January 9th 2017. By Diane Byrne.

Lürssen Coral Ocean: Creating a Big Buzz

A builder buys one of its most famous yachts, refits her for charter, and is letting the world see for the first time how advanced she was for her era.

Immensely private yacht owners are nothing new, certainly where Lürssen is concerned. It’s built a number of projects whose owners have never let photographers or journalists, step aboard. So when one of its super-secretive superyachts finally can be shown, there’s buzz. In the case of the 238-foot Coral Ocean, there’s big buzz. First, Lürssen’s management team is among the new owners. Second, they refitted her to put her into charter. Above all, they left nearly every part of this 22-year-old superyacht as is. She’s a study in how forward-thinking the original client and designer, the late Jon Bannenberg, as well as shipyard were.

Coral Ocean, with styling and interior design by Bannenberg, was delivered as Coral Island in 1994. Remarkably, she was a one-yacht owner for two decades. Also remarkably, according to Dickie Bannenberg, son of Jon Bannenberg and co-owner of the studio Bannenberg & Rowell, that owner only first laid eyes on her when she was finished. Other than ensuring Coral Ocean met regulations for commercial compliance (a.k.a. charter operations), Lürssen left her the way that Jon Bannenberg and the original owner conceived. That includes the “wings,” a Bannenberg signature, below and outboard of the satcom domes. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Coral Ocean, with styling and interior design by Bannenberg, was delivered as Coral Island in 1994. Remarkably, she was a one-yacht owner for two decades. Also remarkably, according to Dickie Bannenberg, son of Jon Bannenberg and co-owner of the studio Bannenberg & Rowell, that owner only first laid eyes on her when she was finished. Other than ensuring Coral Ocean met regulations for commercial compliance (a.k.a. charter operations), Lürssen left her the way that Jon Bannenberg and the original owner conceived. That includes the “wings,” a Bannenberg signature, below and outboard of the satcom domes. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Fold-out balconies and other opening partitions in relaxation spaces are current-day trends, only coming into practice a few years ago… or so we all thought. The two significant-size opening bulkheads in the saloon aboard Coral Ocean are original. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Fold-out balconies and other opening partitions in relaxation spaces are current-day trends, only coming into practice a few years ago… or so we all thought. The two significant-size opening bulkheads in the saloon aboard Coral Ocean are original. Photo by Jeff Brown.

There’s a strong Polynesian theme throughout the decor aboard, featuring tribal masks and patterns. The woods, fabrics, and other materials are, once again, from the original design. The owner was meticulous in maintaining everything. Photo by Jeff Brown.

There’s a strong Polynesian theme throughout the decor aboard, featuring tribal masks and patterns. The woods, fabrics, and other materials are, once again, from the original design. The owner was meticulous in maintaining everything. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Look closely at the carpeting close to where it meets the walls, here in the foyer connecting four guest staterooms. Jon Bannenberg designed the fringes to mimic breaking waves. The skylight above the stone artwork is part of the sole where the tenders stow, on the main aft deck. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Look closely at the carpeting close to where it meets the walls, here in the foyer connecting four guest staterooms. Jon Bannenberg designed the fringes to mimic breaking waves. The skylight above the stone artwork is part of the sole where the tenders stow, on the main aft deck. Photo by Jeff Brown.

The upper-deck VIP stateroom can become a suite. Sliding doors at the threshold connect it to (or close it off from) a TV lounge. The lounge can become a private study. Even the en suite VIP head has sliding doors, too, to one side. They let the room become accessible directly from the lounge/study. Photo by Jeff Brown.

The upper-deck VIP stateroom can become a suite. Sliding doors at the threshold connect it to (or close it off from) a TV lounge. The lounge can become a private study. Even the en suite VIP head has sliding doors, too, to one side. They let the room become accessible directly from the lounge/study. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Naturally, the owners’ suite occupies the best real estate, one deck up from the VIP. If you assume it’s tough to take in the views from the bed, due to the positioning of the ports, think again: The bed rises electrically, quite high, to let you take in vistas without craning your neck. And yes, it’s another original feature. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Naturally, the owners’ suite occupies the best real estate, one deck up from the VIP. If you assume it’s tough to take in the views from the bed, due to the positioning of the ports, think again: The bed rises electrically, quite high, to let you take in vistas without craning your neck. And yes, it’s another original feature. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Also unusual for the 1990s, the yacht was designed with a gym and a spa, two features highly in demand aboard charter yachts these days. Located just off the swim platform, the area includes a colorfully tiled steam sauna (with different aromas, no less), plus stowage for dive equipment. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Also unusual for the 1990s, the yacht was designed with a gym and a spa, two features highly in demand aboard charter yachts these days. Located just off the swim platform, the area includes a colorfully tiled steam sauna (with different aromas, no less), plus stowage for dive equipment. Photo by Jeff Brown.

This patio-like area is a few steps down from Coral Ocean’s sundeck. The round section behind the seat is a peekaboo port into the pool, laid with mosaics. The patio can double as a secluded massage area or intimate dining spot. Photo by Jeff Brown.

This patio-like area is a few steps down from Coral Ocean’s sundeck. The round section behind the seat is a peekaboo port into the pool, laid with mosaics. The patio can double as a secluded massage area or intimate dining spot. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Since Coral Ocean is now meant to charter, guests will spend abundant time outside. The upper-deck bar, with sunpads spanning the full beam fully aft, is sure to please. There’s plenty of space for a crowd to spread out. Speaking of crowds, when the tenders are offloaded, 80 people can party on the aft main deck. Photo by Jeff Brown.

Since Coral Ocean is now meant to charter, guests will spend abundant time outside. The upper-deck bar, with sunpads spanning the full beam fully aft, is sure to please. There’s plenty of space for a crowd to spread out. Speaking of crowds, when the tenders are offloaded, 80 people can party on the aft main deck. Photo by Jeff Brown.

A 238-footer in the early 1990s was practically unheard of, as were so many of the features that Coral Ocean now lets us see. There are even more aboard. Take, for example, the waterfall. It’s not only three decks high, it’s indoors. The original owner reportedly never turned it on, but it works. Another clever concept awaits in the formal dining room. Removable wall panels (you’d be none the wiser) connect two glass-topped tables to let 18 people dine together. All this comes at a pretty price, $320,000 per week (plus expenses) this winter, but when a yacht is pretty special, the will finds the way, no?

For more information, visit Lürssen.

Specifications: LOA: 238’0” * Beam: 42’8” * Draft: 12’1” * Displacement: 1,379 tons * Fuel capacity: 41,475 gallons



Diane Byrne
Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.


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