As the world's largest builder of composite motoryachts over 120 feet, Christensen Yachts has evolved over the past two decades into a force in megayachts. That evolution is capped by the recent launch of Mystic, a 150-foot motoryacht that not only introduces a new styling for future Christensen yachts, but highlights the innovative side of this Northwest builder.
If a man builds a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to his door. That's the story of Christensen Yachts in a nutshell. Dave Christensen had a yacht built for his retirement years but quickly decided he could have built it better himself. He did just that with a second yacht, but as soon as it was launched, someone offered to buy it. A businessman at heart, Christensen sold it and built a third and then another, and the rest is history.
Dave Christensen still hasn't managed to keep one for himself, but he's raised the bar for American builders and set new international standards. His unique system of interlocking molds makes it possible for each yacht to have a different deadrise, different bow and stern shapes, and a choice of prop tunnels and keel shapes.
Mystic began life as a spec yacht and, as such, provides a clear picture of the direction that Christensen is taking, since the exterior styling was unaffected by the owner's input. This is not a radical change but a subtle one clearly derived from two earlier Christensen yachts: the 155-foot Liquidity and the 153-foot Silver Lining. The most obvious styling change is the use of the oval shape in everything from the oversize windows in the topsides to the deck stanchions, and the aura is far more European than the previously hard-edged classic stylings.
Though the exterior lines and accommodation plan had been finalized, her owner was able, starting at about the halfway point of completion, to specify the interior styling that includes traditional raised-panel joinery in a semi-gloss cherry, the extensive use of intricately inlaid marble, and exquisite blown-glass sculptures in dedicated niches throughout the yacht.
Other innovative features on Mystic include a four-deck elevator and an impressively large fish tank as a centerpiece in the saloon. Even her launching was unusual, with the yacht moving on a trailer from the Christensen shed to the Columbia River, where a special harbor had been dredged for the purpose. As a testament to the innate strength of Mystic, her keel was used as the main support for the trailer wheels and, though she weighs more than 225 tons, the keel didn't flex at all.
The décor, by Williamson & McCarter of Portland, Oregon, is an interesting blend of extreme simplicity and sheer opulence. The master suite fills the forward main deck and stretches more than 25 feet across.
Yet the suite is almost Zen-like in its modest décor. Three big lozenge-shape windows on each side are covered by simple, white curtains, the bulkheads are finished in white, and even the headboard is uncomplicated. A built-in cherry cabinet contains the entertainment center on the after bulkhead, and a pair of chairs provides a sitting area to starboard. An equally understated office, with a built-in desk and files, serves as the entry to the stateroom.
But the his-and-her head balances that simplicity with inlaid marble floors, counters and even wainscoting, as well as etched glass on the walkthrough shower surround. An oversize jacuzzi completes this opulent area.
Although the master suite seems unadorned, it does have several interesting features. The 42-inch plasma television is hinged so it can face the sitting area, creating a private theater for the owners. The walk-in closet in the after bulkhead is unusual; the door to one side opens to a far larger walk-in. If Mystic is chartered, the owners can still leave their clothes and possessions in a private locked closet.
The saloon is equally unusual, with a large open foyer by the twin oval-glassed doors to the afterdeck with its table and settee. Just forward, a pair of loose chairs and two sofas create a formal sitting area that faces a floor-to-ceiling cherry divider with the 200-plus gallon aquarium. Created by Deep Sea Gallery of Vancouver, this isn't your usual fish tank but instead is a true reef tank with living coral. A sophisticated lighting system simulates the various stages of natural light from dawn to dusk, and an equally complex sea-water filtering system provides a natural environment for fish and coral.
The after side of the aquarium is flat, which allows a large plasma television to slide upward, replacing the aquarium view with a movie theater for guests in the saloon. At each end of the aquarium divider are etched-glass display cases for some of the many glass sculptures aboard Mystic.
The impressive aquarium separates the formal dining area, which has seating for 12 under a silver-leaf overhead treatment. Direct service is from a prep area attached to the superb portside galley with gray granite counters and a center island, not to mention expansive views and direct access to the side deck.
Curved stairs with glowing, etched-glass panels lead from the inlaid-marble entry foyer to the skylounge, which, judging from the minimal saloon seating, is sure to be the gathering place for guests and owners. For those who don't wish to climb the stairs, the four-deck elevator carries several people from the lower accommodations to any deck, including the flying bridge.
The skylounge is unfussy, with raised cherry paneling around oversize windows and a television that hinges from the overhead. An immense couch fills the starboard side, while a pair of chairs with ottomans and a game table are opposite. Just forward is an enclosed butler's pantry with granite counters, which is used as a prep area for skylounge dining. The real attraction of this deck, though, is the immense covered afterdeck with a circular table that seats 10.
Forward, past hidden rollout cabinets housing more than $300,000 in stereo and entertainment systems, is a day head and the pilothouse, with a leaning post for the helmsman and a raised Stidd chair. There's a full-size chart table and all the monitors have been recessed in a lowered dash panel for an unobstructed forward view, and wing controls on the Portuguese bridge are for docking.
The teak-plank flying bridge, with a fiberglass hardtop supported by swept-aft pillars, is designed for entertaining, with a spa, a large bar with Brazilian blue-granite counters and six Timeless stools, and a settee to port. The elevator (with a self-sealing hatch) exits near the oversize Lynx barbecue, and the afterdeck is devoted to a fleet of toys (the 22-foot Nautica tender is on the boat deck below) that include two WaveRunners, a Vanguard 15 sailing dinghy, two kayaks, two Vespas and two Yamaha motor scooters.
Guest accommodations are on the lower deck, with four simply appointed staterooms: two VIP queens forward with oversize marble heads and showers, and two doubles aft with en suite heads.
If crew comfort is directly related to owner satisfaction, then Mystic is going to be a very happy ship. The crew quarters, with access either from the galley or the lower passageway, are spacious and bright, with maple paneling and an oversize lounge that doubles as the crew mess. A full galley is near a large walk-in freezer, and a separate laundry compartment has four sets of washer/dryers, plus a built-in press. The crew quarters are forward, with four double cabins and private heads.
Though Mystic was built to stringent MCA class, as well as ABS+A1-AMS, Christensen was able to incorporate yet conceal many of the often-awkward requirements, such as watertight doors and massive fire systems. The engineroom is a crew delight, with a separate workshop with head, another washer/dryer, and stowage for dive gear. The engines are fully accessible on diamond-plate soles, as are the gensets. Other systems of note are Naiad stabilizers with 30-square-foot fins, dual Village Marine 1,500-gallon-per-day watermakers, an Aqua Air 30-ton air-conditioning system and a 100 hp American bowthruster.
Considering the fleet of water toys, the stern has been designed as a mini-marina, complete with a removable padded section to protect the swim platform and even a mooring pattern to organize the flotilla.
Starting as a half-completed spec yacht and finished to an owner's needs, Mystic is a comfortable and simple yacht built to Christensen's usual high standards. With unusual features such as the elevator and reef tank, Mystic also provides a peek at future Christensen styling.
Contact: Christensen Yachts, (360)695-3238,