The sea trial was pubblished on Superyacht 47 – Autumn 2015  

A 66 metre of masculine and aggressive design, which conceals elegant and refined interiors, furnished with gracious, nautical taste.

At the marina of Cap d’Ail in Monte Carlo the 66 metre Lürssen “Ester III” is moored alongside. It’s a hot and humid day, but in the shade of the aft pool deck we feel very fine indeed. This is a private yacht but the owner, exceptionally, has allowed a small group of journalists aboard to see and describe it. What led to the development of “Ester III” as we now see her were the needs of a family with two small children and two young daughters who love the open air life, sport and sea. The first meetings between owner and designer were in 2009 and the first project was for a 45 metre.

Then the owner bought a 52 metre and effectively realised what his requirements were, so the design grew to its current 66 metres and the yacht was launched in 2014. There are many things that make “Ester III” a special yacht: first and foremost the personal friendship between the owner and Espen Øino, the great Norwegian naval architect.

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Espen was asked to design a boat as if it were for himself: so, Espen says, this friendship was a great opportunity to create something unique, but at the great risk of ruining everything if it didn’t come off well. It was only when the boat was finished, on a very cold and rainy day, and the owner and his wife sitting in the saloon exclaimed, “Ahhh, it’s nice here, feels like being at home” that Espen knew everything had turned out all right.

The external lines, which may be defined as “masculine”, are sharp and soft at the same time, streamlined and massive, soaring but solid: in a word, they transmit sportiness, innovation and extreme design. The practically vertical axe bow, the apparently limited height and the play of contrasting colours between the white of the hull, the grey of the decks and the many vertical window panels are, at first sight, the distinguishing features of this superyacht. Aft, the three decks house distinct zones: the pool and a small lounge on the lower, a spacious living area and large dining table on the middle deck and, on the upper, the solarium and barbecue area.

The dining room can be closed at the sides by sliding glass doors and has a heating system in order to extend the seasons. Two lateral brackets descend from the ceiling to accommodate large TV sets. Forward there is a helipad on the upper deck, above the bridge. The deck forward is designed with protective rails that can be shifted and mounted towards the centre, leaving the sides open in order to strike a golf ball; a game the owner really loves. So the yacht is conceived for intensive use throughout the year, with plenty of sports activity – there are numerous toys aboard – and outdoor guest entertainment activities in the various living and dining areas, some more formal than others.

Lastly, relaxation in the spa below deck. The clean lines are not “cluttered” by the presence of tenders, jet-skis and life-rafts. The rafts are stowed in lockers open at the top but closed at the sides by hatches openable to the exterior by remote control and invisible from the sea. The tenders are stowed forward below deck, in a huge full-beam garage with double side hatches.

This position, says Øino, has the advantage of shifting the cabins farther aft for greater comfort, and of being higher on the water to avoid problems with waves during launch and recovery operations. Ceiling-mounted hydraulic davits guarantee swift and safe handling of the two tenders. One is a RIB, the other a custom Venetian vessel which recalls the lines of the yacht itself, built in composite by Swedish yard Windy Boats, with upholstery in leather, openable glass roof, external wheelhouse forward and facilitated access. The jet-skis are stowed in a garage with lateral hatch, situated more amidships. This was a fundamental point in the design, in accordance with the owner’s wishes since he aims, when not under way, to spend most of the time lying to an anchor in a roadstead.

Let’s go back for a moment to the pool aft. Its apparently linear design conceals certain singularities: there’s a bench surrounding the long sides just below water level so you can sit comfortably. The central table, evidently a place to lay your glass, actually conceals the outlet of a current of water for static swimming. With an electronic keypad at the side you can select different user modes: static, hydro-massage, current and cascade.

Towards the stern a glass door closes the pool which can also function as an infinity. Attention to detail and a maniacal perfectionism are also perceptible in the exteriors: for example the features in teak with maple strips of the coffee tables, the well-shaped furnishings, all in composite materials, the cushion covers with concealed openings, the cushion covers themselves in specially created fabrics, the paintwork of the structures: it all contributes to the perception of absolutely top quality. After a flute of champagne we go on a tour of the interiors which could be defined as classic French style, strongly featuring furniture in rare wood with inlays, embellished by elements in crafted silver.

The design of the interiors and furniture, the study of the fabrics and the creation of the artworks on board are the work of the London studio Reymond Langton Design, in the person of young Pascale Reymond. Pascale explains that in her view the heart of the ship is the staircase linking the decks, embellished by an impressive artwork in chiselled leather.

The 5 guest cabins on the lower deck are each furnished with their own characteristic theme and palette of colours, making them unique. The owner’s full-beam cabin has a height of 2.4 metres with great panoramic window like ports at the sides. The suite is completed by an office, his and her walk-in wardrobes and a double bathroom with shower area against one side. Here too we find excellent works in Avodire wood, in bronze, gold, silver, leather and onyx, a rich and refined effect overall.

The main saloon is subdivided: one area aft which connects with the great open air zone by way of a retractable sliding door; a central area for relaxation with large sofas and armchairs, and the dining area forward. Whereas the spa on the lower deck is in a style defined as “Assyrian”, with oriental references and polychrome mosaics. It offers massages, sauna, Turkish bath, hairdresser’s salon, changing rooms and gym. A passageway links this zone to the stern platform where you can enjoy open air swimming.

Going back to the creation of this ingenious work, every smallest piece of the yacht has been designed and handmade by expert craftspeople, many of them called in directly by the owner: woodcarvers built the furniture and the wall and ceiling mouldings, sculptors created the friezes and marquetry in silver and gold, cabinetmakers inlaid the wood of the furniture, walls, doors and floors, and upholsterers wove and sewed all the fabrics aboard. Without forgetting the leatherworkers who created furnishing elements, panels in leather, or the marble-carvers who masterfully worked the various marbles, onyxes and mosaics with semi-precious stones for the bathrooms.

The construction of “Ester III” called for an enormous effort of invention (with the owners’ collaboration) and logistic management of the workforce. Just think that more than 500, among craftspeople and professionals who, one after the other, took turns to proceed with the build. Craftspeople and artists did their work in their own workshops and studios, also using specially created mock-ups that were subsequently assembled on board. The end result is undoubtedly charged with evocations and a wealth of details, with a high level of liveability and a classic elegance that will never fade.

For further information: Lürssen Yachts

by Martino Motti – Photos by Klaus Jordan

LOA: 65.99 m – LWL: 64.50 m – Beam: 11.60 m – Draught: 3.40 m – Construction materials: Steel/Aluminium – Displacement: 1,388 tons – Declared top speed: 16.5 knots – Range at 12 knots: 4.000 nm – Engines: 2 x 2,011 HP MTU 12V 4000 M63 – Fuel tank capacity: 120,000 litres – Water tank capacity: 18,600 litres – Class: Maltese Cross 100°1 SSC Yacht Mono, G6 Maltese Cross LMC UMS.