Core77 and a small group of international journalists was recently invited by Lexus to the unveiling of their new yacht, the LY 650. Here we'll show you our tour of it, both inside and out.
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Held in Boca Raton, Florida, the event included a ride-along on the LY 650's maiden voyage.
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I know, it's tricky to satisfyingly photograph something that's in the water and behind a dock. But while we've got more revealing press shots ahead, I did want you to see what it looks like from the dockside vantage point that most people would see it from.
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The main level is topped by a flybridge. The captain can pilot the yacht from either level. The staterooms are below, as you'll see in a moment.
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Here I'm trying to shoot from an angle that reveals the fender-like flares at the rear of the yacht's form.
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That rear "fender flare" from another angle.
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The Lexus logo, of course. Lots of double-takes from passersby.
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The prow of the boat is a chromed element that runs along the longitudinal axis of the craft. From what I understand of the yacht design world, this is highly unusual.
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The chromed prow element houses the anchor.
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Also unusual, where yacht design is concerned, is the dark exterior color and this bronze-ish horizontal form stretching backwards from the prow.
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A rendering of the boat at sea.
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A rendering of the boat at sea.
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A rendering of the boat at sea.
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Now for the tour part! We journalists had to wear little protective booties in order to step inside (this boat has already been purchased, so technically we're traipsing around in someone else's $4 million yacht).
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The Japanese Lexus executives forewent the booties, and simply removed their footwear and left it on the side deck. If I knew them better I'd have played a prank and swapped some shoelaces.
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Here's the main cabin, looking fore (that means towards the front end, you Philistine). The waterfall edge on the counter is the kind of thing I'd ordinarily rip in the design roasts, but this being a boat, you're not meant to leave bottles or glassware on the countertops anyway. You'll note there are two recessed, chrome-ringed cup/bottle holders in the countertop.
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Here's the main cabin, looking aft (that means towards the back end, you landlubbing savage). The cabin can be dimmed by means of power window blinds. The fit-and-finish of all of the materials, whether shiny or matte, soft or hard is, as you'd expect, top-notch.
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This is where the Cap'n sits. The seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel feel butter-soft.
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I was amazed to see that there are no analog dials nor gauges, it's all flatscreens. The Cap'n's sidekick (who had the unusual name of Fur Smate) told me that this is standard in modern-day yacht design.
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This plate that the Cap'n rests his feet on costs way more than the plate I eat my dinner off of back home.
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To the side of the Cap'n's chair is this rectangular, hinged port that you can open, and that you're not supposed to throw cigarettes and beer cans out of. Something about maritime etiquette.
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This joystick can be used for docking, when fine control is required. The levers at right are either for the throttle or to fire torpedoes, I can't remember which.
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Carbon fiber and chrome abound. And now that I'm looking at this photo more closely, I really regret not taking a clear shot of that crazy warning sticker at the bottom of the frame.
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Opposite the Cap'n's chair is this very substantial door with the bad-ass twist handle. When this thing is shut, it's SHUT.
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In this photo Josh Delforge, the lead designer and engineer for Lexus collaborator Marquis Yachts, is standing with his back to the door in the previous photo. His left leg is down one step. I'm using this photo to explain where the staircase to the lower level is located.
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From the main cabin, you descend these steps to access the lower level (check out the floorplans at the end of this slideshow, it's tricky to explain where this staircase is in photos). This Lexus-like "L" has been integrated into each step.
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And no, it's not slippery. I'm not sure what the material is, I believe it's some type of polymer.
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Halfway down the steps is a small landing with this galley kitchen. Cappuccino machine, oven, and a mini-fridge.
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This is on the lower level, looking aft towards the master state room.
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Here's the master state room, looking fore and starboard. For such a small space, it actually feels quite spacious.
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Here's the other side of the master state room, looking fore and port.
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The curved, leather-trimmed desk contains a pop-up makeup station.
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I was impressed by the smoothness of the makeup station hinge's dampening action and wanted to see who made these. The hinges belong to Japanese hardware manufacturer Sugatsune's Lamp line of dampening products.
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The portholes in the state room can be opened by rotating the silver levers at 12, 6 and 9 o'clock. The hinge is at the 3 o'clock position. All of the portholes are precisely sized so that mermaids swimming alongside the craft can hand you a freshly chilled magnum of champagne right through the porthole.
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And here's the master bathroom.
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To the right of this counter was a toilet that we were not allowed to use.
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The sink is pretty cool, it's like they figured out how to hot-bend marble.
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The shower is, like most things on this yacht, way nicer than the one in my house.
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The master state room also features a walk-in closet. Judging by the items hanging on the rod, this yacht's owner is Westerosi and works for the Night's Watch.
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Cool detail: The closet rod doubles as the light source for the closet.
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Pull-out laundry baskets in the walk-in closet.
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Because I'm not familiar with marine design, I'd never seen a fixture like this. It's essentially a doorstop. There are two rubber bumpers on the inside of the tongue-like part at right.
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Here's the same fixture from a different angle.
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And again, Sugatsune's Lamp hinges, this time on the doors.
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Sconce lighting in the hallway.
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Every last little fixture and material is beautiful and expensive-looking.
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These little touchscreens are scattered throughout the boat. They control lighting, climate, windowshades et cetera.
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Here is the guest bathroom, which we were allowed to use. I don't know what I was expecting, but it is a conventional flushing toilet. Note the shower at right.
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High-end hinges on the shower door.
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And again, every little thing…
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…including the toilet paper holder looks expensive.
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The sink in the guest bathroom is more conventional than the master bathroom's.
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Okay, let's move to the outside of the boat. On the main level, fore of the main cabin, is this chillax area. (I believe "chillax" is the proper nautical term.) The two white shapes you see at the front are actually lounge chairs; in this shot the backs are reclined all the way, providing bench-like seating.
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You make your way between the bow and stern of the boat via these walkways on the side of the yacht.
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Along the way you can see that all of the exterior fixtures are chromed, presumably to resist corrosion.
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Even these hinges, which allow a portion of the railing to swing out of the way, are chromed.
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Behind the main cabin is this open-air booth with table and a retractable sun awning overhead.
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The booth seating is pretty spacious.
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And like all of the exterior seating surfaces, the booth is upholstered in some kind of marine-grade material that feels like butter-soft leather.
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The table at this booth, along with the table in the front chillax area, is on a telescoping base. The table can be dropped until it's level with the seats, turning the whole area into a single flat surface. I'm not sure what purpose this serves; perhaps it is to punish misbehaving guests.
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To either side of the booth are steps leading down to the rear deck. I really wanted to ride on this rear deck during the cruise, but they apparently did not want us tumbling into the sea and kept the area closed off with these doors. In this shot you can see that the seatback to the booth is carbon fiber.
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There's another cool thing I want to show you at the back of the boat, and it's related to the joystick in this image, next to the Cap'n's chair in the main cabin. See next photo.
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So at the rear of the boat, just inside the walkways on either side, is this hinged grey panel.
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It can be swung open to reveal...
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...another docking joystick inside. This means that from either side of the boat's stern, you can steer the boat precisely for docking, from whatever position you need to be in to see the surroundings clearly. I thought this was pretty cool.
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Now let's go up top to the flybridge, which is what they call the area atop the main cabin.
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You ascend to the flybridge by means of these stairs.
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Needless to say you've got a great view from up here.
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Up here the steering wheel is on the left, for some reason. Otherwise the controls are all identical to the cockpit in the main cabin.
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There's a hatch in the roof, presumably a commando fast-ropes into it if there's a problem.
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Filming a reenactment of the opening to "The Blues Brothers."
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Back at the dock. This little exit door hinges sideways for ingress/egress. I'm not sure if the steps are included with the yacht, but I'm guessing you could talk the dealer into throwing them in.
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A lot of people on shore stared at the yacht because the design of it and the color are unusual in the yacht world. Here you can see that particularly at night, lit up like this, it's a bit of an eye-catcher.
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Ironically it's very difficult to see the overall form when you're actually on the yacht, and even dockside, much of the boat is obscured. I found that looking at the scale model gave me the best understanding of the form.
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I wanted to shout-out the company that built the model. Contact these guys for all of your yacht-modeling needs.
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Floorplan, bridge level.
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Floorplan, main level.
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Floorplan, lower level.
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