Sunday, April 26th, 2009

Lord Foster launches Fractional Ownership YachtPlus

On April 25th, Lord Foster the eminent architect famed for his designs of office blocks such as London’s Gerkin and the wobbly bridge across the Thames launched the 41 metre Ocean Emerald.  She is the first Fractional Ownership super yacht from YachtPlus and we were invited to be one of a select few to watch the event.  We were there at Porto Lotti in Italy near La Spezia together with select members of the media, the design team along with owners and prospective owners of this and future yachts in the timeshare scheme.

Norman Foster is not best known as a yacht designer yet this is not the first yacht he has been responsible for.  Previously in 1991 he had designed the 55 metre Izanami now called Ronin another radical but very different design.  

We were one of the lucky few journalists to be granted a five minute interview with the great man after the press conference.  Lord Foster is not only the designer but he is also one of the fractional owners and we hope to get a chance to ask him what he thinks of the yacht after he has used her for the first time which is expected to be in June next year.

Although ready to be unveiled to world’s press the yacht is not yet completed with the most obvious sign of this being the lack of a name or port of registry affixed anywhere yet.  She will be returning to the yard for the final touches and the granting of her MCA certificates.  It is hoped she will be ready in time for Monaco Grand Prix, when one of her 8 owners has booked a berth – something that at that time of year is almost as difficult to find as hen’s teeth and a lot more expensive.

So what is the yacht like?  Well everyone agreed it is both radical and different and will definitely be a head turner whether she is in Monaco or Mexico, Corsica or the Caribbean.  Some said the design is fabulous and fantastic but others were less complimentary and one wag even suggested Foster may have been influenced by the lines of an electric iron! Someone else suggested it looked like the Gherkin laid on its side.  What do you think?

Whilst the yachts exterior and ample external guest areas are unusual especially for a yacht her size, her interior follows a fairly standard layout.  The large main salon benefits from huge windows and a clever spiral staircase providing ample light but the rest of the yacht’s interior was inevitably more tightly packed as a result of the huge areas devoted to outside living on deck.

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