Oliver Stacey of Oliver Stacey Design looked to the past to create Project Norse. In seeking inspiration for a true expedition yacht, he admired how Viking longboats could take on the ocean, and in varying conditions. To that end, Project Norse is meant for Pole-to-Pole voyaging and adventures. She also similarly uses sails as a secondary propulsion source.
The 262-foot (80-meter) Project Norse features engineering and naval-architecture support from BMT Nigel Gee. The megayacht may look like a sailing yacht, but she is actually sail-assisted. She will primarily use a hybrid diesel-electric/diesel-mechanical system. James Roy, BMT Nigel Gee’s yacht-design director, says, “We couldn’t move away from the unmistakable truth that sail assistance is the ultimate hybrid.”
Three same-size wing masts and same-size mainsails come into play for that sail assistance. Project Norse would run in sail-assisted mode for most of her voyages. Furthermore, the design teams believe that in ideal conditions, power will transfer through the shaft lines to the batteries, recharge them.
We asked Roy for more information about this system and Project Norse’s performance overall. Here’s what he had to say:
Project Norse has an efficient, easily driven hull form, with a projected range in excess of 8,000 nautical miles at her economical cruising speed of 12 knots under engine. The sail assistance is not there to add additional speed potential. The boat could do up to 18 knots under power, but could also do 18 knots with sail assist and the same level of power as required for 12 knots.
In addressing range and performance we have looked at:
Sail Assistance – We see the potential for efficiency improvements of 20% or more. Our focus in this has been to provide a robust, easily deployed and managed sail configuration which will allow sail-assisted passage making over the broadest range of conditions, without imposing onerous requirements upon the vessel’s crew. There is a strong relationship here to the effectiveness of the original Norse vessels.
Endurance – Fuel consumption is a clear factor in this. However, a purpose=designed exploration vessel’s endurance with guests onboard is also strongly driven by planning and space use for aspects such as dry storage, cold storage, and garbage handling. All of these ingredients have played their role in the project build up. It is unlikely that Norse’s endurance would be limited by her geographical range.
Whether Project Norse voyages to the South Pacific or South Pole, she can handle conditions there. She will comply with the Polar Code and Lloyds ice-class rules for operating in light ice conditions. In snowy climes, you can deploy snowmobiles and landing craft, or maybe take a helicopter to go heli-skiing. In warmer climes, you’ll go for PWCs, tenders, even a personal submarine. Project Norse is, after all, an explorer, therefore capable of toting a wide variety of toys to use on, beneath, and above the water—including a sea plane.
Particularly noteworthy, Oliver Stacey Design and BMT Nigel Gee intend the sail-assisted yacht to venture closer to shore than other yachts this size. It’s due to a draft of 9’8” (3 meters).
Twelve of you can enjoy an informal interior layout. Oliver Stacey Design envisions a mix of big, open-plan spaces and more intimate ones. A crew of 17 to 21 attend to you and the yacht as well. (The design studio has suggested configurations available for each deck.) Bottom line: The 44-foot (13.5-meter) beam allows for plenty of room indeed.