The Best of Supersail 2016
A small market generates big results.
By Jill Bobrow
While sailing yachts comprise only a single-digit percentage of the superyacht market, some significant and extraordinary yachts have launched this past year. Here’s a sampling.
Splashed in late 2015, the new A is by far the largest sailing yacht in the world, even though she doesn’t much look like any sailing yacht we have ever seen. Built at Nobiskrug in Germany, her length measures a staggering 468 feet (142 meters). A is broadly believed to belong to Andrey Melnichenko, the Russian owner who also built and owns 390-foot (119-meter) Blohm+Voss motoryacht A. Both As bear unusual and controversial exterior styling by Philippe Starck. Dykstra Naval Architects designed the yacht’s massive carbon rig, and Magma Structures in the United Kingdom built it. The rotating masts weigh about 50 tons and can reportedly handle bending loads of more than twice the load on the wing of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Much secrecy still envelops this yacht, so we have no testimonials from anyone who has actually been aboard. For more information: nobiskrug.com
For new racer/cruisers, Nikata—the 115-foot (35-meter) Baltic-built yacht designed inside and out by Nauta with naval architecture by judel/vrolijk & co.—is hard to beat. Launched at the end of 2015, she hit a speed of 28 knots during her first 3,000-nautical-mile Atlantic crossing from Finland to the Caribbean. She also won the Superyacht Division in the RORC Caribbean 600. Built of carbon pre-preg laminate with foam core, Nikata is light and fast. Her lifting bulb keel and long waterline enhance her performance on all points of sail. Hermes-orange cockpit cushions offset her slate-gray hull and silver deckhouse. She has a comfortable interior with accommodations for eight guests plus crew. For creature comforts, she has a 200-bottle wine cellar, and the stern opens to create a swim platform. For more information: balticyachts.com
At 279 feet (85 meters) in length, Aquijo is not only the largest sailing yacht to have been delivered this year, but she is also the largest ketch in the world. Her two masts stand upward of 295 feet. Built in a unique partnership between two Dutch superyacht builders, Oceanco and Vitters, she benefits from the technical expertise and skilled craftsmanship of both yards. Master Yachts, the owner’s representative, closely supervised the project. Tripp Design Naval Architecture played a large part in ensuring that Aquijo would not be a motoryacht with masts. Having sailed on her several times since delivery, Bill Tripp says, “Aquijo has all of what a 1,600-gross-ton motoryacht would have, while being a sailing boat first and foremost. With a sail plan to match her enormous size, yet easy to get sailing and control, she exudes both the luxury superyacht world found in motoryachts and the exuberance and pleasures of the sailing world. She is in proportion and balanced. Balance is such a better word than compromise for creativity, and balance is what we sought, and with a great team have been able to realize.”
Often with yachts of this size, it is hard to “feel the helm,” but in the case of Aquijo, the rudder blades driven by hydrodynamic forces translate directly to the flybridge steering wheels, providing significant feedback to the helmsman. German-based design firm Dölker + Voges created a modern, contemporary interior that is light, bright and functional.
Aquijo’s owner has been enjoying her in the Med, and recently, it was announced that she will be offered for charter. When and if this yacht joins the superyacht regatta circuit, she will be a force to be reckoned with. For more information: oceancoyacht.com, vitters.com
Sybaris is an extraordinary yacht by any measure. At 230 feet (70 meters) in length, she has the distinction of being the largest sailing yacht ever built in Italy. However, she is worthy of many more superlatives than sheer size. She is also one of the most technically complex yachts ever built by Perini Navi, second only to the groundbreaking Maltese Falcon.
Sybaris represents an evolution of Perini’s 60-meter series, which was itself an evolution of the builder’s 56-meter series. To complement the Perini Navi design and engineering team, designer Philippe Briand was brought in to optimize the naval architecture and ensure that she sails competitively. Her American owner, Bill Duker, and his team had considerable input in all aspects of the yacht’s design as well, making Sybaris a truly custom yacht from bow to stern.
Considerable amounts of titanium were utilized throughout the interior, including the overheads and various fixtures, as well as for the exterior railings. Placing the mizzenmast farther aft than was usual on other Perinis maximized both aft deck space for entertaining and interior salon space.
The interior design and décor is by Duker and PHDesign, with whom the owner has collaborated on his homes and apartments. (More on Sybaris in an upcoming feature.) For more information: perininavi.it
Unfurled is a 151-foot (46-meter) masterpiece designed by Frers Naval Architecture & Engineering and built at Vitters, with the influence of a hands-on, experienced owner who is definitive about what he wants. It is hard to get the design right when an owner desires a luxury sailing yacht used most often for cruising, and occasionally to race. Unfurled fulfills both functions extremely well. She came in first in her class in the 2016 St. Barths Bucket—her first race ever. She also had the distinction of being the overall winner of that regatta, against stiff competition. She has the latest high-tech gear, including a carbon rig and roller-furling system with her downwind sails stowed in drums on the foredeck. She is also equipped with retractable propulsion pods.
Unfurled’s interior, by Stirling & Co., is similar to that of her predecessor, the Royal Huisman-built yacht of the same name. The décor is clean, modern and minimal, but not short on appealing details such as book-matched paneling. The owner’s modern art collection adds a touch of whimsy to the austerely beautiful interior. For more information: vitters.com
Royal Huisman’s 142-foot (43-meter) Sea Eagle was designed for performance by Germán Frers, with a high-aspect carbon fiber mast that stands 187 feet (57 meters) above the water. She carries more than 10,764 square feet (1,000 square meters) of upwind sail. She is the second in a limited Royal Huisman series of three.
Rhoades Young designed her contemporary interior with French walnut paneling and white oak floors. Her living area includes an awning-covered forward cockpit, which precedes the deckhouse salon that is surrounded by windows. She has a displacement of approximately 200 tons and a fixed keel of 14 feet 9 inches (4.5 meters).
Sea Eagle’s transom garage contains a 17-foot (5.2-meter) Castoldi tender that lifts out hydraulically. The transom opens to become a swim platform, which the owner can access from the master stateroom.
Her owner, Samuel Yin of Taiwan, is a civil engineer and educator who is the founder of the Tang Prize Foundation that promotes research in sustainable development, biopharmaceutical science, Sinology and rule of law. Yin has plans for extensive cruising in the Baltic and Scandinavia, followed by the Caribbean. For more information: royalhuisman.com
Skade is a 151-foot (46-meter) Holland Jachtbouw-built sloop with exterior styling and engineering by Tripp Design and a Rhoades Young interior. “In this size range, the development is very strong, and this very modern world cruiser sails easily, safely and very quickly,” Bill Tripp says. “Yachts this size formerly were a bit ponderous, but developments in design allow handling and performance levels more akin to smaller high-performance boats, yet at the same time, due to her size she sails faster and, with her high stability, very comfortably in rough conditions.”
Skade’s silver-painted aluminum hull is distinguished by double vertical windows port and starboard. While the mast is tall, the yacht was designed to be able to transit Panama’s Bridge of the Americas. She has a lifting keel, which, when retracted, will allow her to operate in relatively shallow waters. She is configured with both an upper and lower salon. Five staterooms accommodate 10 guests, and there are cabins for seven crew. For more information:
The 140-foot (42.6-meter) Topaz, built by Holland Jachtbouw and launched last summer to the J-Class rule, owes her naval architecture, exterior styling and interior design to Hoek Design Naval Architecture, and her project management to Cornelsen & Partner.
The J-Class yachts have an extraordinary aesthetic appeal. Topaz has a needle-sharp profile and a high-gloss midnight blue hull. She was designed with an Art Deco interior that evokes the period in which the class was conceived. Unusual for a J-Class yacht, she has a compact hybrid propulsion system that allows her to be driven by an 80 kW battery pack, a 50 kW genset or her 325 kW main engine.
While highlighting anything other than wind power might seem superfluous to the intent of a J-Class, whose main function is to sail (and look beautiful doing so), J-Class yachts need significant power to drive the winches when racing. Topaz’s system delivers 250 kW of hydraulic power to make sure all equipment can be simultaneously operated. For more information: hollandjachtbouw.nl
The 125-foot (38-meter) sloop Dahlak, the 60th unit of the Perini Navi fleet, represents a collaboration of Philippe Briand and Perini Navi. Her name derives from the Red Sea archipelago where the owner sailed as a boy. He is a hands-on sailor and skipper who wanted a family yacht that delivered performance, speed, beauty and comfort.
Dahlak shares the same basic naval architecture—including a near-vertical bow to stretch the waterline and rig configuration—as P2, the Perini launched in 2008 that achieved a reputation for winning many superyacht regattas. However, Dahlak is constructed of Sealium aluminum, alloy whereas as P2 had a composite superstructure.
Dahlak’s carbon fiber rig comprises a 169-foot (51.4-meter) mast, a 46-foot (14-meter) boom and composite standing rigging. She flies more than 20,129 square feet (1,870 square meters) of sail. She also sports the latest generation of electric captive winches, engineered at Perini Navi, and a lithium polymer battery system for running silently. For more information: perininavi.it
Cygnus Montanus is an oceangoing sloop of 110 feet 9 inches (33.8 meters) designed by Germán Frers Naval Architecture and built at Yachting Developments in New Zealand. Her interior, by Adam Lay Studio, focuses around family living with accommodations for eight guests, including a full-beam master suite. All interior spaces have skylights. Designed for easy handling by a small crew, she also has a lifting keel to allow her access to remote anchorages. She was delivered in June. For more information: yachtingdevelopments.co.nz