For those readers of a certain age, the very words “twilight zone” will bring back images of Rod Serling, standing in shadow, at the beginning of his often spooky, always compelling television series.
“You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!” As I stood looking about the salon of the new Vicem 92, I had the eerie feeling that Rod Serling was going to step around a bulkhead, and that somehow I’d stumbled — like so many of his characters from The Twilight Zone — into another time and place.
In this case, the time would be, oh, say, the mid-1920s, before the bottom fell out of the stock market and before we knew enough to number our wars. A time when the magnates of Wall Street commuted via sleek luxury yachts from their waterfront Long Island homes. These were often lean yachts, and, as I first looked down on the Vicem 92 from the pier head, I had a fleeting impression of that same long foredeck, the low house set well aft, and lines that were not just classic, but timeless.
It wasn’t until I stepped into the salon that I started looking for Rod. You see, the elegant mahogany interior of the Vicem 92 clearly draws on a work ethic that just doesn’t understand the modern slap-on-veneer-and-bang-it-out interior style. Many yachts are built with faux raised paneling on the bulkheads, using half-round molding to simulate the panels in the hopes of faking you into believing this is quality. In this case, it’s the real thing. Each panel is beveled, like fine glass, and inset into the bulkhead. Where a panel bends around a counter, the solid wood is routed into recessed coves, something you can’t do with a millimeter of veneer on plywood.
It wasn’t just the level of the woodwork, which included African mahogany soles with delicately inlaid accents outlining the furniture, but the whole feel of the yacht. Aboard the Vicem 92, a gourmet dinner is served in comfort and style in the dedicated dining area, where you might linger contentedly over a snifter of Courvoisier while you solve the world’s problems.
Opposite the slip-covered sofa, which seems to have been purloined from a Nantucket beach house, is a full bar, with racks for wine glasses and, ta-dah, a wine cooler for no fewer than 57 of your favorite vins extraordinaires. Yes, the bar does use more space than a simple wet bar would, but it’s the elegant difference between a Mont Blanc and a Bic.
The one jarring note in the salon, to me at least, was the immense television cabinet that fills the after corner. Even with a 43-inch flat-screen television and lockers to hide all components of the Bose 48 Lifestyle system, it seemed to lurk ominously. It wasn’t until I stepped out to the cockpit that I discovered the cabinet concealed a day-head with an outside door. This makes it accessible both to the cockpit and the bridge.
Forward of the salon are the dining area and galley, with the latter behind a counter that mimics the salon bar. The dining area seats eight comfortably. Glass-front china cabinets give you a chance to show off your Lalique, and the overhead treatment is lozenge-shape like the table.
The galley is what you’d expect on a yacht of this size, with all the modern conveniences. Like the bar, the galley has black granite counters and a full complement of drawers and lockers.
Filling the forward end of the house, with button-tufted seating on each side for the skipper and the magnate, is the regal pilothouse. I particularly liked the pigeonhole flag lockers tucked under each seat. The helm is stylishly seamanlike, with a rosewood dash large enough to handle three Raymarine E120 screens plus a full complement of analog VDO gauges and the twin MAN electronic engine monitors. Opposite the helm is a navigation area large enough to lay out charts, with flat stowage beneath a flip-up lid to organize them.
Step back into the salon, because I want you to see the master suite first, and it has private stairs next to the bar that lead to a mini foyer below. The stateroom spans the full beam and has a king-size berth in the center. To port is a couch for two, while a desk with hidden vanity fills the opposite side. Okay, that’s pretty standard stuff, but it’s the superb joinery that makes this stand out. Built-in bureaus with large hanging lockers are on each side, with the raised panels set off by simple brass knobs. There’s even a walk-in closet with handcrafted shelves: none of those white California Closets on a Vicem. The suite is so elegant, you’d think it was 1925, until you turn around and see the flat-screen TV facing the bed.
Behind the padded headboard and its built-in nightstands is the his-and-hers head, also spanning the full beam. Each side mirrors the other and has more of that luscious wood, granite counters and stylish fixtures. Separating the two compartments is a spa bathtub for two, with curving glass doors enclosing it.
If you take the stairs down from the pilothouse, you’ll find three guest staterooms in the bow. I went all the way forward to start and assumed that was the premier suite because it seemed particularly large and had a queen-size berth. The headroom is immense: I couldn’t even touch the padded overhead. On the other hand, the head would have kept Superman from changing into his tights. It was small, and I had to edge past the door to enter. And it had a sink so tiny you’d have to wash your hands one at a time, though the mosaic-tiled shower was quite large.
Then I stepped into the starboard cabin and realized this is the best of the guest suites, if only because it has a vanity/desk. It was even more spacious, though the en suite head still had the Zen-ofone- hand-washing sink.
The final guest cabin, to port, had a pair of twin berths and intricate inlays in the sole. There is a private door into the day-head just forward and, since this cabin is likely to be used by kids, the tiny sink should be just the right size. Finally.
It was while I was in the forward cabin that I decided, just for the heck of it, to pop open a large hatch in the sole. And there I saw something that I knew I’d see, but it still startled me. No, it wasn’t Rod Serling. It was wood. All. Wood. There was an immense keelson running fore and aft, and the hull swept up on each side, fully encased under dense layers of epoxy. Knowing that the Vicem 92 is a wooden yacht is one thing. Peeking into an all-wooden bilge is entirely another matter, especially when you expect to see acres of fiberglass.
Up top, the flying bridge is a three-level affair, each of which is quite wonderful. Forward is the helm area, with a pair of Stidd double-wide seats. Down a tier is the entertainment area, with a curving settee, a generous L-shape bar and a huge DCS grill. Finally, there is the third level with a four-person spa. All of this is shaded by a beautifully finished hardtop with a planked underside, with no fewer than 33 recessed halogen lights for every possible mood.
The crew has comfortable and private quarters abaft the engine room, with twin two-bunk cabins, head and a crew mess area with lounge and galley.
Power is a pair of 900-horsepower MAN common-rail diesels that may seem smallish, but the Vicem 92 isn’t intended to be an ocean-crusher. It is designed to be seaworthy and comfortable, and the MANs push her to a stately 17.5 knots, which is just fine, thank you. And if you’re worried about the carbon footprint, forget it. Though she weighs in at around 85 tons, the Vicem 92 tiptoes along at 10 knots, consuming just 16 gallons per hour. That’s clearly a testament to her slippery shape.
Lovers of timeless and elegant yachts, beware! For beyond the doors of the Vicem 92 “is another dimension of time and space.”
Displ.: 169,000 lb.
Fuel: 3,434 gal.
Water: 550 gal.
Holding: 470 gal.
Construction: Cold-molded mahogany West System epoxy
Design: Vicem Yachts
Interior Design: Marty Lowe Inc.
Generators: 2 x 22.5 kW Onans
Bow Thruster: Side-power hydraulic
Engines: 2 x 900- hp MAN V-8 CRM common-rail diesels
Speed: 17 knots max, 13 knots cruise
Range: 2,815 nautical miles at 9.2 knots
Price: On request
Vicem Yachts, 954-713-0737; vicemyacht.com