If you are a regular reader of The Review, you may have noticed that we are somewhat lacking in the nautical editorial department. Now, this is nothing to do with our interest in all things sea bound – very much the opposite. It’s because we have always strived to genuinely review the best and brightest for you, accepting no substitutes along the way, and no doubt ruffling some feathers.
But that’s our job and we work tirelessly at it, so your moisturised debutant hands don’t have to. No doubt your father slaved away at the Fortune 500 company he inherited, so that you could go to Harrow and Oxford, and eventually end up aboard a super-yacht being served an endless supply of champagne and canapés.
One day, however, you will have to strike out on your own and start looking at building your own flotilla. Heesen yachts are one of a handful of specialist yacht makers that make your average pleasure cruiser look like a bloody toy.
Based in the Netherlands and established in 1978, Heesen has worked with a myriad of individuals lucky enough to have their nautical dreams turned into a reality. They have also designed more yachts over 30 metres in the last ten years than any other yard. Heesen currently has a 70-metre yacht in production that has already been sold. The owner has chosen Espen Oeino International to design the exterior lines and Sinot Design for the interiors.
Last year, the team at Heesen were the talk of the yacht building community when they built the 65-metre Galactica Star, which, had it not been for a spot of bad weather at the Monaco Yacht Show, we would have been aboard. It’s okay, though, our time would come.
This year we were invited aboard the 47-metre Sirocco by yacht manager Nicholas Sevier at Titan Fleet Management and, of course, the fantastic team at Heesen Yachts.
I can’t honestly say that my nautical etiquette is up to scratch. Well, it probably is for a racing catamaran, but not something with a range of 3400 miles. I pulled into the Golfe-Juan parking area in the DB9 and luckily found myself a spot. A short walk along the promenade and there she was: the Sirocco.
Built in 2006 and flying the Isle of Man flag, she cuts an impressive figure. Obviously if you squint heavily, the Isle of Man flag becomes the Union Jack. Accommodating 12 guests and 9 crew, and with a max speed of 26 knots, is there a better way to navigate the globe.
We have been invited to yacht shows and boat yards before, but we opted to hold out for a firm with pedigree. Heesen are producing yachts that Poseidon would be proud of (and probably wouldn’t be able to catch).
Captain Marc Colomb welcomed us aboard via the gleaming aluminium intercom, and within a few minutes, we were heading out of the marina and into the bay. There is a strange novelty about being asked to come to the bridge to see the captain. With 30 years under his belt, Captain Marc is a seasoned veteran of both sail, motor, private and charter.
“Where would you like her?” he asked with a certain savoir-faire.
“This is perfect,” I said.
It is hard to find anything imperfect aboard a yacht of this calibre. The Sirocco is named after an intense, desiccating southerly wind that blows up from the Sahara Desert. Interesting that her owner would name her in deference to that winds great power.
Her interior is designed to reflect an anhydrous African heritage, sporting makassar wood, natural stone, leather all swathed in sultry earth tones. The Sirocco is a 154’ Tri-Deck, all-aluminium, twin-screw megayacht, (troglodyte translation: really big, fast boat).
Every yacht in the world is built in sections, mating hulls, decks, housings and flybridges together. But when it’s a yacht built entirely from aluminium, these sub-sections form a structure that’s akin to unibody construction. Or the sea-going equivalent to Gibraltar’s rock.
I decided once we were out on the open water and the sun was beating down, it might be time for some obligatory nibbles. Chef Jochen Provost doesn’t do ‘nibbles’. Well, he does, and they are delicious, but you couldn’t just call them ‘nibbles’. Joe trained formally in Belgium in two Michelin-star restaurants for over five years, so let’s all agree that he is clearly a master of the culinary arts.
With the table laid on the bow deck, Chief Stewardes Lien Van Basselaere and her team served champagne whilst we enjoyed the view from across the Cote d’Azur.
Sirocco’s sundeck presents a pair of circular couches and tables, while inside, under the radar/sat-nav cluster, is an exercise gym, along with an icemaker and sink, plus two counters with storage beneath. Aft is a huge sun pad and fresh-water jacuzzi with cover, plus underwater spotlights, fit for a crowd of eight happy mariners.
The master suite is on the wheelhouse deck, with its gigantic party dining area accessible at the rear deck. Though it’s no less sumptuous than any other location, a king-size berth is centred, facing aft, with its headboard forward and storage beneath. Large pillars not only add motif, they add structural support and double as storage.
Fixtures are THG Chantilly, crystal-gold finish. A triplet of windows invite daylight into the room from starboard. A double-size, glass-enclosed shower and large tub, plus toilet and bidet complete the amenities. Speckled, gold-leaf tiles echo the master sink decoration in the form of wood floor inlays. A separate and dedicated room forward on the main deck, a divided lounging and entertainment room (a family room, of sorts).
Situated between two of Sirocco’s gigantic hull windows, guests can gaze over the horizon or catch up on the outside world with a giant plasma screen. Subtle details tie all of Sirocco’s elements together, such as the twine that binds the wood cross sections in the ceiling, or the reptilian leather that covers select furnishings.
In the formal dining area, a spectacular cherrywood table looms up as the crowning element of this spare but spacious and well-organised section. The theme, polished wood and embossed leather, is carried out here as well, on flooring, sideboards and display spaces. Tableware cabinets at each beam provide for any occasion. The ceiling echoes Sirocco’s African earth tones throughout, with overhead, subtle lighting spotted in a regular pattern.
In regards to toys, the Sirocco has a Bauer dive compressor, water-skis, a wakeboard, and snorkelling gear. Of course, you might want to head into town at some point, so the Castoldi, Nouvurania, or Zodiac rescue boat will be there to help.
Each Heesen yacht is designed and conceived by their team of engineers, naval architects, welders and carpenters. Each yacht is crafted to the owner’s specific needs, using the latest in naval technology and technical advances.
Overall the Sirocco is a true work of art. It was honestly hard to leave. That might have been the amount of champagne that Lien plied us with, though. We tip our hat to Captain Marc Colomb, his crew, and to Nick Sevier at Titan Fleet Management who will look after any of your charter, management or brokerage needs.Nick Sevier Titan Fleet management. 79 Avenue des Freres Roustan Golfe Juan 06220 Tel: + 33 492931743