2008, "The Year of the Moonen 97"

Moonen Shipyards-builders of a full range of Displacement, Semi-Displacement, and Explorer models, will add two new 97-foot "pocket-size superyachts" to its growing fleet this year. The Moonen 97 is the latest model in the shipyard's acclaimed Displacement Series. It is handsomely shaped by René van der Velden Design, with a round-bilge hullform drawn by naval architects Diana Yacht Design. Both yachts will have interior styling by Art-Line. With steel hull and aluminium superstructure, they also feature Caterpillar engines and zero-speed stabilizers, and are built to Lloyd's Register Class and MCA Certification.

The Moonen 97 is an evolutionary design, derived from two recent yachts by Moonen-the custom Moonen 96 Clementine (launched 2005), and the shipyard's most successful model, the Moonen 84 (the eighth will be launched this year). The strong attraction of the Moonen 84 has been its ideal four-cabin layout. The equally strong attraction of Clementine is the considerable volume she offers on a waterline about four meters longer than that of the 84.

Combining and rearranging the outstanding features of both designs, Moonen has created the new 97-foot model to satisfy a clear market need for a medium-size, long-range cruiser between its smallest model, the Moonen 72, and its new "Queen of the Fleet," the Moonen 124.

René van der Velden sculpted the Moonen 97 to have a close family resemblance to the Moonen 84, with a harmonious profile comprising a nicely flared bow, sloped stern with twin stairways, graceful sheerline, and bold fashion plates. Below, the considerably greater volume has enabled Moonen to augment the four-cabin layout by enlarging the owners' and guests' suites and the crew quarters, increasing stowage for long-range cruising, and adding sufficient fuel for transatlantic capability. The greatest apparent difference in the Moonen 97 is that the raised pilothouse of the 96 has been replaced by a long open flying bridge and sundeck with whirlpool bath, resulting in a somewhat lower profile in keeping with the Displacement Series image.

Though the two Moonen 97 are "sisterships," they are far from "identical twins," each being highly customized by their clients. The first one has a fixed bimini top, a single bridge-deck tender crane, a walk-through galley opening to the wheelhouse, three staterooms with double berths and one with twins. The second, Sofia, has a folding bimini top, two smaller tender cranes, an extended bridge-deck overhang, a U-shape galley, and two twin staterooms below. The saloon and dining area configurations are quite different as well.

The contemporary Art-Line interiors feature ample use of leather, bamboo, panelling and built-in furniture of fine cherry veneers. On the first yacht richly classical wenge trim adds drama to the interior, while on the second, lighter more contemporary maple trim creates a contrasting mood.

The first Moonen 97 is set for delivery in early spring 2008; Sofia will be splashed in summer. The shipyard also has under construction the eighth Moonen 84, Amphitrite, the first 99 Alu semi-displacement yacht, the third Moonen 97, and the largest-ever yacht to come from the shipyard, the Moonen 124 displacement.

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