CRN 151

To showcase a floating collection, CRN builds a modern masterpiece.

CRN 151

Over a century ago, Oscar Wilde wrote, "It is through art, and through art only, that we can realize our perfection." As I crossed the quay in Monaco and boarded Saramour, the latest in CRN's Magnifica line, the realization of perfection was immediate. That first impression was only reinforced as I wandered throughout the 151-foot trideck motoryacht, awed by what I saw.

The yacht is itself a floating piece of sculpture, her clean lines a sleek interplay of light and shadow over unadorned but flawless white surfaces. It is a fitting exterior for an interior that is as close to being perfect for its intended function as any I've seen. Saramour is, in fact, a gallery for the owner's extensive collection of pen and ink studies, watercolors, oil paintings, bronze and marble sculptures and antique Persian carpets. I made no catalog of the wide-ranging collection, but Rembrandt, Dali, Kandinsky and others of similar repute were present.

In every room, even the heads, passageways and exercise room, sublime art brings a smile to the face and joy to the heart. The white oak decks and lacquered joinery, a different hue in each space, have been specifically designed to serve as subtle but enhancing backdrops. The lighting washes the walls and niches. The beds, sofas and tables assured me this was indeed a yacht meant to be lived in and to go to sea, but I still had the uneasy feeling that if I spoke too loudly, a disapproving docent would quickly be tapping my shoulder.

The day in Monaco began with a bit of serendipity as I unexpectedly found myself sharing a car with Carlo Nuvolari, half of the talented duo of Nuvolari & Lenard, who styled Saramour's exterior and laid out her interior arrangement. Once aboard, I had a chance to meet Carmen Aiello, who designed her interior. No detail had been omitted. Colors from the main objet d'art in each room were echoed in the bedspreads and upholstery. Even the books lying atop the bedside cabinets-often guides to the art in the room-had covers of the proper shade. Like a calm lake lapping a wooded shoreline in autumn, the room itself was a reflection of the adjoining palette.

As important as the styling, décor and interior design are, though, it cannot be forgotten that Saramour is a yacht, meant to go to sea in comfort and safety. That responsibility fell to CRN shipyard, located in the city of Ancona on Italy's Adriatic coast. Ancona is a town with a history of commercial shipbuilding, and in fact, Ferretti's expansion of the yard was enabled by the conversion of an adjoining builder of large ships. The pool of talent in such a place is always impressive, with skills passed from generation to generation of artisans. Saramour, finely executed in steel and aluminum by CRN's team of talented shipwrights and craftsmen, is proof of the value of such continuity. A tour of the engineroom and an examination of other CRN vessels in various stages of construction assured me that she wasn't just a pretty face; the bones and sinews beneath the skin were strong and healthy. She should be as pleasant a yacht to her crew as she is to her owner.

Although she has a starboard entry foyer for use when moored side-to, boarding from the stern when she's Med-moored is a stunning experience. A comfortable seating arrangement and some smaller sculptures displayed on the aft deck give a hint, but that first step through the glass doors into the saloon, with a view of the open dining area beyond, is breathtaking.

Antique Persian carpets and loose modern furnishings blend effortlessly and serve to define and distinguish the two areas. Recessed trays raise the overhead and further differentiate the two rooms, while recessed fixtures provide both general and accent lighting. In the galley, art is displayed, both ceramic and framed under glass to protect it from the inevitable reality of cooking fumes and humidity. From the dining room to a spacious winding stairway leads down to the exercise area and three guest staterooms.

The aft guest stateroom is a full-beam spread that defines the "very important" in VIP. Here again, as in the saloon, an eclectic mix blends perfectly. Much as Alice through the looking glass, I felt transported to another world, yet provisions for the familiar necessities of daily life aboard kept me anchored. The spacious head, separated from the sleeping room by a wall of mirrored hanging lockers, does indeed have two lavatories, a toilet, bidet and whirlpool tub, but the room's artwork, lighted by recessed eyeballs in the tray ceiling, take mundane experiences to a new level.

Two more en suite guest staterooms, one with twin berths and one with a queen, are smaller than the VIP, but every bit as luxurious in their detailing and furnishing. Centered to port, with its own bath and shower, is a mirrored exercise area. Even here, the carpets and paintings are immediately at hand.

Back on the main deck, I ventured forward from the entry foyer, past the day head, to the owner's suite. First is the anteroom-this is not an office!-with its large abstract oil and its-one, two, three, four!-small Old Masters pen and ink portraits of VIPs from another century. Onward past the walk-in closet to starboard and the huge bathing area to port, into the main room of the owner's suite, and I had another blow-me-away moment. Whenever first-timers join me aboard superyachts, I warn them to refrain from Gomer Pyle impersonations, uttering the nearly inevitable "Gaaaaawlleeee!"-but I came near it myself. Large but not overwhelming in size, the room is nonetheless an exquisite jewel, a miniature gallery within the whole.

Returning to the foyer, with too brief a pause for one more look at the anteroom, I climbed the stairs to the bridge deck. Forward, past the captain's cabin, pilothouse and Portuguese bridge, is a pair of lounges for sunning or watching as dolphins dance in the bow wave. Aft of the pilothouse is the skylounge. The requisite bar and large flat-screen TV are present, but they don't intrude on the space. The TV remains out of sight in a side cabinet unless in use, and the bar is behind a room divider at the forward end of the skylounge. With shades drawn, the room invites quiet conversation or solitary contemplation of the large Kandinsky that dominates the space.

Open the shades and the aft doors, and the skylounge functions beautifully as a complement to the spacious open aft deck, whether for small dinners or larger parties. From here a spiral stairway leads to the open top deck, where a fixed canopy hung from the radar arch shades a circular dining table and a flanking snack bar/grill area. Aft is an open lounge area, and forward, a whirlpool spa and twin seating areas are served by a bar to port. How many museums do you know of offer you a warm soak after a private tour?

Contact: CRN Yachts, (011) 39 071 501 1111; www.crn-yacht.com