Meet Firefly, the first yacht of what’s intended to be a new one-design class. She’s wasting no time putting her mix of impressive racing features to the test, either. Firefly will be among the competitors at The Superyacht Cup in Palma de Mallorca later this month.
Built by Classen Jachtbouw, the 35.2-meter (115-foot) megayacht is actually the result of no less than 15 different designs comprising various LOAs, beams, displacements, drafts, and sail areas. All were penned by Hoek Design, with input from the client who commissioned Firefly. A primary goal was to create a competitive, relatively small superyacht that could hold her own against J Class yachts—in fact, beat a J in either heavy or light winds. They also wanted the performance of a maxi racer. After determining which mix would work best, Hoek Design gave the class that Firefly is inaugurating a name: F Class.
So what makes for an F Class? For one, long overhangs similar to those of Js. Take a look at Firefly’s bow at top and the closeup directly above, the latter of which I took in late May (at Holland Jachtbouw, a.k.a. HJB, which was assisting Claasen Jachtbouw with the paint job). Also similar to some Js, she has a flush deck. The maxi yacht elements come into play beneath the water: a T-style fin keel (fixed, too) and lead bulb. Firefly also has a carbon fiber high-aspect spade rudder, which in combination with the 5.2-meter (17-foot) draft makes her formidable, according to Hoek Design. Interesting enough, the design team says, “Firefly can be effortlessly steered with two fingers.”
Steering takes place in a dedicated helm cockpit, which is accompanied by a second cockpit, like maxis. Since racing is the priority, the interior is minimally outfitted, as you can see below. There are pipe cots rather than dedicated staterooms, a small galley, a nav table, and a head. Red cedar planks line the bulkheads and soles, with additional composite grating underfoot in some areas. While it’s certainly bare bones in comparison to typical sailing megayachts, remember that weight is a big factor in racing… the less, the better. Remember, too, that sailing yachts like Mari Chai III were designed and built with luxe interiors that can be removed for hard-core racing.
Still on the subject of sailing, Firefly has deck gear from some of the top names in the business, including Harken and Lewmar. She’s further fitted with a single Steyr diesel engine with a folding propeller, the latter commonly found on sailing yachts. An IFG genset is connected to them as well, with another IFG genset and a hydraulic pump driven by an additional Steyr engine.
Hoek Design and an unnamed builder are in discussions with two additional owners for future F Class yachts like Firefly. In addition, an official F Class Association website is in the works.