The Strong, Silent Type
Admiral's largest yacht to date, Quinta Essentia, combines hybrid technology and cruising flexibility in an eye-catching package.
By Justin Ratcliffe
The Admiral E Motion hybrid Quinta Essentia is unlikely to be confused with any other yachts moored along the French and Italian rivieras. Not only does the 180-foot (55-meter) superyacht have eye-catching exterior styling that singles her out from the crowd, but she is truly a standout beneath her striking burgundy and white livery.
The starting point for the project was her Russian owner’s previous Heesen of the same name and length overall, launched in 2011. A competitive sailor who races in the Melges 32 class, he mostly used the semi-displacement yacht as a mothership during regattas. The problem was that her powerful 5,766-horsepower MTU engines were not ideal for keeping station on the start line or following a sailboat race: noisy engines that produce clouds of diesel fumes at low revs is not the best way to make friends among sailors.
The owner approached broker-turned-designer-and-builder Sergey Dobroserdov of Nakhimov Yachts in Monaco to devise a more “regatta-friendly” yacht with additional interior and exterior space for post-race partying. Dobroserdov Design was brought in for the exterior styling, Vripack in Holland for the naval architecture, Michela Reverberi in Italy for the interior design and British consultant Rob Williamson—who had captained the Heesen Quinta Essentia—as the owner’s project manager. The result is an all-aluminum displacement yacht with dynamic exterior design, efficient propulsion and ample connection to the sea. The Italian Sea Group in Carrara, Italy, built the yacht under the Admiral brand.
“Our key objectives were comfort in terms of noise and vibration, combined with efficiency, flexibility and reliability,” Williamson says. “After examining the options, we realized that hybrid propulsion was the way to go.”
The new Quinta Essentia is fitted with relatively small 1,400-horsepower MAN engines coupled to an Auxilia DC electric motor installed on each drive shaft between the main engine and gearbox. Powered by two variable-speed generators, the e-motors can drive the yacht without the main engines, or can serve as shaft generators with the gensets switched off. Battery banks were considered, but rejected on account of their limited energy output and the extra weight and space they require.
The e-motors provide near-silent maneuvering in and out of port—or on the regatta course—and low-emission cruising at 9 knots (an electric Voith bow thruster and electric CMC stabilizers further reduce noise and vibration). For faster cruising up to a top speed of 16.5 knots, the main engines take over, while the e-motors can service the hotel loads. In diesel-electric mode using the e-motors, the yacht has an impressive range of around 6,000 nautical miles.
In addition to the quiet propulsion system, double- and triple-glazed windows throughout with flush glass on the outside of the portholes further reduce noise levels. A heat-reflective film applied to the glass increases the efficiency of the air-conditioning system, which means lower air speeds from the fan coils and less noise. At anchor in the owner’s stateroom and guest staterooms, for example, the noise level is 41 decibels—about what it would be inside a library.
“Basically, the yacht ticks all the right boxes,” Williamson says. “You can come in and out of a harbor with much less noise and bluster, and the yacht is definitely more fuel efficient than conventional propulsion when cruising at low speed with the electric motors.”
Vripack optimized the hull form by doing resistance, propulsion and seakeeping trials in the towing tank, and by using proprietary computational fluid dynamics software. Because of the owner’s plan to use his yacht at inshore regattas, the draft had to be relatively shallow. The lightweight aluminum hull reduced the draft and wave profile, and lowered resistance to maximize speed in hybrid mode. But the relatively high superstructure and full-height glass raised the metacentric height (center of gravity), which is critical in stability calculations, so Vripack introduced a wide aft body and bilge keels that work with the stabilizer fins to dampen roll.
“We really put the model to the test in conditions the yacht is unlikely to encounter in a real-life scenario,” says Aleksandr Markov, one of Vripack’s naval architects who worked on the project. “She performed very well in terms of comfort and safety, showing no signs of broaching in the most demanding conditions.”
At 873 gross tons, Quinta Essentia is a high-volume yacht for her size, which gave the design team plenty of space to get creative with the interior layout. The starting point for the general arrangement was the beach club, which can be accessed externally from the main deck and internally through a watertight door from the guest accommodations on the lower deck. The space has a sauna, hammam, massage room, 320-square-foot transom platform (the transom door extends across almost the entire beam to cover the side stairs) and smaller portside platform.
On most yachts, the beach club also houses a gym. But unless the owner and guests are prepared to exercise in the depths of the hull underway, the location limits use to when the yacht is anchored and the platforms are deployed. Instead, Quinta Essentia’s gym is on the sundeck to take full advantage of the sea breeze and natural light. The sole is on a slightly higher level than the surrounding decking so the teak can be hosed down without drenching the gym equipment. A wall of floor-to-ceiling glass panels can open onto the lounge seating and hot tub on the open aft deck.
On the owner’s previous yacht, the post-regatta celebrations took place on the main deck aft. That’s where Quinta Essentia is set up for serious partying, with professional sound gear, a bar, lounge seating and a 3,000-gallon capacity pool that recovers heat from the air-conditioning system to pre-heat the water in just 10 minutes.
The accommodations are cleverly devised to provide flexible options for chartering. The full-beam master stateroom on the main deck has a fixed portside balcony, and the VIP suite on the deck above is almost as spacious, which means it can serve as a second owner’s suite with access to sun loungers on the foredeck. Furniture in the four guest staterooms on the lower deck rearranges to create two suites with private lounges.
Considering the time and effort put into developing a technical platform and layout designed around her owner’s specific needs, it is somewhat ironic that Quinta Essentia is unlikely to be used for her intended purpose. At the time of writing, the yacht was for sale, but the hybrid concept has produced a spin-off: an Admiral E Motion 52 currently in build. With exterior styling again by Dobroserdov Design, its propulsion system consists of four main engines and two DC electric motors that can be combined to reach a higher maximum speed of 23 knots.
LOA: 180ft. 6in. (55m)
BEAM: 33ft. 6in. (10.2m)
DRAFT (max): 15ft. 2in. (4.6m)
DISPLACEMENT: 592 tons
GROSS TONNAGE: 873
ENGINES: 2 x 1,400 hp (at 2100 rpm) MAN LE463
GENERATORS: 2 x 600 kW Volvo variable speed
ELECTRIC MOTORS: 2 x 150 kW
HYBRID SYSTEM: Auxilia
FUEL: 21,133 gal. (80,000L)
WATER: 5,943 gal. (22,500L)
SPEED (max.): 16.5 knots
SPEED (electric cruising): 9.5 knots
RANGE: 3,500 nm at 12 knots
STABILIZERS: CMC electric, at-anchor
CLASSIFICATION: RINA commercial yacht, unrestricted, RINA Green Plus, RINA Comfort Class
NAVAL ARCHITECTURE: Vripack
EXTERIOR STYLING: Dobroserdov Design
INTERIOR DESIGN: Michela Reverberi
BUILDER: Italian Sea Group
For more information: +39 0585 5062, admiralyachts.it