Some things are worth waiting for. In June I got a sneak peek at Ocean Mercury at Feadship’s Royal De Vries yard, a few weeks before she was delivered, but no photography was permitted. Much of the loose furnishings weren’t in place, either. But now that the official photos have been released, I can show you what makes the first launch in Feadship’s SL39 semicustom series so special.
The SL39 (for 39 meters, or 128 feet) stands alone among existing semicustom offerings because owners have free reign when it comes to exterior styling. The only fixed components are the steel hull’s design and the technical systems. As a result, the location and layout for the wheelhouse, engine room, crew’s quarters, and internal stairways are all predetermined, but relaxation areas and numbers of staterooms are open to interpretation.
The owner of Ocean Mercury had a big hand in the way the yacht turned out. He wanted a family-friendly megayacht, yet also one that was crew-friendly, and conveyed a lot of specific details to Royal De Vries, De Voogt Naval Architects, and Terence Disdale. Some examples: outfitting one guest cabin as a baby room; allowing all four guest staterooms to serve as two big VIPs, thanks to sliding doors; lengthening the hull somewhat to allow for a tender garage instead of stowing the boat on the aft deck; dedicating crew traffic to the port side of the yacht; dedicating a large bosun’s locker in the forepeak for sunpads and fenders; and making the captain’s cabin larger than that on most 128-footers.
While the decor aboard Ocean Mercury is soothing, highlighted by oak and accents in zebrano wood and wenge, some of her nicest features are due to technical changes. The deep windows in the saloon (above) and throughout the main deck stand out in this regard. Their size was made possible because of the use of a centralized air-conditioning system. Most of the time, shipyards building yachts up to about 160 or so feet employ separate fan-coil units in each room. This, of course, eats up space, which restricts the flexibility of the layout. Now, the easiest way to deal with these individual units is to conceal them in cabinetry outboard, but the cabinetry ends up being about waist high, or slightly taller. This reduces the degree to which everyone inside the yacht can enjoy the view outside. The central system, however, eliminates the problem.
Large windows also highlight the sky lounge (above), which is full-beam, another nice surprise on a megayacht of this size. While you can’t see them from this angle, there’s a bar and a 64-inch TV, ensuring convivial gatherings, but so will the fact that the sky lounge can actually be an indoor-outdoor space because of a quadruple sliding door. Anyone seated outside can then also enjoy watching the TV–though considering Ocean Mercury will spend abundant time in the Med, the views to each side of the yacht should rival even the best movie.
Feadship readily admits that with a €25-million ($36.6-million) base price, the SL39 is an expensive yacht. But it believes the flexibility offered as well as the turnkey aspect of having set systems and equipment help “sell” her.
Capt. Martin Lilley and the owner he works for apparently didn’t need to be sold much. Lilley describes his charge as “absolutely fantastic and one of the finest yachts afloat,” amazed that there’s “more in this 39-meter boat than most would manage in 49 meters.”
Here’s more of Ocean Mercury.