The first launch from Kestrel Superyachts made her first public appearance at last weeks Antibes Yacht Show. The 32.5 metre ketch Kestrel was the lone sail boat in a row of motoryachts of various sizes but was the one that drew the crowds. Walking down the dock to visit Kestrel you could hear the Scottish bagpiper Fraser MacIntosh, who plays the rugby teams into Murryfield stadium in Edinburgh, playing on the dock, bringing Celtic flare to this wonderful Turkish built yacht.
Arriving at Kestrel we were greeted by the Irish born Managing Director of Kestrel Superyachts Peter Cooke, who welcomed us on board and conducted a tour of the boat. The project was started just over 6 years ago by Peter Cooke with a team of Irish/Scottish investors combined with the world renowned yacht designer Ron Holland who has designed famous superyachts such as Mirabella V, and the long established Turkish shipyard Aganlar in Bodrum.
"The project was to create a concept to put both “family” and “fun” back into sailing', says Peter, and they have certainly achieved this with Kestrel. They have taken the motor/sailor niche in the superyacht market and raised it to a new level by successfully creating," as Peter comments "the best of both worlds' with a yacht that combines welcoming comfort, space and high stability with excellent sailing performance. This is truly a family sailboat which is designed to embrace rather than intimidate non sailors" he added.
After stepping onboard you first notice the spacious aft deck with massive comfortable cushioned family seating/reclining areas in the stern, and with additional seating units and tables just abaft the helm station. These twin seating units are on tracks, which can be unlocked and moved outboard to create an open entertaining area (with tables removed), brought midway to create a ‘conventional’ linear cockpit with twin seats and tables port and starboard, or brought together in the closed position offering a single large dining table with banquette seating.
Having the helm forward rather than in the more usual ‘space hungry’ twin wheel arrangement aft, where viewing can be difficult, gives the helmsman a better view and sense of control, and moves the sailing controls away from the guests. This is one of many innovations that reflect the owners’ desire to produce a ‘fun’ boat where excellent sailing a la Ron Holland norm does not interfere with the enjoyment of the guests.
On entering the main saloon, the visitor is immediately aware of a feeling of space and tranquillity as a consequence of the high white deckheads and natural light that enters through the large surrounding windows complementing the luxurious finish of Afromosia ‘Golden Teak’ furniture and light pastel fabrics.
Her flared clipper bow forward and considerable volume below decks has allowed for an full beam owners cabin aft, 2 twin cabins forward, each with Pullman bunks and a forward VIP double cabin, in addition to the accommodation for a crew of four. All cabins are very spacious with additional portholes and skylights to maximise natural light for a bright and airy feeling.
"We wanted her to be as much beach house as maritime in flavour to encourage non sailors and new owners into the sector" said Cooke. Few sailing yachts of this length can offer four spacious cabins with large en suite bathrooms.
Craftsmanship and attention to detail inside is clearly painstaking and comparable to that obtainable in any top level yard in the world, reflecting the highest standards in quality superyacht building which consumers have come to expect over the past decade from Turkey.
After completing the tour we were invited back for an evening of entertainment onboard Kestrel for the owners’ party. Fraser MacIntosh played the bagpipes while two of the original lead dancers from Riverdance, Joanne Doyle and David Moore along with four of their students, danced on the aft deck and on a stage on the dock to an enthusiastic and energetic audience. This was Kestrel’s first party, and those close to the project commented that this had at last brought the concept to fruition. A wide range of revellers, aged from 7 to 70, filled the boat and indeed the French evening air with traditional Gaelic spirit and laugher. Later, guests joined the dancers and the open party area became a mass of enthusiastic Irish dancers both amateur and professional while guests on neighbouring yachts watched wistfully, occasionally clapping along to the sounds of the dancers’ rhythm. The less adventurous revellers were happy to observe from the wings while enjoying a fine Scottish malt whisky served in a silver ‘quaich’ a traditional Scottish drinking cup with the Kestrel logo in the botton.. The next day, Kestrel was featured on the front page of the major Cote D'Azur newspaper 'Nice Matin', reflecting the hit her presence had made at the show.
Kestrel is a world class design fit to travel anywhere in the world and would be right at home anchored in a secluded bay just off an island in the South Pacific.
Kestrel is currently offered for sale by central agents Watkins Superyachts at a price of €7,500,000.