I'm a Roy G. Biv kind of guy. For those who don't know Roy, I'll explain. He's not a person, but rather a mnemonic device for remembering the major colors of the visible spectrum in order of wavelength: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Infrared and ultraviolet anchor either end outside of the visible spectrum. My auburn-haired sweetheart often speaks of more subtle shades such as teal, mauve, and taupe, but to me, salmon is a fish, not a color. Likewise peach, which I appreciate only as an excellent pie ingredient.
This gap in my education left me seriously challenged as I approached the latest Sanlorenzo motoryacht, a raised pilothouse SD92 model christened Retro Blue. The fiberglass yacht displayed a hue on her displacement hull that didn't fit my simplified color wheel. I'd also overlooked the fact that the Italian flair for style is rivaled only by their passion for varieties of coffee. The hull color, thus, is cappuccino, and with the white superstructure and dark windows, the overall effect is quite attractive, or perhaps more appropriately, bracingly tasty.
As stylish as the exterior is, the interior is equally appealing and a bit of a surprise, given the SD92's Italian roots. Decorator Marty Lowe, working with George Jousma, head of Sanlorenzo's U.S. division, and Susan Davids, build supervisor, has delivered a yacht interior that is pure Americana. In fact, "retro blue" was the guiding concept for the yacht before it became the yacht's name. Harking back to simpler times along the American coast, the mood is very definitely that of sandcastles on the Cape and comfortable old beach cottages, configured to suit the occupants by the enjoyment of generations of families. The fabrics include burlap accent panels on the bulkheads, loose white canvas covers with blue piping on the dining room chairs, and blue covers with white piping on the outside cushions. Deck coverings are hardwood in the main areas, Berber carpet in the staterooms, and marble in the heads. Pulls on the drawers and cabinet doors are leather straps, reminiscent of the handles on old steamer trunks. Much of the interior woodwork is white-lacquered overheads and limed-wood bulkheads with recessed panels. Photos of classic wicker beach cabanas join original oil paintings by Roger Hayden Johnson.
I loved it all, but what if that décor is not your personal cup of joe? No problem. As Jousma is quick to point out, Sanlorenzo builds custom boats on standardized platforms. "Interior customization is welcomed," he says, within the constraints of the vessel's dimensions and the location of major structural bulkheads. He adds, "Three, four, or five staterooms-traditional or contemporary-your choice." By fixing the technical aspects and allowing interior customization, prospective owners can acquire just what they want without the hassle and extra cost often associated with a fully custom yacht.
Even with a yacht as purely American in décor as Retro Blue, production manager Antonio Santella and his colleagues at Sanlorenzo cannot resist the infusion of just enough Italian flavor to spice things up. The side entry doors are recessed into the superstructure, given a gentle curve, and equipped with circular polished stainless handles to create a focal point for the yacht's profile. Likewise, the pattern of the shower drains are as much a styling feature as a functional element, and the ladder from the upper deck to the hardtop-normally a mere practical necessity-is a work of sculptural art.
The yacht is not all fashion and style, however. The seagoing basics are here, too, as shown by the yacht's very complete technical specifications, and guest comfort and safety are provided for as well. The list of details is extensive, but a few examples will convey the idea. Life rings are located port and starboard of the flying bridge helm, tucked in out-of-the-way recesses but ready for immediate use in an emergency. Hanger rods in the stateroom lockers are lighted for convenience of the guests, and the countertop for the top deck bar has rounded corners and fiddles with drains, to make life easier for the crew. As I puzzled over a discontinuity in the pattern of the upper deck teak, Jousma pointed up to the rainshower recessed into the overhead, explaining that the openings under my feet were drains for the shower. In fact, he said, "The concept of the yacht is epitomized in the flying bridge," which is an uncompromising blend of guest enjoyment and seagoing functionality.
Retro Blue is arranged with four guest staterooms. Belowdecks are two identical twin-berth cabins, situated to port and starboard, just abaft the crew accommodations. A magnificent, full-beam VIP stateroom with a king berth lies between the twin cabins and the engineroom. Its large hanging locker, luxurious head, and comfortable sitting area would make it a great owner's suite, but that's forward on the main deck. The winding staircase from the main deck to the lower guest foyer is another example of Sanlorenzo's design expertise. Many such staircases are tight spirals that are difficult to navigate in port and downright dangerous at sea. This one, by contrast, has a bit larger radius, which means the narrow end of the treads are wider and easier to use. In addition, a sturdy nononsense handrail and ample lighting at each step make the trip up or down that much safer.
There are a few other yachts of this length with an on-deck owner's stateroom, of course, but I don't recall one of this size that offers such an incredible view-270 degrees of horizon. You usually have to step up to a superyacht for such an amenity. Another feature that derives from larger yachts is the lounge area at the bow. There, V-shaped seating surrounds a small table that can be dropped down to create a sunpad. At the other end of the main deck is a large open seating area that is sheltered by the extended upper deck. Wide side decks with comfortable handrails make the trip from end to end a pleasure for guests and allow the crew to dock Retro Blue safely and easily.
Experienced yachtsmen know that imported yachts can sometimes be problematic for use in the Americas, whether North or South. George Jousma and his colleagues are well aware of this and have designed, specified, and outfitted Retro Blue to be more than just another Italian yacht that's been "Americanized" with an oversized ice maker. A lot of thought has gone into the planning, and Susan Davids, a capable and experienced build manager whom I've known for years, has taken no prisoners in her efforts to assure that this yacht not only met the expectations of the American market, but was safe and functional as well. This team will be bringing in additional Sanlorenzo yachts, both larger and smaller, over the next year and I, for one, can't wait.
Sanlorenzo U.S., (954) 376-4794; www.sanlorenzoyacht.com