Wild Things

Seven weird and won­der­ful re­quests made of yacht de­sign­ers—and yes, it was a real pony.

Yachts International - - Contents -

he say­ing “to each his own” couldn’t be more ap­pro­pri­ate than in re­la­tion to de­sign. what one per­son con­sid­ers beau­ti­ful, some­one else con­sid­ers bizarre. when a yacht client makes an (ahem) un­usual re­quest of a stu­dio, most de­sign­ers try to ful­fill it, even when their in­stinct tells them the con­cept won’t work.

re­sults are some­times com­i­cal, yet other times sur­pris­ingly cool. “there are many fac­tors they don’t know about, so they re­ally do need guid­ance,” de­signer Pa­trick knowles says of clients, who, he adds, “of­ten come to the con­clu­sion on their own” that an idea is im­prac­ti­cal.

then again, says marnix hoek­stra of vri­pack, “it’s vi­tal to un­der­stand why some­one is ask­ing for some­thing. … to judge it as crazy doesn’t make sense. we can all live with­out a yacht, after all.”

Swim­ming with SharkS

Sev­eral su­pery­achts have aquar­i­ums, but one filled with sharks—and con­tain­ing a shark cage for the owner, who hap­pens to be afraid of sharks? A client of Gre­gory C. Mar­shall Naval Ar­chi­tect re­quested just that for a 295-footer. The client wanted a mul­ti­deck atrium with “liv­ing walls” (that had live plants grow­ing from them) on the yacht’s up­per decks, and the shark tank on the low­est deck. A glass el­e­va­tor would have taken the owner from top to bot­tom. The project never ad­vanced be­yond the on-pa­per stage, which Mar­shall says may have been for the best: “The odds of get­ting an author­ity to OK trans­port­ing sharks aboard is prob­a­bly slim.”

Pony Ex­PrESS

Ed Dubois of Dubois Naval Ar­chi­tects earned a rep­u­ta­tion as a de­signer of pow­er­ful sail­ing yachts. Per­haps that’s why a client thought he could draw a yacht that would ac­com­mo­date a spe­cial fam­ily friend. “One owner wanted her daugh­ter to be able to bring her pony with her on board the boat,” Dubois said, prior to his death in 2016. The owner even sug­gested cre­at­ing “a ro­tat­ing, turntable-like ex­er­cise ma­chine” upon which the pony could trot and swim off. To Dubois’ re­lief, he and his team con­vinced the owner that “it prob­a­bly wasn’t a good idea for the sake of the pony’s en­tire hap­pi­ness.”

grEEn thumb on thE DEEP bluE

Vri­pack con­sid­ers it­self be­yond the or­di­nary, but Di­rec­tors Marnix Hoek­stra and Bart Bouwhuis could not have an­tic­i­pated the re­quest for a 295-footer

with a park con­tain­ing gar­den veg­eta­bles and other ed­i­bles. “This is huge!” says Hoek­stra, whose team is still re­search­ing con­cepts for keep­ing the plants alive long-term at sea. The park would be 1,292 square feet, oc­cu­py­ing more space than the yacht’s en­gine room. puppy love Sev­eral years ago, Pa­trick Knowles of the epony­mous de­sign stu­dio had a client who “al­ways took his dogs on his boats.” The client was a dog breeder who wanted a yacht in the 150-foot range with an ex­er­cise track out on deck. Knowles rec­og­nized a con­flict straight away: “Dogs have claws,” and the owner wanted teak decks. Knowles tried sketch­ing the track as a mez­za­nine in­side, to­ward the tran­som. “A lot of de­signs” en­sued, he says, but no so­lu­tion could be found. “Ul­ti­mately,” Knowles says, “we con­vinced him to just bring them along and call it a day.” a love for lam­borgh­i­nis It’s com­mon for own­ers and de­sign­ers to draw in­spi­ra­tion from sports cars. How­ever, as An­to­nio Ro­mano of Hot Lab ex­pe­ri­enced, some­times cus­tomers can take their ad­mi­ra­tion a bit too far. A fan of Lam­borgh­i­nis wanted a fully cus­tom 115-footer with “an in­te­rior de­sign project in­spired by the Lambo’s style,” Ro­mano says. Not a big deal—un­til, Ro­mano adds, “He also asked to have a real car in the main sa­loon.” The de­sign team made sev­eral at­tempts on pa­per, but couldn’t over­come the tech­ni­cal con­cerns. “In the end,” Ro­mano says, “we con­vinced the client that maybe hav­ing a proper main sa­loon will be a bit more com­fort­able than a garage for a Lambo.” no shore Thing Bill Prince of the epony­mous de­sign stu­dio re­calls a client want­ing a beach-like area aft, with sand, aboard his 141-footer. The owner even pro­posed re­frig­er­at­ing the plat­form, mim­ick­ing the cool sand lay­ers felt when you dig your toes in on a real shore­line. Prob­lem num­ber one: “A cu­bic foot of beach sand weighs over 95 pounds,” Prince says, hav­ing also en­vi­sioned waves at an­chor whisk­ing the sand away, there­fore re­quir­ing reg­u­lar re­fill­ing and re-rak­ing, from gen­er­ous on­board re­serves. “Over 40,000 pounds of sand would be needed to achieve this vi­sion,” he says. “That’s the equiv­a­lent of set­ting a new 45 Hat­teras on the swim plat­form.” sTuffed an­i­mals From Sint Maarten to Maine, more than a few yachts have stuffed toys sit­ting on beds. But an en­tire room de­voted to furry friends—and not the kind you buy in a toy store—is quite a dif­fer­ent thing. “We were asked to in­cor­po­rate a taxi­dermy suite on a large, 80-me­ter-plus project a few years ago,” says Dickie Ban­nen­berg of Ban­nen­berg & Row­ell. The owner wanted to dis­play prized hunt­ing tro­phies. The re­quest was even more mem­o­rable than the one Ban­nen­berg & Row­ell re­ceived for a three-deck-high jel­ly­fish tank.

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