When Cheoy Lee, naval architect Ron Holland, and an experienced yacht owner put their heads together and came up with Marco Polo in 2007, the explorer yacht defied tradition. The steel-hulled 147-footer covered 15,000 miles in her first six months, doubling that in her first two years. She also embraced single-engine propulsion, whose fuel efficiency is well-tested in commercial shipping. This is also a niche Cheoy Lee has served for decades, showing a radical variety in a line-up that also includes sport yachts like the Alpha 76 Flybridge.
Marco Polo consumed 30 to 40 percent less fuel than twin-diesel yachts of her ilk, and was far more efficient that yachts more attuned to speed. And now, Marco Polo has inspired Mazu, which expands on the fuel-friendly explorer concept. Mazu also happens to be the 5,000th Cheoy Lee, joining quite a line of projects constructed over more than a century.
The 150-foot Mazu has the strong styling you’d expect of a global traveler, mixed with more yachty elements like the red hull. Power comes from a single 1,911-hp Caterpillar engine, providing a reported 14 knots. No worries if a rare mechanical failure occurs: Mazu also has a Schottel Pump-Jet thruster in her bow, powered by another Caterpillar situated there, along with the emergency genset. It can serve as a bow thruster or get-home power, pushing Mazu at up to 6 knots.
Like Marco Polo, Mazu has a rich wood interior. She was initially commissioned by the same owner, but when he backed out of the project Cheoy Lee finished Mazu on spec and has her for sale. Macassar ebony lines the walls, while walnut lies underfoot. Note the table and chairs setup aft to starboard (far left in the photo). It is a casual dining and/or gathering spot, complementing the rest of the open saloon and dining area.
The formal dining area aboard Mazu has a welcome lack of formalness. Remaining open to the rest of the saloon eliminates the stuffiness sometimes associated with separate dining rooms. But it’s distinguished enough so as not to feel part of the game-playing and TV-watching space just aft.
If you think this is a cozy skylounge, think again. It is indeed cozy, but this is the private owner’s lounge, just off the master stateroom, visible off to the right. The full master suite aboard Mazu is aft on the upper deck. That, too, is unusual, since most yachts in her size range have main-deck arrangements. Instead, Mazu has a library/small cinema fully forward on the main deck.
Since Mazu is a bit longer than Marco Polo was, she naturally has a bit more space dedicated to the owner. Cheoy Lee and a regular collaborator for interiors, Sylvia Bolton Design, decided to keep the Asian-inspired decor that the original owner had selected. It is noticeable particularly on the doors (concealing hanging lockers and the like) along the starboard side, though the carpeting is subtly Asian, too.
Guests aboard Mazu get treated to this twin cabin, a double stateroom, and a VIP stateroom. There’s actually a fourth guest stateroom, too, though Cheoy Lee decided to have it outfitted as a gym, something many megayacht owners and guests alike enjoy these days. Should a buyer want it changed, it has a built-in berth.
There’s an old saying that if you have a happy crew, you have a happy owner, and this crew lounge should keep the crew on Mazu content. It is larger than you might expect to see and has the low-maintenance trappings that busy crews appreciate, yet still has some appealing nautical flair, plus the all-important TV.
The galley is quite dramatic, with a mix of marble and stainless-steel everywhere you look. Located on the main deck, meal service to either of the two dining areas in the saloon is fast and simple. The same holds true for sending snacks or breakfast up to the owners in their lounge, and/or to the private alfresco area.
The additional length allows for a dedicated radio room off the wheelhouse, the latter featuring the ubiquitous observation settee. The wrap-around, vertical windows permit good visibility, whether running in the middle of the ocean or when the crew is launching the tender from the foredeck garage. A crane for launching the tender is stowed beneath the same hatch concealing the boat itself.
Even with her take-on-the-world focus, Mazu makes the most of alfresco spaces. Sunning and dining are two pastimes sure to be pursued on the flying bridge. The fixed hardtop lends welcome shade in the tropics. The same holds true of extendable awnings, which the crew can set up as needed.
Specifications: LOA: 149’11” • Beam: 29’7” • Draft: 8’2” • Displacement: 518 tons (full load) • Fuel capacity: 17,170 gallons
A longer length and larger fuel capacity may seem like subtle differences between Mazu and her predecessor, but really, they come into play in a big way. Take her range, which Cheoy Lee says is 6,600 nautical miles at 10 knots. That’s better than the distance similar-sized yachts can do. And her best-cruise speed isn’t dramatically lower than top speed, in contrast to the disparity often seen with other yachts. Add in Mazu’s reported 41-gallon-per-hour fuel burn, and it’s hard to argue with the thought processes behind this explorer.
For more information, contact Cheoy Lee.