As we approach this year's Monaco Yacht Show, it’s approaching a year ago that I was sitting on board the then-newly-launched 63m Irimari, Sunrise Yachts’ focal point of the 2015 Monaco Yacht Show. I was sitting in the bridge, talking to the motoryacht’s captain, Heimo Tauern, about why the superyacht’s bridge is so special.
Most captains involved in a build end up seeing their influences in tangible form when the yacht leaves the shipyard. For Captain Tauern, however, it wasn’t just a suggestion here and there. Tauern trained as an architect before becoming a captain (at aged 39) and it was during Irimari’s build that the captain merged his two careers. “I saw the original GA [general arrangement] and I said forget it, and I redesigned the whole deck,” he says, offering to show me the drawings. And where his influence is perhaps most evident is in the bridge, with Raytheon’s glass bridge system. “I sketched the bridge with the counter in the middle, so I could get to the consoles from any position, either from standing behind it or directly from my seat, and then the designer made these starship-like counters.” At this moment, Captain Tauern takes a seat in the bridge and reaches the above-seat controls with one hand – the bridge has taken just the form this captain wanted. Not only that, but the fact that the captain and crew can step in front of the bridge system is key for this captain. “I think from a safety point of view, to be able to walk in front of the bridge so you can look right up against the glass is important.”
It’s not only the design of the bridge that Captain Tauern is pleased with – the Raytheon tracking system is particularly good. “In all my previous boats with track control, it ended up as a bit of a zig zag movement, but here the track control is amazing. It sticks on the line and it’s really good.”
This is the first time Captain Tauern has worked with a full glass bridge. In the past his experience has placed him in front of semi-glass bridges, but the captain argues that providing there is a base understanding of electronics, prior experience isn’t a must. “Whoever has a bit of a feeling for IT and computers gets into it very quickly. Learning by doing. I think I within 24 hours of using the bridge system I was about 80 per cent there.”
One thing this captain is particularly proud of is the layout of the bridge – one which he feels will be particularly appealing to guests. “In many bridges, you see that the seats for the guests are in the back. But I said no,” he says, explaining that when the guests want to spend time in the bridge, it’s because they want to feel involved.
A year after the interview, I asked Captain Tauern if he's still as happy with the bridge. His answer: "I'm still very happy with the bridge system, both in all its details and overall. What can I say? Irimari is still my baby."
Images: Running shot credit: Jeff Brown