The brief was to provide an upgraded data network infrastructure, commission a VSAT system and provide a Crestron Control user interface for iPad use. There was also a requirement for a discreet back-to-back external TV system on the aft terrace of the yacht, which was to be built into a bespoke lift and integrated with a speaker configuration. We were also asked to upgrade the video distribution to HDMI, upgrade and enhance internal and external AV systems and provide a portable digital karaoke system.
The yacht was built 7 years previously and the existing cable infrastructure system was adopted by Sensory where possible. It was surveyed and tested to ensure we could be certain the reliability and performance of the cable network would meet our criteria for the upgrade. We decided that the refit would be split into two phases. Phase one was to upgrade the network infrastructure, commission the VSAT and provide the new Crestron overlays for the requested roaming iPad control throughout the yacht. Phase two for the upgrade of the HDMI Video Distribution system for 86 sources over 24 independent zones. We also provided improved access to, and control of, the CCTV system throughout. To give the client and the build team a better understanding of our proposal, our design team put together 3D renders, which we used to walk the client through a virtual yacht to help understand the proposal. The aft terrace had a bespoke lift with twin marinised back-to-back outdoor screens for simultaneous viewing in two areas.
The AV system itself consisted of individual standalone systems located in each cabin, which had access to satellite receivers, Kaleidescape, CCTV, AV switching and amplification. In each area the AV, lighting and heating were controlled by iPads. The equipment in each cabin could operate as a standalone system if required. The HD video distribution system was designed and built around a Crestron DM HDMI matrix, enabling us to output quality, high definition video and system control to over 20 screens around the yacht. A Crestron control interface was selected to provide intuitive operation of the entire entertainment system, with a combination of wireless handsets and iPad controls. The iPad interfaces were also multilingual, at the request of the owner. Apple airplay was possible throughout the yacht so that the clients could stream music or video from their own devices.
In addition to the existing cable infrastructure, the upgrade from component to HD video distribution and the requirement to provide additional speakers on the aft terrace necessitated running in and testing several extra cables. A requirement of the data network upgrade was for the installation of fibre links between network racks on each deck. The yacht was in a tent in dry dock for the duration of the project, which entailed carrying all kit on and off the boat via scaffolding. One of the biggest tasks was to dismantle the AV racks in the rack room, re-cable and install new hardware. Additional specialist all-weather external speakers were added to the existing system on the aft terrace to give a total of 13 ceiling mounted full range speakers and 4 subwoofers.
There were issues with space requirements with regard to the racks and AV equipment. Careful consideration was taken when initially designing the system upgrades. Due to the nature of this refit, we had to adapt our designs spontaneously to accommodate unexpected issues with the existing system and infrastructure, in order to fully integrate the new components without losing any of the original functionality. Due to the high number of speakers on the aft terrace, there was a risk of feedback from the karaoke microphones when the system was used at high volumes. We solved this problem by incorporating a digital feedback exterminator into the karaoke rack. The project was carried out whilst the yacht was being repainted. We had to consider timeframes and work around the painters so as not to cause them delays plus we had to work closely with our TV lift manufacturers to come up with the best solution for the back-to-back TVs on the aft terrace. The original brief was for one TV, and when a second one was added we needed to upgrade the lift specification to cope with the significant extra weight. This installation turned out to be one of the most successful features of the project.
The Follow Up
The new infrastructure and equipment specification featured onboard are being used and enjoyed. We continue to provide global support and service to the yacht.