Take one Oceanco Y702 Alfa Nero, complete with swimming pool that transforms into a helipad. Commission Van Berge Henegouwen to fit automation based around large amounts of Crestron kit and no fewer than 23 Kaleidescape players. The result is very definitely a superyacht
Even in the heady world of superyachts - found almost exclusively in the playgrounds of the seriously wealthy - it seems some yachts are more 'super' than others.
Naturally, the 82m Oceanco Alfa Nero featured here is fitted with the latest AV, telecommunications and automation systems. Potential customers for such a craft may not be phased by the hydraulics that elevate the 7m x 3.5m pool floor to deck level, transforming a section of the aft deck into a dance floor, or helipad.
But even the most discriminating customer would find it hard not to be impressed by the elegant lines of the boat, the almost art deco combination of hardwoods, leather, fabrics and metals specified by interior designer Alberto Pinto, or the sophisticated electronics installed by Van Berge Henegouwen of the Netherlands.
Founded in 1985 by Arthur van Berge Henegouwen, the company that bears his name specialises exclusively in luxury yacht installations. However, for clients who want home installations, Van Berge Henegouwen partners with fellow Norwegian CI MR Engineering.
There are two related reasons why the Y702 Alfa Nero is fitted out to extraordinary standards. Oceanco is a repeat customer of Van Berge Henegouwen and this superyacht happens to belong to the owner of Oceanco. 'Repeat business' was also the reason behind the choice of Crestron control, as Silvia Lorente explains for Van Berge Henegouwen.
"We have good experience with Crestron, being a stable, proven systems that works. It is also intuitive to program compared to other systems; this can be important for the people working on the yacht, when they want to make some small changes."
Alfa Nero's on board entertainment, environmental and communication systems can all be controlled using Crestron equipment. A range of the company's touch-panels simultaneously expand and simplify control over the Alfa Nero's broad range of complex devices and systems.
Crestron TPMC-8X WiFi touch-panels communicate via a wireless network with locally placed Crestron control processors addressing centrally placed high-end AV equipment. Alfa Nero's occupants can control the lighting, curtains, air-conditioning and other systems - as may suit their mood - with the panels.
Following programming by Van Berge Henegouwen engineers, multiple functions are automated into single key commands: pressing DVD, for example, turns the TV on, activates the DVD and selects the correct input to the AV processor.
The on-board entertainment is divided into local and centrally placed systems. The locally placed systems include speakers, amplifiers, Crestron touch-panels, local source equipment and no fewer than 20 Crestron processors.
Among the centrally placed equipment are sources including the 23 satellite receivers and 23 direct Latin America receivers, high definition component matrix switchers and Crestron audio amplifiers - including several CNAMPX-7X200s and CNAMPX-16X60s, each providing the yacht with seven and 16 channels respectively.
The Kaleidescape server delivers digitised media to 23 Kaleidescape players located throughout the yacht. The yacht's occupants can choose to watch different movies at the same time in different rooms, view the same film continuously on different screens as they move around the boat, or pause a movie and finish watching it days later in the sky lounge on either the 65in LCD or 7.1 surround sound cinema with its 120in high-resolution screen.
In addition, Kaleidescape Music Players provide easy access to the owner's collection of albums. Van Berge Henegouwen Crestron programmers have also developed a feature that can route the Kaleidescape players and satellite receivers to other areas of the vessel, if needed. For example, if part of the equipment dedicated to the owner's room should experience problems, then the system will route content onto one of the guest players or receivers.
Many of Alfa Nero's Crestron touch-panels have several functions unique to their marine environment - allowing users, for example, to view the ship's position or the ship's monitoring systems via the Extron video matrix, which comes in handy if occupants want to know when they will arrive at port.
The Alfa Nero also boasts three WPR-48 waterproof remotes - safe to use in all the yacht's wet areas, including the swimming pool. Its fully immersible, rubberised case is designed to be easy to grip with moist hands.
Fifteen TPS-2000L wall mount touchpanels located throughout the boat also put a world of control capability in the space of a common light switch.
There is also a TPS-12L on board, which features a 12in display with a wide viewing angle, supporting control graphics, high-resolution images, and full-motion video. Five MT-1000s located in the yacht's service areas and officers' cabins offer compact, wireless control in one handheld package. And even areas such as the yacht's bathrooms, foyers, pantries, and elevators have streamed music with independent volume control. TV lifts and swivels are also connected to the central Crestron control system.
The Alfa Nero also boasts a satellite and DVB-T terrestrial receiving system; with satellite reception achieved by two Sea Tel, marine stabilised, 1.5m dishes with an automatic change over system for the strongest reception. Terrestrial reception is provided by a Naval omni directional TV antenna in combination with Celwave whip for radio.
To monitor the temperature of the central racks, Van Berge Henegouwen's engineers use temperature sensors and a Crestron-programmed notification system.
When the temperature of the main rack or the amplifiers reaches the maximum tolerated, a notification will be displayed on the touch-screen controller.
Engineers can also monitor and set the system remotely - important if they are perhaps thousands of miles away from the vessel. Accessing the craft via Ethernet and satellite link, engineers can log onto the Crestron x-panel from and perform the same operations that can be performed from the local Crestron panel in the rack.
"We don't think there are huge differences when designing Crestron for an ocean-going vessel and a home," Van Berge Henegouwen's Lorente concludes. "You try to have as much remote support as possible. And yes, when something is broken, then one of our people needs to fly to where the yacht is."
By the look of the care that has gone into this installation, they won't be needing to book flights anytime soon.
First published in Residential Systems Europe, August-September 2008