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Lürssen’s New Build – the 115-metre Motoryacht Ahpo – is the Most Impressive Yacht We've Gone Aboard Yet
January 2, 2023 Julia Zaltzman

TOP: The “winter garden” can be fully enclosed and enjoyed all year round. MIDDLE: The vast water-level beach club and spa is nothing short of breath-taking.

The old team was brought back together (the Italian studio of Nuvolari Lenard; German shipbuilders, Lürssen; Moran Yachting project managers) from the owner’s previous – and first – superyacht, the 86-metre Quattroelle (which he sold to the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, in 2014). But, that’s where the similarities end. For Ahpo, the brief was to make everything “better, nicer, richer” and, as the designers tell us, “make it known to all who come aboard that this is our new boat.”

Roughly translating from Chinese as ‘grandmother,’ Ahpo’s name hints at the owner’s multi-cultural heritage. Something that’s also clear to see in the boardroom on the main deck, an area that unusually sits in between a formal dining area for 22 guests and a tearoom with a grand piano. The boardroom table features a vintage map of Jamaica, due to what we later find out is the owner’s half Jamaican, half Canadian ancestry. There are even Jamaican blue mountains depicted in a mosaic on the wall behind the table.

“The boardroom is where the family will probably enjoy casual dinners because it’s smaller than the grand dining area, which is enormous,” says Valentina Zannier, head interior designer at Nuvolari Lenard. “The map atop the table was engraved in bronze and floats in a blue resin sea. It’s a real ‘wow’ piece of furniture.” Two drop-down balconies extend the wowness on this level, creating cosy nooks where the family will be able to take in their morning coffee with a view.

Central to the owner’s vision was the need to make the PYC yacht charter friendly. This meant accommodating 16 charter guests and a further 24 crew and staff. A fully commercial helipad makes guest transfers and shore excursions easy, but it’s the lower deck, wellness-focused beach club where attention to detail stands out.

The Arabesque Hammam is a mosaic masterpiece, complemented by a sauna, steam room and elegant white waterfall. A plunge pool with separate Jacuzzi also decorated in turquoise mosaic and marble sits adjacent to a beauty salon and bamboo walled treatment rooms serviced by an onboard beautician. For the time-poor owner, this is where the family relaxes, seduced by a ceiling of twinkling LED stars. Far-reaching views out to sea through the stern and side terrace frame the idyllic picture.

ABOVE: Commissioned by one of Canada’s richest men, Michael Lee-Chin, Ahpo can be chartered for 2.5 million EUR a week, plus expenses.

Guest amenities also take in a second guest lounge, an IMAX Dolby cinema and a pink custom Carbon Craft tender. In keeping with growing demand for sustainably forward builds, Ahpo is equipped with e-glass windows, a heat recovery system and an electric hybrid PTO/PTI system that improves fuel efficiency. Any guests with a keen interest in the boat’s propulsion system will appreciate the glass corridor that runs through the pristine, almost operating room-like engine room, gifting a front row view without disturbing the engineer. It links the beach club to the amidships staircase, which has wraparound bronze balustrades.

TOP: An interesting fact about the owner’s suite is that the decibel levels never surpass 31dBA, even under full steam. That’s the equivalent of a library. MIDDLE: The 12-seater cinema, the water-lily-themed dining room and the vibrantly mosaiced hammam are three of our favourite areas. BOTTOM: The family saloon in the owner’s private apartment.

Of course, the need for charter friendly details didn’t supplant the owner’s personal preferences, made evident by the family suite. The request was for a multilevel apartment. The result is a split-level, full-beam owner’s suite decked out in pinks and cream. His and hers bathrooms – one in feminine pink blossom, the other in masculine black and gold – each feature extravagant gold baths with showers and walk-in dressing rooms. Directly behind are the twin daughters’ suites. Up a staircase is the owner’s private salon, along with a sweeping aft deck for al fresco dining, sun pads and sofas for lounging, and two bars to extend the enjoyment late into the night.

“The daughters chose their own bedroom colours – one is pastel pink, the other sage green – and both are delicately decorated with gingko leaves,” says Zannier. The entire Asian-infused interior is nature-heavy, with silk wallpaper, hand embroidery and elaborate inlays depicting flying flamingos and red maple trees with bluebirds. Bursts of gold and white marble bring the glamour.

“Madame wanted the yacht to feel feminine, romantic and linked to nature,” Zannier added. “It had to reflect their healthy lifestyle with a relaxing Zen quality.”

It’s a maxim reinforced by the addition of four onboard pools and a large Japanese-themed gym. Large enough for multiple guests to comfortably work out in at the same time, hard work is rewarded with views that overlook a Jacuzzi and counter flow swimming pool – perfect for a post-fitness dip.

On the sky lounge deck, the outdoors lives large via a panoramic winter garden. A collection of artificial plants brings a connection to nature and a jungle-at-sea ambience. “It feels like an old-fashioned Indian garden. It’s hugely atmospheric,” says Zannier.

The winter garden serves as the family’s sun deck, for the top deck is the captain’s domain, occupied by the full-beam wheelhouse, captain’s cabin and electrical systems.

“They use the winter garden for the family, of course, but it’s also their preferred place to work,” says Zannier. “I designed two separate desks with a library behind. It’s the ideal flexible office providing total privacy and inspiring views.

“It also underlines the fact that they intend to spend a lot of time on board,” she adds. “During their first visit at Christmas, they planned to spend three weeks and ended up staying two months.”

Following a maiden voyage that included a stop in the UK, the owner dropped anchor at the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix before heading off on a Mediterranean cruise. Clearly, this time around, they’re not messing around when it comes to maximising the fun they can have at sea. And what a way to do it.

ABOVE: Along with the side balconies on the water-line, there are three access points to the sea from the beach club.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Guillaume Plisson