There can’t be many better ways to start the day than being whisked off to see a totally new superyacht on a soft, warm morning in late August in Croatia and that yacht is anchored in a quiet bay away from the madding crowds…
Mary-Jean II is a handsome, no-nonsense lady, very good looking in a special shade of blue and white and an inviting aura which is apparent even while simply stepping on board. At 61.73 metres she represents the first in a new series from (ISA) International Shipyard Ancona. Suspended is the signature ‘top-to-bottom’ stairway, which previously joined the boarding platform with the upper deck in a continuous line, it being now regarded as too “dated”. Hull lines are considerably more graceful and the elegant white superstructure appears to make only a single, blade-like contact with the main deck, each side and right aft. That same shape is then echoed in a similar single contact between the upper and bridge decks which, combined with the fine run forward capping the bulwarks, suggests forward motion even at rest.
ISA themselves are responsible for the concept of this elegance in design, including the naval architecture and engineering which was also done in-house, while Yachting Partners International (YPI Group) brokered and oversaw the entire project. YPI will also be handling charter and general management of the yacht.
Although this is a family yacht with lots of family-orientated design input, successful charter operation was always planned as a significant part of the yacht’s itinerary, with the requisite compromise in design to suit both worlds. This has been admirably achieved with Mark Berryman’s thoughtful interior design, which also provides a superb pastiche for the owner’s choice of artwork. Wherever one goes throughout the yacht, the artwork is displayed to maximum advantage and ranges from classical to moderns such as Andy Warhol. Extensive use of light grained, satin finished woods such as teak and pale mahogany, in combination with light fabric panels and contrasting marble or carpet insets in the floors, sustains an atmosphere of substantial comfort. Add to this the imaginative use of large windows everywhere and encouragement to relax is guaranteed for owners and guests alike.
Outside areas are certainly not for agoraphobics, being designed to indulge the huge spaces available, plus demonstrating a collaboration between owner and designer in the matter of comfort with practicality. On the sun deck for example, can be found four square umbrellas, two forward and two aft (with mountings for two more), a favourite of the owner. Forward of the radar arch is a marble-topped bar to port and an owner - selected spa pool in a raised area with big cushions on each side, protected by vertical glass panes from port to starboard. In further support of the umbrella theme, the radar arch overhead has been extended aft to create appreciable extra shade and also to provide an attachment point for additional shade covers made from the same perforated material to match the umbrellas. Central to this area are two fixed square dining tables in varnished teak, mounted so as to accept an extra leaf of equal size to form one long table with seating for 12/14 people. Buffets on both sides of the deck provide perfect service facilities. The port side aft of the arch is one big built-in sofa, stretching to the aft rail and a small card table with free-standing chairs.
This a great entertainment area offering plenty of room for dancing and conversation, a place to which guests and owners would naturally gravitate on hot days and warm nights.
A guest head and shower, plus stowage for communications and emergency batteries, complete requirements.
On the deck below at bridge level, the accent is still on outside living with port and starboard sofas aft plus a buffet and grill and a long round-ended dining table in the centre, which receives shade from the sun deck overhang. Sliding glass doors open to a lounge and what might be called a ‘mini cinema’ with viewers seating concentrated to starboard. According to choice, either a large television will hinge upwards from the middle of a low central box table, or a six foot wide screen will descend from the deckhead to the table, complete with projector lowering behind the viewers heads. A stock of over 2500 movies guarantees cinematic entertainment for months. The AMX remote control units for ship’s functions, which can be found throughout the yacht, will also dim the lights and close the curtains. On the port side, a delightfully detailed model in a glass case, pays tribute to the previous Mary-Jean, a 49 metre Campagnello. Also up here is a service pantry and a guest foyer, whose doors are set in walls of plain pale stone and have teak frames inset with narrow flat strips of split bamboo. Light wood is carried through to the floors, which frame soft beige marble bases, repeated in the recessed ceiling. Tiny lights, here and at the base of the walls are complimented by tall, shaded wall-bracket lamps and the overall effect is warm and welcoming. To starboard the VIP suite leads off this foyer and has a nice picture-window, but it’s in the bathroom where one could spend hours brushing teeth or whatever, just to admire the view from the vanity unit.
On the bridge everything is business and business-like. A radio/comms room is accessed from just outside, but has big sliding windows communicating with the bridge interior. It is also home to the Kaleidascape system centre, heart of all audio/visual operations and guest ancillary facilities controlled via the AMX panels. Décor is reassuringly traditional, with lots of satin-varnished teak and light mahogany. All flat navigation surfaces, overheads and the deeply-boxed forward window frames, are finished in matt charcoal which, with properly recessed main instruments allows these to be read, even with sunlight streaming in through the steeply raked windows. Two super-comfortable pilot chairs, plus a small three seater sofa all in the same dark charcoal, add comfort to bridge watchkeeping, or simply for owner and guests to watch it all go by. Both sides of the centre console have spaces for paper charts and, although full navigation can be done electronically (not ECDIS compatible), the captain prefers to train his crew to learn real ‘paper’ navigating. Speaking of the captain, Scott Lindstrom hails from San Diego, is originally a sailboat man, has been with the owner for over three years and commanded the previous Mary-Jean. He spent the last 5 months in the yard with Mary-Jean II, then sailed her from Ancona to Malta to Sicily and then to Croatia in the first 11 days of her life and thinks she’s splendid.
Using either of the substantially heavy side deck doors gives access to a Portuguese bridge, whose forepart is big enough to accept yet another built-in sofa from which to observe forward progress. A companionway from here leads to a particularly large foredeck housing the bosun’s locker, a PWC on both sides, each with its own crane, vertical Muir windlasses for the two anchoring systems and what the crew jokingly refer to as the captain’s personal swimming pool. This is actually a high-sided construction, with a crane, which contains the Castoldi Jet 14 rescue boat. Maybe it would make a great pool, but the drains are too efficient! One special aspect of this entire area is that the owner prefers it to be given over as crew recreational space; a particularly thoughtful and unusual gesture. Time in the sun and fresh air for off-watch crew is really a necessity. A big comfortable mess is fine, but reading and watching television can have their limits.
It’s truly enjoyable walking around this yacht. Fit and finish are excellent and it doesn’t hurt to reflect that ISA are relatively recent among Italian constructors. More importantly, it should be remembered that top management and much of the team, formed this company after working in other shipyards close by and thus can and have drawn upon immense experience. Attention to detail can be seen everywhere. For instance, on the starboardside at main deck level, a midship’s door in the superstructure opens onto a pleasant foyer whose marble floor is decorated with a coat of arms and the family name of Mary-Jean. (Anyone wishing to know what this is will have to see for themselves)! But the entire foyer is flawless. Forward from here a centre-line corridor with doors at each end, leads to the owner’s suite, although a slightly unusual feature is the double cabin to starboard between it and the foyer, suggesting that it may be family orientated. The suite is nicely personalized giving the impression that someone actually lives here. To starboard, a long free-standing desk faces inward across the bed, to a smaller one opposite. A charming bust of Mary-Jean in braids set atop a thwartship’s cabinet, greets everyone who enters. There are armchairs, a recliner, a sofa and a fully-mirrored walk-in wardrobe/dressing room. In a mirrored recess lies a telescope with the legend “Napoleon’s Telescope” engraved on a brass plate, while the variety of artwork expresses character and life. The bathroom has a simple tub and a shower room, plus toilet and bidet and ‘his and hers’ twin glass bowls mounted on top of the vanity. Luxurious, but lived in.
Returning to and crossing the foyer gains entrance to the dining area of the main saloon. The single long table continues the lighter wood, satin finish theme, offset by serving cabinets in a contrasting darker wood. This same colour is used for the chair frames, whose seats are in soft white fabric, woven into broad straps for the half backrests.
Separation from the saloon is distinguished by a single unit containing a concealed television with a three seat sofa facing inwards. Here, Mark Berryman sustains the overall theme of colours, textures, materials and shapes, to create yet another real living space. A clever arrangement uses a group of four rectangular coffee tables faced by a couple of armchairs and a pair inviting sofas but, outboard of these on each side, is a further pair of smaller sofas set beneath the windows. Perfect for reading or intimate conversation. One talking point is sure to be the varnished wood plaques, sewn to the middle of all the small throw-cushions on board.
But it was a visit to the galley which provided a surprising downturn. This is reached through the dining room portside pantry and both chefs were in residence. “Too small” they said, “Well equipped, but too small”. Unfortunately the truth was clearly visible, especially when considering the expected output. However, this was the only jarring note on the whole boat.
On the lower deck are four double guest cabins, two of which can be swiftly converted to single beds. Spacious and comfortable, all four have bathrooms en suite and are accessed from a central lobby. As has become standard practice, a short corridor connects directly with the crew quarters which, as captain Lindstrom emphasized, the owner was adamant should be a place of comfort and security for all crew. There is no doubt that he succeeded. Ample space has been provided for two crew per cabin, plus exceptional shower and toilet facilities and with everything finished to guest accommodation standards. Each crew member also has personal audio/visual and wi-fi access. The mess has bench seating around three sides, with two big tables and several chairs, while opposite is a small galley with the ship’s laundry behind. There are book and DVD shelves, plus a large TV and natural light in all spaces and cabins.
Below this area is the bilge or tank deck. One of the engineers has his cabin down here, plus there are capacious cold and freezer rooms and a gym for guests. But, on the deck above and aft of the guest accommodation, is the heart of the ship – the engine room. This gleaming space contains two Caterpillar 3512 C HD main engines, each developing around 2000hp at only 1850rpm. Three Caterpillar C9 generators each produce 190kW of electrical power, while an emergency Cat C4.4 genset offers 82kW. However, what truly impresses is detail. The way support bracket and frame welds have been polished and sharp edges rounded-off, plus attention to panel and equipment alignment and this applies to the finish in all below-deck spaces normally unseen.
In the teak-decked stern garage lives an almost identical pair of totally new 7mt Novurania “Chase 23” tenders. Totally new because they are not RIB’s, thus having no floatation chambers and ‘almost’ identical because the specification of one is slightly superior, which reserves it for the owner. Space is shared with a couple of WaveRunners and the whole lot launches through doors in the hull sides.
Considering this second iteration of Mary-Jean in its entirety, it’s not simply the fine lines or sea-kindliness, but evidence of the care and attention to be found everywhere in the construction and painting, which is the ultimate focus for admiration. As superyacht builders it’s not in question that ISA have arrived; they have become the destination.