Kingship – Star
The latest launch from Hong Kong/China builder Kingship showcased the yard’s ability to execute a tough design project for a personalised long-range expedition yacht, and do it with finesse
On your first look at the MY Star from Hong Kong/China builder Kingship, you’d almost be tempted to think it’s a much larger yacht than its 42 metres. Partly, that’s down to the classic exterior styling courtesy Vripack, a frequent collaborator with Kingship. The steel hull is a stately deep blue, while the aluminium superstructure is in classic off-white. Star may be classic in looks, but on the decks and inside, she has a modern flair that belies her exterior lines and colours. As with most of Kingship’s launches, which tend toward the long-range “pocket” superyacht variety, Star is meant for worldwide cruising. Lloyd’s certification and her 4500 nautical mile range see to that. But looking closer, there are details here that tell you are not aboard a large sport boat, but something much closer to a genuine, larger superyacht.
Start with the surprise that greets first-time guests. The large main aft deck, completely covered by the upper deck overhang, is the stowage spot for two, six-metre tenders. Placed on cradles built into the aft deck (still teak clad), the tenders are deployed off the sides of Star via gantry cranes that slide out, with the bulwarks on either side dropping down to allow for the tenders to be lowered to the water or retrieved. Of course, this arrangement means that the space normally set aside for lounges and dining on the aft deck is not readily available on Star. It is such an unusual arrangement that at first you might be tempted to think it’s a mistake. But it actually makes a lot of sense. When underway, guests are most likely to be in their cabins or in one of the saloons, or simply enjoying the breezes up top. When the yacht is at anchor, the tenders are most likely to be deployed, opening up the space to usage (if that is desired); so reasoned the designers and owner, and it’s an idea that might catch on. Storing the two tenders on the main aft deck also creates much more space for the crew and for engineering, as there is no need for a dedicated tender garage. On a 42-metre boat, there would probably only be room for one main tender and one crew tender at best. Star manages twin six-metre tenders, opening up more options for exploration and on-water fun.
To make way for those tenders, Star’s main deck saloon and dining space, though pleasant, do feel truncated. However, it’s clear from walking through this yacht that the designers and original owner expect that guests will be spending far more time in the upper lounge and the sky deck, and given much that has been said about how superyacht guests spend their time, this is a reasonable assumption. Venturing inside, one quickly encounters the original design brief of late 90s minimalism. The walls and much of the flooring, built-in storage and furniture is solid white. Indeed, when I first stepped aboard Star as she was having her interior fitted out in Doumen, China, I wondered what madman would want a solid white interior.
However, the solid white walls and flooring was used by the designers and the owner as something of a canvas on which to splash hearty doses of bright colours. My second visit to Star during the Hainan RendezVous in Sanya showed that much had been done with that canvas. The LED lighting system, where recessed lights run along the squarish contours of the interior, and can be made to alternate colours. Reflected on the white surfaces, it plays off the mirrors, fixtures and fabrics. Adding to the LED lighting are bright colours thrown in from carpets, loose furnishings and the like. There is almost a swinging sixties feel to some of the furniture, which adds a slightly psychedelic feel to the proceedings. Moving forward from the dining and main deck saloon on the port side, there is an accessway to the galley. Normally, this would be reserved as crew space, but guests can easily access the sizeable galley, with its deep fridges and big counter spaces. Should they do so, they’ll find three handy pull out stools for some late night snacking and chit-chat.
To starboard, there is a companionway that leads up to the main deck master stateroom. This full beam bedding area resisted the chance for a 180-degree forward view from the main deck, instead opting for a forward bathroom of very large proportions. The rest of the accommodation is on the lower deck, and here you get a hint of the owner’s original intent. There are two additional doubles and two twins. The arrangement probably creates the most flexible sleeping arrangements for both guests and for potential charter parties, but in truth, Star was built for families to enjoy extended holidays together.
Moving on up
As you walk through the yacht, it’s clear that the designers and owner expected that guests would want to spend most of their time aboard the yacht up top. The upper lounge/aft deck area is very comfortable and clearly meant to be the main social gathering spot. The skylounge and adjoining upper aft deck are connected by butterfly-style doors that open up to create a seamless social space. The skylounge continues with the white look (which may cause some French chic-seekers to get lost), with bright colours provided by 60s-styled furnishings. A large TV dominates the forward wall of the lounge, and with the aft doors opened right up, this is easily viewed from the aft deck dining area. The skylounge also has iPod compatible music controls and a host of other A/V entertainment goodies.
Forward from the lounge on the starboard side, there is the companionway leading up to the helm station, with its spacious Portuguese bridge arrangement. In front of the bridge lies a cosy seating spot for two, with a small table big enough to enjoy a morning espresso and take in the scenery.
Up a set of stairs from the upper deck, with sturdy handholds along the way, one gets to the true treasure of Star. A huge sundeck has been created for this yacht, and given the way the VIPs and Chinese journalists quickly assembled and stayed on this deck for our sea trial, it’s clear that the designer and builder have succeeded in creating a fantastic social space suited for Asian buyers. The sundeck on Star, with its large area and many amenities, easily rivals those of superyachts ten metres longer. For those wanting to feel the breeze and enjoy the view, there is a nicely designed hardtop with UV-resistant glass inlays, letting sunlight in but preventing sunburns or overheated guests. In a nod to the family-friendly nature of Star, the railings around certain key areas can be raised or lowered, depending on the safety concerns of children. The large Jacuzzi is located aft and surrounded by comfy sunpads. A couple of bar stools have been placed next to the Jacuzzi; presumably some people need a few drinks to be enticed into the tub! This aft area can also be protected by a bimini is so desired. The sundeck also features a very large bar-food service counter to port, with six fixed bar stools that are comfortably far apart. Behind the counter are two fridges and an electric BBQ. Opposite, there is a large settee and sunpads forward. A drop-down TV has also been installed. Recessed lighting at the base of the bar area and the settee combine with lighting inside the Jacuzzi to create a great nighttime feel.
Out and about
M/Y Star was available for tours and short sea trials during the latest Hainan RendezVous in April, and it was then that I had the chance to see the finished boat in action. Manoeuvring out of the congested harbour in Sanya and into the lovely waters of Sanya Bay was seemingly quite easy. The bridge manages to be stylish and have fantastic views for the captain, with side doors to port and starboard.
Sanya Bay was fairly breezy but as it is normally sheltered from the prevailing winds, usually quite flat. Our test day was no exception, meaning there was little chance to see how the wide-flair on the bow would hold up to some waves. However, it was plainly evident that noise from the engines and gensets had been well looked after with solid sound-proofing. Kingship and Vripack worked hard on developing a displacement hull that would provide the range that a proper expedition boat should have. With 4500 nautical miles available at ten knots, Star has a range that is suited to people looking at serious cruising. Climate control was excellent – the South China Sea was particularly hot and humid during our sea trial, yet the interior remained very cool and comfortable, despite the large numbers of people coming and going through the doors.
One of the things that a good charter boat should have is excellent crew space. After all, a lot of fun derived from being on a superyacht comes courtesy a good crew. Thanks to the creation of so much extra interior space with the placement of the tenders on the main aft deck, the crew are as well looked after as the guests. The captain has a spacious cabin and work area just aft of the bridge, while the engineer’s cabin, also spacious, is located in the transom, to starboard of a centrally-aligned staircase in the transom. The rest of the crew space is relatively spacious and nice (though the colouring in the crew mess is a bit tough on the eye). Very large storage spaces and sizeable laundry areas have been built into the yacht’s lower deck forward, while the crew mess and social area has been placed next to the crew access to the galley. Another four crew members have their ensuire cabins in the forward area. Overall, Kingship has managed to deliver a good looking yacht with plenty of thought going into the practical functioning of a yacht that will be at home in tough seas or at anchor in some beautiful location. The fine finishes are evident everywhere; in the joinery or the electrical installations or the paint job. Those fine finishes are the result of near-obsessive levels of concern for quality by yard owner and founder Roger Liang, who had the steel for the Star cut, bent and shipped from Europe to his South China yard. Star is the fifth yacht from Kingship, and the next up is the Green Voyager, a much-talked about long-range cruising yacht whose launch will be even more anticipated after news about Star gets around.
Technical Specifications – Kingship Star
Beam (max): 8.4m
Engines: 2 x C32 ACERT 559kW
Stabilisers: Quantum 2×QC1200,2322 *1040 Fin
Speed (Max): 13.5kts
Speed (Cruise): 10 kts
Range at cruise: 4,500nm
Crew accommodation: 9
Tenders: 2 x 6m
Construction: Steel (hull); Aluminium (superstructure)
Classification: Lloyd’s, 100 A1 SSC Yacht Mono G6, ES