Luiz de Basto sees himself as a creative type in a world of compliance officers. When he designed the Top Deck 51 as the second model in the [Astondoa] line (after the 63), he took incoming fire at conference tables. “They came up with all these problems about stability and flooding, and I was able to resolve those issues one by one,” he says. “It’s very stable. It’s watertight. It’s as safe as any other boat.”
The design element that caused so much concern was the 51’s teak-sole salon, which, as shown in the rendering below, becomes like a combination indoor sitting area and outdoor beach club at water level when the yacht is at anchor. Of course, owners can’t have the boat’s salon open underway, and the builder may put alarms on the engines to ensure just that. But the 51 is not meant for long-range cruising anyway. She’s designed to be a large day boat, at sea or on large lakes in Europe and the United States.
“The salon makes it really special,” de Basto says. “We have two slide-in doors, and they slide all the way forward. Then the bulwarks go out 90 degrees so they are fully flat with the salon. There is no gap there. Not even a finger or a foot of a child could be put there. It’s an extension of the existing deck when the bulwarks are lowered.”
In addition to the salon, de Basto says, innovations include the flybridge, which he sees as a mini-megayacht sun deck. It runs the entire length of the yacht, unlike flybridge decks that stop short three-quarters of the way. The 51’s has a barbecue, table, seating and a TV (mounted between the hardtop supports), plus the helm and sun pads forward. As the renderings show, de Basto drew the sun pads lower than the helm area, so anyone walking up the steps from the main deck to catch some rays will not interfere with the skipper’s line of sight.
On the main deck, the aft space is drawn with a hot tub, but it can become additional seating. Either way, the engine space is underneath. The glass partition between the hot tub area and the salon can open, adding to the alfresco vibe of the main salon when the doors and bulwarks are open.
Forward of the main salon (through the passageway shown below, left of the indoor television) are a galley, a head and space for one larger or two smaller cabins.
“If you have a child or another couple, you can have the option of two cabins,” de Basto says, adding that the one-cabin version is sumptuous for owners. His thought was that anyone using the 51 as a day boat should enjoy the same level of comfort that is found aboard larger motoryachts.
As innovative as some of the 51’s features are, de Basto says, the boat feels like most others with the salon doors and bulwarks closed.
“If you don’t open the boat, you have a regular, very spacious boat,” he says, adding that he hopes families will love it. “When you arrive at your destination, you open the bulwarks and you are at water level. It is all about having contact with the water.”