Kingship Columbus 90
The Columbus 90 launched by Hong Kong superyacht builder Kingship has stripped down luxury in a tough, safe steel package, and is a showcase for what’s possible in China’s burgeoning build scene
Her design is so sparse, her interior so clean and uncluttered, that at first glance she seems puritan. And not surprisingly so, as her designers were aiming for a traditional New England look in order to take her guests back to the grand age of yacht voyages.
But then you start noticing the subtle polished stainless steel details, the silk lined ceilings and the small trims and turns on the oak woodwork that reveal the luxury that this long-range explorer offers.
The Columbus 90 is the smallest and most recent addition to the Kingship family of explorer yachts, and when we saw her, she was so fresh from the factory that her paintings had not yet been hung. The Hong Kong-based owner of MY Belle Isle will have her delivered to Italy or possibly the south of France, where her adventures will begin.
And adventure, in the most luxurious and sophisticated sense, is what this boat brings to mind. While her oak finish never leaves you wanting for more comfort, she feels like a traveller from the moment you set foot on her.
The Columbus 90 was designed and engineered by Vripack and built at Kingship’s Zhongshan yard. Although marketed as a 90, the boat measures in at 83 feet on the water line. The order for designers was to create a customised, long-range explorer that could also be used for the charter market. A slight downsize in engines has given her a range of 4,500 nautical miles at a small sacrifice of speed, giving her a cruising speed of ten knots and a maximum speed of 12 knots. But the yacht is unusual for its size in that it meets MCA Safety standards as well as being Lloyd’s classed, greatly enhancing its value as a charter vessel. Kingship likes to compare the Columbus 90 to a Moonen 89, with comparable Dutch engineering and design and European components, but at a 30 percent price discount due to its construction in China.
Kingship intends for each Columbus 90 to be totally customised to its owner’s tastes, and the Angus Addison-designed interior on the first build is a refreshing new take on luxury. All the interior woodwork is in a natural coloured oak, with considerable amounts of solid wood used in the cabinetry. Walls, floors and furniture are all done in a very similar finish, which gives the boat a clean, uncluttered look and the illusion of more space than it actually has.
“I like working without too much lacquer, leaving the wood to look natural,” Addison says as he gives me a tour. “We weren’t afraid to let the grain show.”
While the design concept was traditional New England, there’s also evidence of modern Swedish practicality and elegance in the colour palette. “The idea was to give it a holiday feel,” Addison says.
Most of the boat is finished in blonde natural wood tones, tans and moss greens, from the linen wall and ceiling coverings to carpets and cushions. In the main saloon and dining room the silk ceiling stands out for its texture, not its colour, and the low saloon sofas have just a hint of colour accents to their cushions. The owner’s artwork will bring a touch of colour to the boat.
“We wanted to give it a traditional feel, but keep it from looking heavy or dark,” Addison says, pointing at the rattan backed dining room chairs as an example.
This has resulted in a lot of large unadorned planes of wood with sharp angles and corners. While the angular design is refreshing, it also leaves more uncomfortably sharp corners than perhaps ideal on an ocean going yacht.
While at first the acres of oak appear almost too simple, at closer inspection there are small trims and cock bead running around the wood panels, adding just enough for luxury but keeping a minimalist look that creates that visual space Addison was looking for. And the finish has a potential for longevity that few yacht interiors can offer.
Dividing the saloon area from the dining room is a small cabinet with a retractable television, offering separation between the two areas without ruining the open sight lines. The dinging room has sideboards on both sides, with subtle polished stainless steelaccents that compliment the simple design.
The galley is forward and on the port side off the dining room. Entirely enclosed and finished in stainless steel, it has a utilitarian feeling that matches the yacht’s intentions as a place for the owner to entertain guests and as a charter vessel. The galley feels slightly small, perhaps because every surface, including the insides of the cupboards and the main door, are finished in the same stainless steel.