MILLENNIUM 140 - News
Yachts International Magazine
Story: Jamie Welch
THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH - MILLENNIUM 140
Although she's named after a fictional character, real government agents covet this high speed Millennium.
No kidding: a group of five U. S. military contractors interested in hull number two of the series were on board as we cruised up the Florida coast last fall with her captain, crew and Navel Architect Frank Mulder, the designer of the boat. Military intelligence-no oxymoron jokes please- was interested in the 140's Alustar hull speed, and made inquiries into building a second hull for drug smuggler rundowns in the islands.
Luckily for them, the government won't have to make the Faustian bargain that Frank Mulder had to make with regard to the design of the yacht- shaving the envelope as thin as possible to compensate for the marble and high glass burl walnut interior. They were interested in the stepped, deep-V Alustar hull-which was tank tested extensively and ranges in thickness from 12mm to 6mm-and the incredible turbine/waterjet propulsion package consisting of twin 5436-hp Paxman 18VP185 diesels employing twin Lipps wing jets with an award winning custom Renk gearbox for primary power and maneuvering; and twin 4600-hp Lycoming T40 turbines employing Lipps booster jets on a common, custom Allen gearbox. That's just over 20,000 horses if you do the math.
Due to unfavorable sea conditions our trip up the coast was planned as an --ahem--"slow" 45-knot cruise. Her initial sea trials in the North Sea last summer had already satisfied Staluppi and Frank Mulder- The World is Not Enough had reached an incredible 66 knots at 90 percent power in cold water. Although we didn't see her opened up, for most of us onboard--excluding the very calm Captain Zak Matten and his wife and Chief Stew Vanessa; Designer Frank Mulder; and Millennium project manager John Schmiemann--our ariel photography shoot had a tad bit of Bond-like suspense. Our hovering helicopter carrying photographer Billy Black was running low on fuel as we waited for an engine room ventilation hatch inspection by the Millennium's engineer before captain Zak could engage the Lycoming turbines.
When the words "hatch is open," came over the pilothouse intercom I hailed our photographer in the chopper. Zak ever-so-gently awakened the horses in the engine room, and in seconds the Gulf Stream waters were filled with the sweet turbine sounds of a jet runway. On the flybridge I couldn't keep a toothy grin off my face, even when I noticed that our chopper pilot was finding it difficult to hover off the bow as the Millennium hit 45 knots.So why build a 140' go-fast luxury yacht in this age of long range, fuel sipping expedition vessels? Ask John Staluppi, the yachting world's lone hero archetype, a man driven by imagination, pride, and--after 20 years in the luxury-go-fast-craze--endurance.
"I don't want to be a traditionalist because I've never been one --I want to make high-speed yachts." Staluppi told me at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, where his boat received admiring praise from the public and -- of course -- lots of curious dock talk.
A jovial, self-made millionaire owner from New York who is one of the most successful car dealers in America and who owns two business jets and a fleet of boats, Staluppi started his career as an auto mechanic in Brooklyn, and at 16 was installing gas engines on his boss' runabouts. Eventually he started an auto dealership, made a small fortune and spent his free time in the Seventies and Eighties racing sportfishing yachts--beginning with a 40' Ocean--against his business partner and lifelong friend John Rosatti. The boat the put Staluppi in the history books was the 143' Octopussy, a Frank Mulder design that broke the 50-knot barrier 18 years ago.
"In July of 1986 John paid me a visit in Amsterdam," Frank Mulder said. "He had already left me with a number of messages stating who he was and what he wanted to achieve with the turbine/waterjet propelled Octopussy: 50 knots. After a computer analysis I got back with him and said that it was indeed possible."
Mulder designs went on to design seven more boats for Staluppi, including the notable Goldeneye, Moonraker and Dillinger. Then in the mid-1990's Staluppi started a new yacht company, Millennium Superyachts, which launched a line118' aluminum yachts built in Holland with sporty lines and elegant interiors. But there was a noticeable difference in the engine room.
"In 2000 I was coming back to Florida from the Bahamas on my Millennium 118', which was the 21 knot boat, and I realized that the trip was taking way too long." Staluppi said. "Then I picked up an magazine and read an article about a 110' boat built for the king of Spain that reportedly went 67 knots, although it's never officially been clocked at that speed--some say she tops out at 61--and as I said, 'that's it.' I picked up the phone and called Frank Mulder right away and said, 'let's do it again.'"
The "it" of the conversation is the Millennium 140' The World is Not Enough, which will most likely elicit friendly challenges from European Kings and possibly compete in luxury yacht races. But ultimately--and indeed more importantly--John Staluppi has once again brought excitement to an otherwise stodgy industry with his vision and unmistakable personality.Said Staluppi: "What is the definition of a luxury yacht?" To me it has to be at least 120' in overall length with a master and four guest state rooms, accommodations for six crew members and an on-board tender, and oh, one more thing-no teak; it adds weight, it's a pain to clean and the oil gets all over my carpeting. Like I tell my designer; 'no f--ing teak!'"
Although her power plant is awesome, The World is Not Enough is not only about performance. The fine interior, designed by John's wife Jeanette and London based designer Evan Marshal, is just as luxurious as anything coming out of displacement yacht Dutch shipyards. The joinery is high gloss burl walnut with Nomex honeycomb coring, and soles are laser cut, cored marble.
"It's basically a European design and layout, but weight was a huge concern, and my experience designing aircraft helped out a lot, "Evan Marshall said. "Even though it had to be weight conscious, the interior still had to be comfortable, with no compromises in creature comforts. The trick is not to give it away that it's a lightweight, so when guests board at the dock they feel like it's a substantial displacement boat."
Styling stayed remarkably congruent with the interior design off the Millenniums, which Marshall first designed for Staluppi in 1996. Accommodations are for ten guests in the main deck owner's suite plus five staterooms below. "John wanted to introduce a 'wow' factor that reflects the high speed nature of the boat, but is very luxurious," Marshall said. "The main thing he wanted was a split master suite on the 118' and we've repeated that concept with the 140', so you could call it an evolution of the 118'. For the furnishings I went to Italy and Dubai with the owners to find the right art work and decor items."
Guests stepping through the stainless threshold from the aft deck will be impressed with the saloon and dining room, which are separated by a wood credenza hiding a plasma TV. The beautiful marble sole in the dining room leads to the large entry foyer and circular staircase that descends to four guests suites below and spirals up to the skylounge. The commercial galley amidships on the main deck has it's own sidedeck entry and a comfortable breakfast nook. Crew accommodations are split between the pilothouse deck and the bow, and sleep eight in four luxurious staterooms.
The pilot house and skylounge deck, which has suites for the engineer and captain, is the most comfortable place to gather and that is where the large group of admirers were on our cruise up the coast. My personal favorite spot is in the skylounge with comfortable sofas, a 42" plasma TV and a glass topped, fully stocked bar.
Waiting for us at the dock in Riviera Beach was John Stallupi, who was obviously eager to get his boat over to the Bahamas where he will be spending a well deserved vacation. As we went to press he was still over in the Islands, enjoying his new yacht; his most revolutionary to date. One thing will be certain: when he decides to come back across the Gulf Stream this time he wont have to worry about the trip taking too long.