A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
VvS1 is the ninth motoryacht built by Alloy Yachts and continued the Alloy tradition of commencing sea trials on the day of launching. VvS1 is a 34m (112ft) expedition-style motoryacht built for a New Zealand businessman whose vision was an exceptional seaworthy vessel capable of exploring isolated islands of the South Pacific.
This all alloy tri-deck vessel was designed by Gregory C. Marshall Naval Architects and complies with the Lloyds Register SSC Rules and the Large Yacht Code.
The hull is finished in shark grey with the superstructure finished in complementary shades of metallic silver and charcoal. The exterior lines reflect the businesslike character of the motoryacht, with a high bow profile and a large aft working deck for carrying tenders. The detailing is modern, with large windows set in the hull and the superstructure. The anchors retract to a semi-concealed position within pockets set into the bow, with a wraparound polished stainless steel plate providing hull protection and a handsome detail.
The underwater shape includes a bulbous bow extension for improved seakeeping and efficiency.
The interior design was undertaken by the client and his wife in collaboration with the Alloy Yachts Design team. The cabinetry and internal joinery is custom built by Alloy Yachts, with additional feature items of furniture designed by Ed Cruickshank and manufactured by New Zealand craftsmen.
The overall impression is of a contemporary space with a minimalist approach to the furnishings. The interior is finished in American white oak panels with a white satin finish that leaves the grain exposed and slightly raised. The cabinetry is made from Wenge and finished in grain fitted matt satin. Bamboo floors are laid in 90mm planks with wenge inlays and are finished in matt-satin.
A striking feature is the wide stairway that spirals up from the lower accommodation deck to the flybridge, with a pneumatic sliding glass accessway at the top creating an atrium effect. Another remarkable feature is the placement of the galley on the main deck with serveries through to the aft cockpit and also forward into the formal dining room. The owners enjoy casual entertaining and have recreated the atmosphere of their home, where friends invariably gather in the large kitchen as meals are prepared. Both serveries can be closed off, if a more formal mood is required.
The aft cockpit has a curved settee following the line of the transom and facing forward, with a dining table and occasional chairs making a pleasant alfresco entertaining area. The overhang of the boat deck above provides protection.
Two stairways either side of the aft seating area descend to a large game fishing cockpit, complete with live bait tanks and two fridge/freezer compartments. A pantographic gate on the centerline opens to allow access from the fishing cockpit to the aft boarding platform.
Forward of the alfresco dining area is an informal bar counter and stools facing into the main galley. A sliding glass bulkhead opens into the galley where the owners, who enjoy cooking, might be preparing meals, or serving snacks. The bulkhead can be closed off as well if culinary secrets need to be preserved.
A weathertight door admits guests from the aft cockpit into maindeck interior level. A short companionway leads past the galley and into the formal dining room, which features a spectacular square table, finished in walnut. The bulkhead into the galley can be open for casual entertaining, or closed for formal occasions.
Separating the dining room from the formal saloon is the wide atrium stairway. The port and starboard sidedecks on the maindeck extend from the aft cockpit to a position amidships, where they terminate with side doors into lobbies flanking the stairwell. The main guest entry is from the starboard side, where visitors are greeted by a large recess to accommodate a fine sculpture and the open stairway.
Forward of the stairway is the formal saloon which spans the full beam of the vessel. Six massive rectangular panel windows set into the hull on the port and starboard sides admit plenty of light and provide great views.
Moving forward from the saloon, an entry lobby provides good sound insulation for the spacious owner’s suite, which also spans the full beam of the vessel. A Californian size bed is situated on the centerline facing aft. Large rectangular ports provide light and views on both sides of the cabin. The ensuite bathroom includes a fullsize bath and separate shower.
The amidships stairway leads down to the guest accommodations, which are situated on either side and at the head of a lobby. Two identical twin-berth cabins with ensuite bathrooms flank the companionway to port and starboard. A large VIP cabin is set athwartships at the head of the companionway with a large double bed, settee and ensuite bathroom.
The engine room is amidships, aft of the guest accommodations. The crew area is aft of the engine room. Access to the crew area is either through the galley, or via a watertight door leading from the aft fishing cockpit. This service area includes a laundry, crew galley and mess plus three cabins providing accommodation for five crew excluding the Captain.
Access to the upper deck is either by a stairway from the aft cockpit, or the internal stairs. The aft area of the upper deck is for stowing two tenders, a 6.5m Rayglass Protector, which will be used for serious fishing and expeditions away from the mother ship, and a 3.6m crew tender. They are launched and retrieved with a 2-tonne hydraulic crane. An external helm control is situated in the aft port corner for docking. Two other external steering stations are situated on the port and starboard wings of the wheelhouse.
Forward of this tender stowage is a raised deck, with teak planking leading into the skylounge, which features a lounge, study area, fully-equipped gymnasium and cinema. Forward of the stairwell is the wheelhouse, with the captain’s double cabin and ensuite bathroom on the port side. Port and starboard sliding doors lead from the wheelhouse to a wrap-around Portuguese bridge, which includes a forward-facing settee and teak sunbeds.
The top deck features a settee and coffee table nest and a Tepanyaki Grill with bench seating and loungers. The aluminium antennae arch supports bimini awnings to provide protection from the elements. Additional clear side-screens can also be deployed for further shelter.
VvS1 is fitted with active roll stabilizers and is powered by twin Caterpillar 475hp diesel engines with a cruise speed of 11 knots and a range of 4300 nautical miles.
The owner is a prominent New Zealand businessman with particular interests in jewellery, art, music and golfing. The name VvS1 relates to a grade of diamonds. The top grade is flawless, followed by VvS1, which refers to a stone with a single tiny, barely discernible flaw. “It is a bit tongue in cheek,” the owner explained, “because we never really achieve sheer perfection in life.”
He was attracted to the working boat heritage displayed in the lines of some Gregory C Marshall designs he had seen before. He commissioned the designer to start work on an 80-footer. After on-going discussions, this grew to 100ft. “Greg Marshall is a great listener. He takes on board everything you say. He came away with us on our sportfish boat and saw how we like to live. He also visited us at home and loved the way we use our kitchen as the centre of our entertaining at home. If friends come around, that is where we congregate. My wife and I both enjoy cooking. He transposed a lot of these influences onto our boat – particularly the placement of the galley on the main deck.”
Then, with the design work quite advanced, the owner was anchored in a remote bay on Stewart Island, south of New Zealand when a large French superyacht swept into the bay. “I took one look at it and thought it was magnificent. My next thought was, Good God, our boat is going to be too small.”
He immediately called Marshall, who agreed to stretch the design to 34m. “The design stage took four years,” said the owner. “Marshall was particularly thorough and is a master of space. I dislike large spaces that are not functional, particularly on a boat. It is much more practical to have smaller spaces.” Hence the decision to have distinct dining room and separate lounge.”
Commenting on the choice of furnishing and the style of the interior, the owner said: “I have been disappointed with some of the superyachts I have seen that are not very restrained. In my view, the essence of good design is simplicity. Sometimes there is an overindulgence of concepts, which leads to a very cluttered, fussy appearance. I like a more minimalist approach.
Music and books are important as well. There is an extensive on-board library and a sophisticated keyboard. The owner plays the violin and anticipates many on-board sessions of classical music. His wife and son are both artists and will have works featured on board.
On the choice of boat builder, the owner said he considered three rival yards, but chose Alloy Yachts because of its ‘legendary’ reputation. “Contrary to some of the yards we visited, Alloy Yachts was always very orderly and tidy. I was impressed by how disciplined and clean the environment is.
Throughout the build, the owner traveled to Auckland from the South Island about every three weeks to view progress at first hand.
“I have enjoyed the experience so much, I wish it was all happening again. I haven’t had a single occasion with the yard or the design studio that has not been unbelievably positive. I am extremely critical and what has surprised me more than anything else is that everything I have asked for has been executed to a level that is beyond my expectations.
“I have a sneaky feeling that we will have to do another one at some time.”
- Builder: Alloy Yachts International
- Designer: Gregory C Marshall
- Interior Designer: Gregory C Marshall & Alloy Yachts
- Year Launched: 2007
- LOA: 34.18m (112ft)
- LWL: 30.1m (98.8ft)
- Beam: 7.78m (25.5ft)
- Draft: 2.62m (8.6ft)
- Displacement: 238.84 tonne (Full load)
- Max Speed: 13.0 knots
- Cruise Speed: 11.7 knots
- Fuel Cap: 34020 litres
- Water Cap: 7050 litres
- Construction: Aluminium
- Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3406E @ 354kW