At the center of the main deck are a guest foyer and the open central circular staircase, appropriately constructed of free-standing steel, that spans all three interior decks. A stunning display lies underfoot here and in the passageway to the VIP stateroom. Thousands of individually selected black river stones are mounted under clear structural glass and backlit in blue. The otherworldly motif continues into the day-head where it adorns both the deck and bulkhead. Glass is also used to advantage in the lower foyer, where a giant, stylized oyster shell, rendered in shades of blue, white, black, and clear glass, adorns the bulkhead facing the stairs.
Abaft the main-deck foyer are the dining room and salon. There's also a large bar area that, via large movable glass panels, can be opened to the aft deck. The dining area, open to the salon but defined by low cabinetry, has a large square table that can host up to 12 in comfort. The salon features an assortment of sofas, chaises, and ottomans for the utmost in seating flexibility, and the bar seats an additional six guests.
The spacious VIP stateroom, forward on the main deck, could easily serve as the master suite, but that's located up one more deck, abaft the pilothouse. It's a magnificent space in both concept and execution, with a kingsize berth on a rotating platform at the center of a circular stateroom. When facing forward, the berth's view is oriented to a widescreen video center. Rotated 180 degrees, the berth faces an aft deck with a waterfall whirlpool spa, sunpad, settee, and bar, as well as a view of the sea beyond. A folding hatch at the stairway from the main deck assures privacy when desired-the owners' "Fortress of Solitude"-or can be opened to welcome guests to this area.
A second lounge area forward of the pilothouse, with a large settee, two tables, and a folding clamshell awning for shade, guarantees that the guests will not suffer when the owners' area is off-limits. All navigation is done from the pilothouse on the upper deck-wing pods enable docking and close-quarter maneuvering-so the entire top deck is also devoted to family and guest relaxation. Under the shade of a large hardtop with an opening panel, the top deck carries a bar for six forward, a day-head to port, a dinette with seating for up to 12 to starboard, and aft, another whirlpool spa, this one twice the size of the owner's spa on the deck below. Tenders are carried forward and aft, a RIB and two personal watercraft are on the foredeck, with davit launching, and a diesel tender and two more personal watercraft are on launching tracks in the stern garage.
One feature of Man of Steel that is not readily apparent, but vitally important, is her gross tonnage. Most yachts of her length-the 50-meter class-are designed to admeasure just under 500 gross tons. This is done to avoid the more onerous regulations that come with increased tonnage. But Man of Steel comes in at 637 gross register tons. This was a deliberate move on Heesen's part, as they hope to use this design as the basis for a new 5000 series of semi-custom yachts. By complying with the regulations for the higher tonnage, they can offer yachts that, like Man of Steel, carry a lot more interior volume than other yachts of similar length. Additionally, should Man of Steel's current or future owners want to lengthen her, not an unusual eventuality, they won't have to face the complications that would come with transitioning from under 500 to over 500 tons, nor would Heesen face those same complications if someone wants a sistership that's just a bit longer or larger.
What a super idea: Special requests are no problem. But you understand that from your powerful perch at the helm, where you don't need to wear a cape to make decisions on the fly!
Heesen Yachts, (011) 31 412 665544; www.heesenyachts.nl
Thom Conboy, International Yacht Collection, (954) 441-6131; www.iyc.com