The almost viral-like interest in superyachts that measure over 100 metres could be contributed to the extreme levels of secrecy, speculation, and envy that we landlubbers experience when dealing with these giants of the superyacht world. It is therefore always a truly special occasion to be let inside the goings-on onboard vessels of such size and stature. A sneak peek inside an industry icon such as Luna, however, is extremely rare and it is with much excitement and no small amount of anticipation that I find myself reporting on her recent $50 million dollar refit.
Much like an owner would assemble a team of designers, project managers and crew to conceptualise and ultimately build his/her new superyacht from scratch, so the owner of Luna gathered a team of experts to oversee what would become one of the most expensive superyacht refits in history. Over 14 months and 450 individual work-list projects later, and the refit of the mighty Luna was a project truly worthy of the term.
“Our mission was to give Luna a new look,” explains Thraki Yacht Painting boss, Ritvan Metso. The work list supplied by her captain reads like a comprehensive specifications manual that one might find onboard a large new-build project. Re-caulking of the entire ship, hand sanding, fairing and painting of hull, all new exterior furniture, new steam room, new sauna – you name it, it has been covered.
The most complex and intensive operation of all during the 14-month project most certainly has had to be the brand new finish of Luna’s hull. From afar, the untrained eye might easily overlook the eight month’s work that it took 80 men to complete, with her new ‘Luna Blue’ shade not too dissimilar to the original tone. Her owner was after a mirror finish unlike any other yacht of this size, and Thraki certainly delivered.
Following the preparation of the hull - taken back all the way to bare metal - the team applied over 20 tonnes of filler to her once commercial-finish hull. This was then hand sanded by Thraki’s men to achieve the perfect finish for the epoxy and top coats that would follow. “A rather tiring task indeed but well worth it when you consider the quality you get at the end,” continues Metso. This feat is further highlighted by the fact that the ship remained an operation site for all other works that had to be completed in time including the laying of the teak deck as well as stainless steel railings which were completely replaced on the main deck and stern area.
Having acquired the yacht from her original owner in 2014, the new family identified a few key changes that had to be made while onboard during their first season that year. One of these subsequently remodelled areas was the expansive beach deck that is hidden below Luna’s characteristic stretched-out aft deck. Layout and cosmetic changes to this space makethis the new indoor/outdoor hotspot on the yacht. Glass sliding doors separate the indoor space from the terrace provided by the fold-down shell doors – the largest of which measuring 12 metres in length.
A large aft-facing lounge area at the very aft section of the beach club overlooks the swim platform, with surrounding comforts that can easily have one forgetting that it is indeed the beach club and not the main saloon where you find yourself.
The swimming pool one deck above, the largest of its kind when Luna was delivered by Lloyd Werft in 2010, was completely re-tiled and is now more suitable for an afternoon dip in the summer heat than ever.
Directly aft of the pool, a new raised pavilion area with large shading canopy was created and is sure to become on of the most popular outdoor hang-out spots when at anchor.
All deck furniture, in fact, has been either upgraded or completely replaced. All exterior dining areas are new and designed to cater family-sized groups of guests. Another new element are the 'moon walls' found across the deck areas. Intense blue backdrops with 'Luna' accents serve as running theme throughout the yacht.
Her fleet of tenders, too, received the Luna treatment - four of which had their own refit work completed with another three brand new additions made to the fleet, further strengthening Luna’s exploration capabilities.A new military type CZ7 Hurricane Zodiac tender with impact-absorbing seats is one of the fleet’s flagship off-road craft, with a modern-classic J Craft oozing style like few other guest tenders do.
The two fully-upgraded lifeboats (one on either side) are used as limousine tenders for added privacy and guest transfers during bad weather.
From atop, a distinctive ‘Luna’ landing sign on her helipads are now visible after the installation of a new synthetic landing pad on areas by Bolidt.
The base aesthetics of her original interior, designed by Donald Starkey, has been retained, however, the new owner has renewed virtually every single fabric, from sofas to walls and the chairs in guest areas - all with a new look and feel.
Lunais a display of a well-executed design that can truly be classed as timeless. Starkey's rather compressed vision of a 'calm but elegant' interior has been realised in a wonderful collaboration of the natural and the mystical. A playful sense lingers that one would only find in a real family home, framed by custom art pieces and a variety of ornaments throughout the yacht.
The majority of interior works focused on the improving of safety for both guests and crew onboard. Dedicated storage cupboards for new cutlery and crockery sets, an expanded luggage storage facility, and improvements in the main and bridge deck pantries – all changes not directly visible to guests, but play a vital role in refining the way Luna is run on a day-to-day basis.
A good amount of time and thought went into making the observation deck more usable as a social area for guests. A new cut-out serves as the perfect area for a secret dining experience with the world, quite literally, at your feet.
The master suite offers demanding views from its own panoramic forward-facing terrace. Natural light and visibility is something there is no shortage of with a grand skylight overlooking the central bed acting as a porthole to the starry night sky.
Luna is controlled from bridge deck one level below. This location provides easy access to crew areas below, less pitching and rolling motions in rough weather for her sailors, and a peaceful experience for the owner sleeping above, who does not have to deal with tippy-toe bridge watch footsteps at three o’clock in the morning.
Crew areas too received their own refit with all quarters reupholstered and fitted out with new carpets, decking and TVs.
Luna's engine room also deserves a mention. This enormous space is worthy as a guest area in itself with cleanliness levels challenging those found throughout the interior. This mentality is driven by her owner's military background and constant strive for perfection - an idealism that has flourished in each department that her crew oversees. It is from here where Luna's four newly modified stabilisers are monitored. But with a draft of six metres, "we don't even use them" comments her captain. Despite the draft Luna tops out at an impressive speed of 22 knots, and cruise at a comfortable 17 knots.
Safety onboard has been stepped up a notch with a newly upgraded, full HD CCTV system allowing visual access to nearly every corner of the yacht. New anti-drone technology is but a flip of a switch away, capable of rendering any drone flightless from a distance of two kilometres. Other capabilities on Luna's defence system comes straight from an Ian Fleming novel, with diver sonar sensors and even an anti-missile detection system hidden away onboard. A fully equipped onboard hospital and a dynamic swimmer recovery system means guests and crew are always in safe hands.
Built as one of the toughest yachts on the water, in a class well above what is today considered an explorer yacht, Luna can now once again sail with the confidence and steadfastness to confidently take on the seven seas in comfort and style.
Photos by Guillaume Plisson