The Baltic 146, Path, was commissioned by an experienced yachtsman with a specific vision of what he wanted in his new yacht.
“The owner’s achievement in getting the right team around him has been essential to the success of this project and has culminated in very productive trials involving all the key personnel. It’s a process which has benefitted the crew enormously and is a blueprint for how a project like this should be managed,” said Henry Hawkins, CEO of Baltic.
Rolf Vrolijk, whose company judel/vrolijk is responsible for not only Path’s naval architecture, but also her styling and interior, explained how they met the challenges of designing a yacht which would be easy to handle, could maintain high average speeds and employ tried and tested technology rather than pioneering new innovation.
“Reliability for independent cruising is essential and, importantly, Path had to reflect the owner’s wishes for a yacht which will be a comfortable home, a go-anywhere office and an easy to maintain, high performance family sailing yacht,” said Rolf Vrolijk.
“The owner was very clear in guiding us in the right direction – after our initial meeting we were invited to dinner at his home and then aboard his previous yacht so that we could accurately translate his thoughts into what he wanted Path to be, including styling and décor,” said Vrolijk..
Margo Vrolijk, judel/vrolijk’s interior designer and chief marketing officer, was in overall control of design and instrumental in working with the owner to develop an interior style to reflect a feeling of homeliness and comfort suiting a family cruising yacht. The owner’s representative Tatiana Kurbatova, who worked closely with Baltic Yachts, said: “The owner was delighted to be able to work with Margo who has clearly succeeded in turning his dreams into reality!”
The third largest yacht by volume built by Baltic Yachts in the company’s 48-year history, Path has an impressive amount of internal space, extensive accommodation for 18 guests and crew and a large combined deck saloon and covered cockpit. “There were 24 of us aboard for the recent sailing trials and we barely filled the covered cockpit area when we assembled for a briefing,” said Henry Hawkins. “The yacht’s volume is quite astonishing and even surprised the owner,” he added.
The deck saloon/covered cockpit and the twin steering positions, with their own protective biminis, were the subject of intense design studies to achieve the right ergonomics and safety features. Rolf Vrolijk explained that with the yacht heeled at 20° it was vital get features like hand holds and foot rests right so that crew and guests could move around the yacht safely while sailing.
The cockpit hardtop bimini also provides the location for a 60m² array of solar panels capable of generating up to 8kW to boost the yacht’s lithium-ion battery bank and reduce fossil-fuel derived emissions.
Path is the first yacht from Baltic Yachts to be fitted with main propulsion and generating machinery with new IMO (International Maritime Organization) Tier III engine emission status. Her main engine is a conventional eight-cylinder Scania unit driving a forward-facing propeller set on a leg which rotates through 340° for added manoeuvrability.
Homage to IMOCA 60
Despite her size, Path is a genuinely easy yacht to sail. Her three fixed headstays pay some homage to the IMOCA 60 developmental monohulls, whose multi-headsail configurations make singlehanded sailing possible.
Headsail deployment is easy, unfurling either the working jib on the forward stay, the jib staysail on the mid-stay or a storm staysail on the inner stay. Rolf Vrolijk said that a combination of two headsails would often be very effective and that the storm staysail would normally be set with three reefs in the main or a trysail.
Average speeds up to 16 knots
Path is designed to maintain average speeds under sail of between 11 knots and 16 knots, depending on sea state, wind strength and direction. According to her captain Daniele Cesaro, she has already clocked speeds in the high twenties while on passage from Finland earlier this year.
Path’s bowsprit is detachable and while it may be removed for cruising it provides tack points for Code and asymmetric sails for more competitive outings.
Path’s extensive accommodation includes an amidships owner’s suite with a large sleeping cabin, its own private saloon featuring a glass divider combining movie, sailing information and a tv screen and an upper saloon equipped with a 2.7m long video wall. An en suite bathroom comes complete with a full-size carbon fiber bath.
There are additional two guest cabins forward with an option to convert a tv snug area to a small children’s cabin with bunks. Aft of the saloon there is one further guest suite and accommodation for eight crew. For Margo Vrolijk, who developed the décor and design style throughout the yacht, it was important to create an impression of the owner’s home by using teak furniture and woodwork together with fabrics and light painted panels and deckheads.
“The concept is inspired by the how the family lives ashore and translating that into an easily controlled sailing yacht,” said Margo. “The timeless style of the interior has been achieved through symmetry in geometry and balancing the choice of neutral and natural color palettes with classic, colorful patterns like stripes and paisley shapes,” she said.
“We deeply researched each fabric and finish so that we could be sure they were easy to maintain by the crew – a very important part of the design brief was to be aware of the crew responsibilities and make their working environment as comfortable as possible,” added Margo.
Path is a yacht designed for global sailing with reliability and ease of use the common denominators featuring in the tried and tested systems above and below deck. Her speed, comfort and attention to detail will ensure her owner and crew will be able to enjoy their superyachting experiences to the fullest.