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Review: Yacht Escort Ships 173' "SuRi"

Discussion in 'Yacht Escort Ships & Shadows' started by YachtForums, Apr 17, 2008.

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  1. Yacht Escort Ships 173' "SuRi"
    Fierce Contender For Refit Of The Year!

    When the owner of the 50 meter Hakvoort “JeMaSa” decided he needed a support vessel, his client brief included those requirements typical of the shadow boat concept: a commercially certified helicopter deck with a hangar offering storage for the aircraft and the usual assorted of tenders and toys.
    During the contractual discussions on board JeMaSa with the client, the build team learned of some additional necessities. Although the client owned an A-Star helicopter, his pilot required that hangar be constructed to accommodate the largest Sikorsky S-76 aircraft plus 2 additional feet above the rotor head. Private cabins were spec’d for the pilot and captain, underwater lights on the transom added to the list, plus a full beam owner’s suite, 3 guest cabins, full steam room, massage room and gymnasium. Suddenly the project was taking on the flavor of a considerable yacht project rather than a shadow vessel, and the answer was... YES!

    In attendance at the design meeting were Stan Antrim, inventor of the shadow boat conversion concept and his naval architect, Boris Kirilloff, who teamed with Stan to deliver the first offshore supply vessel (OSV) to yacht support vessel conversion for the owner of Lady Lola. Stan founded Shadow Marine and again in association with Boris and Stan’s wife Mary Jane, the interior designer; they built 2 more shadow vessels. Stan and Mary Jane now own Yacht Escort Ships (YES), the only company to deliver fully IACS classed yacht support vessels. Kirilloff & Associates remain as YES’s technical office for engineering and naval architecture.
  2. Though originally built in 1978 as an OSV for work in the Gulf oilfields, the “Deadliest Catch” veteran Fierce Contender, a 166 foot crabber, was selected in April, 2007, as the conversion platform and the refit commenced in Seattle, WA. In May YES added some local talent to their very capable management team in the person of Chief Engineer Jeff Perry. Jeff is a licensed superyacht engineer in his own right but had been serving as the Quality Assurance and Outfitting Engineer at the renowned Delta Marine shipyard. His addition was invaluable in what soon changed from the refit of a classic shadow vessel to a serious, full-on yacht conversion. Once the project began to unfold, a number of visits by the client offered him many opportunities to fine-tune the design and details of his new ship. Becoming an enthusiastic believer in the efficiency of conversions versus new builds, his yacht JeMaSa being just one year old, his eyes were opened to the incredible value for dollar of real estate available on a commercial platform compared to a yacht.
  3. The normal demolition process was initiated in conjunction with the requisite dry Docking for preliminary surveys by Bureau Veritas (BV). Over 13,000 audio-gaugings were completed on the hull and interior tank frames and longitudinal supports to verify steel thickness. In any location where the ultrasound found steel wastage in excess of 20%, the old steel was cut out and new steel plate, angle bar frames or I-beam longitudinals, as appropriate, were welded into place in accordance with BV welding procedure3s and under the watchful eye of the on-site surveyor. Simultaneously, existing pipe that serviced the crab holds was removed and new piping installed for the reconfigured hold deck areas for bilge pumping, fresh hot and cold water supply, black and grey water drains, etc. The interior spaces were taken back to bare steel, prepped for painting, coated using Sherwin Williams SeaGuard 6000 paint and new insulation installed prior to fitting the new bulkheads. Norac SOLAS joiner panels, Chicago Metallic fire rated snap-in ceilings with matching B-rated fire doors provides the basis for the BV classed interior. A new ANSUL fire alarm system was fitted throughout.
  4. Although both exterior profile and interior general arrangement were executed by YES, the owner used his own residential interior designer for the furniture and soft furnishings. The interior installation was completed by Mark Fertello and the Marine Artisan Group of Seattle. Approximately half way into the project, the owner pressed to explore options that would mitigate the boxy appearance of the hangar. Even in the initial design presentation YES included fashion plates and detailing that would visually connect JeMaSa to SuRi. This renewed effort was to even further streamline the outside appearance, basically camouflaging the fact that there was a 16 foot high hangar which extended full beam for one-third of the ship’s LOA. This was finally accomplished through the total removal of the existing, already faired and primed bulwarks over the full length of the vessel. These 36 inch high bulwarks were replaced with new 72 inch high bulwarks along the entire length of the hangar, dropping back to angularly to 36 inches only along the main deck aft of the hangar. The result was better than anticipated.
  5. Close to the end of the project, already delayed due to change orders, SuRi had her pilot house nearing completion with a full suite of the latest electronics. It seems, however, the client had other new and exciting ideas for the top of the pilot house... a Cigar Deck! Featuring a circular settee fashioned out of quarter inch steel plate, the settee over the pilothouse required total removal of all cabling, foundations and interior finishings already completed in the pilothouse overhead.
  6. The result was spectacular and functional, including the centerline mounted, 42 inch LCD housed in a waterproof lift operated by the Crestron remote system installed throughout the entire yacht. The Cigar Deck allows the owner and his friends to enjoy the same yet loftier view as the bridge. Deck by deck, SuRi offers expansive areas for guests, crew and toys alike. Sun pads to port and starboard of the circular settee finish off Cigar Deck.
  7. Immediately aft of the mast are full beam sun pads just forward of the hot tub. Sun lounges fill the deck back to port and starboard. The installed handrails around the sundeck did not provide much privacy for the 8 foot round dining table, sunning and Jacuzzi area, so full bulwarks were fabricated and installed. This is just another instance where the experience of the owner with his existing yacht coupled with the cost and time efficiency of a conversion allowed both he and the builder to express their desires for functionality, serviceability, and practicality, all spiced with the flair and style of a yacht on the platform of a commercial ship.
  8. Stainless steel buffets with varnished teak tops serve an eight foot round table on a polished stainless steel base. Another first for SuRi in the world of commercial conversions and shadow refits is her use of Flexi-Teak installed by Yacht Deck of San Diego, providing the appearance and warmth of teak, the ecology statement of having not deforested another dozen hectares of teak forest, and the maintainability and forgiveness of a rubber mat.
  9. All of SuRi's decks have been blasted, primed and coated with commercial nonskid. Where applicable, recessed tie down points are welded into the deck with additional tie downs along bulwark framing to secure toys and tenders at all locations. The heli and sun decks are covered in Flexi-Teak, a simulated teak deck system, but only after initial preparation and element protection were completed for the metal beneath.
  10. The Skylounge Aft Deck (looking forward) would probably rank among the world's largest outdoor living rooms. One thing is certain, it has a constantly changing view. We haven't figured out where they store all this wicker and wood, but space is something SuRi does best.
  11. When not being used as an outdoor living room, the skylounge aft deck is also a commercially certified helicopter landing area. Railings that line the perimeter of the deck quickly fold-away to permit helicopter operations. Note the embedded lights in the deck for nighttime approaches. Shown here, SuRi's A-Star is setting down for photos, which by the way, were taken by Neil Rabinowitz.
  12. The Staging deck is dominated by a Grove 15 ton crane with 58 foot extension, able to easily pluck a 37 foot Center-Console out of the water to place her in her chocks on the main deck. There are four 500 gallon fuel tanks for gasoline and AvGas as may be required, a stern anchor for taking advantage of the most remote anchorages and an outdoor shower on the swim platform with its own dedicated hot water system. Forward, the two 2,000 pound anchors with 800 feet of 1.25 inch galvanized chain will keep SuRi well tethered in the strongest gale. It was decided that it would be convenient to have a circular stairwell from the aft main deck up to the helicopter landing area on top of the hangar. This had not been done in any of the previous shadow projects due to safety concerns of helicopter passengers being incorrectly routed aft of the helicopter as they disembarked or the possibility of an unsuspecting person coming up an aft ladder during helo ops. This is an especially dangerous area as the pilot cannot see in that area to assure it is clear and the tail rotor is low enough to be a hazard. It was agreed that crowd control was a crew management issue and the stairwell was fabricated.
  13. The main deck from forward finds 3 double crew staterooms, two heads, a large crew mess, expansive galley and pantry. All are again finished in maple and granite. Aft of this crew space is a crew office to starboard and the emergency generator room to port. Thereafter the hangar becomes king at a full 65 feet long and 32 feet wide. Toys contained therein include the A-Star helicopter, a 4 person hover craft, a 35 foot StanCraft (coincidence?) classic mahogany speedster, a 28 foot aluminum landing craft with bow ramp, a dune buggy, jet skis, kayaks, rowing shells, sail boats, skis, towables and inflatables to numerous to list. The hangar is secured by a full height, stainless steel electrically operated roller door.
  14. The bridge deck houses the pilot house forward with port and starboard helm stations, chart table aft to port collocated with the ship’s control and alarm panels and a comfortable settee to port. SuRi's pilothouse has a full suite of state-of-the-art Furuno NavNet electronics. Fleet 77 satellite communications, always-on Internet via V-Sat, and SeaTel Satellite TV enhanced entertainment and communication systems to that of any luxury yacht afloat. The mast plan included the domes for these systems to be mounted on top of the pilothouse. A narrow mast would carry sundry antennas and navigation lights yet limit the potential for signal masking to the satellite receivers.
  15. The bridge was completely stripped down to the steel bulkheads. The steel was prepped and painted with new insulation and wall panels installed. The console and chart tables were replaced and new Furuno Navnet electronic plotting and charting systems, including 2 X Furuno ARPA RADARS. All cabins were subsequently wired for the computer network, television and communications capability. A Panasonic PBX digital telephone was installed to support the satellite Fleet 77 and V-SAT voice, fax and data system.

    Panorama of Pilothouse...
  16. Aft of the bridge is the large skylounge with a separate office for owner and guests, day head and a large bar forward of the dining/conference table. As would be expected on a ship that places emphasis on function over impression, a centrally located, drop-down LCD TV offers surround-sound viewing of over 300 movies and can swivel with the push of a Crestron command to face any direction.
  17. The banquette to port also enjoys use of the drop-down flat screen. With the push of a button, the panel rotates 180 degrees for viewing of the latest business plan via computer link. SuRi's skylounge windows are abundant, spanning knee-to-ceiling and provide 270 degree visibility. YES folks, function rules!
  18. Just forward and to starboard, a large bar with a multi-level granite counter top provides refreshments, complete a glassware hutch mounted against a forward wall to protect loose items in a head sea. To center, a staircase leads to the accommodations below.
  19. A vast departure from the mess that fed a hungry crabbing crew, the galley is outfitted completely in maple supported by new commercial appliances including a 6 burner electric stove top, 2 X electric ovens, double deep sinks, 3 refrigerators, 3 freezers, 400 pound icemaker, and 2 X convection-microwave oven. The laundry includes 3 each of new commercial size Miele washers and dryers with storage for supplies. The crew mess has a large Corian dining table with seating for 9 persons and cabinetry for dishes, glassware and other utensils. Vinyl flooring is used for durability and easy clean-up, as well as ease of replacement in high traffic areas such as passageways.
  20. On the forward forecastle deck is the full beam owner’s suite with entrance foyer. Included is a private office, his and her separate baths finished in white marble slab and the king master bedroom. Full height windows make this a magnificent room from which to enjoy the world’s oceans.
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