Dana Point, CA – (October 26, 2010) A few weeks ago, Nordhavn 76#17 Eliana was delivered to its owners Rick and Debbie Heiniger. The yacht is a portrait in contemporary styling and mechanical design savvy, and features a number of Nordhavn firsts on both fronts.
Prior to Eliana, the Heinigers had never owned a boat, but they approached the build and décor with the confidence and know-how of experienced yacht owners. The boat will become their full-time residence so they needed it to feel and function like a home. “We felt our design goal should emphasize a calm, serene and comfortable environment where one would love to spend time,” said Rick Heiniger. “Beauty would then be more of a feeling than an appearance.” The end result is what many have called the most exquisite Nordhavn 76 produced to date.
Designer Scott Cole certainly concurs with that description. “I am most proud of this interior of all the Nordhavns I’ve done,” said Cole. That’s high praise coming from the man who has helped create a number of gorgeous Nordhavn interiors. The Heinigers linked up with Cole and his firm, Seattle-based Ardeo Design, shortly after signing the contract for the N76 in 2008. From that point on, all parties were on the same page, and according to Cole, that chemistry was crucial toward the final outcome. “This boat is one of the best because everything just fell into place. The owners had good ideas of their own, were receptive to ideas, and made themselves accessible. They were appreciative of the entire process.”
Cole also attributes Debbie Heiniger’s great eye for style and her faith in her choices. The only time it wavered was in the beginning when the Heinigers, intent on creating a more traditional look for their yacht, saw another Nordhavn 76 whose interior had a modern feel. “After they saw the contemporary look of that 76, their minds changed.” The result? A combination of the two interiors; Eliana embodies the clean lines of the contemporary boat mixed with the warm African Cherry wood used in some traditional Nordhavns. The couple hail from Missouri and wanted to make sure the boat remained welcoming as well as sophisticated.
The hardwood plays a key role in the spirit of the boat, and is a showcase of the Ta Shing yacht yard’s well-known excellent joinerwork, fit and finish. Incorporating the warm tones was critical in keeping the welcome feel, said Cole. The medium-toned quarter-sawn African Cherry is the primary wood and was used to construct the majority of the cabinets, as well as the walls’ wainscot, doors, and wood floors. The key to making the look contemporary was the couple’s decision to set the wood grain horizontally, which the craftsmen at Ta Shing executed masterfully. Adding a further contemporary nod, Cole suggested employing a mixture of woods and incorporated a darker wood, Charco, to use for the beds, nightstands, end tables and the dining table (the tops of the wood cabinets are Anigre.) The sprinkling of Charco wood was a way to introduce modern elements, simply within the woodwork itself. It easily transitions into the contemporary elements of the boat and disperses the oneness of all the African Cherry. Adds Cole: “It gives you the feel of loose furniture and breaks up the color palette. Combined with the other textural materials and finishes, they culminate to create a rich, casual elegance.” The touches of dark wood are present throughout the interior and provide a cohesive feel no matter where you go in the boat. This sustainable wood is FSC, SGS, and OLB- certified, and an example of Nordhavn’s efforts toward including green building practices.
Setting off the wood perfectly is the highly textural woven wall covering, which creates a lighter ambiance. Not many Nordhavns have wall covering, but the feature elevates Eliana’s style to a new level. As do the boat’s four heads. The master head is as luxurious as one would expect with stunning marble countertop, marble and glass accent tiles throughout, modern Toto satin nickel fixtures and a thoughtfully designed lighting plan. Venture to the two guest heads or the day head in the pilothouse and you’ll see the same fit and finish. “The guest heads and showers are finished to the same level as the master shower,” says Cole. “The owners’ keen eye for detail and willingness to upgrade these areas really made the interior cohesive.”
Behind the achievement of the interior aesthetic are a number of technical triumphs; of note, the design and implementation of a retractable awning extension over the cockpit. There are several eating and relaxing areas throughout the boat, but the simple addition of the accordion-like awning transforms the huge cockpit into a viable and pleasant space even in direct sun.
Another coup for the Heinigers is the design of a wheel-less helm. Only one other Nordhavn has been built without any sort of wheel present. “Esthetically, the helm layout is uncluttered and intuitive owing much of the efficiency to the absence of the destroyer wheel,” said Rick. The look is streamlined and seemingly practical, so why is the wheel-less helm so rare? Nearly all boats manufactured today are steered with joysticks while the boat is on autopilot, but when autopilot is turned off, for instance during docking, boat owners still want the familiarity of the ship’s wheel, says N76 Project Manager Garrett Severen. “On a Nordhavn, it is 14 revolutions from hard over port to hard over starboard, so docking with the lever control is much easier,” said Severen. “It’s like playing a video game.”
Nearly two years of construction and outfitting yielded Eliana a showstopper and shows just the level of sophistication that Nordhavns have reached. She’s a reliable, comfortable, state-of-the-art yacht that will provide enjoyable cruising and a safe haven for the Heinigers, no matter which place they happen to be calling home.