How your yacht can save the oceans

O’Ptasia, Golden Yachts’ new flagship, is wowing charterers with her quiet comfort and beautiful beach club

Silence is Golden

“She was booked for charter before even leaving the shed, just based off the renderings,” says Paris Dragnis of the new85-metre Golden Yachts flagship O’Ptasia. 

Standing on the quay at the yacht’s home marina in Athens, the chairman and founder of Golden Yachts gazes admiringly up at his new yacht. At 2,350GT, she is the largest boat to emerge from the Greek yard. And she sets a new standard among her Golden Yachts siblings for amenities and technical innovations to maximise guest comfort on board. Golden Yachts’ business model is distinct from most yards’. Rather than building a yacht with a client in mind, or even on speculation hoping to lure the right owner, newyachts go directly into the charter market, managed by Golden Yachts’ sister company, the brokerage house Atalanta Golden Yachts. These spend at least a few years chartering before being put up for sale, with Dragnis also taking this time to use the boat himself – as a means to both enjoy his creation and gain insights on improvements for the following iterations. In this sense, Dragnis very much wears the hat of owner during the build process, dreaming up the brief andworking hand-in-hand with Italian designer Giorgio Vafiadis of Studio Vafiadis. Their first Golden Yachts project was 42-metre O’Pari, launched in 1997 by Intermarine but refitted by the nascent Greek yard in 2006. StudioVafiadis masterminded the interior design of the refit. “Yachting wasmyhobby and then it becamemybusiness,” says Dragnis. “And I still love it.” Before venturing into yacht building, his business was cargo ships and tankers. And in a former life, in his early 20s, Dragnis worked on boats himself. His business card still brandishes the title “Captain” and the crewrefer to him as such when he’s on board. These days, though, he is quite content to leave the helm to O’Ptasia’s actual skipper, Nikos Demertzis,whosays that the full-displacement yacht handles exceptionallywell in rough seas. Fromseafarer to shipping magnate to yachtowner, this varied maritime history has helped inform the construction process of Golden Yachts. The shipping background in particular has surely helped the engineering advancements found on O’Ptasia. Guest comfort was paramount to the brief, and as such additional sound dampening was required. “My wish is to build a boat that when it’s running you hear nothing at all,” Dragnis says.

The contrasting tastes of Golden Yachts’ Paris Dragnis and designer Giorgio Vafiadis are balanced. The interior has a blend of dark woods paired with a light colour palette that is intended to evoke a sense of calm

The precise goal was to improve noise insulation by 35 per cent compared with O’Ptasia’s”. predecessor, O’Pari 3. “I like the quietness of the upper saloon,” says Vafiadis, to this point. Vafiadis, along with his son Stefano, styled O’Ptasia’s interior and exterior as well as configuring the layout. He has penned 11 out of Golden Yachts’ 13-strong fleet, creating a familial inheritance of flowing looks, soft lines and a style that endures. Balance, fluidity and light are all Vafiadis keywords. “Looking at the profile, you can recognise a certain fluidity, like watermoving in slowmotion and then shaping well-balanced volumes,” he says. “It’s a continuation of a style in the Golden Yachts family. When you make a successful design for a brand, it’s normal to maintain such design concepts. We designed all of the Golden Yachts new builds having that same idea in mind.” In order to create an elegant exterior on a larger scale with O’Ptasia, Vafiadis played with the contrast between volumes and recesses, “by pulling the volumes out in opposition to the recesses absorbed by the dark”. The tastes of Dragnis and Vafiadis are balanced inside. “I like light colours and Giorgio likes dark woods, so it’s always a matter of finding a compromise,” Dragnis says. Fittingly, the interior has a blend of dark woods paired with a light colour palette that is intended to evoke a sense of calm. There is a range of woods, from a porous lati to glossy ebony. “The inspiration for the interior was quiet, calm and relaxing,” says Vafiadis. “We kept the surfaces clean, and there isn’t a lot of clutter or accessories.” The interior decor is modern, with clean, crisp lines and eye-catching details. Ebony cabinetry is inlaid with stainless-steel details. A rippled line in the cabinets breaks up the expanse of joinery in the saloon, drawing the eyes up and out to views beyond the picture-box windows. The main saloon is a grand space, one large open-plan room with two separate seating areas containing white leather sofas, black coffee tables and glass lamps. A dining area is set at the forward end of the saloon, and the ebony dining table is centred with backlit, honey-toned onyx. Air-conditioning units, supplied by Dometic, are hidden in columns, and they are whisper quiet, with air dispersed through the shelved ceilings. This not only hides the potential eyesore of vents but also creates dramatic height, especially in the main saloon – and the next yacht in build is slated to have ceilings that are 20 centimetres higher still. The upper deck saloon is a more casual place for lounging or watching films, with low-slung grey sofas, a bar and games table. The guest cabins feature eucalyptus walls and grey joinery.