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CRN Darlings Danama: Going With The Flow

A stunning new addition to the charter market, this 196-foot CRN has a refreshing minimalist décor with a human touch and great features for extended stays at sea. Darlings Danama is expected to make her Monaco Yacht Show debut in September.

A stunning new addition to the charter market, this 196-foot CRN has a refreshing minimalist décor with a human touch and great features for extended stays at sea. Darlings Danama is expected to make her Monaco Yacht Show debut in September.

Photos CRN and Marc Paris

One of the year’s important moments in the yachting industry is the MYBA charter show held in Genoa each year in May. Charter brokers from all over the world meet in Genoa to view yachts that will be available for charter in the coming months. Each year, it seems, the vessels available for charter get more diverse and extraordinary. While a brand-new 60-meter entering the charter market once was a major event, now it seems, well, almost business as usual. Still, Darlings Danama, a steel and aluminum 196-foot CRN launched last year, is a striking new addition to the charter market. Built on a pre-engineered platform at CRN’s Ancona-based shipyard, the yacht is elegant, yes, but almost unassuming on the outside. Zuccon International Project worked closely with the superyacht builder on the styling of this series, which includes Blue Eyes and Mimtee, launched in 2010. Darlings Danama is the seventh CRN 60 delivered since 2005. She naturally shares many features with these earlier yachts (that, of course, is the idea behind using a pre-engineered platform). Like them, she has a supersized teak-laid platform, creating a beach area of nearly 750 square feet. The yacht also features a balcony off the master suite, which is a great addition to the private space the owners enjoy on the forward half of the main deck, and a spacious sun deck with an enclosed air-conditioned lounge in the middle, a huge sunbathing area aft (which also can serve as a helipad) and Jacuzzi forward.


CRN’s 60-meter series exemplifies the Italian shipyard’s goal to allow guests on a yacht to connect with the ocean environment. The shipyard carried that principle to the largest yacht it has delivered to date, the outstanding 236-foot (72-meter) Nuvolari-Lenard-designed Azteca. In fact, the shipyard’s in-house engineers were pioneers in the use of terraces and balconies on several of their models, starting with its 141-foot (43-meter) composite series, which includes Emerald Star. The project manager for Emerald Star’s owner was Captain Ian Carter, who greeted us in Genoa on the aft deck of Darlings Danama. He was actively involved with the construction of this yacht, which was his third opportunity to work with CRN’s craftsmen.

Even with experience, very few projects of this magnitude are routine, and this was no exception. Darlings Danama was a complex project. For one, a difficult economic context served as background for her construction (keel laying was in late 2008 just as shipyards around the world saw the cash faucets run dry). Second, her owners were trying to achieve something very special with the luxurious contemporary interior they asked Paris-based architects Alexandre and Cristina Negoescu to create.

Contemporary design, particularly one that draws on a minimalist palette, is perhaps the hardest to pull off. Light veneers, flush panels, reflective materials and lighting accents are unforgiving to imperfections. In spite of these challenges, all involved pulled the project off in spectacular fashion.

Darlings Danama fully expresses her singularity inside. Her interior décor is a blend of modern styles making intelligent use of shapes and volumes. The Negoescus are well versed in spatial arrangements and furniture design and created many of the yacht’s innovative pieces. They work with styles ranging from the purest form of minimalism to 18th-century French classics from their office in Paris’ up-and-coming 10th district, itself an eclectic mix of trends and tradition. The result of their collaboration with the owners and the shipyard on the interior design is a show stopper.

Carter makes no attempt to restrain his enthusiasm when showing off Darlings Danama to first-time visitors. Even this seasoned pro (he’s been in yachting since 1983) is genuinely in awe of what was achieved and the budget involved. He points out, as exhibit A, the stainless-steel columns framing the salon’s entrance. They set the stage for metallic details found inside, delineating the white Tai Ping carpet, or serving as accents on ceilings and doors. The eye-catching furniture is a mix of custom pieces designed for the yacht and selections from other furniture makers. Glass pieces from Murano, straw marquetry, stingray skin on cabinet doors and striking architectural lighting add to the yacht’s playful sophistication. The décor is consistent throughout the decks and six staterooms (four lower-deck cabins, an ondeck master suite and bridge-deck presidential suite) but full of interesting twists. Curves offset straights lines or sharp angles. This contemporary décor has a human touch.

The sophistication extends to the yacht’s technical features, from a custom-designed security system with various day- and night-time guest and crew modes to efficient sound-dampening features. While the yacht is very quiet under way, the king-size master bed has a built-in white-noise machine.

Much thought also went into making the exterior spaces comfortable as well, with multiple windbreakers and climate control features. There is an elevator for access to the various decks, and three pantries facilitate food and bar service. Carter describes himself as a reformed sailor who now clearly enjoys the kind of comfortable cruising the yacht’s comprehensive systems allow. For long-range cruising, Carter says Caterpillar is the only way to go. At 14 knots, this 196-foot yacht uses 106 gallons (400 liters) of fuel an hour and 66 gallons (250 liters) at 12.5 knots, with generators on. Her zero-speed stabilizers make her comfortable and steady. A Hydromar watermaker, with integrated infrared/UV light treatment, makes 185 gallons (700 liters) of purified water an hour, and you could even opt to have fizzy water come out of the tap. For climate control, Carter likes the DWM Copeland air compressors for their reliability and efficiency. A tank tunnel provides access all the way forward and back, where the toy store accommodates two 23-foot Castoldi tenders. There are 16 crewmembers on board, including two engineers.

Darlings Danama was well received at her Genoa show debut, and her captain was happy to report he already had several weeks of charter on the books. The yacht is also expected to be at the Monaco Yacht Show where she will likely make a big statement. ■

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LOA: 195ft 3in (59.5m)
Beam (molded): 33ft 5in (10.2m)
Draft: 9ft 10in (3m)
Hull material: steel
Superstructure: aluminum
Displacement (full load): 775 tons
Engines: 2 x Caterpillar 3512 B
Power: 1,174kW @ 1,600 rpm
Speed (max): 15 knots
Speed (cruising): 14 knots
Range @ 14 knots: 3,000 nm
Fuel capacity: 28,266 gal (107,000L)
Fresh water capacity: 5,283 gal (20,000L)
Generators: 2 x Caterpillar C9 175kW + 1 Caterpillar C4 69 kW
Classification: Lloyd’s Register of shipping LR 100 A1 SSC-Y Mono, G6, LMC-MCA LY2 Compliant
Naval architecture: CRN engineering
Exterior styling: Zuccon International Project
Interior design: Alexandre and Christina Negoescu
Builder: CRN - 2011
Charter Management: Camper & Nicholsons
Contact: Alex Garro +377 97 97 77 45


The Design Power of Two

Alexandre and Cristina Negoescu have worked in tandem for many years. The couple first met in Bucharest, while they studied architecture, and caught up with each other again in France a few years later. They worked with renowned French interior designer Jacques Grange (with whom they designed the interior of a yacht), took freelance assignments in France, the Caribbean, the United States and elsewhere, and eventually merged their talent into one company.

They work in a light-filled studio that was once home to artisans working with glass in the up-and-coming 10th district of Paris. Because of it, perhaps, they have a true appreciation for the work that highly skilled French artisans do, and they have integrated examples of their work in the contemporary décor of Darlings Danama. Embossed palladium-leaf panels by master artisans from Atelier Meriguet-Carrere are show-stopping features in the yacht’s dining room. “The work of French artisans is a tradition that is disappearing, and so we wanted to showcase what they can do,” Cristina says. The minimalist-inspired décor blends subtle references to 1930s Art Déco and delves into the history of design. For instance, the straw marquetry used on several pieces, including the stunning coffee table they created for the main salon, is a contemporary interpretation of an 18th-century tradition.

Alexandre and Cristina have known the owners of Darlings Danama, who studied architecture, for a long time and designed an apartment for them. They felt right at home in their modern penthouse, and it was their city pad that provided the inspiration for the yacht’s interior. Alexandre and Cristina worked closely with them, but also consulted extensively with the yacht’s captain to identify the crew’s needs for storage and access.

The design’s overriding theme is light and fluidity. Wave patterns in the Tai Ping carpet echo curvy sofas, chairs and ceiling patterns. The shapely pieces of custom furniture define spaces filled with light. “We wanted to create open spaces, not a succession of cells,” Cristina says. To that effect, many of the partitions only go three quarters of the way, providing the illusion of taller ceilings. They also worked with reflective materials, lacquers, mirrors and lighting. In other words, “We cheated,” Alexandre says. The illusion they created on this floating villa is very convincing.

They designed much of the furniture, including the dining room pieces but also incorporated work from other furniture makers and interesting light fixtures that complement indirect lighting. “We probably took out 80 percent of the spotlights that were in the plans, and added indirect lighting,” Alexandre says. It works; the interior is bright but cozy. It is easy for a minimalist interior to be cold and harsh. Here it is warm and inviting, with a touch of playfulness expressed through unique pieces. Art et Floritude, based in Beaulieu-sur-Loire, provided the stunning piece above the dining room table. While curves reign on the interior, the furniture outside, such as the sun-deck chairs by Spanish company Vondom, are angular to add a touch of contrast. They are original and comfortable.

Up to now, Alexandre and Cristina have focused on work and dedicated very little to promoting their work. Darlings Danama surely will do this for them.