Enter Space – First Feadship F45 launched

    
Thursday, 21 June 2007

Feadship has announced the launch of the first in the exclusive F45 Vantage semi-custom series. Built by Royal Van Lent, the 44.65 m (146’ 6”) motoryacht Space epitomizes the benefits of a new concept that is designed for owners who require unparalleled Feadship quality levels in this‘compact’ size range without having to pay the significantly higher costs associated with a fully customized project. With an incredible amount of volume for the size and giant windows, Space truly lives up to her name in every sense.

Eyebrows were raised in certain quarters when Feadship first announced its decision to offer a new concept outside the customized motoryacht sector in which it is undisputed leader. In keeping with the thinking that has earned and maintained Feadship its global brand status for over half a century, the reasoning was carefully considered and based on owner demands.

“The F45 Vantage range was the result of a three-year R&D project,” explains president of Feadship America, Francois van Well. “Over the last decade, the competition from yards building standard and semi-custom yachts in the medium-size range has intensified. This was increasing the price differentiation with a customized Feadship in the 35 to 45-metre price bracket. Even taking the huge difference in quality into account, it was increasingly difficult to justify the expense gap to owners looking for their first ever superyacht or Feadship.”

A new type of owner
Three Feadships, delivered in 2002, 2003 and 2004 respectively, highlighted the quandary. Seaflower (40 m), Katrion (38.55 m) and Rahal (46.50 m) were superlative yachts, and their higher price compared to anything of similar size in the market was more than compensated for by superior quality. Nonetheless, these projects inspired a number of queries into the possibility of reducing the expense of a similar Feadship at around this length.

“Several of these potential clients had never owned a superyacht before, and it was clear that we could not turn our backs on the needs of entry-level owners,” continues Van Well. “Moreover, while building a customized boat is great fun, it requires commitments in time and ideas. These type of people already run successful businesses and own incredible houses and aircraft. This new breed of owner does not see why owning a superyacht – an increasingly popular lifestyle decision – should be so much more complex and require either in-depth experience or the hiring of experts. They simply want to order a premium superyacht, choose the style of the interior and the fabrics, and then take possession a year later of a perfect product.”

A new type of Feadship
These requirements were the foundation stones of two new Feadship concepts: The Feadship SL39 (the first of which will be launched in 2008), and the F45 Vantage. “As quality is the core value of the Feadship brand, a reduction in this respect so as to lower the price was never considered,” Van Well reveals. “Instead, the Feadship group as a whole – the yards, De Voogt Naval Architects and all the main suppliers – partnered to develop a series of exceptionally user-friendly, semi-custom yachts at a cost-efficient price.”

A ’less is more’ approach was taken during the F45’s development. “It is easy to make something complicated,” says Van Well, “but it takes an enormous amount of experience to make something simple. And that is what we achieved as a group during the various stages of the project. At the same time, we ensured that the F45 retained every aspect of comfort and quality found on a fully custom Feadship yacht.”

The F45 synthesizes everything that Feadship does best – design, construction, engineering, systems and materials. The hull, superstructure, bulkheads and exterior styling are set, and the equipment portfolio has been pre-selected. “Having all the key technical parameters worked out based on our experience offers a proven platform for owners,” says Van Well. “Moreover, the ultra-flexible design allows the different onboard spaces to be used in ways that closely reflect the modern cruising experience.

“Owners and guests or charter parties spend most of their time outdoors, so the F45 has a ‘beach house on the water’ philosophy. As the vast majority of meals are served on the outside decks, we have dispensed with the traditional dining room on the main deck and placed the galley on the lower deck. This has in turn freed up space to situate the guest suites on the main deck, offering a quiet location and enhanced views through the large windows.”

Holiday home
Many other features of the F45 exemplify the onboard holiday home approach, and a wealth of options is available for owners to shape the interior to their individual taste. Distinctive woods,
marbles, metals and fabrics give a unique finish to the walls, floors, ceilings and doors, incorporated within four styles created by Sinot Design Associates: Miami (classic art deco), Monaco (informal French), Milano (classic modern) and Nautical (distinguished and traditional). Owners can add their own fabrics and loose furniture if preferred.

The F45 also offers the maximum space possible in a 45-meter boat thanks in no small part to its centralized air conditioning. This system works with compressed air and dispenses with the need for separate fan coil units in each room. It is quiet, low maintenance and enhances layout flexibility. Moreover, as no cabinets are required around the edges of the rooms to house airco units, the large windows come into their own.

Space for maneuver
Launched on 26 May 2007, Spaceis the flagship of the first series of three. The other two have already been sold, and are slated for delivery at the end of 2007 and in the summer of 2008. A second series of three is already in production, illustrating Feadship’s confidence in the F45 concept. “We have created something truly special within this size category, and there is keen interest from the market,” Van Well reports.

“The yachts are typically sold around a year before delivery, when all the key parameters have been set. The owner of Space was in a unique position because he became involved before this stage, and was able to access a little extra flexibility than will be the case with the rest of the F45s. Although minor modifications were made to the interior style, owner’s bathroom, staircase and bridge deck lounge, it is a remarkable testament to the core concept that Space remains very much an original F45.”

Exterior profile
Developed by De Voogt Naval Architects with Sinot Design Associates, the mature and contemporary exterior profile is combined with the unmistakable timeless lines and well-defined curves of a Feadship. Among the many sophisticated details is the way the knuckle goes ‘through’ the large main deck windows to enhance the nautical feel.

Another defining feature is the ribbed fashion plate on the bridge deck. On Space, the owner has selected white ribs with grey recesses. The entire superstructure is grey, including all the recesses in the bulwark, emphasizing the length of the boat and making her more modern. Other F45s with a teak look to the fashion plates and an all-white color scheme will have a more classic hue. Unlike most full-beam boats, storm shutters are not needed due to the thickness of the glass. This will undoubtedly please the new crew onboard Space.

Interior style
Space's interior is primarily derived from the Milano style, offering a fresh and classic modern atmosphere. A wealth of geometric shapes and natural colors emphasize the yacht’s volume. Because extra time was available on this launch project, the owner asked Donald Starkey to join the team as interior decorator.

The finishing onboard Space is a testament to the Royal Van Lent craftsmen, with the luxurious woods, leathers, marbles, carpets and fabrics complementing each other throughout. Highlights
include the use of lace wood with Zebrano, Etimoe and Bubinga as feature veneers, and Japanese sen with ebony details. The marble range is equally extensive, and includes Onyx, Nero Asoluto, Chassegne Volnay, Noir st. Laurant and Crema Valentia.

In addition to influencing the decoration, Starkey also designed a central circular glass staircase. Leading from the main to the bridge deck, this splendid piece is set within a polished stainless steel frame, and includes lights in the glass steps. Other F45s will have a rectangular staircase as the engineering will have advanced beyond this phase by the time owners become involved.

The main deck
The large low windows which reach up to the ceiling are an immediately noticeable feature upon entering Space’s main deck lounge. A cut-out in the bulwark further accentuates the uninterrupted views, ensuring they are even available when seated. The open plan lounge centers on a seating area with two sofas and two armchairs. On the other F45s, the forward section of the lounge will be an informal area with a breakfast bar, settee and table. The
owner of Space has elected to relocate this bar to the outside main deck aft, which also features a table and chairs.

Forward of the main deck lounge is a corridor, with doors opening to three guest suites. While all the other F45s will have four guest cabins, the owner of Space chose to transform the forward port guest stateroom into a bathroom. This was achieved by changing the positioning of the door in order to connect directly to the stateroom rather than the corridor. The walls have remained the same, as will be the case on the following F45s.

Each guest stateroom also benefits from very large windows, offering a beautiful vista even from the bathrooms. The main deck stateroom arrangement makes the F45 more attractive for chartering, removing the ‘upstairs-downstairs’ arrangement of having only one couple on the main deck. Also accessed via the main corridor is a ventilated room for the central AV system. There is no localized audio equipment in the living areas onboard Space except for speakers, a TV screen and remote control. The absence of a local amplifier highlights another flexible aspect of the F45 concept: owners can easily opt for different bedside cabinets without having to take into account the AV interface and ventilation.

Furthest forward on the main deck is a spacious owner’s stateroom with a high ceiling of 320 centimeters (125”) plus a sensational four-by-two-meter glass skylight. Privacy is assured when
crewmembers are walking across the foredeck thanks to a window treatment that offers a translucent screen or complete blackout. Again, the views from the full-length windows are simply magnificent in this space. The area forward of the owner’s stateroom – earmarked for the bathroom on the other F45s – has been used to create an expansive walk-in wardrobe.

The bridge deck
The bridge deck lounge and patio is likely to be the social heart of every F45 thanks to an ingenious system of sliding doors and windows, which offers a plethora of indoor-out options. On either side of the lounge, covering the complete height of the bulwark, are glass partitions that slide forward, opening 80% of the floor-to-ceiling height up to the open air. Two glass bi-fold doors aft also allow the entire patio area to be opened up.

On the other F45s, continuous teak flooring will ensure that the aft deck patio is visually unified with the lounge. On Space, a dark whitewash teak indoor floor has been laid to remove this continuity and the sliding wall glass partition has been further extended onto the aft deck. The aft section of the lounge has become an indoor dining area for formal gatherings, while retaining the beautiful outdoor views.

Moving forward, the room behind the wheelhouse is designed as a multi-purpose area in the F45 concept: an extra guest cabin (with separate bathroom and toilet), a study, a gym or a captain’s cabin if an extended crew is required, are among the options. On Space, the owner has chosen for a private office.

The wheelhouse layout is again optimized to provide panoramic views, reflecting the importance many owners and guests attach to enjoying this part of the cruising experience. Feadship’s ongoing commitment to creating the cleanest possible bridge is very apparent here too. Five screens (two radars, conning, electronic chart, and monitoring screen) nestle within a completely flush dashboard, with bowthruster and engine controls. There are very few displays on the deck wall as the integration concept is further perfected.

The sun deck
The sun deck typifies the outdoor living premise that underpins the F45. Sunbathing, relaxing and al fresco dining are all catered for in a generous and flexible layout, with the only fixed feature being a giant Jacuzzi enveloped by sun pads. There is ample space for every F45 owner to personalize the sun deck using loose or fixed furniture. Highlights onboard Space include a dining table for six, a wet bar and cabinet area, fixed seating under the canopy, and various sunloungers.

The lower deck
Without the usual guest staterooms, the lower deck on Space and all the F45s is very much the operational hub of the yacht. Center stage is the engine room, a piece of pure Feadship engineering where every system and all equipment is thought through and easily accessible for maintenance. Space is powered by twin MTU engines, with C9 gensets contained in a sound enclosure box. The F45 complies with the Lloyd’s environmental protection quotation. Both grey and black water treatment are provided on board, with a large black water holding tank for use in zero discharge areas. Engineering features that enhance comfort include zero-speed stabilizers and a large watermaker capacity.

Moving forward of the engine room, the fully functional galley is found on the port side. Food lifts ascending to every level of the boat simplify the logistics of serving guests. Opposite the galley is the crew mess, which like the rest of the crew area is built and equipped to the highest Feadship standards and finished in ash wood with a cherry trim. In addition to the captain’s cabin and four crew cabins, there is a large dedicated laundry room.

Aft on the lower deck is a large boat house. Home to a custom-designed tender, this area can be converted into a gym, complete with steam room and bathroom. Launch the tender, fold out the
platform and a lovely secluded private beach is created which extends the yacht’s length by almost four meters. Space’s lazarette has been luxuriously finished, with a teak floor deck and all walls painted in the same color as the superstructure.

The custom tender concept meets the challenge of having a giant stern swimming platform extending up to the cap rail. As no crane can haul a tender over such a deep hatch, the F45 tender is pulled in via a winch. This process is facilitated by enabling the platform to pivot lower than horizontal and act as a slipway.