Monday, December 21, 2009

Utopia DV, Feadship, Koninklijke de Vries, 71.6 metre, 2004

Utopia DV was buily by Feadship (de Vries) for Keith McCaw who unfortunately died at the age of 49 in 2002. The McCaw brothers -- lead by Craig McCaw, Keith's older brother -- built up the worldwide McCaw Cellular Communications after their industrialist father died, leaving an estate eaten away by debt to practically nothing. With a base of just a Centralia cable-TV station, they built the cell-phone empire.
In 1993, the company was sold to American Telephone & Telegraph Co.

His widow is still owner of the 38 metre Feadship Katrion. The estate of Keith McCaw cancelled the delivery of Utopia.

After a few years of ownership by De Vries in which Utopia was often chartered, Utopia was sold in 2006 to Bill Miller.

Bill Miller is chairman and chief investment officer of Legg Mason Capital Management Inc.

Mr. Miller currently manages the Legg Mason Value Trust and Legg Mason Opportunity Trust mutual funds. Legg Mason Value Trust is the only mutual fund to outperform the S&P 500 for 15 consecutive calendar years, period ending January 1, 2006.

Mr. Miller was ranked among the top 30 most influential people in investing when he was named a member of the "Power 30" by SmartMoney. He was also named by Money magazine as "The Greatest Money Manager of the 1990's" and named Morningstar's 1998 "Domestic Equity Manager of the Year." In 1999, he was selected as the "Fund Manager of the Decade" by Also in 1999, Barron's named him to its All-Century Investment Team and BusinessWeek called him one of the "Heroes of Value Investing."

Mr. Miller assumed overall responsibility for Legg Mason's equity funds management group in late 1990. Prior to this, he co-managed the Legg Mason Value Trust with Ernie Kiehne since its inception in 1982. He was the director of research of Legg Mason from October 1981 through June 1985. He earned his economics degree from Washington and Lee University where he graduated with honors in 1972. Subsequent to graduation, he served as a military intelligence officer overseas and then pursued graduate studies in philosophy in the Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining Legg Mason in 1981, he served as treasurer of the J.E. Baker Co., a major manufacturer of products for the steel and cement industries. Mr. Miller received his CFA designation in 1986.

Bill currently serves as chairman on the board of trustees of the Santa Fe Institute, one of the world's leading scientific research laboratories, which conducts multi-disciplinary research in complex systems theory.

The Wall Street Journal has the following story about Mr Miller:

After several years of heavy losses, Bill Miller's diehard investors are breathing a tentative sigh of relief.

The famous Legg Mason value investor, who stumbled so badly during the stock market turmoil of the past few years, is off to a much more promising 2009. Indeed, it's been the best first half for his mutual funds since 2003, when his 15-year streak of beating the Standard & Poor's 500 still had 2 1/2 more years to run.

Mr. Miller's flagship Legg Mason Value Trust is up 15% through the halfway mark, compared to about 3% for the Standard & Poor's 500.* And his smaller, more flexible, and more volatile Legg Mason Opportunity Trust is up 33%.

The explanation is simple. Mr. Miller has stuck with the same kinds of bullish bets on an economic recovery that got him into hot water earlier. In the spring's stock market rally, they've done well.

"Both funds are tilted towards (economic) stabilization and recovery, that benefits them," Mr. Miller said in an interview. Big holdings include Internet stocks eBay, Yahoo, Amazon and Google, retailer Sears Holdings, and certain financials like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, State Street Corp.

It has been a tough few years, to put it mildly. Through 2007 and 2008 the U.S. stock market fell by about 32%. During that same period Legg Mason Value crashed 58%, and Legg Mason Opportunity 66%. Mr. Miller turned bullish on housing and homebuilders, plus other stocks sensitive to the economy, way too early. The nadir came last summer, when he raised his stake in mortgage giant Freddie Mac just before the government took it over, along with Fannie Mae, wiping out investors altogether.

"I underestimated the crisis," Mr. Miller admits. He thought the extra liquidity being pumped into the system would turn things around. He never thought house prices, or share prices, would fall as far as they did.

But he still pins a lot of blame on federal policy blunders. Not just the bungled bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, but also the earlier move to Fannie and Freddie preferred shareholders. Mr. Miller calls that "a disastrous error" that turned the economic crisis into a meltdown.

Mr. Miller says he personally lost a lot of money on Freddie Mac preferred stock, as did friends and colleagues.

He was hardly the only major investor to get caught leaning the wrong way in September. Why didn't his Opportunity Trust, which has the flexibility to use derivatives, use them to "hedge", or insure, against a market collapse? "It was just a big mistake not to do that," Mr. Miller said. He said he had hedged heavily in 2003-4, and it had hurt performance when the market boomed. This time he didn't want to make the same mistake again.

As his numbers have turned south in recent years, many investors have deserted. A few years ago his two funds had more than $25 billion under management. Today that's shrunk to around $5.5 billion. Investors have yanked another $700 million just since January, according to fund flow analysts at the Financial Research Corporation.

Today, Mr. Miller says fair value on the Standard & Poor's 500, currently trading around 920, is "in the 1,100 range. There's value in most places in the market right now." Stocks he singled out as "very cheap" include Bank of America (BAC) and the insurance company AFLAC (AFLAC). Mr. Miller insists the financials are actually "overcapitalized" today.

Like a number of other "value" investors he says he is also spotting opportunity in the unloved "high quality" names that have lagged behind the spring rally - companies like McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, and Exxon. "These are the kinds of names that I think will do better over the next few years," Mr. Miller said.

The big question remains unanswered: is Bill Miller a terrific investor who has simply had a bad few years? Or was he always just an OK investor who once had a great run of luck? Maybe we are going to find out.

Investors in Mr. Miller's funds, as always, need to understand what they own. This is a maverick manager willing to take big, bold bets. I'd rather have a small stake in the Opportunity Trust, which lets him pick his shots freely, than a big stake in the Value Trust, which is more constrained. The Opportunity Trust has become more widely available to individual investors since early this year.

Superyachttimes writes the following about Utopia:

One of the largest Feadships to date has been completed by the De Vries Shipyard. This 71.60-meter (234’ 9”) twin screw masterpiece has been given the name Utopia.

Designed by De Voogt Naval Architects, Utopia held the distinction of being the largest Feadship built to date when completed in May 2004. She was built in full compliance with the large yacht commercial code (MCA) and to 100 A1, SSC, Yacht (P), Mono, G6, LMC and UMS class specifications.

Utopia was initially part of a two-Feadship order placed in 2001 by a repeat owner, who unfortunately passed away before the projects could be completed. His widow decided to finish the other boat for herself and her children, and took delivery of the 38.55-meter (126’5”) Katrion in fall 2003. As Utopia had been very much her husband’s dream project, the family reluctantly asked Feadship to complete the yacht on spec and put her up for sale on behalf of the estate.

In essence, Utopia is a traditional Feadship that succeeds in bringing together everything that the organization has achieved over recent years in terms of technical solutions. She also benefits from the late owner’s rich experience and understanding of long-distance superyachts and their use. The project started out at 58 meters in length and ended up being 72 meters in order not to be restricted by size in this search for excellence.

As a result, Utopia is arguably the most complex Feadship yet built. The helicopter deck includes a wealth of safety measures, such as a special device which attaches the helicopter to the deck within a fraction of a second. There are two bays on the lower deck for tenders, launched by crane through hydraulically operated doors in the hull. Other high-end solutions that benefit from Feadship’s unparalleled experience include a hugely sophisticated radar installation, an active heading control system, high pressure freshwater sprinkler mechanisms to clean the full beam windows and a wireless network for internet.

There are many other smart solutions that demonstrate how every eventuality has been catered for onboard Utopia. For example, the owners do not have to wait for the crew to organize disembarkation when the boat docks alongside a quay. At the touch of a switch, a powered ladder slides out of the bulwark, rotates 90 degrees and locks into place. These mini-passarelles are available both to port and starboard, while on the port side the gangway also rotates 45 degrees to the dock for further ease of access. In addition, on the upper deck is another (manual) ladder for use in Asian harbors where the quays tend to be higher.

While being a mighty vessel in technical terms, Utopia is also very much a family boat. The middle deck is devoted entirely to the owners, and there are five guest suites; three on the main deck and two on the lower deck. While a yacht of this length could easily have accommodated several more cabins in a different layout, the emphasis here is on spaces that are very generous in size.

This onboard residence concept is further supported by top-of-the-range living facilities. There are myriad galley and pantry options spread throughout the yacht, for example, as well as excellent accommodations for up to 18 crew members. The layout logistics for service are exceptionally well thought through, fully supporting the emphasis on owner privacy.

In terms of her exterior profile, Utopia is close to the archetypal classic Feadship. Where she differs stylistically is in the additions that have been made to take into account her substantial length, such as the large vertical windows. Incorporating the cabins on the foredeck, the graceful high bow ensures that the yacht does not have the boxy look that can result from this type of window. The bow overhang itself is the longest ever seen on a Feadship and is exceptionally well shaped, an effect magnified by the compound curves and reversed transom.

Overall, Utopia has a masculine, sturdy feel. The superstructure is made of aluminum and the entire mast and radar arch of composites. This latter feature reflects a desire to facilitate easy maintenance, in addition to the obvious weight considerations on a boat with so many decks.

Utopia has enormous windows that give a bright and almost al fresco feel to many areas of the interior. High ceilings enhance the immense feeling of space, as does the way in which the door heights have been taken up to the ceiling cornice. The interior decor has classic influences in terms of its paneling, while the furniture pieces use both modern-day and antique reproductions in various woods. A contemporary atmosphere is embellished by the primary use of light natural oak with mahogany inlays and inlaid oak burl panels. At all times the exceptional quality of Feadship’s experienced joiners shines through.

Interior designers Redman Whitely Dixon, working initially with the owner’s interior stylist Michael McQuiston, have succeeded in retaining an overall sense of continuity throughout the vessel, while also introducing subtle levels of variation in the light brown/beige carpets and natural colored fabrics. There is also a wide selection of marbles, including Giallo Siena, Calacata Borghini, Crema Valencia, Brecia Benou and
Red Damasco. The result is a flowing interior that exudes understated elegance within a luxurious environment.

Contemporary seating, sofas and coffee tables are blended with some more traditional furniture by Cassina, an Italian company that first collaborated with the De Vries yard on Wedge Too. These bespoke and highly detailed pieces include fancy veneers and mother of pearl, plus a welter of shapes that one would expect on more antique style furniture.

A tour of Utopia
When Thomas More entitled his book Utopia, he was imagining a perfect place or state of things. Step into the dramatic main entrance onboard Utopia and you will instantly have the impression that perfection is genuinely attainable in the superyacht world of today.

The gorgeous Giallo Siena floor is offset by inlaid diamond shaped tiles and bordering in black Portoro marble. Polished Stucco Antico Venetian plaster walls and some 20 layers of sandblasted marble add to the sculptured effect. A double sided staircase rises all the way to the top of the yacht to a faux ‘skylight’ panel. This architectural design offers superb views of the different decks as the suspended stairs wrap around those above and below. The classic, leather-bound hand rail was created by the same craftsmen that make steering wheels for Bentleys.

One of the pleasant features on a boat of this size is the space it offers to create a lobby area connecting the main entrance to the living compartments. Utopia’s designers have maximized this option, including a three-meter-long rosewood sideboard with antique mirror panel doors.

Burl veneer columns run throughout the dining room and lounge. The dining room is located furthest forward, home to a splendid round-ended table made of dark oak burl with a walnut burl edging. Chic Fendi chairs and a glass chandelier add sparkle while dark wall coverings bring a genuine feeling of warmth to this area. A fancy piece of furniture divides the dining room from the lounge - a credenza with curved ends, special veneers and inlaid detailing on the doors.

Such is the space available in the main deck lounge that two distinctive seating arrangements have been created to port and starboard, both with sofas and armchairs from Phillipe Hurel and Christian Liaigre. Either side of the sofa are custom-designed hollow cubes made of walnut with wrapped gold leaf squares inside. Room remains for a mix of leather stools from Promemoria and wooden tables by Modenature, plus a pair of small desks at the aft end should anyone wish to write a letter or play cards.

A giant plasma screen TV is flanked by speaker panels covered in natural horse hair material in a striped pattern. These form part of an exceptional centralized audio-visual solution from Meridian, which allows guests to choose between a wide selection of films or CDs at any time – even if three people should wish to use the same item simultaneously in three different locations but at five minute start-up intervals from each other. All the necessary electronic equipment and satellite receivers are housed in a well-ventilated room on the wheelhouse deck.

Much of the port side of the main deck is taken up by the most elaborate catering facilities imaginable, measuring some 20 meters in length from the forward galley to the dining room. Moving from aft to forward, first up comes two pantry’s, one being a coffee station for the dining room, the other an intermediate area for serving guests on the decks above and below, facilitated by a small food lift. The galley is also split in two, the concept being that the aft section is for the owners and the forward for the crew (although the crew have a sizable pantry on the lower deck too). This layout also opens up capacity should large scale entertaining be on the agenda.

The galley areas have access to an enormous food lift capable of handling a complete trolley. A full quota of professional equipment includes a steamer, induction ovens and five full length fridge/freezers (supported by lots more cold storage on the tank deck).

Accessed via a guest lobby (with another coffee station), the two identical forward VIP suites utilize the full beam to great effect, with massive American sized beds and vast mahogany armoirs. There is also a delightful ‘children’s cabin’, with twin beds and a Pullman recessed into the wall; a similar added berth option is found in the two twin cabins on the lower deck.

An eye for detail is again seen throughout these cabins, such as the placement of flamed mahogany under the mattress, the use of silk on the walls and the exquisite TV cabinet work. A four seasons theme is noticeable, with black marble topped bedside cabinets giving a subtle art deco feel. Architectural type doorframes add an extra element of interest.

The effect of Utopia’s spectacular hull windows is immediately perceptible in the aft suite bathroom, enveloping the bath in natural light. All bathrooms benefit from clean lines and a fresh look, with luxurious marble countertops and giant mirrors in dark wood frames. The inlays in the floor are quite stunning and each bathroom has a slightly different center panel in the floor; the marble choices give a further distinguishing feel to each bathroom.

The middle deck is entirely devoted to the owners and typifies the incredible standard of accommodation found onboard Utopia. Located forward, the stateroom is entered via a lovely study, where an air of richness is provided by the walnut and walnut burl paneling, leather armchairs, sofa and desk, and a light gold-colored carpet.

This is an excellent spot for a meeting, facilitated by the carefully considered layout of this whole area. An extra doorway in the walk-in wardrobe in the owner’s bedroom makes it possible to leave the bedroom – via a private pantry and gymnasium – without intruding on any business being conducted in the study. This arrangement also enhances the ability of crew members to discreetly service the owner’s bedroom. Incidentally, the gymnasium is genuinely worthy of the name, capable of hosting four pieces of exercise equipment plus washing facilities and a television.

While the large windows offer fantastic views in many areas of Utopia, they reach their zenith in the owners’ bedroom. Electric curtains lower silently to reveal a truly stunning 180-degree vista, with the giant bed being precisely positioned to fully appreciate the effect. In the unlikely event that the owners tire of the view, a huge flat screen television pops down from the ceiling. The bedroom also contains a breakfast area and a pair of day beds from Christian Liaigre.

The air of splendor continues in the centrally located bathroom. One of the highlights here is a glorious spa bath (complete with waterfall taps), which nestles under a skylight. There is also an incredibly long double-basin counter, resplendent in red-green marble, a steam shower, a bidet and his-and-her toilets. The bathroom cabinets have a series of mahogany and black lacquer columns, with gold mesh panels in-between.

Doors leading out onto the exterior sidewalks provide the owners with access to the forward section and Jacuzzi. Aluminum privacy gates on either side alert crew if the owners prefer not to be disturbed.

The sky lounge can be seen as the day room for the owners and their family, especially when the fine aft deck area (with full dining facilities) is taken into consideration. Less formal than its main deck counterpart, the saloon includes a long oak bar and a fireplace. This latter feature adds further atmosphere to the room, especially as a world cruiser like this will not always sailing be in a tropical climate.

Moving up a deck to the wheelhouse, the use of dark brown and blue/gray leather brings a sense of variety to this entire space. Two large Zimmer & Rohde sofas are located port and starboard so that owner and guests can observe Utopia’s progress through the stunning vertical windows. Ultimately, of course, this is a technical control room, and the equipment more than matches the highest standards. All systems are integrated to new heights for a Feadship, overseen by a central control panel with five multi-purpose screens.

The wheelhouse deck also contains a navigation room, a captain’s cabin designed and equipped to attract the very best skipper, a pantry and the AV center. A concierge lobby leads onto the aft deck and a small semi-enclosed embarkation area where guests can wait to board the helicopter or be received in style. Here, as on every deck, there is a beautiful powder room with Venetian plaster wall finishing. Each powder room has individual marble flooring and individual basin cabinets specially made in Italy in various finishes, ranging from oak and oak burl, and mahogany with a mother of pearl inlay to a faux tortoise shell finish.

The design and logistics of the lower deck were established around three key requirements: A huge aft peak lazarette, tender bays to free up outdoor living space on the decks, and accommodation for a large number of crew members. Nevertheless, the prime real estate has been given to the centrally located two twin guest staterooms, entered via their own hall. Key differences with the suites a deck above are the French style mahogany beds and the writing desks with red/light brown leather seats. The portholes also create a distinctive ambience here.

Moving aft, the split level engine room, with its separate control and generator rooms, is immaculate in every way. The twin 16 cylinder Caterpillar 3516B DI-TA MkI electronic marine diesel engines have been derated to 1492 kW (2000 bhp). Running at 1600 rpm, they give Utopia a smooth maximum continuous sailing speed (half loaded) of 16 knots, and a cruising range at 12 knots of 5000 nautical miles.

There are three Caterpillar 3406 DI-TA Mk main diesel generator sets, each fitted with Unikat combifilter systems to ensure the cleanest possible exhaust output. Another Caterpillar 3306B DI-TA emergency generator is found in its own separate watertight compartment, including an airing tank and power supply. This genset is incorporated into the main switchboard in such a way that it will also function as a night generator, thus avoiding the potential problems that can arise with an emergency generator that is rarely if ever used.

Doors lead off either side of the aft passage to two large tender garages, complete with a fueling station. One houses a blue Chriscraft 28 launch with a Volvo Penta KAD 300 EDC DP diesel engine, ideal for all weathers. With its teak decking and stainless steel fittings, the other main tender is more of a floating limousine: A custom-built Ribtec Riviera 850 rigid inflatable with a 300 hp Yanmar diesel engine driving a Hamilton waterjet. Both tenders are launched sideways though hydraulic gull-wing doors in the hull.

There is a further tender stored in the aft peak, which serves as an MCA-compliant MOB boat. This is a Ribtec Riviera 500 rigid inflatable has a 120 hp Yanmar diesel engine, again driving a Hamilton waterjet.

The lazarette is almost incomprehensibly large and has the space to house every watersports toy imaginable. Also included is a diving bottle station, shower, washing machine/drier for wet suits/towels, and a place for preparing any fish that may have been caught. Even so, space remains for various machinery and the sternthruster.

The aft end is a hybrid of the transom hatch concept with more architectural style elements. A large crane is in place for lowering toys into the water and a custom-made ladder descends from the swimming platform into the water.

Furthest forward on the lower deck is the crew area, which includes six double and two triple cabins, all with ensuite bathrooms. Feadship’s vast experience of how a boat functions on an everyday basis is in evidence here. There is a crew boarding area via a side hull door, where the staff can also load provisions straight from the crew tender and place them in the adjacent food lift. A separate toilet can be used by customs officials and the like while also serving as a crew day head. The large pantry has everything but cooking facilities to avoid cooking smells in this busy area. And the huge half beam mess is spacious enough for the entire crew to come together. This mess also serves as a control station, with a replication of the cameras and alarms found on the bridge.

The tank deck contains a laundry room, refrigeration and freezer stores, a climate-controlled wine cellar (including a writing desk), an engineer’s workshop, linen storage, pump room and technical facilities for Utopia’s two Quantum zero speed stabilizers.

On a boat of this size, the outdoor facilities are bound to be magnificent and Utopia certainly doesn’t disappoint. The walkways alone are impressive, sufficiently wide to create the impression of being on a ship rather than a yacht. This feeling is magnified by the sight of an expansive helicopter deck, which includes a five-ton crane capable of launching a submarine.

Suitable for a Bell 427 or similar, the helipad has a proprietary pneumatic system with sensors that activate the moment the helicopter touches down and instantaneously secure the craft into place. Originally developed for French military purposes, this solution makes rough weather landings far easier. It also supports the principle of keeping the helicopter onboard wherever Utopia sails in order that it can serve as the primary tender.

Among all this ultra-modern equipment nestles a bar cabinet, a first hint for arriving guests that Utopia is geared to outside entertainment. Both the main and middle deck aft areas are semi-shaded and have a buffet bar, large dining table and a wealth of seats. The sun deck is covered with a composite sunshade, and contains a buffet and BBQ set-up, marble-topped bar with full facilities, a large whirlpool and lots of outside seating and sunbathing options. Finally, there is another lovely seating area on the Portuguese bridge.

Technical details:

Project Name: Katrion
Yacht type: Motor Yacht
Imo: 1007263 MMSI: 319326000
Call sign: ZCNZ9
Flag: Cayman Islands

Length Overall (m): 71.60 Length Overall (ft): 234.91
Beam (m): 11.78 Beam (ft): 38.65
Draught Max (m): 3.59 Draught Max (ft): 11.78

Shipyard: Feadship
Year: 2004
Hull: 667
Comment: Built by Feadship member Koninklijke De Vries Scheepsbouw.

Naval Architect: De Voogt Naval Architects
Exterior Designer: De Voogt Naval Architects, Guido de Groot Design
Interior Designer: Redman Whiteley Dixon Ltd., Michael McQuiston Interior Design & Decoration

Hull Material: Steel
Superstructure: Aluminium
Gross Tonnage: 1564

Guest Cabins: 1 Master cabin, 2 double staterooms, 3 twin staterooms, 1 single stateroom
Guests: 12
Crew: 18

Engine Manufacturer: Caterpillar Inc
Model: 3616B DITA
Number of Engines: 2 Type: Diesel
HP: 2,000 KW: 1,491

Total HP: 4,000 Total KW: 2,983

Max Speed: 16
Cruise Speed: 14
Range: 5,000 Propulsion: Twin Screw

Fuel Capacity (Liters): 157,000 Fuel Capacity (Gallons): 41,479
Water Capacity (Liters): 37,600 Water Capacity (Gallons): 9,934

1 comment:

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