Superyacht Excellence, built at the German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen, is quite unusual inside and out. What prompted the owner to decide on such a non-trivial project, and what are its features?
The owner of Excellence is a very experienced American yachtsman, and this superyacht is already the sixth on his list, with all the previous ones bearing the same self-explanatory name – “Excellence”. Moreover, he also built the last three boats, including the 60-meter Excellence V, at Abeking & Rasmussen, so the question of whether such a rather complex project could be trusted by an experienced Kiel shipyard.
Another thing is that this time he wanted to get a really non-standard yacht and personally take part in its creation. Initially, Abeking & Rasmussen and Winch Design studio presented the Excellence concept at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2015: it was there that the future owner drew attention to it, but did not accept it as it is. For almost a year, the shipyard, together with the designers, finalized the project to fit its requirements, and the construction contract was signed the following fall during an exhibition in Monaco.
The proposed changes primarily affected the exterior: the customer wanted the yacht to be extraordinary at all costs. The characteristic features incorporated in the original project in the form of a pronounced, instantly recognizable stem with a reverse slope, superstructures with glass “walls” and bodily, saucer-like open decks remained the same, but the length of the vessel was reduced to 80 m, the superstructure shrank slightly and lost the helipad. since the bow of the vessel was significantly narrowed. In general, the design and design of the Excellence is very interesting. The distance from the “tip of the bow” to the point of abutment of the main deck to the stem is 10 m (!), And its part in the waterline area is made of a solid piece of steel. To compensate for its weight and add buoyancy to the bow, the yacht was equipped with a bulb, which also has a positive effect on the ship’s own wave system. Needless to say, Abeking & Rasmussen engineers have spent a lot of time and effort optimizing the hull lines and testing the scale model in the experimental pool to get a yacht that is not inferior in seaworthiness to boats with traditional hulls? All the anchoring equipment is installed here on the main deck, but its bow is made “deaf” almost to the wheelhouse itself, so that water does not flood the yacht when the sharp stem pierces high waves. The glazed side aisles of the main deck become open only closer to the stern, so they cannot serve to drain water, but this is not necessary here.
The superstructure glazing, namely a two-deck glass wall amidships, is the second characteristic of Excellence. To achieve this visually light yet durable glazing, the shipyard used five-meter panels, each weighing 1.3 tonnes, and since the aluminum superstructure “breathes” when the ship moves, they had to be secured in a special way. But the engineers had to smash their brains not only over this: three-layer glass panels with a heat-insulating gas layer and tint must always maintain the specified rigidity, since otherwise unwanted distortions, such as a curved mirror effect, may appear on their mirror surface. The shipyard coped with this task brilliantly, and if you stand on the island of the side passage close to this 25 m long glass wall, you can see the perfect reflection of the surrounding landscape.
By the way, the “cutout” in the side aisles on the owner’s deck is located just in the salon, which is called the mezzanine at the shipyard, and the views from there are stunning. Of course, the crew will have to work hard to keep this “mirror” clean inside and out, but it’s worth it, because thanks to it, Excellence, like a chameleon, always becomes a part of what is around. And when the sun sinks below the horizon and the yacht is enveloped in twilight, it’s time to turn on the illumination. 18 bright blue lights flash under the waterline, soft lighting floods the open decks, and the boat seems to be immersed in a cocoon of light that favorably emphasizes the feminine curves of her figure.
It is curious that, in comparison with many other yachts, in the exterior of the Excellence there are very few noticeable technical elements that could violate the harmony of the design, and those that exist organically fit into it. Thus, the life rafts are hidden in the bulwark’s locker; ventilation grilles are disguised and do not catch the eye, merging with the glazing. The shipyard even designed special doors for Excellence that do not spoil the smooth curves and bevel of the superstructure: each of them uses its own mechanism for silent opening with different lengths of extension. Another non-trivial solution is a telescopic gangway that goes out from under the stair section on the lower deck, which is equipped with a lifting mechanism. It seems like a common thing for large yachts, but at Excellence it is an engineering achievement. No wonder Abeking & Rasmussen admit that this project, in terms of construction and design, turned out to be the most difficult of all that they have ever built.
As for the interior design, the Winch Design studio was faced with a generally familiar task: to personalize the yacht as much as possible, taking into account the tastes and wishes of the owner, but at the same time to make sure that every guest on board finds something of their own. close to him in spirit. In addition, not only the finishes, but also the deck layouts on the Excellence have been thought out with a charter in mind.
The main theme of the interior of the guest zones of Excellence is the style of residences typical for the southeast coast of the United States, in particular Florida, where the owner spent his childhood. It was harmoniously “impregnated” with automotive design elements that are close to the owner in his business and hobby. Whimsical decorative panels that echo the grilles of classic American cars are invariably eye-catching, adding depth to the space, and the wide, cream-colored pebbled leather armchairs are reminiscent of the seats of luxury 1950s Cadillacs. Some of the furniture handles echo the chrome emblems on the bonnets, while the monochrome circles on the floor and headliner are suggestive of black and white tires from the era. Finally, the daytime bathrooms on the main deck are inspired by the design of the Bugatti Royale and the Ferrari Daytona Spyder, while the steel perforated glass pillars in the atrium bring an industrial touch to the interior – a nod to the Midwest car factories.
With a rather modest total capacity, the Excellence is perceived as a very spacious, ergonomically designed yacht with an emphasis on socialization. In the saloon on the main deck, guests are greeted by deep sofas and armchairs that surround a chunky coffee table with a diameter of two meters, around the perimeter of which is launched a wide rim of polished golden onyx. Designers know that when they sink into soft pillows, guests are likely to instinctively want to sit back and put their feet on this table, so they chose natural stone to reinforce the edges of the tabletop.
In general, the layout of the main deck is really great for a charter, since along with the six guest cabins, there is everything that passengers may need, including a small cozy buffet: there they can make themselves coffee or tea and grab something tasty without calling the stewardess. In addition, they have at their disposal the upper deck, where the wheelhouse is located, while the owner has his own completely private “floor”.
The materials used in the decoration reflect the owner’s love for visually rich textures: hemlock wood and teak sandstone from Paonazzo adorn the spa area; coffee-colored ostrich leather upholstery and horsehair wall panels ennoble the indoor cinema with nine seats; the carpet in the corridor on the main deck imitates the fibers of the bleached sycamore, the wood of which is the title on board. An equally intriguing alligator-like carpet covers the owner’s bedroom floor, echoing the crocodile matte finish on the shower doors. The studio of Andrew Vinch has creatively approached the use of mirrors in the interior: they not only fulfill their direct task, but also help to visually enlarge the premises, expand the perspective and “dissolve” such difficult elements for designers as, for example, edging of ventilation ducts in the decoration. Despite the richness of finishes, Excellence remains alive and comfortable for a long stay on board a yacht, where unique design solutions are in harmony with the invisible but important that a person needs to feel happy.
According to the shipyard, upon seeing the finished yacht, the customer admitted that it exceeded all his expectations, although all those 34 months that were spent on the construction of Excellence, he actively followed the process. Well, the described example once again confirms: if the desire to create something extraordinary is strong enough, then there are all the possibilities to bring it to life.
Dossier of Excellence
3.45 m (full)
2115 reg. t
2 × MTU 12V 4000 M65R (2029 HP)
14 people (7 cabins)
20 people (10 cabins)
Hull / superstructure material:
steel / aluminum