The bridge deck
A low-key comfortable atmosphere is also very apparent in the bridge deck lounge, which has several distinctive areas that add up to a collective whole of relaxed entertainment. A second focal point is the bar, out of which pops a large television supported by tower speakers either side.
All this will be music to the ears of the players seated around the ingenious custom casino table. Made of Macassar Ebony with a nickel framing, its cool drum-like base corresponds with the dining table below. Tightly upholstered linen card chairs with a chocolate suede piping add an extra air of suaveness.
The long corridor going forward on the boat deck has a pantry on the port side while the room to starboard is the main nerve centre of all the computer and AV systems. Forward of the staircase is the radio room to port and captain’s cabin to starboard, leading in to the wheelhouse.
This is the brainchild of Predator’s skipper, who was given carte blanche by the owner to use his vast experience to optimize the space available in close cooperation with De Voogt Naval Architects. The result is a spacious and very workable wheelhouse with a fully integrated push-button bridge created in partnership with Imtech. After supplying the propellers, Rolls-Royce was given the brief to help develop the propulsion control software. Captain Drewes reports that the views from the wheelhouse are superb and the thrusters make docking easier than he had anticipated.
The lower deck
The entire lower deck from amidships forward is dedicated to the crew, with nine crew cabins, a galley and an excellent mess. The galley contains separate cold and hot kitchens and a dedicated cleaning area. A door in the hull opens up to bring provisions directly onboard into the galley or to be taken down to the tank deck below where giant freezers and refrigerators reside.
At the end of the elongated corridor (off which are located nine crew cabins), steps lead up to a technical room and the mooring deck. Here two hatches open up to give a good view for the crew when the giant anchor winches swing into action. Along with the helideck, the mooring deck and the area below have proven to be crew areas as the guests tend to gather on the bridge deck aft, sundeck and main salon. The crew have added equipment and created a very functional exercise room under the mooring deck.
Returning aft we come to Predator’s split-level engine room. Some 14 feet high in places, this is one of the largest engine rooms seen on a Feadship thus far and to a certain degree everything else onboard was built around this temple of technology. On previous ultra-complex Feadships such as Detroit Eagle and Ecstasea, engines ran the propellers with gas turbines running a booster. As if all this was not enough, the build of Predator was complicated further when the originally specified engines could not be delivered when Paxman went out of business. While the MTU engines were a superb replacement, they were heavier, larger and required more air to ventilate the engine room. Meeting the demand for 200,000 cubic meters of air when Predator is at full speed required customized computer controlled exhaust systems to extract heat out of the engines.
Aft of the engine is a huge garage for Predator’s two tenders, which are launched via the side of the vessel and fit exactly into the space available. Known as Predator A and Predator B, Captain Drewes held a contest at De Voogt to see who could come up with an original tender for his original charge. The winner was Jaap van Keulen, who replicated the inverted bow look of the mother ship. Teak decks offer an old-style look, the blue hulls hint at speed and the ‘limo’ tender (Predator B) is made even more distinguished by the use of mahogany on the bow.
In-between the two tenders is a portable decompression unit, which all crewmembers have been trained to set up in less than five minutes. Should the need arise this will be inflated in the lazarette, which includes a state-of-the-art diving centre with a special bottle filling machine from Nautilus Underwater Systems.
With a sound system of the same sophistication as elsewhere, and a bar, sink, fridge and ice maker, the fully air-conditioned lazarette has the facilities of the finest beach club on the water. Adding to the fun, the swim platform is enlarged to the maximum possible and almost reaches the main deck bulwark when closed. Predator also carries two wave riders and a custom jet ski.
Predator offers a sensational variety of outdoor entertainment options elsewhere on the boat too. The large main aft deck is designed to be a foyer/lobby area where guests can relax and have a drink from the bar after coming aboard from the swim platform.
The bridge deck aft is one of the social hotspots of the boat. Glass panels are stored in a locker and slide out to create a windbreak. Slots in the ceiling supply cold air, which won’t be required when lounging on the giant sun bathing pads aft. The organic shape of these beds had already been determined but their huge size was decided during a meeting at Feadship when the owner sketched his preferred option and quadrupled the sun bed size in the process. The size also makes it impractical to have a table next to the pads to put drinks on so these have been built in to the structure itself.
The same story applies to the sunbathing pads on the sundeck above. Here there is a wet bar under the shade of the mast structure, and an extra windbreak can also be created by sliding glass doors. Forward is a large Jacuzzi and double barbecue.
There is one other source of alfresco entertainment available, but this is of a more daunting variety. Out on the nose of the bow is a small hole in the deck into which a twin seat can be screwed into place, complete with seat belts. Those who dare sit here while Predator is underway enjoy the ride of a lifetime. It is a fitting tribute to the adventurous nature of this whole project and Predator’s infinite ability to thrill.
– PR –