A New Charter Star is Born - TOP FIVE II Drops Anchor in the Bahamas
Written by Sam Fortescue
A familiar name on the charter circuit now has a seductive new 200ft form. The second incarnation of TOP FIVE has just been delivered by the Royal Dutch yard Hakvoort, and she promises more fun, refinement and space than her predecessor over nearly twice the volume. TOP FIVE II is really the story of an owner who realised they needed just a little bit more room on board. Their first 157ft yacht had been a big success, but it was during a cloudburst when 70 of the owner’s guests all tried to crowd into the sun lounge for cover that the size issue surfaced.
“I was flying around for two years looking for boats to buy before we decided to build,” says long-term family skipper Captain Johannes Buis who was the owner’s representative on the project. “We wanted to create a boat with equal spaces inside and outside, built for different weather. The idea with Top Five II is that you can still sit outside when the wind’s blowing 30 knots thanks to glass panels. Plus there’s aircon on all the decks outside.” They alighted quickly on the boutique Dutch shipyard Hakvoort, which was awarded a royal warrant during the build process and is now known as Royal Hakvoort Shipyard. The yard is small compared to many, and in the centre of a town, which strictly limits the dimensions to which it can build. “They had to cut some of the beams in the building to launch her,” remembers Captain Johannes with a deep South African chuckle.
But the flip side of that coin is that the yard undertakes just one major project at a time. “So you know you’re getting the A-team all the way through the build - the people don’t change. As build captain you work directly with owners of the shipyard, so you cut out all the bureaucracy.” Superstar design studio Sinot was brought in to do the interior and exterior design, while the experts at Diana Yacht Design gave her a fuel-efficient hull that can also deal with icy, high latitudes. The result is a remarkable harmony between impressive capabilities and a beguiling simplicity that makes the boat hugely comfortable and welcoming. So the yacht has a range of 4,200nm and meets ice-class standards, packs four jet skis, a custom X-Craft beach-lander tender, boards and a collection of inflatable slides and towables for fun at anchor. But she is also sleek and muscular on the water with a lot of full-height glass in the main and upper decks and acres of exterior entertainment space.
“The continuous flow and balance in the interior is something you can really feel when you step on board,” says Paul Costerus, senior designer and partner at Sinot. “Without a doubt, the most exciting feature is the immense ceiling heights - a specific request from the owner.” Those ceiling heights reach 7ft 9in throughout the main deck and in the owner’s suite on the deck above. Such majestic dimensions are far from commonplace, even on high-end superyachts, and impart a sense of space and comfort more usually found ashore. Styling throughout the boat is restrained but welcoming. Unique lighting features are pieces of art in their own right, but the blend of dark and light woods, neutral coloured upholstery and dashes of colour are perfectly balanced. After climbing the twin stairways from the beach club, most guests will experience the lofty main salon first. Littered with comfy armchairs, black lacquered cabinetry, and a 14-place dining table, this is the impressive hub of the boat. Overhead, the owner’s deck salon has a more relaxed open-plan arrangement with a long cosy bar offering an excellent view of the harbour or anchorage, a huge expanse of sofas and a more congenial table for five. This is where the yacht’s interior and exterior run together, as big double doors aft slide open to connect with a well-protected outdoor seating area.
A lavish owner’s apartment fills the forward half of this deck, with an imperial sized double bed gazing out through nearly 270-degrees of glazing. Besides chic marbled his n’ her bathrooms (with an actual tub) and dressing rooms, there’s private access to a foredeck terrace with its own Jacuzzi. An upper deck lounge would easily keep 70 revellers dry in a downpour, but it also offers access to the pool and a huge outdoor dining area with a bar and 54-inch grill. There’s just room left on the sundeck above for a breath-taking semi-circular sofa ranged around a firepit that is open to the stars. “The sky lounge is the biggest the designers have ever seen in the 200ft size, because of the ceiling height,” explains Captain Johannes. “We can easily host 100 people on the boat without a problem. The four main decks are laced together with an imposing circular staircase that is entwined around the glass lift. Five guest cabins (three double, two flexible double/twin) are located forward on the main deck – prime real estate with tremendous views and easy access to the main social areas. Naturally enough they are all ensuite, and some of them even offer bathtubs.
A flexible sixth cabin on the lower deck is fitted out as a media room with comfy sofas and even a bar to keep refreshments topped up during screenings. Entertainment has been exceedingly well thought out on this boat, which is designed for charter as much as for owner’s use. “That’s because of the layout of the boat,” says Captain Johannes. “We literally built it for both – we know what works in terms of the flow of the boat, so all the areas are designed for both an owner or for charter use.” That is at its clearest when you reach the beach club aft. The tall transom door swings up to reveal a capable gym that can also be fitted out with seats. It connects to the tender garage, which has two vast full-length shell doors. “They open down towards the water, and become part of the beach club,” says Captain Johannes. “You can put tables there and umbrellas. There’s already 18ft of beam inside the boat and the doors then add an extra 7-8ft. Combine this with the 54in barbecue on the upper deck, the scintillating waters of the mosaic and teak-lined pool and the many lounging options, and you have a real oasis on the seas – all in an efficient 200ft package. Book TOP FIVE II now before she’s taken. With a cruising programme in the Caribbean and Bahamas, she’s one of Worth Avenue Yachts’ hottest tips for 2022.