AROUND THE YARDS: SUPERYACHTS
Yard work is thriving across the superyacht sector with an interesting mix of design styles, materials and construction techniques, reports Kevin Green.
In the Australia-Pacific region alone, yards in New Zealand such as Alloy and Fitzroy have busy order books. Collaborations are another factor with, for example, Warwick design working with Taiwanese builder T.C.C.Y. Hsien. Elsewhere, materials such as carbon composites, are being used in large hull construction for the first time, pioneered by Italian innovator Wally Yachts. As for design styles, well you just have to look at the revival of the mighty J-Class fleet to see the amazing application of new technologies from companies such as Hoek Design who are using 3D modelling to build Lionheart, which will be the biggest J-Class afloat and will compete with the Royal Huisman Yard's nearly finished Endeavour II. Exciting times.
Alloy Yachts in New Zealand was founded in 1985 to build custom aluminium sailing and motor yachts from 30m to 68m. Currently under construction are two large sailing vessels, Mondango, a 52m ketch, and Kokomo, a 58m sloop. In February this year, Alloy delivered Red Dragon, a 52m sloop, which is currently on its maiden passage to the Seychelles, bound for the Mediterranean.
Alloy built the previous Kokomo for Australian property developer Lang Walker last year. It seems like only yesterday that I was chatting to Walker about his new superyacht Kokomo, but now the Sydney-born sailor has another slightly larger one under construction with the same yard. This begs the question ?why so soon? and other queries, which I put to his representative Peter Wilson from MCM construction management:
1. Why is this boat being built, given the last Kokomo is still pretty new? As an extremely successful property developer, the client really enjoys the design/build/problem-solving process and the excitement surrounding the magnificent new-build projects. As an avid racing and cruising yachtsman, he likes to push the boundaries of both size and technology.
2. What are the design differences between the new and old boat? The new one is longer, has slightly less length/beam ratio (though it is beamier than the current boat). The mast is significantly taller, towering roughly 75m above the water, and the sail area to weight ratio is more extreme as we have no constrictions in terms of things like trying to get under the Bridge of the America?s in Panama or through the Mubarak Bridge in Suez, so the boat will go around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope to get from ocean to ocean.
3. Looking at the hull construction and keel layout, what have you gone for? Our hull is aluminium and we have chosen a lifting keel to allow entry into shallow waters and marinas.
4. Rig – looks pretty standard in the artist drawing so what can you tell us – reefing design, materials, shrouds etc? The rig is ultra-high-tech using high modulus pre-preg carbon and autoclaved construction. Thorough and in-depth research and product assessment study is currently ongoing to establish whether we should stay with Nitronic 50 or go with carbon or poly(p-phenylene benzobisoxazole) (PBO).
5. Sail wardrobe – brand and types of sails used? Brand has yet to be selected. We are looking at a couple of the major names in sail-making, but there are very few people who have the requisite experience to design, engineer and build sails for such a high performance yacht of this size, particularly as even though she is only 6.4m longer than the current boat, she has almost twice the righting moment! The load on the jib sheet alone will be north of 30 tonnes!
6. Accommodation – what is the primary use of this boat and how has the accommodation been built in accordance? One master cabin aft, two twin cabins forward port and starboard ? both with Pullman berths, two VIP cabins all off grand guest foyer.
7. Can you tell us about any innovations used throughout the design, build and configuration? Finite Element Analysis is being undertaken to refine all the major structural elements and high load areas on this boat. This will serve several principal functions. It will ensure that we have conservative factors of safety at the lightest weight realistically possible. This boat is being maximised to fit under the 500GRT rules, so an in-depth volumetric calculation has been done by the design office to ensure we remain under this threshold. We have glass sliding windows around all three sides of the cockpit. We are also in the process of designing and developing a submarine anchoring system.
8. Navigation electronics – anything special here, for example, forward sonar etc? No forward sonar. As electronics is an ever-developing field, we are keeping a weather eye out for new and better navigation and communication technologies But we have not defined them yet, wishing to take maximum advantage of the new systems as they become available.
9. Project duration for entire boat – how long? We started cutting metal in September 2007 and the launch is planned for October 2009.
10. Performance – expected speeds with sails and engine (also engine configuration)? This boat will have an impressive turn of speed both up-wind, reaching and downwind. Due to her immense sail plan, she will always be bringing the wind forward. In 16 knots true, she will do over 12 knots upwind, and easily 15 knots downwind. Due to the lifting keel configuration, she has twin engines. These are two Caterpillar C18s D rated at 872hp each. It will comfortably cruise at 15 knots.
11. Getting the job – why do you think you got the job from Lang Walker? I believe his decision was based on the enormous success of the last 52m project that we managed for him. That boat came out on time, on budget and met or exceeded all his expectations. He wanted to re-create this success and push us all a little further with the ground-breaking nature of this project. In addition to MCM, he has again selected Dubois as the naval architects, Redman Whiteley, Dixon as the interior designers and Alloy Yachts as the builders.
The yacht when completed is to measure less than 500 gross registered tonnes.
Length Overall 58.4m (191ft)
Length Waterline 51.5 m
Beam 10.9 m
Draft (keel raised) 4.9 m
Draft (keel lowered) 8.05 m
Ballast Approx. 120 tonnes (total keel weight)
Displacement 450 Tonnes (to be confirmed)
Designer Dubois Naval Architects
Engine 2 x Caterpillar C18 ?D? rated 872 hp
Builder Alloy Yachts
Currently under construction and scheduled to be launched in 2008 is the 41m Dubois classic sloop Inmocean.
Dubois Naval Architects, which have become known in recent years for their contemporary sailing superyachts, have produced a classic-styled yacht; a flowing sheer line with long overhangs.
Below decks cherry wood predominates. Satin stainless steel finishings make up the majority of the Adam Lay-designed interior decor with subtle classical panelling but retaining a contemporary look.
The owner?s cabin forward allows for the luxury of a private space on the foredeck, twin bathrooms and generous headroom. This gives the cabin an overall feeling of space, light and openness. From the owner?s cabin, a progressively curved passageway between two guest cabins leads aft to the lower saloon and study, which in turn give way, via a staircase, to the pilothouse. The cockpit spaces are built for al fresco entertaining, sheltered by the pilothouse. Crew berths aft are designed to maximise the staff's ability to service the yacht, owner and guests.
Fitzroy say they have worked closely with her European owner and experienced captain to realise the design. Inmocean is scheduled to be launched in the second half of 2008.
Length Overall 41m (134ft)
Length water line 30.00m
Displacement 151 tonnes
Accommodation Owners cabin, guest cabins (2), crew cabins (3)
Designer Dubois Naval Architects
Interior Designer Adam Lay Studios
Builder Fitzroy Yachts Ltd
Warwick Yacht Design
Alan Warwick's design company has continued to produce interesting ideas from its New Zealand base and the latest Warwick carries on this tradition. The Warwick 45 metre sloop offers a simple clean design with large, open deck space. It has a single level main saloon with seating, bar and dining for eight with large sliding roof.
Accommodation comprises of a full width master stateroom aft with separate office and spacious ensuite and two guest staterooms are located below decks aft. There is also an alternative layout option that offers another two cabins.
The engine room incorporates twin 405 HP engines with separate generator, laundry and freezer rooms forward. A large galley and accommodation for captain and six crew complete the lower deck arrangement.
On deck forward is a five metre tender recessed into the coachhouse and a large lazarrette and stern platform aft with crew tender and toys. The builder is: T.C.C.Y. Hsien, Taiwan.
Length over all: 45.00m (147 ft)
Beam overall: 9.10m
Length water line 39.00m
Draft: (keel up) 3.60m
Draft (down) 5.70m
Main engines: 2x Caterpillar C9 ACERT
Builder is: T.C.C.Y. Hsien, Taiwan
The might and elegance embodied in the J-Class yachts has remained in the public imagination from their heydays back in the 1930s. A total of 20 Js were designed between 1930 and 1937 but not all built. Of the 10 completed in the 1930s, only three survived. But following the successes of the existing fleet -Endeavour, Velsheda and Shamrock V and the replica Ranger – a fleet revival is under way. One of the main factors of this renaissance was the decision by the J-Class Association to allow aluminium as a hull construction material.
There are several boats either under construction or on the drawing board and Holland is leading the way. Hoek Design is overseeing the construction of the aluminium-hulled Lionheart, which will be launched in the third quarter of 2009, and the office has three other J-Class yachts under development. Elsewhere, the influential Royal Huisman yard will launch the replica Endeavour II this year.
Hoek Design has developed specific Velocity Prediction Software for J-Class yachts in partnership with Piet van Oossanen of wing-keel fame. This sophisticated Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) has been developed specifically for these craft, and was calibrated using tank test data from a six-metre long model of a J. The aerodynamic part was calibrated with wind tunnel test data. ?In contrast to other types of software, our VPP software is capable of calculating rudder angles as well as predicting performance in waves,? Andre Hoek explains. ?This enables us to also optimise helm balance.?
Originally designed for the Ranger syndicate by Starling Burgess and Sparkman & Stephens, Lionheart is the first yacht to be built based upon this research. She will be the largest J afloat when launched. Arching 17-metre overhangs on a LOA of 44 metres have created a fascinating super J with a maximum waterline length.
Hoek analysed the line honours and handicap of all 20 yacht designs and modelled them in software in such a way that they could predict performance. This led to a specific handicap system being developed by the J-Class Association in order to enable different sizes of steel and aluminium Js to race against each other.
?The best five performing yachts were further analysed with computational fluid dynamic software in order to gain greater insight into the differences,” said Hoek. “The series of yachts originally designed for the Ranger project in 1936 proved to be very good performance-wise, although some are better for light air conditions and others for heavy air.?
Hull construction of Lionheart got under way in August 2007 at Freddie Bloemsma?s specialist hull yard and will be finished by Claasen Jachtbouw. Construction management is in the hands of Nigel Ingram, of Marine Construction Management in Newport, US.
Lionheart is designed for cruising as well as racing, and is therefore being built to MCA classification. She will be one of the very few J-Class yachts available for charter as the majority are not built to class. Her deck layout shows two small deckhouses with sleek and low profiles as well as two small cockpit areas.
Ahead of Lionheart is perhaps the most famous of the Js, Endeavour II, one of the largest J yacht hulls ever built and the replica of the same name is now well on its way towards completion at Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland. The aluminium yacht is due to be launched in late 2008. Gerard Dijkstra & Partners are design consultants for this project. Combining technology with classic design, it will feature a one-piece carbon mast, advanced deck layout and interior design by Pieter Beeldsnijder Design.
Length Overall 42.09 m (138,09 ft)
Length water line 27.68 m
Beam 6.60 m
Draft 4.72 m
Displacement 183.472 tons
Type J-Class sailing yacht
Designer Gerard Dijkstra & Partners
Interior Pieter Beeldsnijder Design
Decorator Rebecca Bradley
Builder: Royal Huisman Shipyard, Holland.
Year of build 2008