If there has ever been a turning point in Dutch shipyard Mulder’s design and innovationhistory, this will be it; the unveiling of their flagship model of the Voyager line, the beautiful Firefly. An all-star team was assembled to design a yacht that would offer exceptional space and comfort along with unparalleled cruising capabilities and safety in its class. Mulder'snew 94 Voyager is not only a contender in this competitive market segment, but we certainly feel, a possible winner.
The design brief Mulder had introduced is one of simplicity and functionality, yet calling for an elegant and powerful design to fit her long distance cruising personality. Mulder wanted to build a superyacht that would satisfy owners’ needs of a sub 100 foot yacht that can offer large living areas on the interior and exterior. Furthermore, a yacht that is not only able to reach destinations other vessels in this class cannot, but doing so in absolute comfort and safety. This was achieved by firstly designing a hull that can handle true deep water cruising placed on a sturdy semi displacement ocean-going platform, as proven during her sea trails on a choppy North Sea.
Vripack was tasked with the design and development of the 94 Voyager’s naval architecture. They fitted Firefly with a round bilged hull shape to improve stability and comfort when at sea. Her raised bow is not just simply for aesthetic reasons, but creates a barrier that deflects any swell presented to her. A very narrow bow stem paired with a dual spray line and sharp flair above the forward portholes means bridge windows and deck spaces are kept as dry as possible. As opposed to many other vessels in this size range that are simply constructed to shipyard standards, Firefly was designed and built to meet RINA’s classification requirements.
Frank Laupman of Omega Architects drew and exterior shape that resembles a modern classic image, with several design cues which suggest that Firefly was not entirely created to spend her days tied up in a marina. On main deck she features oversized windows running through to the bridge area up forward, with angled forward and aft fashion plates blending the superstructure and hull together seamlessly. Rhythmically aligned portholes and foredeck scuppers visually stimulates and lends a sense of structure.
The idea behind Firefly’s sundeck was to have a spacious area where guests can not only relax at any time of the day, but will be able to utilise this as the primary social area on board as well. To achieve this, Mulder had a raised deck head structure installed with excellent head room that is fitted with large sun lights to create a wonderfully open and light area, perfect for relaxed days at anchor or large family dining occasions. The sundeck, which has been laid with natural teak, offers two large U-shaped dining areas forward along with a bar and grill area that offers plenty of storage space. The aft section is fitted with a davit crane to launch and retrieve the yacht’s tender, and can easily be transformed in an open sun bathing area with panoramic views across the anchorage.
On main deck below, one can really appreciate the ‘little ship’ feeling that Mulder set out to achieve. Traditional wooden capping rails line the entire main deck bulwarks, with wide side decks and high grade mooring stations on the aft deck adding to the ultimate functionality that Firefly offers. A lovely aft seating area on main deck offers an ideal spot for light breakfasts when in port or an elegant meeting area before heading out for a night on the town. From here, one can easily reach the large swim platform which has been perfectly designed for days of endless fun in the water and sun.
The platform features a separate hydraulic lift system that allows temporary storage of jet skis or a tender when moving between anchorages, and doubles as a pantograph boarding step to be used when moored stern-to in port.
Forward on main deck is a private seating area that provides an escape for guests from other social areas on board. Perfect for sundown drinks when at anchor or simply enjoying the breeze through your hair while underway, the foredeck feels as a part to the rest of the exterior spaces while at the same time offering a secluded hideout for guests to enjoy.
The new interior design house of Vickers Studio was responsible for decorating Firefly’s interior guest areas. John Vickers selected a beautifully relaxing beach house style atmosphere to meet the owner’s love of the ocean. Here in the main salon, accents of bright blues and white textured fabrics creates a laid-back yet elegant space where guests can enjoy uninterrupted views through what seems like a single glass panel on either side. Deep brown oak flooring accentuates the remaining natural colours throughout the area, keeps to the natural feel one experiences throughout the interior.
Apart from the exceptional headroom, another stand-out feature of the main salon has to be the bright blue crystal-like artworks found on the dining area wall and lounge table. These conversation-inspiring pieces are crafted using multiple layers of blue resin to create a deep glow of blue and brings the entire space alive. Rare coral pieces have been strategically placed throughout the salon, further continuing Vicker’s ‘relaxed luxury seascape’ environment.
On the lower deck four staterooms are located providing accommodation for 8 guests. The full beam master cabin is situated aft and beautifully decorated in the same light blue and white tones as found on main deck. World renowned artist Rado Kirov was commissioned to sculpt a custom piece that now adds a soft contrast to the nautical theme of the master cabin.
Other sleeping quarters include the VIP cabin up forward and two twin cabins placed midships. A similar art piece can be found in the VIP cabin.
Mulder opted to fit Firefly with two low rpm derived Caterpillar C18 engines which gives the yacht exceptional fuel efficiency and ultra low noise level figures. She comfortably reaches 3600nm while travelling at 8 knots and can still reach a top speed of 18 knots if required. While underway the main salon reads a noise level of a mere 53 decibels and down stairs revealing very similar readings. Firefly is fitted with stabilisers from Naiad Dynamics and the yacht’s keel of 1.8 metres is sure to provide a stable ride in most conditions.
Mulder managed to condense features commonly found on a large 40 metre yacht into their new 94 foot Voyager. Storages spaces are cleverly hidden, but once revealed, presents endless storage options. With hull number one a great success, Mulder is predicting to start the construction of number two before the end of the year. Firefly resembles a shift in the way comfort cruisers are designed and is leading the way in what is possible when innovative design and experienced build quality comes together.
Firefly is currentlyfor sale through West Nautical and will be on display at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival.
SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2020
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