Forget the rugged exterior: this is a yacht whose restful interior and open decks are all about taking it easy. By Frances & Michael Howorth
About one thing, the owner of Yogi was adamant: that his yacht should not look like any other in the harbour. At first glance she is certainly striking, with more than a hint of the expedition yacht in her lines. But there the ruggedness ends; what follows are vast areas of deck devoted to outside living, and two beach clubs on the lower deck, ensuring owner and guests are always able to be close to the water. There are two pools and a sumptuous lounging area aft on the main deck, and large pads for sun-worshipping are a feature of all the external areas, while hidden TV screens ensure you can enjoy a movie under the stars on the hot-tub terrace on the uppermost deck. If you do ever need to go inside, it’ll be to use the massage room or wellness centre.
This is, in truth, an explorer yacht with a touch of Zen. It’s no surprise to learn that Zen teachings were an important source of inspiration for French designer Jean Guy Verges, who was responsible for the exterior and interior of Yogi. You can see the influence everywhere on board – a certain unity with the elements, and plenty of spaces where you can be calm and thoughtful. Even the name means a yoga master and derives from the Sanskrit.
You can also feel the influence of the yacht’s French owner, who intended from the start of the project to create a resort on the water. An experienced charterer, he knew that a connection with the elements was key – a six-person spa pool on the sundeck and a dramatic 12-metre infinity plunge pool on the main deck bring the water on board, and the addition of a large circular glass section in the plunge pool ensures that the beach club area below at the aft end of the yacht is flooded with natural sunlight. As well as the Far Eastern vibes, another source of inspiration is contemporary architecture – modern seaside villas and beach houses with large opening windows. You quickly forget anything that is purposeful and seaman-like in the lines. The yacht’s exterior is an effective blend of glossy white bulkheads, acres of glass and shiny polished stainless steel railings. The large overhangs of the decks above create a modern and refreshing appearance, while the see-through glass bulwarks aft create an open feel, again blurring the distinction between out and in. Yogi has a very playful attitude to environments and spaces.
Every exterior deck has the space to host its own dinner party. Forward on the sundeck is a dining table with the best breakfast-time view in the house. The table a deck below is shaded from the midday sun, while the aft deck gives diners poolside seats. The hardest job for guests will be to decide which exterior spaces they want to occupy.
If Yogi’s exterior has fun with straight lines and sharp corners, then the way Yogi’s interior plays with space could not be more different. Inside, she is full of natural curves and softness. It’s quiet, calm, clean, contemporary and relaxing. For Verges, Bali and other Asian resorts have acted as inspiration to create a décor of light earth tones using plenty of natural materials. He designed the huge oversized floor-to- ceiling windows to flood the interior with light. “I wanted people to view the sea from anywhere within the yacht,” he says, and he worked closely with the owner to achieve this.
Inside, Verges has caught the relaxing mood well, the use of generally light materials ensuring that her guests will feel the calming atmosphere as soon as they step on board. This isn’t an interior that makes you straighten with formality; Yogi is a pleasingly unfussy yacht. Roman Travertine stone and limestone are juxtaposed with Italian stitched leather edges and polished stainless steel is used alongside American natural oak wood, while wool carpets abut natural teak for flooring. To complete the look, soft natural silk and linen fabrics offset the stronger statement of satin and high-gloss lacquered woodwork.
Both the owner’s suite and the VIP cabin are located on the main deck and are, unusually, adjacent to each other. They are entered through a shared lobby whose bulkheads are clad in leather and feature wood marquetry. To starboard, the VIP cabin is flooded with natural light from three floor-to-ceiling windows and is tastefully decorated in the yacht’s trademark Asian fusion style using natural stones, leather, oak wood, lacquer and fine fabrics of silk and linen. A large bathroom is cleverly concealed behind sliding doors.
Further forward and slightly raised, the full-width master suite again features floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides. A leather and wood desk takes its place on the port side while to starboard is a plush chaise longue – perfect for relaxing on in the evenings.
The king-sized bed is centred, facing forward towards the entrance to the dressing rooms behind sliding doors. There, big closets provide ample storage and the circular skylight draws natural light into this area, which leads to two bathrooms. The ‘his’ has a large shower, and the ‘hers’ includes a bathtub and TV behind a beautifully decorative mirror with a stone frame and contrasting logo motifs.
The guest areas on the lower deck centre round an elegant lobby whose deck and bulkheads are finished in stone. It provides four delightful suites, three double and one twin cabin, each with its own private bathroom. Additionally, the two forward cabins can be converted into one monster suite. The guest accommodation here has the same Asian feel from a design that again mixes natural materials in light shades. The bathrooms feature limestone that contrasts with marble on the wall and wash basin cabinet fronts. Unusually oversized portholes in each cabin offer great views of the outside world as well as bringing welcome natural light into a deck level that can often seem dark on other yachts.
Backlit stone wall panels are used to great effect at the aft entrance to the main salon. Deckheads are finished with light leather panels whose stitched edges mimic the look of traditional French leather craftsmen. Light-coloured leather is also used to line the walls of the deck staircase.
Verges has used Nobilis, Jim Thompson, Pierre Frey and Sacho for the decorative furnishings, and decorative lamps come from Promemoria. All have been assembled and mixed to highlight and enhance the custom-made furniture. Works of art on the walls include pieces by the New York photographer Michael Chen alongside decorative items from Hermès in Paris. In-cabin entertainment systems are controlled by iPad, while iPhones are used as communicators and all can be used to access music and movies from the centralised entertainment system.
Yogi represents a very different yacht from a yard that has this year alone launched four significant superyachts: there seems to be no holding back at Proteksan Turquoise. Yogi was the second of three yachts launched in the spring. The first to emerge was Turquoise and within weeks of Yogi taking to the water the 74-metre Talisman C joined her sisters on the dock. This summer, the 72-metre Vicky began her fit-out inside one of the newly vacant sheds.
Shipyard director Mehmet Karabeyoglu is understandably proud of what his yard has achieved in 2011. “This is the first time for us to have so many new builds on the dock at once,” he says. “It’s a perfect demonstration of our ability to deliver our brand promise, because all of these yachts are on time.”
The owner has chosen to flag the yacht in France, and he has also engaged Frenchman Jean-Louis Carrel to command her. The captain, in turn, has chosen a French-speaking crew. Carrel is full of praise for his ship and has enjoyed a trouble-free season cruising. Twin 1,425kW Caterpillar engines power her at speeds up to 16 knots, but at a pleasant cruising speed of 12 knots, her range is 5,000 miles.
Yogi has completed her first season of chartering with glowing reports, and you can understand why: the only complaint that a guest would ever make is that they have to leave. SyW
This feature is taken from the November/December 2011 edition of SuperYacht World. Click here to buy the issue for your iPad.