Royal Huisman’s Spirit of Tradition build Kamaxitha combines classic aesthetics and modern systems and performance.
There was something serendipitous about sailing aboard Kamaxitha in the waters off Split, Croatia. Kamaxitha is a Spirit of Tradition yacht—possessing classic lines, but with completely modern state-of-the-art engineering and high-performance sailing capability. Split, dominated by Diocletian’s Roman palace, has been continuously inhabited since the 4th century. Against a maze of ancient alleyways and stone structures is a wave of new construction and industrialization.
Historic and picturesque, the dramatic Dalmatian Coast provided an appropriate environment and a stunning backdrop for sailing aboard Kamaxitha.
The 182-foot (55.4-meter) ketch Kamaxitha was built by Royal Huisman and designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, with a Rhoades Young interior and project management by Jens Cornelsen. Her design origins are clearly classic, but the owners did not want to forfeit speed for aesthetics. Partway through the build, they saw the plans for the 219-foot (66.7-meter) Hetairos that Cornelsen was project-managing at Baltic Yachts and decided to completely change Kamaxitha’s bow configuration. Making a change was not a problem. A versatile naval architect, Gerard Dykstra has had a successful career working on everything from the J-Class Endeavour to the innovative The Maltese Falcon. Erik Wesson, designer at Dykstra, was on board during our sail in Croatia.
“We went from a clipper bow to a vertical bow in order to increase the waterline and add interior volume,” says Wesson. “Then we included a hydraulic lifting keel to give added performance.”
Kamaxitha’s owners had never built a large yacht before, and by all accounts, they were very happy with the process. Their captain, Adam Williams, spent the last six months of the build on-site at Huisman.
“It was pure pleasure dealing with Huisman,” he says. “The yard is immaculate and the workforce is meticulous. It is so convenient to have the capability of having everything engineered and manufactured in-house or at Rondal.”
With her pristine hull devoid of ports, a sweet sheerline, unrestrained teak decks, low-profile teak deckhouses and a counter stern in contrast to her plumb bow, Kamaxitha is a beauty by anyone’s standards. Twin helms and traditional binnacles provide symmetry to the main cockpit. The carbon-composite rollaway masts and booms and Duplex high-tensile stainless-steel bowsprit are all painted a buff color. The decks are clear without even the intrusion of a windlass. The anchor was designed to drop from a hatch in the underbelly of the hull. At first, Cornelsen said he was not convinced about the anchor placement, but submarines have long handled their anchors in this manner. He went along with the proposal and is now pleased with its efficiency.
Kamaxitha has a 62-ton lifting keel with a bulb and a carbon-composite spade rudder. With the keel weight concentrated in the bulb, she has a low center of gravity, which balances out her powerful rig. The yacht has a scant crew of seven, but observing her sails being set was a study in efficiency and tranquility. No barking of orders and scurrying around the deck. With most systems automated, it took just a few minutes to get underway. Utilizing Lewmar high-speed drum winches, Reckmann furlers and Rondal captive winches, the rig is a snap to handle. Dykstra has predicted the boat will sail well over 20 knots in the right conditions. I asked Williams what the right conditions might be.
“We need flat water with wind aft of beam, on broad reach, and the asymmetric or mizzen staysail,” he says. “We have a lot of sail area—2,449 square meters of downwind sail.”
Prior to our sail, the crew had witnessed speeds up to 19.6 knots. In Croatia, we reached 14 knots matching the apparent wind speed on a close reach. The owners have never been racing sailors, but they plan to attend the St. Barth’s Bucket in 2014. For that regatta, the captain says he will have an extra 20 crew and will spend at least 10 days practicing. While the yacht was never built to be a racing boat, these owners, not surprisingly, are keen on winning.
Belowdecks, it’s apparent the boat was built for cruising in luxury and style. The interior décor is traditional and nautical. She borrows from Herreshoff with white painted deckheads set above contoured beams. Evert van Dishoeck, Royal Huisman’s commercial manager, explained that it was extremely difficult to get a brushed, rather than smooth, finish on the woodwork. The raised-and-fielded mahogany paneling throughout is matte-finished and her doors were hand-painted as opposed to sprayed.
The crew quarters and galley forward benefit from the same detailed finish as the guest staterooms. Anya, the charming Polish chief stewardess, made a comment about their Michelin-star chef having to pay attention to keeping the white-painted galley pristine while making his extraordinary culinary creations. The galley has separate cellars for red and white wine.
The main salon amidships is a duplex configuration with a pilothouse dining area and a lower lounge area. Seating is around a faux fireplace that has an authentic glow and even a smoke effect, which is achieved through lighting and water vapor. The bar is the owner’s domain. It has a bar seat behind the counter where he can hold court and pull his own draft beer. The draft beer machine can accommodate 18 glasses one after another. On this lower level there is also a guest cabin that is handicapped-accessible. The owner has a good friend who became disabled in an accident and who loves to sail, so the cabin is equipped with rails and ramps for easy access to bed, shower and head.
The additional guest cabins are abaft the upper dining salon. All have flat-screen TVs and Apple iPads that operate the entertainment devices and lighting.
The master suite, located far aft, is the pièce de résistance. On the lower level, a romantic, encased boudoir-style double bed is to port. There is a walk-in wardrobe and double bathroom, a separate steam room and an office. The suite is equipped with four TVs, including one in the stream room. From their upper lounge the owners have access to their own private cockpit where they can enjoy morning coffee or a private lunch. As in the rest of the boat, the décor evokes a maritime museum replete with ship models, sextants and cannons. But the accommodations are more spacious and luxurious than a true classic yacht would have been.
The amalgamation of the old and the new is indicative of Spirit of Tradition yachts, and Kamaxitha is the quintessential embodiment of a modern classic. When she takes part in her first regatta next spring, she will have the ability to prove her performance. In the meantime, her owners and guests will enjoy a program of cruising in style.
For more information: 207 646 9504; royalhuisman.com
LOA: 181ft. 10in. (55.42m)
LOA, hull: 160ft. 8in. (48.97m)
LWL: 138ft. (42.08m)
Beam: 29ft. 8in. (9.06m)
Draft (keel up/keel down): 14ft. 10in. (4.50m)/22ft. 4in. (6.75m)
Displacement: 245 tons
Engines: 1 x MTU 12V 2000 M60/600kW (805hp) @ 1800rpm
Propellers: Hundested VP9½, 1,400mm four-blade, variable pitch propeller
Fuel: 4,755 gal. (18,000L)
Generators: 2 x Northern Lights, M1064A, 67kW, 50Hz
Freshwater: 2,272 gal. (8,600L)
Classification: Lloyd’s Register EMEA and MCA (Cayman Islands) less than 500 GT ✠ 100A1, SSC, Yacht, Mono, G6, ✠ LMC, UMS and SOLAS
Naval architecture: Dykstra Naval Architects
Exterior styling: Dykstra Naval Architects
Interior design: Rhoades Young Design
Guest cabins: 4
Builder: Royal Huisman