“It’s an interesting and growing segment of the market, but not necessarily one populated with vessels which combine both form and function, as we believe the Echo Yachts vessel does.” So says Dickie Bannenberg of Bannenberg & Rowell, which penned the lines for Project Echo, seen here. The 164-footer (50-meter), ready to start construction in Australia, has two types of owners squarely in her sights. She’ll appeal to those seeking a support vessel, as well as those wanting a yacht focused on global exploits.
What’s more, Project Echo employs a proven offshore catamaran hull from Incat Crowther. The studio’s leisure and commercial cats dot waters worldwide. Echo Yachts firmly believes in the advantages of catamaran hulls. In fact, it chose this hull form due to the reaction to its shadow vessel Charley, delivered earlier this year. Chris Blackwell, sales and marketing manager of Echo Yachts, says the extra space plus operational efficiency of catamarans has piqued interest among owners, captains, and brokers. They’ve also asked whether the yard could develop “an upgraded yacht aesthetic, plus a comprehensive submarine- and cargo-handling capacity.”
As for that submarine capacity, Project Echo can tote two of them, along with traditional tenders and other watertoys. The image above depicts the A-frame launch and recovery system custom designed for the subs. Echo Yachts turned to a UK-based company called Caley, which specializes in handling manned submersibles and ocean-research craft. Caley created it to fold and then stow flat within the deck. This, in turn, frees up space for a helicopter to land, or other toys to stay out on deck. Surely, owners could also ask the crew to set up loose lounge chairs to lend Project Echo even more of a relaxing vibe while at anchor.
Whatever purpose the deck serves, Project Echo can keep the subs in a dedicated garage below. Other toys, further kept below, too, get handled by a knuckle-boom crane. That’s similar in design to the ones you see on so many superyachts, but this one’s far beefier. It will have a 12-ton capacity.
Naturally, the guest accommodations for this 495-ton yacht are open to input, as is decor.