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Review: Aquos Yachts 147' Expedition "Big Fish"

Discussion in 'McMullen & Wing Yachts' started by YachtForums, Oct 19, 2010.

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  1. Aquos Yachts 147' Expedition "Big Fish"
    Going Boldly Where Only Penguins Go!

    by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy and YF Publisher Carl Camper

    Want to get away? Really-Really-Ahh-Way? How about the Ends of the Earth? Antarctica; the ice-covered South Pole? Brr-rr, yet warm enough to support armies, zillions of penguins, seals, whales, and other denizens? Or, perhaps the steaming Amazon, that fabled jungle river brimming with notorious mysteries; and piranhas? Then, the world’s ultimate summit; the Northeast Passage at the high crest of Russia, the North Pole and through the Arctic Circle? Anywhere else; you name it. BigFish, the luxury expedition vessel by newly inaugurated Charter company Aquos; gets you there.

    Fascinating journeys; other ultimate possibilities – Tahiti, Patagonia, New Pomerania, Mount Erebus Volcano – lurk attractively for the sea’s most unique, far-away-escape vessel, awaiting your consummate choice. New Zealand charterer Aquos debuts this exciting new 147’ luxury expedition yacht, for the very wild at heart. She’s BigFish, another excellent work of sea-going mastery, designed by highly creative Naval Architect Gregory Marshall. This sea-going marvel is here, ready to thrill you.

    Produced by New Zealand’s noted McMullen & Wing shipyard, BigFish was delivered eager to sail anywhere in the world; to Earth’s oceans in far-off planetary climes. Just launched, her maiden voyage to Tahiti, then Fort Lauderdale; outfitted to splash into unlimited adventure, bathed in sumptuous luxury unique in the Expedition Cruising World. She’ll captivate her charterers with far-away places and strange sounding names; exploits few travelers will ever have the opportunity to experience over a lifetime of adventure. A buxom, robust expedition vessel, she exhibits rugged strength; unlike the usual pedicured super yachts with cocktail glass curves. Broad-shouldered BigFish boasts all-around large glass windows of three-quarter inch thick tempered glass; decks/floors of epoxied granite. Steel hull. Aluminum superstructure. Yet her central lounge features an astounding, theater-size, plasma HD video wall 24 feet tall! In other measures, the ‘Fish has a 39’ wide swim platform; and a 29’ on-board launchable tender with a 300-mile range.
  2. Debuted as a significant Star of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2010, she’s New Zealand’s most attractive, dramatic vessel devoted to sea-going adventure. Dedicated to chalking up the historically first Expedition Charter vessel to visit the South Pole, December 2010 to March 2011. On board, highly experienced crew/guides lead the way to Antarctica; a huge territory twice the size of Australia, yet fully “peopled” with penguins, leopard seals, humpback whales, numerous other sea denizens, to thrill even the most jaded adventure seeker. Antarctica is a huge and marvelous Continent, actually the combined size of the U.S. and Mexico together. On this dramatic side image, note the extendible tender/water-toy launching base, aft starboard, while her formidable 29’ tender nuzzles up to the stern. Plus, see amidships, her augmented “picnic pulpit” actually a fold-down miniature beach – an intimate “private escape for two” – away, alone, sharing unlimited horizons.
  3. The yacht itself offers expandable decks with 5,000 sq.ft. of deck space including her sun deck and jacuzzi. She features innovative stone decking, non-slip epoxy impregnated granite (see Details following review) while also boasting a crow’s nest 50 feet above the main deck, for scenic views to thrill half a dozen guests at a time. This after-body shot also reveals an innovative design to her stern; a fold-out concept for her swim platform – easily awarding Big Fish the title of Largest Swim Platform of any yacht her size; the whole structure is jacketed in timeless granite. Also shown here is "Triple Ripple", her 28’ McMullen & Wing customized 300-mile-range tender nudged up to her stern.
  4. Posing coyly as though her formidable bow is partners to the craggy New Zealand mountains, this view is only one of many on this “extremely down-under” seascape. (Mt. Cook, at 12,313’ is the country’s highest. It was also climbed by famed New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Mt. Everest with sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay; another victory over extreme, unfavorable odds, due to excellent planning.) The same philosophy supporting BigFish’s design was focused to build the yacht to rigid specifications, supporting owners, guests, and crew on station for extended lengths of time, in often inhospitable regions. This meant strict adherence to storage of fuel, water, and all relevant equipment, plus supplies and consumables. Antarctica, however, actually does comprise up to 90% of our planet’s ice, 70% of our fresh water. BigFish’s holds are designed to consider all needs of its 10 VIP passengers, with a 10-person crew, under command of Capt. Winston Joyce-Clark.
  5. A closer look at BigFish’s “picnic pulpit” sort of a fold-down beach, illustrates the depth of design/thought that produced this excellent expedition yacht. No doubt while the winsome explorer shown here is enhancing her tan, her other half is in the library, briefing room, studying up on local fishing opportunities. Or perhaps grilling exploration leaders on exactly what to expect if their zodiac is confronted by monstrous armies in flocks of king penguins, giant 1,000-lb. leopard seals, or heaven forbid, Orcas, all of which are common in the area. (Truth is, none of those consider us humans as potable dinner menu features).
  6. Shown here underway are BigFish’s obvious design features, taking angularity to new levels. Counting down, we see the crows nest, the top deck, the observation deck, all above the main deck. Then the swim platform aft, which unfolds at each beam to deliver a startling 39.6’ beam/width; surely the broadest ever on a 147’- 45m yacht. Underneath this labyrinth of contemporary, cutting edge design lies a heart of hydraulic fluid, pumping out platforms, raising decks, lowering pedestals and generally making BigFish a "Transformer Class" vessel. More on this later...
  7. A small pond in a big sea, BigFish's whirlpool invites sore swimmers and exhausted explorers to re-energize. Elevated at the forepeak of the flydeck, the pool is encompassed by sunpads and a full wrap-around wind screen to take the nip out of a biting breeze. Notice the four glass panels just aft of the pool? That's the interior atrium that spans 3 decks. More on this later...
  8. Her soaring radar arch rises heaven-bent above her main deck; its observation pod assembly mounted high atop her steel hull and aluminum superstructure. The tall sat-nav triangle exhibits Yachtronics navigation and communication modules, enabling instant electronic contact world-wide. In addition, her comprehensive equipment gear includes Kaleidescape audio/video systems; with capability to store as many as 1,200 films, thousands of CDs, for guest entertainment.
  9. This highly geometrically designed, yet generous cubicle – the Crow’s Nest – can accommodate 6 guests who crave to overlook from on high the incredible extent of the ice layer, a frozen blanket to infinity. The “nest” soars some 50 feet above the ocean, or ice sheet, depending upon your proximity to the pole. Its structural harmony becomes part of the designers’ exacting concept to display the ocean’s benefits as dramatically as possible for its charterers.
  10. Nicely upholstered, sun-protected, and easily accessed by stairs, the “Nest Seat” high above the main deck gives a marvelously comfy way to “nestle” into the ship’s movement, underway or at anchor in some mountain-sheltered cove. Looking after the comfort angle has been a major part of the design scheme for BigFish, worked out with Total Trim Canvas Ltd. of New Zealand.
  11. Placed strategically amidships on the flybridge, activity centers around Big Fish’s dining and outdoors. Nestled under the generous overhang, an outdoor dining table stands ready for snacks, meals, or frivolity, day or night. There’s also a Jacuzzi pool for those who don’t challenge diving the open sea; as well as immediate access to other water sports, just off the stern; or fishing jaunts via her many options.
  12. Big Fish is set up for excellent outdoor cookery and parties, with Avonite countertops. Multiple choices are available immediately for baking, grilling, snacks, all with her marvelous ocean view. Whether you do it yourself, or allow the expert crew to guide/serve your needs, BigFish takes the cake – and/or - the Fish.
  13. Even in her laid-back party festivities, BigFish offers the blue heavens above via an open roof styled with architectural precision. Note her Jacuzzi pool in the background; it’s in full sun.
  14. Side decks are comfortably wide for easy passage, with all decking material non-slip. Stone decks are Luxestone. Her nicely done overhead provides rain shelter, as the side wall returns a lovely mural-like reflection. Hand rails are stainless steel. Exterior paints are Alexseal. Note: the side windows are NOT flat. They are custom manufactured for BigFish and are actually curved to meet specification. Very expensive!
  15. Over-sized sunbathing mattresses as well as modern design sunbathing chairs are featured on the open deck here, ideal for sun lovers. One might ask, why are mattresses at deck level? That's temporary. The mattresses sit atop a platform that raises for sunbathing and lowers to become flush with the deck for entertaining, doubling the aftdeck's use of space.
  16. BigFish’s bridge, as expected, is totally modern and comprehensive in her layout and equipment, yet presents a very comfortable mien as well. An elevated settee backs up the bridge for guests eager to become backseat drivers. Five flat screens confront the helmsman/navigator, while the entire bridge offers large windows for excellent ‘eyeball’ navigation. For a 'Pole bound boat, we were surprised to see a leaning post for the helm. Antartica is a long trip... standing up.
  17. The Yachtronics equipped helm is the epitome of concise. Well organized and minimalist in nature, it is a fully equipped command center. Overhead, recessed lighting eliminates window glare.
  18. Her Owner’s Suite, while designed with excellent tastefulness, continues to project a very masculine, up-scale aura. Light browns and tans dominate, in contrast to the ocean’s paramount blue/green, giving the overview an earthy atmosphere. Floor to ceiling windows add light balance.
  19. An alternate view of the Owner’s suite shows the many glass/mirrors, textured wall paneling, with solid walnut wall coverings; plus comfortable living enhancements via the openness of its design. Reflecting admirable taste, the full view also calls attention to its outdoor, private “back yard.”
  20. While following the light tan/brown theme, the Owner’s Bath steps lightly off the conservative design pattern with an extremely avant guarde departure, oversized bathtub-shaped his/hers wash basins. Though a visual novelty, they are also bound to come in handy in episodes of turbulent seas. The separate head offers a refreshing down-under spray as well.
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