When you name your yacht Besame ("kiss me, in Spanish), you proclaim to the world that you are romantic at heart, and that's the case with the owners of this 100-foot North Star cockpit motoryacht.
From the art deco etched-glass dividers to the cherry wainscoting, from the wall sconces to the deep leather club chairs, this is a yacht that evokes a gentler era. Were it not for the more-than-22-foot beam, the saloon of Besame might well be the understated yet comfortably appointed private railway car of a 1920s industrial tycoon.
Part of this ambience stems from the craftsmanship of North Star Yachts, a Northwest builder that brings an almost-Old World mentality to each yacht. Take the doorjambs, for example. Many builders use arched door frames to impart a nautical look, but North Star goes one step further with full casings on each frame, as well as solid wood doors for strength and quiet.
Besame's details are most notable. The full U-shape couch in the saloon not only makes a private area for conversation but, with twin club chairs, provides ample seating for those who want to watch the 42-inch plasma-screen television in the after corner.
Surrounding the formal dining area is an unusual treatment, with what appears to be cherry wainscoting but which are actually flush-mounted cabinets for linens and china. A buffet to port accentuates the oversize saloon windows, which literally stretch from overhead to the granite-topped counter. Subtle touches that add interest are insets in the window pillars that simulate pounded copper and a faint elephant pattern in the Roman shades.
The forward bulkhead encloses the L-shape galley, with a huge four-door custom-built stainless-steel refrigerator/freezer with holding plates to obviate running the generator overnight. The large windows butt granite backsplashes. The day head outside the galley is elegant, with a blown-glass sink, travertine sole and a framed print of a red kiss.
Open stairs to the flying bridge keep access to the pilothouse airy, and the glass panel in the stairwell rail is etched with a succession of waves flowing downward. The pilothouse includes two Stidd pedestal chairs, which provide a view over the rather high dash panel, and the large settee is raised.
A large foyer on the lower deck leads to the three staterooms and conceals a washer/dryer and stowage behind burled doors. Forward and through arched double doors is the master suite, which is a comfortable, private retreat. Discreetly finished in cherry, it includes a desk and hidden television.
Besame has a large head to port, with granite counters and an ornately finished glass shower door. The remaining space serves as an oversize walk-in closet, lined with cedar. North Star's craftsmen have taken pains to carefully align the grain, so there are no jarring mismatches.
Two equal-size guest staterooms are aft, fitted with two single berths to starboard and a double to port. Both have large heads, cedar-lined closets and, like the master suite, textured silk wall coverings and cherry joinery.
Besame has an optional fiberglass hardtop that covers the forward half of the flying bridge, allowing for all-weather enclosure. A U-shape couch faces forward so guests can look past the twin Stidd helm chairs and the fiberglass helm console, and the venturi windscreen provides wind protection. Aft, past a built-in Jenn-Air barbecue and wet bar, are teak deck chairs, which evoke another era.
Besame could qualify as a yachtfisherman, thanks to the large water-level cockpit that opens to the transom platform for easy boarding of tenders. Just above the cockpit is the California deck, with protection from the boat-deck overhang. With an enclosure, this area could add to the already sizable saloon.
The upper deck extends the full beam over the side decks, providing weather protection for crew and added shade for those in the saloon. Though some would argue that not using the entire deck for the flying bridge wastes space, naval architect Jack Sarin and North Star's Rick Baker noted that she was designed with styling in mind. Since the flying bridge is already expansive, the choice of form over function was a good one, because it gives Besame a lean look, though at the expense of some visibility when you're docking with bridge wing controls.
Besame's hull was tank-tested at BC Research in Canada and handlaid using Core-Cell throughout to ABS standards.
The engineroom is a showplace, with a pair of Northern Lights 40kW gensets backed up by a 10kW night generator. The 1,200 gallon-per-day Sea Recovery watermaker and 179,000 BTU Cruiseair a/c system are clues that tropical cruising is in store for Besame. The lazarette contains an additional freezer, a well-equipped workshop, and stowage for water toys or dive gear.
Knowledgeable skippers will admire Besame's, such as rod-stowage lockers that hinge down from the side-deck overheads to make use of otherwise lost space, or the big gull-wing lockers forward that consume deck gear and fenders. An immense "basement is beneath the crew quarters, with more than 6 feet of headroom and dry stowage for provisions and spares.
Besame was rock-solid in the long Pacific swells off Newport Beach, California, and her Naiad stabilizers easily handled beam seas. We topped out just shy of 22 knots with twin Detroit diesels, the first used on a North Star build. Wesmar hydraulic bow and stern thrusters will allow the skipper to counteract wind and current.
Besame is an extremely quiet yacht; in the saloon, while she ran at 16 knots, the sound meter barely registered at 62 decibels. In fact, the meter was more interested in the crew talking 30 feet away than it was in measuring the sound of the big diesels running directly underfoot at 1800 rpm.
Framed in the master suite is the original sheet music for "Besame Mucho, the World War II-era hit made famous by Jimmy Dorsey's band, and it's a fitting tribute to a yacht that makes the most of modern technology without forgetting the ageless standards of comfort, elegance and quality.
Contact: North Star Yachts, (949) 589-9116;