Plenty has been written about how the all-aluminum Hemisphere is the world’s largest sailing catamaran. And for good reason: She’s an impressive megayacht, measuring 145 feet (44.2 meters) and with a beam of 54’5” (16.6 meters). She’s outfitted with an eye-opening 15 different types of stone, more than a dozen different leathers, and myriad woods, too. But what’s most impressive about Hemisphere is how Pendennis, Van Peteghem Lauriot Prévost(VPLP), and the owners created a catamaran to take family and friends on worldwide diving adventures.
Considering Hemisphere is the first-ever yacht built by the owners, they had their work cut out for them. But they did their research, way before they decided to build the yacht, too. Avid divers, they had chartered a number of monohulls and multihulls, both power and sail, for years. When they decided to build Hemisphere, they knew a catamaran’s stability, deck space, and shallow draft suited them best. (A note regarding the builder: Derecktor Shipyards started construction, but a dispute led to work ceasing and the owners sending the partly completed Hemisphere to Pendennis in 2009 for completion.)
If you’re familiar with the work of VPLP, its selection as the designer makes perfect sense. The naval-architecture firm is renowned not just in yacht design, but in multihull design. It’s responsible for the Lagoon brand of catamarans in the production-boat market, prize-winning and record-breaking racing catamarans, and yes, megayacht catamarans. Interesting enough, even though the owner didn’t specify racing performance, VPLP did give Hemisphere the same proportion between the foresail and mainsail as aboard a racing catamaran. The wing mast doesn’t need spreaders, to save weight, and the upper and lower shrouds use Kevlar, for the same reason. Pendennis says Hemisphere can achieve upwards of 20 knots while under sail.
While the 54-foot beam is especially noted out on deck while you’re lying in the trampoline or aft at the pontoons, one of which houses 16 sets of dive gear, Hemisphere’s spaciousness really comes into play inside. There, Michael Leach Design infused a comfortably sophisticated atmosphere ideal for multiple generations of the owners’ family. The salon and dining area are open to the helm on purpose. It underscores the sense of togetherness, as the owners, captain, and crew all genuinely enjoy each other’s company. It’s also to encourage charter guests to enjoy time aboard the megayacht and learn more about the various destinations they’re visiting. To each side in the salon, there are raised seating areas, ideal for games, cards, or general relaxation.
Kids will love relaxing in the TV lounge (left), down a few steps to port. Movies and video games are a touch of a button away. And, viewing ports at the right height for them let them take in close-ups of marine life near the water’s surface.
Cabin-wise, Hemisphere treats everyone to good-size accommodations, with three situated in the port-side pontoon. As for the master… well, there is none. Sort of. Rather, two VIPs, situated side to side across the beam forward, can convert to be one large stateroom, with the removal of the shared bulkhead.
Since delivery, Hemisphere and her owners have put her and her 10’5” draft to good use on both sides of the Atlantic. They’ve also put the launch mechanism for her 27-foot primary tender, a Scorpion RIB, to good use. It’s formed by VPLP’s signature seagull-wings hull shape. (If you view the portion of the hull between the pontoons, directly above the water, it resembles a seagull with wings outstretched.) The wings are also watertight bomb-bay-like doors that open so that the Scorpion can lower into the water.
Next up for that tender, and the rest of Hemisphere: the Pacific, via a Panama Canal transit this fall. Private family trips as well as charter opportunities await.
Here’s more of Hemisphere.
PHOTOS: Superyacht Media