What a difference a year makes.
That’s the thought that went through my head as I walked around Icon Yachts’ facility on Sunday afternoon. I’d visited for the first time almost exactly one year ago, when the administrative offices still smelled of fresh paint and the build shed housed just a hull. This time, the offices are fully outfitted with scale models of designs, and hull number one is more than just a hull, additionally accompanied by hulls two (pictured) and three, all 62 meters (203 feet) LOA. Even though there’s still plenty work to be done, Icon Yachts’ management team is absolutely determined that hull number one will debut at the Monaco Yacht Show.
In fact, short of picking up wall paneling and installing it themselves, they’re doing practically everything possible to make it happen. The yard has two shifts working each weekday, with some craftsmen additionally working weekends. While every megayacht yard naturally recognizes the importance of exhibiting in the water at the Monaco Yacht Show, the three-year-old Icon Yachts believes it’s crucial. Crucial because this first project will, in its eyes, be proof to its competitors and to potential buyers that it is capable of building in high quality for less money and less time.
To be sure, the team encountered delays with hull number one; trying to build up a shipyard and build a yacht simultaneously is difficult, plus any builder who’s truly honest will admit to growing problems with a first project. Even with these delays, though, Icon believes its emphasis on modules saves man-hours, which in turn reduces cost. The modules are various technical areas that are designed and assembled in “blocks” separately from the yacht, tested, and then installed onboard, all earlier than in traditional construction. There are 21 modules for the engine room alone on hull number one and an estimated 50 or so overall for the yacht. While Icon believes this module approach will result in 20 to 25 percent fewer man-hours by hull number five, it does claim a time savings for the first megayacht, too. The management team says the engine room was finished, from installation of the modules to the final priming and painting of the room, even to the sealing of the soft patch overhead (through which everything was lowered into the area), within nine days.
Icon expects to conduct sea trials for this first project by the end of July. It’s an ambitious schedule, so look for more details here in the coming weeks.