Performance has always been a vital ingredient in Heesen yachts, and 229-foot (70-meter) GALACTICA SUPER NOVA is a case in point. The Heesen flagship is an evolution of its award-winning, 213-foot (65-meter) GALACTICA STAR. But with an innovative drivetrain providing an extra turn of speed and new exterior styling by Espen Øino, she is much more than just a larger copy.
“A major part of the brief was to bring in new elements while preserving the strong brand recognition that Heesen enjoys,” says Øino, who was also responsible for the bespoke deck furniture and fittings. “So we stepped up the exterior design with the arches on the sundeck, the chamfered edges and the level of detailing in general. Every single detail has been considered. For instance, both the flagpole and the jack staff present quite complex yet elegant and fluent lines. To me, she still looks very much like a Heesen, which was all part of the plan.”
The arches are a signature styling feature borrowed from Galactica Star, but on Galactica Super Nova they are extended to envelop the semi-enclosed sundeck. On the smaller yacht it emerged that these aluminum flying buttresses connecting the main deck aft to the upper deck were subject to torsion due to the bending moment of the hull. So on Galactica Super Nova they are made of Alustar, an aluminum alloy with higher fatigue resistance sometimes used as a lightweight armor plate for military vehicles. The same alloy was also used to reinforce the hull perforations around the fold-down aft platforms.
Lessons learned on the smaller stablemate also proved useful when specifying the stabilizers for Galactica Super Nova. Her predecessor was fitted with five inboard gyrostabilizers to reduce resistance and increase speed. These proved less than perfect, especially at anchor, so Quantum XT fins were retrofitted to work in combination with the gyros. The variable-geometry foils, which extend only when at anchor for zero-speed stabilization and retract into the fin body underway to reduce drag, were specified for Galactica Super Nova without the gyros.
The owner’s brief called for a fast yacht—faster even than her 28-knot predecessor—with a contractual top speed of 30 knots. The Fast Displacement Hull Form, developed by Van Oossanen Naval Architects and introduced with Galactica Star, helped to achieve this by combining the low-speed efficiency of a full-displacement vessel with the maximum speed associated with a semi-displacement hull. But pushing a yacht of 1,200 gross tons through the water at more than 35 miles per hour also required a punchy power package.
Galactica Super Nova’s drivetrain comprises two MTU wing engines with fixed-pitch propellers and a third central engine that powers a booster water jet by Rolls-Royce (squeezing all this machinery into the allotted space made this engine room the first that Heesen designed entirely in 3-D). With more than 16,000 horsepower (about 12,000 kilowatts) at her disposal, during sea trails at full load, the all-aluminum yacht accelerated to 30 knots in 75 seconds and kept on going to reach an unofficial top speed of 32.7 knots, according to Heesen. That makes her one of the fastest superyachts in her class on the water.
“The booster jet was the best way to achieve the contractual top speed,” says naval architect Perry van Oossanen. “In combination with standard diesel engines, shaft lines and fixed-pitch propellers, it avoided the need for much more complex and expensive controllable pitch propellers. By carefully selecting the propeller design and operating modes, the booster jet did not add any complexity in terms of engineering or operating the yacht.”
In practice, the booster jet provides the last few knots of boat speed for short crossings, not least because at top speed the fuel tanks would run dry in 24 hours. But there is also the comfort factor to consider. At full speed, the wind on deck will have you reaching for the handrails. At a sedate but more comfortable and economical displacement speed of 12 knots, Galactica Super Nova has a transatlantic range of 4,000 nautical miles.
The owner appointed Dutch designer Sander Sinot to create the light and mellow interior. The overall atmosphere is informal and understated, yet inviting and refined with a balance between neutral tones and soft splashes of color. Contrasting lacewood and wengé veneers form the basis of the interior décor, complemented by a range of leathers from galuchat to soft calfskin, sole-to-ceiling calacatta luccicoso or pure white Thassos marble in the bathrooms, and onyx panels in the master suite. A standout feature is the central staircase that wraps around a glass elevator.
“The main lobby and staircase provides an opportunity to make a bold statement,” Sinot says. “The result is a masterpiece of precision detailing where the polished steel and wood treads flow into the stairwell to form a magnificent and grandiose architectural helix.”
Other notable features include a 3,560-gallon pool on the main deck aft with a glass bottom, waterfall and contra-flow system for swimming. During the day, the glass bottom illuminates the beach club below; at night, the club transforms into a party space with thousands of LED light clusters configured to interact with the music (the high-tech lighting can also be adjusted to suit more mellow moods should romantic dining or a cocktail reception be the order of the day). This space is possible because the array of tenders and toys—including an amphibious Quadski that doubles as a quad bike or as a PWC with the wheels retracted—is housed in the forward garage.
“Today is a milestone in the history of Heesen Yachts with the launching of our longest-ever yacht,” Heesen Sales Director Mark Cavendish said during the launch ceremony.
Galactica Super Nova certainly represents another rung up the size ladder for the Dutch brand, and with a new 321-foot dry dock now in operation, Heesen can offer yachts of up to 262 feet (80 meters) in length.
“I can assure you that you have made the best possible choice,” Cavendish told the owner. “And on that basis, I hope to see you back again soon for an even larger yacht.”
Galactica Super Nova is built to the highest safety rating and has an MOB Rapid Reaction System. Standard man-overboard operations require keeping an eye on the person in the water, throwing a life ring and alerting the bridge—an almost impossible task for one person, especially at high speed. So Galactica Super Nova has alarm buttons strategically positioned on each deck level. When a button is activated, the system automatically launches self-inflating buoys, sounds an alarm to inform the bridge and marks the exact position on the chart plotter.
Heesen is no stranger to water-jet propulsion. In 1988, the builder launched 144-foot (44-meter) Octopussy with triple water jets and a sensational top speed in excess of 50 knots. At the time, she was the fastest yacht on record. Three years later, it was the turn of sistership El Corsario, which was only marginally slower. The term “carbon footprint” hadn’t yet been coined, and sensibilities have evolved somewhat since then, but this previous engineering experience proved invaluable to Heesen when configuring the power package for Galactica Super Nova.
For more information: heesenyachts.com