Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Moonen 124' Trideck "Northlander"

And my, what a pretty yacht she is. At first glance; Elegant. Clean and crisp. Inside, look for more unexpected creativity. She adds an ultra-modern exclamation mark to her “typical Moonen” lineage; joining an exclusive “club” which features outstanding, award-winning quality. Yet, so far has limited its production to only three or four excellent yachts per year. Since 1981, that includes some 75 yachts up to 124’ – cruisers, explorers, fast yachts and displacement yachts, in both steel and aluminum.

Designer Rene’ van der Velden, with Art-Line Interior Design’s Marilyn Bos-de Vaal and Frank Pieterse, contrived the new yacht’s highly individual, sometimes ultra-modern interior, resulting in a tailor-made expression which reverberates throughout. Featuring top-echelon comfort protocols in the Owner’s apartment, she presents four suite-caliber guest staterooms; three decks and complete, up-to-the-minute mechanical, control and navigation systems making Moonen's largest build-to-date... a first-class yachting statement!
Well regarded for compelling attention to seakeeping, Moonen builds into this new steel displacement hull with aluminum superstructure – the essential characteristics for maneuverability and stability - a low center of gravity. Complementing today’s materials with decades of Dutch yacht building experience, Moonen adds intimate attention to a ship's seaworthiness, resulting in a reputation for pocket-sized yachts that hold their own in superyacht seas. With an economical cruise of 9 knots and a storm skirting speed of 14 knots, Northlander is capable of seeking each point on a compass rose within 5,000 nautical miles. On the subject of seeking new waypoints, let's get fiscal... Merit AS of Istanbul, Turkey, recently acquired an 80% share of Moonen Yachts. The remaining 20 percent is owned by Emile Bilterijst, who continues to lead the company as Managing Partner. This move will undoubtedly lead to new horizons for the builder, as well as new working relationships. Welcome Salim!
However, more new realms and opportunities will soon appear. With its 2008 added facility in Groot-Ammers, the firm looks forward to building yachts up to 45 meters, or 150 feet and refits up to 50 meters. While the Northlander 124' is its latest innovation of “PocketSize Super-Yachts” – as Moonen affectionately refers to the line - their luxury displacement series first debuted in 2001 with the 72’ Lady Jalinka, followed by Moonen 84’, 96’, and 97’. This sparkling 124’ is the builder’s crowning glory, so far; Queen of the Fleet. Zooming in on Northlander's bow, several storage compartments outline the superstructure's foredeck. Centered is an inflatable Avon tender and Cramm davit concealed under the bonnet, with fender and line storage flanking. On the pulpit, a pair of VRC-8000 windlasses and VC-4000 / NCL-1500 capstans. Notice the bullocks, placed in-line with the intended direction of pull, reducing eyelet tension and line wear.
With the exception of the yacht's requisite teak soles, the only external wood to be found on the M-124 are traditional and nautically-correct, teak hand rails. Otherwise, the exterior remains maintenance-minimized. The full walk-around decks are lined with handrails at every point, including the louvers that wrap the owner's suite, forward on the main deck. These louvers add a degree of privacy without obstructing outward views, but mostly they add protection during trans-oceanic crossings.
Northlander's sleek design emerged from a preliminary sketch of a 120’, then developed into the 124’ by Stolk Marimecs Naval Architects, with Rene’ van der Velden Yacht Design. Her gracefully contrived “balance” now becomes Moonen's signature flagship, but viewed from atop, she has an even more distinguishing signature, an atrium-based staircase that emerges to the top deck, inviting fun in the sun. More on this to come...
In this picture, quietly ensconced to port and starboard on both upper decks, a series of 8-person liferafts (5 in all) are nestled into the roof overhangs which add an additional safety element; human UV protection as they cast a mix of sun & shade over each setting. Protecting the finish from the elements, in gleaming white; Awlgrip.
To take it from the top, as this picture illustrates, Moonen's 124’ zenith; her mast, flaunts two huge bulbs with antenna array which monitor radar, VHF, Inmarsat C and GPS systems. Under the large open atrium ceiling, her top sun-deck presents a five-pedestal, stainless column table fit to support Atlas. 20cm ceiling speakers pipe music in from a Crestron entertainment system, all controlled from LCD touch pads.
Just aft on her Sundeck, her welcome “private version Sumatra spa” awaits the splash of the day. Surrounded in sumptuous sunpads that double as stowage, the whirlpool is outlined in splash grating with individual handrails toward each beam. To keep the breeze at bay, the the lower half of the handrail stanchions are lined with tempered glass.
Forward, the circular staircase to the upper deck is covered, for all weather; yet, situated in a mirrored four-deck central atrium, its opening skylight column unfurls, to flood bright daylight into the yacht’s interior. Completely weatherproof, it's an ideal solution for access to the sundeck that would otherwise dilute the M-124's profile.
In the closed position, this circle of sun-shaded glass with sliding doors – much like an atrium – becomes a curious focal point. This room-sized enclosure certainly adds novelty and intrigue of this remarkable vessel; expect its cleverness to imitated by other designers, quickly.
Looking up from the base of the hydraulic column that raises the staircase cover, the silo - sorta speak - is dramatically unique, bordering on science fiction. This is Moonen’s pure, startling imagination at work. The use of mixed elements, ranging from brushed stainless, wood, copper mesh and checkered tiles keep this space silo grounded.
This perplexing view is compliments of the mirror lining the back wall of the staircase. It effectively adds volume to the area, but also reflects light to further illuminate the stairs. The complicated imagery reflects and mirrors its fascinating design many times over, a refreshing concept no matter how many trips we take up the staircase.
In the yacht's wheelhouse, a fascinating, creative approach to Helm design emerges, centered on the Captain’s chair; the central focal point that puts all vital control systems within fingertip reach. Commercially influenced - or maybe a study in StarTrek III - this unique layout is exquisitely finished in warm western cherry woods with contrasting white pillars that jettison aft, giving the appearance of structural support members being stretched during warp drive engagement. To escape hyper-space velocity, pantographic doors are located to each beam, as well as settees for asteroid observation or nebula charting.
Zooming in, six 19" Hatteland screens displaying 1280 x 1024 resolution span the helm with dedicated panels trimmed in leather and wood, somehow softening the sci-fi effect. A lone, free standing compass is centered above the inner displays, as if to remind the ship's captain, this isn't a space ship. A closer look at the pod reveals a small diameter wheel placed on a horizontal plane with throttles and gears a hand's move away. Also located in the right hand region of the pod is a trackball for accessing each display and plotting on the fly. To his left are thruster controls and various interfaces for navigation, communications, engine room monitoring, etc. Systems include; Seatell 4006 Sat-Com, a Simrad GB60 radar/plotter/fishfinder, one Simrad and one Raymarine radar, two Simrad GPS's, a true heading AIS, Navipilot 4000 Autopilot, Navigat-X Gryocompass and a Simrad Echosounder.
Directly behind the helm station on the bridge, the skylounge day head echoes the M-124’s fine modern design. Excellent finishes on rare woods and wall treatments, plus a mirror and fashionably designed wash basin make this a clever, facile touch of luxury. Yet to come: more departures into the ultra-modern.