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The 161 Day Transformation of Motoryacht ALTA


December 14, 2021
By Patrick Knowles

What began with a call on June 1, 2021 and a signed contract with our team on June 26, 2021, has resulted in the successful refit and delivery of the 144’ (44m) motor yacht ALTA (ex. Dumb Luck) on December 3, 2021, only 161 days from the initial contract signing.

ALTA, a Palmer Johnson yacht originally built in 2004, had a dated interior which the owner wanted to transition into a modern beach house aesthetic.

The owner also required that the project be complete before the vessel was set for charter in mid-December 2021.

Despite the severe limitations imposed by the pandemic, the careful planning of the full refit process along with the use of only local South Florida artisans, vendors and workers, allowed us to accomplish the almost impossible task of progressing the project without delay. On December 3, 2022 we delivered ALTA to a VERY happy owner.

The Scope of Work

It was decided with the new owner that all areas of the vessel would be addressed with the exception of the galley and pantry. That included all owner and guest interior areas, a new forward crew cabin added into the brow of the vessel, new finishes and new stone works throughout as well as on the main aft deck, bridge aft deck, sun deck & day head, stern beach club and the gym & gym head.

One major point to address – consistency in design. The existing millwork on the main deck was previously done in fiddle back anigre, a light, yellow/blonde wood with a satin finish, however the bridge and lower deck had a deep red cherry wood with a satin finish. The rest of the interior was a mix of cream carpeting and dark wood flooring, marble surfaces in all heads and the salon mission style applique on the staircase bulkheads, cabinetry doors and drawers, gold plumbing and hardware, and more mission style Shoji panels an passage doors with translucent inserts.

A Fast Forward

With only 161 days to complete the task, and essential items left in place, work began quickly to transform ALTA into the modern beach house aesthetic seen today.

ALTA boasts accommodations for 10 guests among 5 cabins, sleeping for 10 crew members, and 9 heads along with a salon, dining room, galley, and gym throughout 3 decks. The refit included a revamp of all 9 heads, a refinish of all millwork, a renovation of the staircase and installation of leather panels, removal and replacement of all stone (with the exception of the sky lounge bar), reupholstery and repainting of all overheads, a replacement of all carpeted floors with wide wood planks, a replacement of all plumbing, hardware, lighting, lighting controls, and outlets, and a full audio visual upgrade.

Design Details

In the redesigned vessel, with the concept of an chic beach house in mind, I chose to brighten the space using a bright white satin finish paint applied to all passage doors, casings, baseboards, crown molding, window surroundings and soffits, while in contrast the walls are finished in a deep Java espresso. All passage doors also have overlays of Java leather with contrasting stitching, while the cabinetry doors and drawers are wrapped in white leather with Java brown contrast stitching. There are small touches of bespoke detail planned throughout the yacht. One such detail are the embroidered guest suite names on the exterior of each of the four cabin entry doors, each suite named after famous explorers.

Caesarstone is seen on surfaces room to room, bringing a sense of consistency to the space, and custom mosaics in shades of light gray, white and charcoal were commissioned for each of the 9 heads to give a unique yet unified feeling. The gold plumbing and hardware in all spaces were replaced with polished nickel, and added touches like the soffits upholstered in heavy textured linen textile with an artisan white wash help to create a beach aesthetic throughout.

You will often hear me say I enjoy a challenge, however the forces of a global pandemic, supply chain issues and an owner with a quick turnaround time for the project made ALTA a unique project. I am particularly proud of the transformation we were able to create on this vessel. Walking into her on day one and again today, she hardly looks like the same yacht. The owner is quite pleased and we know her charter guests will be as well.

ALTA is available for charter in 2022 through International Yacht Company (IYC).

South Florida yacht designer
Patrick Knowles
specializes in award-winning luxury design for superyachts, private aircraft and residential properties.