DeepFlight Dragon: Self-Piloting Personal Sub

DeepFlight-Dragon-illusA number of personal submarine manufacturers target the megayacht market. One, DeepFlight, whose roots are in the commercial and scientific fields, has a new sub compact and lightweight enough that it can slip in and out of your tender garage as is. It’s the DeepFlight Dragon, which is further meant to let you take the controls.

The DeepFlight Dragon weights 3,968 pounds (about 1,800 kilograms), stands 4’9” (1.5 meters) tall, and is 15’7” (4.8 meters) long. The company says the weight is less than half of that of competitors’ offerings. The size is advantageous, too. Other personal subs currently available either sit on a reinforced platform or require a custom garage. The DeepFlight Dragon’s width of 6’8” (2.1 meters) means it won’t pose a problem for your yacht’s beam, either.

The DeepFlight Dragon operates on the principle of positive buoyancy. This means it automatically floats atop the water unless ballast is added, or in this case, diving thrust is engaged. Specifically, two fore and two aft vertical thrusters allow the DeepFlight Dragon to explore 394 feet (120 meters) below the surface. This is deep enough so that natural light still filters down, and therefore eliminates the need for headlights, which can disturb sea life unaccustomed to the brightness. Those same electric thrusters permit the craft to hover, too. If the shape of the sub reminds you of a plane, well, it should; the idea is that you are essentially flying, though at low speeds, underwater.

The DeepFlight Dragon seats two people and is targeted to owners who revel at doing the driving (and diving) themselves. As Graham Hawkes, the company’s founder and CEO, puts it, “No one buys a sports car and then gives the keys to a chauffeur.” DeepFlight’s team says training in proper operations takes about half an hour to an hour. The time is so brief because the sub has a power monitoring and management system. The DeepFlight Dive Manager checks things like battery power and oxygen levels. If something is too low, the DeepFlight Dragon will automatically resurface.

DeepFlight can customize your craft with cameras, sonars, and even a paint scheme to match or complement your megayacht. Price: $1.5 million. If you order, you’ll join the ranks of DeepFlight clients like Sir Richard Branson and former Maltese Falcon owner Tom Perkins, among others. In fact, the video below is of another DeepFlight model, the SuperFalcon, which both Branson and Perkins commissioned.


Riva 50-Meter, 1st of New Custom Megayacht Range

Riva 50 meter render 1The 122 Mythos won’t remain the biggest Riva for long. Today, the Italian builder announced a limited-edition, fully custom range. The range starts with the Riva 50-meter (164-footer), already in build for a client.

Aimed at Riva owners and enthusiasts, the Riva custom range will feature steel hulls and aluminum superstructures. Construction is taking place at Riva’s sister company, CRN. At a press conference during the Monaco Yacht Show, representatives from Riva and the Ferretti Group, its parent company, each underscored that the fully custom range is a continuation of work initiated by Riva’s founder, Carlo Riva. In the 1960s and 1970s, Carlo Riva partnered with Dutch shipyards to bring his Caravelle and Atlantic motoryacht series to fruition. From 1970 to 1978, CRN built eight additional megayachts that were part of other series. Mauro Micheli, co-founder of Officina Italiana Design, which pens also Rivas, says that the project “takes the baton from what Carlo Riva wanted.”

Alberto Galassi, the CEO of the Ferretti Group, declined to elaborate on how limited the custom range will be. However, megayachts to 100 meters (328 feet) are planned, according to Riva’s press office. (On a related note, CRN currently can build to 295 feet, or 90 meters, so expansion would need to take place for the largest LOA.) The press office also revealed that the next fully custom megayacht to start construction will be a Riva 68-meter (223-footer).

The Riva 50-meter, and the larger megayachts, will be full displacement. Micheli says they’ll all have Riva’s DNA, in the form of some styling features, yet be individual designs on their own. The renderings here give glimpses of the Riva 50-meter, which certainly doesn’t look like an Aquarama, or Iseo, or even the 122 Mythos.

Riva 50 meter render 2

Inside, the owner is working with Officina Italiana Design. Future buyers of the same model and the larger megayachts will be invited to as well. The interior layout for the Riva 50-meter is still being finalized. Riva does, however, have a few suggested layouts for the client’s consideration. The full-beam (29’5”, or 9-meter) master suite is on the main deck in all of them, for example, and can be built with fold-down balconies on each side. Below decks, four guest staterooms can accommodate 10 people. Alternately, one of the cabins can instead be a spa or a gym. The sundeck can have a variety of loose furnishings and a hot tub surrounded by sunpads. Other alfresco areas are suitable for dining, relaxing, or both. Of course, the builder also recommends that the Riva 50-meter be equipped with a beach club, featuring a bar and living area. That same beach club can have fold-down hatches to each side, not just at the transom. And, just as CRN’s J’ade featured a float-in tender garage so, too, can the Riva 50-meter.

The four-deck megayacht will be managed by nine crew and a captain. The crew will have a dedicated stairway leading up to the main-deck galley and farther up to the wheelhouse. Speaking of the wheelhouse, the captain’s cabin will be adjacent.

The Riva 50-meter can be powered by either Caterpillar or MAN diesel engines. Either package should permit a 15-knot top end. At 11 knots, the yacht should see a 3,800-nautical-mile range. Zero-speed stabilizers will be installed as well.

During the press conference, Alberto Galassi indicated that the Riva 50-meter should be completed in 24 to 26 months.

Royal Huisman 58m Dubois Sloop Revealed: VIDEO

Royal Huisman 58 Dubois sloop
Yesterday at the Monaco Yacht Show, Royal Huisman unveiled the 58m Dubois sloop. With great fanfare, Alice Huisman of the shipyard and Ed Dubois of Dubois Naval Architects revealed a scale model of the 190-foot (58-meter) high-performance sloop. She’s the project that the shipyard had teased a few weeks ago, revealing that the owner had commented, “Build me a beast. This has to be an edgy and innovative weapon; fast and furious.”

For now, the high-performance yacht is not being named. She is referred to simply as the 58m Dubois sloop, and there’s quite a good story behind her. According to Royal Huisman, the buyer had been in talks with them for about seven years. When he saw a proposal from Dubois Naval Architects that embodied what he want, the talks quickly became a contract. (In fact, the speed at which the owner made his decision took the shipyard by pleasant surprise.) It was a matter of the right look at the right time.

The 58m Dubois sloop has quite a commanding look, practically radical in comparison to recent Royal Huisman yachts. She has a dramatic sheerline and rounded, plumb bow. Perhaps the most striking profile features are the glass superstructure and cascading transom steps. Tank tests on a large scale model of the 58m Dubois sloop are being conducted this month. Ed Dubois says the final hull design will be completed in November. The sail plan will be finalized accordingly, “the most efficient sail plan we can devise for this size of yacht,” he adds.

A few things about the overall design are set in stone, however. For one, the 58m Dubois sloop will have a lifting keel. With the keel up, draft should be 17 feet (5.3 meters); down, it should be 27 feet (8.1 meters). In addition, the carbon fiber mast will be made by Royal Huisman’s sister company, Rondal. It will rise 233 feet (71 meters) high.

As much as the owner wants Royal Huisman to build “a beast,” he also wants a comfortable, welcoming place to relax and entertain. To that end, the 58m Dubois sloop will have two guest staterooms, with the option of turning the gym and study in the owner’s suite into a third cabin. The owner’s suite will have a fun feature, a “viewing hatch,” as the yard calls it, for air and natural light.

Here’s the official reveal ceremony of the 58m Dubois sloop from the yacht show.


Alive, Hull-Vane-Equipped Heesen, Nearing Delivery

PHOTO: Dick Holthuis

PHOTO: Dick Holthuis

Heesen’s YN 17042, christened Alive, is expected to be handed over on October 31. She’s the shipyard’s first megayacht equipped with an efficiency-enhancing Hull Vane foil.

Launched in August, Heesen’s Alive is only just now allowed to be shown and publicized under her real name. However, Heesen was permitted to divulge some details about her under her hull name, referenced above, over the past year or so. LOA for the steel yacht is 139 feet (42.4 meters), and she’s highlighted by two significant engineering features. The first is a fast-displacement hull form, which permits good fuel burn at both ends of the speed spectrum. Her power package: twin 1,450-hp MTU 12V 2000 M72s. Naval architecture for the hull, and the yacht overall, is from Heesen’s in-house team and Van Oossanen Naval Architects. The second engineering feature is the Hull Vane foil. Van Oossanen developed and patented the specific design of this foil. Foils, also called wings, reduce fuel burn, reduce drag, create thrust, and reduce pitching. Alive is the first yacht to feature the Hull Vane foil. (Van Oossanen has seen it retrofitted onto commercial vessels.)

Now that Alive is in the water, Heesen can reveal more information. Thanks to the Hull Vane, Alive should need 35 percent less power than comparably sized yachts to top out near 16 knots in flat-calm conditions. Of course, yachts don’t always encounter those conditions. To that end, the Hull Vane reportedly reduces pitching by 40 percent in three- to 10-foot (2- to 3-meter) seas. In those same seas, Alive should gain 20 percent thrust as well. It’s because as a wing, the Hull Vane generates lift, which encourages momentum. Furthermore, Alive should burn 30 percent less fuel at 12 knots, her best-range speed, than a traditional displacement yacht of her LOA. (At that speed, she’ll achieve 4,000 miles.) Sea trials over the next few weeks are anticipated to confirm all these figures.

Once handed over, Alive will entertain a party of 12, amid spacious areas designed by Omega Architects. Two master suites are aboard, one on the main deck (with a balcony) and the other on the upper deck (with a private gym). The second stateroom is also circular, with the bed at its center to take advantage of the views out the full-height glass windows. The 29’5” (9-meter) beam should further make the sun deck and other common areas quite comfortable.

Megayacht News Onboard: Horizon Yachts RP110 Andrea VI

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI  1With 24 naval architects in house, Horizon Yachts prides itself on swiftly responding to clients’ requests. When customers who saw the RP97 a few years ago liked the style but wanted more room, the response was creating the Horizon RP110. Andrea VI, hull number one, was delivered late last year. Being previous Horizon buyers, the owners knew they were welcome to customize the interior and alfresco areas. They did so in some truly personal ways.

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI  8

Andrea VI has a number of touches that you wouldn’t expect of a 110-footer (33.53-meter). For one, there’s a day head built into the hardtop support on the flying bridge. And while there’s a grill in proximity to the shaded dining area, its arrangement is, to our knowledge, a first. The owners requested it be contained in a custom cabinet aft of the dining spot, toward the tender. This way, it can be pulled out and away from the gathering area, so that smoke blows downwind.

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI 2

Here’s the main aft deck of Andrea VI. Notice anything different—actually, two things different? The staircase to the flying bridge is solid, not a floating stair. The owners felt seeing through the treads was disorienting. Furthermore, there’s no dining table here. Meals aboard Andrea VI are enjoyed inside or on the flying bridge. The owners preferred the area be akin to a chic hotel lounge.

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI  3

One of their favorite eating areas is the country kitchen. On Andrea VI, it’s larger than those of similar-size yachts. The cooking area, not visible, runs fore-aft to port. The table has a good-size settee and handful of extra chairs to accommodate the owners’ grown children and grandchildren.

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI  4

Andrea VI has all staterooms, including the master, below decks. There are five staterooms in total, adorned with white-oak paneling and leather accents. (Not your tastes? No problem. Hull #2, Carnival Liberty 3, has four staterooms, including a main-deck master, and dark woods. All part of the customization invitation.) In working with Marty Lowe Interior Design, the owners achieved a beach-casual ambiance throughout Andrea VI.

Horizon RP 110 Andrea VI  5

The owners’ previous yacht was a Horizon 82. They liked the Horizon RP110 for the extra volume, much needed for their growing family. This VIP, for example, is good for the grown-ups who want privacy from the little ones. It has its own entrance off the country kitchen. Here, and throughout Andrea VI, the owners requested iPads to control all audio and video. Horizon RP110 Andrea VI 6

Capable of a 22-knot top end and 18-knot cruise, Andrea VI has been an active cruiser all year. The owners have enjoyed Florida, the Bahamas, the New York area, and New England. The British Virgin Islands are in their future plans, too. They’re not ones to remain disengaged from operations, either. The husband was actively involved in selecting the electronics in the raised pilothouse. And, the flying-bridge helm has enough seating for the owners or other family members to sit with the captain and three crewmembers. It’s personalization options like this that have led to the order of four more Horizon RP110s thus far.