SuperYacht of the Week: Moonen's Darsea

Darsea, a Moonen 97, is one of the latest yachts in the shipyard's acclaimed Displacement Series. It is handsomely shaped by RenΓ© van der Velden Design, with a round-bilge hullform drawn by naval architects Diana Yacht Design. Darsea's interior styling is by the Dutch company Art-Line. With steel hull and aluminium superstructure, Darsea also features Caterpillar engines and zero-speed stabilizers, and is 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.

The contemporary Art-Line interiors feature ample use of leather, bamboo, panelling and built-in furniture of fine cherry veneers. On board Darsea richly classical wenge trim adds drama to the interior.

Her layout is typical Moonen, with guest accomodation on the lower deck in front of the engine room, and crewquarters aft of the engine room. This offers the crew a comfortable living area, and provides owner and guests 4 very large and luxurious staterooms. The only drawback from this arrangement is that the crew have to enter their accomodation either via a stern door on the bathing platform, or climb a ladder that leads up to a door under the stairs of the aft deck.

The owner's cabin is located midships just in front of the engine room. On our recent cruise on board Darsea we were pleasantly surprised by the extremely low sound levels in this cabin, even when cruising at full speed. The full beam cabin offers a large luxurious bathroom on portside, as well as walk-in closet. In the bow of the yacht there is another double cabin, whilst two more twins are located on starboard- and portside off the lowerdeck lobby.

RenΓ© van der Velden sculpted Darsea 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 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.

Darsea was delivered this spring, and will be on display at the September yachtshows in Cannes and Monaco.

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