EXTERIOR PHOTOS: Guillaume Plisson; INTERIOR PHOTOS: Winch Media
Ask any owner of a custom yacht why he or she pursued this route, and chances are you’ll hear a similar answer over and over. It’s the ability to get what you want versus what everyone else has, for example. Sometimes, you may feel as if a builder or designer reads your mind before you even express what you want. A repeat customer of Abeking & Rasmussen, American car dealer Herb Chambers, found himself in this situation several years ago. Upon seeing a concept design the builder was promoting, Chambers was struck by how well it reflected ideas of his own. After several conversations and visits to the German yard, Chambers took delivery of Excellence earlier this year.
The 262’3” (79.95-meter) megayacht, which premiered at the Monaco Yacht Show in September, bears resemblance to the concept design Project Intensity. Abeking & Rasmussen collaborated with Winch Design for the concept’s styling, presented in 2015. She featured a striking inverted bow, paired with a proven technical platform, to generate interest. As chance would have it, it generated interest from Chambers, especially due to the extraordinary use of glass. Chambers at the time still owned Excellence V, but was looking forward to starting a new build, especially one with the open feeling conveyed by big panes of glass. With Project Intensity as a starting point, he and the shipyard and design teams perfected his vision.
The most open-feeling—and certainly most open-looking—area aboard Excellence is the three-level atrium to starboard. It starts with a formal entry on the main deck and continues upward, past the owner’s deck. The towering glass required a good deal of thermal-insulation research by Abeking & Rasmussen, ensuring the sun streaming in wouldn’t heat up facing areas. The 60- to 80-mm-thick panes feature an insulating layer, as well as a silvery, reflective layer, too. It mirrors the surrounding environment as Excellence cruises by or sits at anchor. And, though at first glance you may not realize it, the glass panes curve. The superstructure as a whole arcs at an angle of six degrees, according to the shipyard.
As extraordinary as the effect of that atrium is, especially when looking up from the main deck (above), the complexity of the glass really comes through in the owner’s suite (below). Here, you can best appreciate the angled superstructure, and therefore angled glass. You can also see how each window is not just a different shape, but also a different size. Abeking & Rasmussen says it tested samples for more than a year. Winch Design, meanwhile, designed custom auto-deploying shades for each window, for privacy at night.
Having successfully offered his previous megayachts for charter, Chambers recognizes the importance of keeping guests happy and comfortable. Therefore, in addition to his 1,464-square-foot (136-square-foot) suite, Excellence has six double guest staterooms. Each encompasses 269 square feet (25 square meters), too, and sits on the main deck. To lend individuality, the woods, overhead designs, and en suite bath stones differentiate them. Further with a beam of 47’5” (14.45 meters) and relaxation areas ranging from a cinema to a spa and, of course, plenty of open, airy lounges (below), Excellence excels at helping guests shake off workaday worries.
With Excellence being his sixth custom megayacht, clearly Chambers enjoys the creative process. He also clearly enjoys seeing his ideas come to life. The yacht is replete with luxury accoutrements like Japanese ash wood and Macassar ebony—among 23 woods aboard. She additionally shows off golden onyx and 16 different carpets. The astonishing glass and the structural-weight-bearing, girder-like vertical beams (below) pairing with it, are akin to art. This, even though Excellence has abundant automotive-inspired touches, stemming from Chambers’ long career in automotive sales.
We can’t wait to see what Chambers comes up with next. Because even after six custom yachts, something tells us this imaginative owner isn’t done yet. Far from it.
Abeking & Rasmussen abeking.com
Winch Design winchdesign.com