away!” says Jimmy John Liautaud. Words spoken by a proud owner show just how 60.34-metre ROCK.IT has more than lived up to expectations after her first year on the water.
“ROCK.IT is very sleek and bold without being pretentious,” says exterior and interior designer Sander Sinot of Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design. “A natural flow of lines and surfaces makes the yacht breathe speed and exude elegance.” A marriage of cool Dutch design and hot American passion has given the yacht a unique soul, and, after her first year of cruising, ROCK.IT has taken on a personality of her own. “The owner wanted to have a yacht that was fast from the outside and cosy from the inside,” says Sipke Halbertsma, sales manager at Feadship. “ROCK.IT has a classic Feadship hull from the front, but if you look at her profile you’ll see the exterior lines work to make her look fast.”
This was an important factor for an inspired and excited owner who wanted to do a lot of cruising, and the whole package is tied up neatly in the name, ‘rocking it’ being a longtime motto for Liautaud in his business life.
However, the aggressive, forward movement of the exterior is softened by the interior, also by Sinot: a marriage of old Americana mahogany and modern Dutch minimalism. A surprising pairing, perhaps, but one that works hard to earn its keep as both a cosy family retreat and a raring-to-go party space. Nothing is out of place, and the rooms don’t feel busy, but there is a warmth that pervades above all. It manages to be both contemporary and comfortable.
Perhaps one reason the two themes blend so effortlessly is to be found in the quality of the work. It is cosy, yes, but not rustic. Glossy and veneered wood extends throughout the yacht, and is the dominant theme, with mahogany being the most prevalent. However, this is not just any mahogany. The highest quality crotched mahogany was sourced and then ‘folded’ out, so that the panels all match symmetrically, a difficult and lengthy process. Lavish use of glass throughout means the interior benefits from lots of natural light, stopping the wood from feeling too heavy.
In the bridge deck salon, wood also plays a major theme. Light sycamore panelling clads the walls in a unique diagonal veneer, and a custom weaved teak ceiling is an impressive touch. Mahogany accents throughout draw the room together and link it to the rest of the spaces on board. A well-stocked bar with backlit white onyx proves the focal part of the room, from which the spaces divide out into individual lounging areas, each made distinct by their own soft cream carpet. ROCK.IT feels voluminous, and while the high ceilings certainly aid this, so does the interior design, which allows for spaces to flow from one designated area to the next, creating capsule environments. Rather than having the feeling of a bridge deck salon, the room is separated into useful and efficient spaces, which makes it feel much larger.
Bars are a recurring theme on board, with each deck hosting a unique and ample-sized offering. On the main deck, the bar, complete with full-height wine chiller, is the first thing you see when you walk through the sliding doors. Resplendent in backlit onyx and glossy mahogany and based in a circular ante-chamber, it separates the formal dining space, with a stunning table by Pollaro, and the outside entertaining space, immediately imparting the good-time vibe felt throughout the yacht.
On the sundeck, the more informal outdoor bar faces both fore and aft, allowing the whole deck to be used efficiently for entertaining. Furthest forward is a Jacuzzi surrounded by sunpads and sofas. In the centre is a table and chairs, made in-house by Feadship, and drawing the whole area together as a relaxed lounging space that accommodates all twelve guests. Aft of the central bar is a row of deckchairs and a large tender and two waverunners. “We have some owners that want two or three tenders and lots of toys, but the owner of ROCK.IT is really about yachting and diving, so the guest tender we store up top and the rescue tender is in a big hatch forward of the bridge,” says Halbertsma. Not having the tenders stored in the beach club gives a feeling of more space elsewhere on the yacht, especially in the guest and crew accommodation.
As a yard, Feadship is known for focusing its efforts on offering bespoke superyachts, where there is no ordinary and exceptional is the new normal. And exceptional is no hyperbole. Liautaud took the ability to create a custom superyacht and ran with it.
“During his many visits to the yard, we had terrific fun with this unconventional and no-compromise client,” says CEO Henk de Vries. “His between-your-eyes honesty and tremendous respect for and appreciation of Feadship craftsmanship pushed us to new heights.” ROCK.IT is one of the quietest yachts Feadship has ever made, and also was the first to utilise an intuitive control and manoeuvring system, commonly used on navy ships. The system allows ROCK.IT to keep her heading at anchor by hovering on the main engine and thrusters. “I was willing to accept this new system because it comes from a proven military background,” says ROCK.IT’s build captain. “The manoeuvring system represents a real step towards the future. To make it happen took real vision and considerable skill.”
The interior layout is also a far cry from the conventional. The four guest cabins on the lower deck are all similar in size and aesthetic, doing away with the usual large VIP cabin. This allows all the guest cabins, consisting of two large doubles, a smaller double and a twin, to be large and well-appointed, keeping a democratic harmony and reinforcing the feel of the yacht as a family home away from home.
Unsurprisingly, however, the master cabin is pretty spectacular. Full beam and located on the main deck, the suite is accessed via an opulent marble lobby, past the dramatic mahogany-panelled staircase which links the guest areas. A private study opens out into the full-beam cabin, which is characterised by the same deep mahogany as seen throughout the rest of the yacht, and soft furnishings in creams and whites. Huge windows ensure the room is always full of light.
Forward are large his’n’hers bathrooms, gleaming with marble and backlit stone. The sink in Liautaud’s bathroom is crafted from a single block of black Portoro marble, weighing almost 500 kilograms. His wife Leslie’s side boasts a large French-style free standing bath, a rarity on a superyacht, as well as a wealth of Staturio marble and an elegant vanity unit.
With so much effort put into creating such a homely space, it would be easy to expect the owners to never leave their suite, however this is far from the case. There is no favourite space on board: “You know what, I love them all,” says Liautaud. We spend least time on the main deck, we spend most of our time on the swim platform and the sundeck, and we live in the bridge deck.” The bridge deck is a compromise between the formal main deck and the relaxed sundeck. An al fresco dining table aft can be sheltered from a breeze by sliding glass panels, and the large doors into the salon create an easy inside/outside entertaining space. Further aft, two smaller tables surrounded by sofas move up and down to serve either as coffee tables or dining tables, and match the larger table to create a symbiosis between the areas.
This deck is also home to some of the yacht’s unique and interesting art work, some of which was given to the owners as gifts and the rest which was commissioned specially for the yacht. The art work ranges from pop art sculptures to modern illustrations and more traditional landscapes, and imparts a lived-in feel to the spaces it occupies. “Sander Sinot and Leslie did all of the art on board,” says the owner. “A couple of friends and musicians gave us a couple of pieces. I did the hardscape and Leslie did all the soft and the colour. That’s our deal.” The art makes the rooms feel personal, and adds a vitality to the otherwise flawless walls.
“Each Feadship is totally unique and no two Feadship owners are the same,” says De Vries. “It is our privilege to create the most amazing yachts on the oceans for the most fascinating people on the planet, and it has been a great experience to partner with the owner of ROCK.IT.” The experience is, of course, of an owner involving himself in every aspect of the creation of his yacht, which, although perhaps not always easy, is what allows it to come alive in such a palpable way.
ROCK.IT was a labour of love for her owner, and she hasn’t disappointed: “When I’m on board and I just look around at everything, it’s so stimulating and it’s just so awesome. I love it!” he says. This is perhaps what gives her such a tangible soul, the passion that went into creating something that would still excite so much after so many days spent aboard. ROCK.IT is an apt name for a yacht that makes an owner’s heart soar, like a rocket into outer space.