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Design trends come and go, but some looks tend to appeal to people no matter what the year we’re in. Such is the case with Lürssen’s Martha Ann, 70 meters (230 feet) and six decks enveloped in a decidedly formal atmosphere. The moment I stepped into the saloon and felt the thickness of the carpet beneath my bare feet and saw a player piano in an aft corner, I knew lavish entertaining was a key part of her being. But the real proof lies in what this megayacht has been doing since she left Germany on May 1. According to her captain, Stewart Fontaine, Martha Ann has been going nonstop, between cruises with the owners, their children, and their grandchildren–“The owners really fill up the boat,” he says–as well as charter guests.
Those of you who seriously follow superyachts may recall that Martha Ann, whose project name was Shark, is a sistership to Apoise, delivered in 2006, and Saint Nicolas, delivered last year. You may also recall that all three were commissioned by the same gentleman–a.k.a. “the boss,” as Fontaine refers to him–who intended to sell them while under construction. While the boss did do that with the first two, when it came down to this blue-hulled yacht, he changed his mind and kept her for himself.
He also took personal pride in ensuring Martha Ann would live up to her role as a luxurious entertainer. Amidships on the bridge deck, for example, there’s a high-gloss bar-one of seven aboard-that was built to his design. Though he’s in the real-estate business, the husband half of the owners is also a skilled carpenter and collaborated with his son, an architect, on a few design elements aboard. The bar is situated opposite a games table, and it’s a few feet aft of large seating areas, additionally accompanied by two large TVs.
Those TVs are among a total of (count ’em) 45 onboard Martha Ann. The master suite, seen above, contains one hidden behind a painting, while each of the four king-size guest staterooms on the lower deck and the VIP stateroom on the bridge deck have them readily visible. There are even two in the gym (additionally equipped with a bar and dumbwaiter), aft on the upper deck. But the best place by far to watch a favorite flick is the theater area, seen below, which is located forward and up two steps from the gym.
When I say this theater gives new meaning to Surround Sound, I’m not kidding. Fontaine activated the drop-down movie screen fully forward, and began scrolling through the yacht’s library of videos, before deciding on Master and Commander. (Nothin’ like a nautical movie to put a yacht guest in the mood, huh?) A few skips forward to a battle scene, and soon I felt as if I should duck along with the characters on screen, because the sound of cannons firing was phenomenal. “It will definitely rock the boat,” Fontaine says, putting it mildly. And while I couldn’t imagine anyone feeling as if that movie screen were too big, the captain did point out that a smaller–by my guesstimate, a 40- or 50-inch–TV rises from the credenza situated forward for that very scenario.
Of course, yachts intended for heavy entertaining by the owner’s party as well as charter guests usually have abundant alfresco spaces, and Martha Ann is no different. While the dining room aft on the bridge deck seems like an interior space, it transforms into an outdoor spot when the full-height windows surrounding it and the rounded doors leading out to the deck are pushed back. Up one level is a 6,000-gallon-plus pool that can be used as is or as a resistance pool. Barstools forward let swimmers continue to enjoy the water while taking a refreshing break. (Though I can’t help but wonder about how long the leather covering the barstools will last before it needs replacing…)
Martha Ann also provides a mini-armada of toys to take out on the water. A 24-foot landing craft is rigged for fishing, while two PWCs suit simply tooling around a hidden harbor. A 26-foot custom limo tender, seen here, plus kayaks and a handful of towables are also stowed in the yacht’s tender garage, which additionally contains a full head and freshwater showers; this way anyone who goes for a swim (purposely or inadvertently) can clean off before heading back in to change.
With a crew of 21 during charters, Martha Ann should attend well to her guests; one member of the crew is even a masseuse, a role I’ve noticed is becoming increasingly popular on charter yachts these days. If you’re interested in chartering Martha Ann, contact International Yacht Collection, which has the central listing, or any other reputable charter broker. Her rate is €600,000 (about $804,630) regardless of season.
photos: Jordan Klaus