For those of a certain age, the words Jefferson Starship are likely to conjure images of Grace Slick and rock concerts three decades ago. To some yachtsmen, Jefferson Starship may also come to mean the new flagship of Jefferson Yachts, which, given the name of the company, was understandably incapable of resisting the temptation to pair up with the Starship title.
The Starship series of Tommaso Spadolini-designed yachts was first launched in 1998 with a 68-footer, but the fleet has grown in size and beam (as have we all) to this new 82. The nearly 21 feet of beam can comfortably support a hull to 95 feet LOA, so there is likely to be a new flagship in the future.
For now, however, the 82 is a fine example of the merits of overseas construction: superlative woodworking, world-class engines and American systems, and a lot of yacht for the moola. A price of $2.7 million buys the owner his own suite, three guest staterooms, spacious and separate crew quarters, a comprehensive electronics package, twin generators, leather furnishings, and a surprisingly long list of standard equipment.
The proper name for this yacht is the Jefferson Starship 82 Pilothouse, and careful readers will note the omission of the word "raised, which is usually found next to pilothouse. To be more correct, it should be called the "Barely Raised", because it is just one step above the saloon level.
This achieves two pluses in one design stroke. First, the saloon seems to sweep from sliding doors aft to the pilothouse windows and, second, the yacht has a much lower profile than a true raised pilothouse motoryacht has. Jefferson clearly wanted a cleaner and less trawlerish look.
The galley is on the pilothouse level so, rather than shouting down from the mezzanine as required aboard many raised pilothouse yachts, the cook can converse normally with the guests in the saloon and the skipper at the wheel.
The saloon is simply furnished with a facing pair of built-in leather sofas; the forward corner is given over to a curved banquette with a burled table; and the entertainment center with a large-screen TV is aft. The wood throughout the yacht is satin-finished cherry with mahogany inlays and burled accents. I was impressed to see that the edges on the joinerwork were finished with hardwood rather than the usual veneer. The exception to the above woods is the bird's-eye maple used in the recessed overhead treatment in the saloon.
While part of the spaciousness is the result of the open galley, common sense dictates that at times the galley should be heard and not seen. To that end, a pocket door and a sliding partition atop the after counter closes off the pilothouse for night running or the saloon for formal dining.
The galley has lovely granite counters, but tambour-door appliance garages on the forward counter cut into the space available. Considering the generous overhead and under-counter storage available, I'd nix the garages in favor of sandwich-making space. The GE upright refrigerator is wedged at an angle in one corner and, here again, I might opt for under-counter refrigerator/freezer drawers to provide more counter and floor space, not to mention unblocking the window.
Set well forward, the pilothouse has reversed trawler-style windows that allow space for a full Portuguese bridge with wing controls. There's a big dashboard for the electronics, sliding Freeman doors to the side decks, and a comfy settee for guests to watch the action. I was concerned about the unprotected toggle switches on the vertical face of the helm console at knee height, making them vulnerable to accidental switching, but Scott Pullem, Jefferson's VP of sales and marketing, assures me that has been corrected.
This particular Starship 82, the sixth in the series, had rather steep stairs to the lower foyer, but Pullem noted that was changed on future editions. The ability to make changes quickly is one of the strengths of Jefferson. The company offers three separate yacht styles on this hull, and is more than happy to make changes to accommodate the needs of a client.
The master suite spans the full beam amidships, and makes good use of the space, right down to a pocket door, which saves room. A king-size berth sits atop a cherry platform with built-in drawers, and the padded headboard is set into a mirror between nightstands and below a tray ceiling that hides lights. Shoji-screened ports on each side provide natural light-raw or diffused. The master head is finished in sparkling diamond dust lacquer and mirrors. It has marble counters and an ever-so-inviting jacuzzi bathtub.
Jefferson's design team has placed the VIP stateroom forward and arranged it so that the entry door sits well aft on the fore-and-aft passage, giving the effect of a much larger cabin. It has a queen-size berth, built-in lockers, and a head with shower. The third guest cabin, with twin berths and head, is to port off the passageway. A day head in the saloon assures that each guest head remains private to its particular cabin.
Located abaft the engineroom, the crew's accommodations are accessible through a cockpit door or via a stairway from the saloon. The area has a private double cabin with head, a spacious lounge that converts to twin bunks, and a mini-galley.
The flying bridge on the 82 is wider than the saloon, its wings extending over the side decks to create two seating areas with tables. A full-service bar with three stools offers the guests a panoramic view of the anchorage. Protecting the helm and entertainment areas of the flying bridge is a full fiberglass hardtop that doubles as an electronics arch. It can easily be enclosed for all-weather cruising. A hard enclosed version is also available.
Covered by the overhang of the boat deck, the raised afterdeck has acrylic wing doors, a lounge with table and a wet bar. Adding a fighting chair and a bait-prep area to the cockpit turns the 82 into a yachtfisher.
Standard power is a pair of 1,500 hp MTU/DDC diesels. Caterpillar 3412s at 1,400 hp each are also available. Both packages give a top speed of 20 knots and a cruising speed of 18, according to the builder. Options on this 82 included Wesmar bow thruster and stabilizers and the MTU 12V2000 engines.
Construction of the 82 is to NMMA standards with solid fiberglass below the waterline, foam-cored topsides, and balsa coring in the superstructure.
Blending old-world craftsmanship with all-American systems and construction technology, the Starship 82 provides elegance and luxury at a competitive price.
Sorry, but I can't resist saying that, like the band, the Jefferson Starship 82 is lots of Grace and very Slick. Sigh.
Contact: Jefferson Yachts, (812) 282-8111, www.jeffersonyachts.com.