Feadship 197 Paraffin

With a traditional raised panel mahogany interior highlighted by carved rope moldings and inlaid stars, the 197-foot motoryacht Paraffin has a New England feel about her. That, and her name, are entirely appropriate, given that owners Mike and Lisa Kittredge tasked Feadship to build Paraffin after selling their business, the Yankee Candle Company.

Active owners who enjoy the yachting experience to the fullest, the Kittredges spent as many as 25 weeks per year on their previous yacht, a 142-footer built on spec by another yard. This gave them lots of time to document what they liked, what they didn't like, and what they wanted on the next boat. The list focused on their three main interests: wining and dining, music, and exercise. The details, and there were many, filled in around these areas. For instance, Paraffin's dining room has a 400-bottle "wine cellar and stowage for 450 wineglasses.

"At this stage of my life, I've learned a lot about potential mistakes when entertaining, and hurriedly washed wineglasses are one, Mike Kittredge said. "If we decide to hold an impromptu dinner aboard this yacht, there'll be no need for any apologies.

The emphasis on guest enjoyment is apparent in one feature that brought a smile to my face. The main starboard entry foyer, a space that gets little use on most yachts, is enlarged just enough on Paraffin to include an intimate three-stool bar. Newly arrived guests, needing to unwind from their travels to the yacht, can get a quick snack and a drink while the crew gets their luggage to the proper stateroom.

In addition to the dining room table for 12, there is a dozen-seat table for alfresco dining aft on the bridge deck. Here, a separate pantry allows the crew to serve without disturbing guests in the sky lounge.

Between that open afterdeck and the bridge is a lounge where Mike Kittredge's musical interests are addressed. A complete professional recording studio is integrated into the various lockers and pieces of furniture, stowed out of sight until needed. The mahogany tops slide off the custom tables, and the equipment is then raised to the proper playing height. Should nice weather beckon, most of the instruments can be moved to the main deck or aft bridge deck, where plugs await to tie them back into recording equipment in the bridge deck lounge.

Lest too much evidence of the good life start to accumulate in unwanted places, Paraffin is outfitted with a 12-person gym Feadship says is the largest and best equipped yet to grace one of its yachts. Located on the top deck, the glass-enclosed area is air conditioned, but sliding doors fore and aft open to allow a breeze through on pleasant days.

"Exercise is a high priority in our life, Lisa Kittredge said. "With each workout station having its own flat-panel TV and splendid views through the large windows, we have deliberately made the gym as appealing as possible.

After exercising, guests have access to an adjacent steam room or to a large whirlpool spa outside. In a clever bit of multitasking, the spa converts to a table that can seat 20 by adding a white multisection tabletop with teak inlays.

Even with a yacht as large as Paraffin, the inclusion of such amenities takes careful planning. Feeling that no one else could better understand what they wanted in their new yacht, the Kittredges undertook to design the yacht's interior themselves, without a stylist or interior designer.

As Lisa Kittredge explained, "We have long enjoyed the challenge of altering, extending and redecorating our homes. While working with professional designers has many benefits, it also entails making compromises. The combination of our strong opinions and a dislike of hurting other people's feelings made the shift toward a do-it-yourself philosophy inevitable.

Although the owners directed the design, they readily acknowledge that such a Herculean task must be a team effort. De Voogt Naval Architects, which carries out the naval architecture and marine engineering on all Feadships, worked closely with the Kittredges to integrate their ideas into the overall design.

"The great thing about De Voogt was that they didn't seem to recognize the word 'no,' Mike Kittredge said. "Whatever ideas we came up with, they always tried to accommodate.

Another critical element in the design effort was the early involvement of the Kittredges' crew, particularly Capt. Niels Ackermans and chef/personal assistant Robert Shepherd.

"We constantly asked the opinions of the entire crew, the people who really know the practical ins and outs, Lisa Kittredge said. "Mechanical functionality is equally essential to the aesthetics, and in this sense we were leading a team.

The crew's input led to such design features as a bridge that affords a nearly 360-degree view from the helm, and a hidden niche in the guest lobby that opens to allow luggage to be brought through an after door directly to the guest staterooms. -D.D.

Contact: Feadship Holland, (011) 31 23 524 7000. Feadship America, (954) 761-1830; info@feadship.nl; www.feadship.nl.