Flying to FLIBS

Even though the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) doesn’t start until Thursday, that hasn’t stopped a handful of megayacht builders, gear companies, etc. from throwing press events ahead of time. So, I’m flying into the Sunshine State today for the whirlwind week. Tonight, for example, I’ll be at the christening for Shadow Marine’s newest shadow boat. I’ll upload some photos tomorrow. I hope to have a video or two of some yachts next week, too (and not nearly the difficulty I had in uploading the Icon Yachts video the other day, which is finally working).

Speaking of photos, here’s a reminder that you have about a week to make the deadline for the November Photo of the Month contest. (Full details here.) Winner gets a Megayacht News hat and, of course, his or her handiwork showcased in the Photo of the Month spot at the bottom of this page. Some good submissions have already come in, but flattery and bribery (especially with chocolate) have been known to work on me…

Sun God Gets Sexy

Say goodbye to stately style and hello to L.A. looks: Helios, the 194-foot Oceanco (whose name means god of the sun), is in the midst of a six-month refit at Knight & Carver that should make her guests do exactly that.



Unfortunately, the sketch above doesn’t show much detail or, from what I’m told, do the megayacht’s planned new look justice. But if you compare it to the photo of her saloon, you’ll see full well that she’s undergoing a dramatic change. The scope of the work includes completely stripping the saloon and all six staterooms as well as the 500-square-foot sundeck. According to her captain, Tommy Gurr, “It’s going to be a floating beach house, totally chic, edgy, and contemporary.”

Already three months into the project, there are upwards of 100 full-time craftsmen performing the transformation. HF Interior, a Swedish company that typically oversees cruise-ship projects, is collaborating with dozens of workers from Knight & Carver as well as subcontractors. (And just when you thought you were jaded about a 194-footer’s size as compared to other, newer megayachts: HF’s managing director, Curt Biller, says, “This is our biggest project on what we’d term a smaller boat.”) On any given day steelworkers are working on one part of Helios while carpenters are plying their trade at another end.

Once Helios departs Knight & Carver in January, also with a new exterior paint job and systems upgrades, she’ll remain in Pacific waters.

Perle of Wisdom

Thanks to Hakvoort, I can show you some of the first interior photos taken of Perle Bleue, which the Dutch megayacht yard is premiering at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show next week.

Judging from the G.A. (general arrangement, a.k.a. blueprints of her decks areas), the nearly 125-foot yacht appears to have intimate, welcoming interior spaces for relaxing and dining. And judging from the fact that the experienced owners, Americans Stanley and Peggy Bey, are also wise to how guests like spending time outdoors, the deck areas devote plenty of room to dining, sunning, and soaking (in the hot tub, of course). Even with all of this, the crew still gets walk-around decks for fender handling and related tasks, a big plus in my book.

I’ll get a better sense of the yacht when I take a tour during the boat show and will update you accordingly. In the meantime, check the Fraser Yachts’ site for the latest on what toys and other amenities she’ll make available to charterers this winter in the Caribbean, as Perle Bleue is part of its fleet.

A New Perspective

At the Monaco Yacht Show, I attended a press conference for Icon Yachts, a one-year-old megayacht builder. Normally yards that are this young tend to have great goals and, unfortunately, even greater mountains to climb if they’re going to achieve half of what they plan. But something about Icon has had me researching it more since I came home. It was how this Dutch yard is incorporating a different, sensible approach to custom construction.

In a nutshell, Icon believes it can–and should–offer owners a fully custom yacht, yet not without setting a few parameters in stone. Most of it comes down to employing 3-D engineering software to evaluate every part of a yacht’s design, well in advance of when the first steel plate for the hull is cut. And when I say “every,” I mean every: construction drawings, piping and cable runs (even the trays holding the cables), the way technical spaces such as the wheelhouse and fender lockers are situated, you name it.

It’s not a new technology, but this software has, to my knowledge, been embraced mostly by yards with roots in the commercial and military sectors, more than straight-up yacht yards. So it comes as no surprise that Icon’s founders have commercial roots and that construction is taking place in a former commercial facility in Harlingen, Holland. Of course, that’s not to say that fine yachts can’t be produced without this software. But, having seen for myself how engineers and designers can examine 3-D computer-generated piping runs along an entire deck length to see if the layout of just one room aboard interferes, I understand how Icon’s stated goal of eliminating waste, of both materials and time, is achievable. It’s akin to the carpenter’s mantra of “measure twice, cut once.”

Icon has even more plans to eliminate waste, such as producing the mounting clips for pipes, cable trays, etc. and packaging them in a ready-to-install assembly; and designing engine-room systems as prefabricated modules. The 3-D software plays a part in all of this, too.

The best way to truly understand what Icon is trying to achieve is to see it for yourselves. The yard has a short video showcasing a wheelhouse in 3-D; see below. Note how not only a helmsman is placed at the controls, but also how an observing guest can be accommodated–and how they and the areas they use are viewed from aft, the side, and even above.

Feadship’s F45

Here’s Harle, which recently launched at Feadship’s Royal Van Lent shipyard. The megayacht is the second in Feadship’s new F45 semicustom series, where all four guest staterooms and the master are on the main deck, yet owners have a choice of four interior decors, to ensure personalization.

Harle, measuring about 147 feet, features the “Miami” decor by Sinot Design Associates, which showcases Art Deco touches and light and dark woods contrasting and complementing one another. I saw the yacht while still under construction in August, and even though the final touches weren’t yet fully in place, the master stateroom’s floor-to-ceiling windows and additional skylight made quite an impression. Considering another F45 was underway and another was about to start, the concept of a “smaller,” cost-efficient build with the same quality as the fully custom Feadships has caught on.

The Lloyd’s-classed yacht should see a top speed of 14.5 knots thanks to twin 1,055-hp MTUs. Harle will be used privately by her owners.

This isn’t the only semicustom series the Dutch yard is offering. Look for the first in its SL39 series, being built at Royal De Vries, to splash next year.