97 Arctic Explorer Aims to Stand Up to Mother Nature

Running aground is a bad thing. What if it was no big deal, though? What if your yacht could stay perfectly upright on her skegs? Furthermore, what if she had the structural engineering to make exploring even in polar climes safe? This is the thinking behind the H.A.R.D. 97 Arctic Explorer, a custom megayacht from a trans-Pacific team. What’s more, she’s targeted to American buyers.

The 97 Arctic Explorer bears naval architecture and engineering by Boksa Marine Design, with styling and interior design by JC Espinosa. The concept originated with Doug Hoogs and Tim Kings, two longtime yachting representatives. Hoogs is a captain serving as the U.S. representative for Heysea Yachts, a Chinese yard now marketing stateside via Atlantic Yacht & Ship. Founded a decade ago by a naval architect, who still owns it, Heysea has delivered more than 100 yachts. Kings, meanwhile, has worked for a number of builders in the United States and China. He currently owns H.A.R.D. Yachts, which provides project-management and what he terms “virtual shipyard” services globally.

Together, Hoogs and Kings want to bring true explorer yachts into the entry-level megayacht market. More so, they see an opportunity to do so with advanced-composite construction, due to its strength and stiffness advantages. They saw those advantages first-hand more than a decade ago. They collaborated on the build of the 115-foot global sailing superyacht Teel (now Tenacious), delivered in 1995. Her hull employed Kevlar and fiberglass. Furthermore, Teel went aground on rocks during a hurricane, yet did not suffer holing. Recent travels to Norway to research commercial vessels operating in ice inspired Kings, too.

97 Arctic Explorer megayacht Heysea Yachts

H.A.R.D. Yachts will handle project management for the 97 Arctic Explorer at Heysea. Besides the above-mentioned firms, it’s additionally working with Eric Greene Associates. This U.S. company has extensive experience in engineering advanced materials for composite marine structures.

The 97 Arctic Explorer will employ composite construction with Kevlar. She’ll be solid fiberglass below the waterline, with coring above. In addition, she’ll have stainless steel around the bow, at the waterline, and in other high-stress areas, for safety moving through ice. In fact, the 97 Arctic Explorer will meet Polar Code C standards. Briefly, this means operating in open water or ice conditions where the ice is relatively thin, less than 10 inches (0.3 meter) thick. She’ll meet yet another polar standard, too, the IACS Polar Class PC6. This governs summer or fall operations in medium-thickness ice, which can exceed one foot. Nick Boksa of Boksa Marine Design explains, “The form of the hull is such that if it is pressed into ice, rather than crushing the hull, it will raise itself out.”

Of course, the 97 Arctic Explorer isn’t only for polar travels. The design and build teams plan her to be equally suitable for Bahamian and other tropical climes. Therefore, draft is 6’2” (1.9 meters), and the yacht is beachable. “It can stand alone as a tripod on its two skegs, and the hull can stay balanced and vertical,” Hoogs avers. “It takes great structural engineering to figure out how to do those skegs,” he adds. “There are plenty of structural keels that can take this kind of loading. We just don’t see it in yachting.”

Since the 96’9” (29.5-meter) megayacht is meant for exploring, she’ll have an anticipated 3,000-mile range at 10 knots. Six thousand gallons of fuel will feed those travels, as will twin 1,000-hp Caterpillars. With a beam of 25’5” (7.8 meters), the 97 Arctic Explorer offers tailor-made interiors, too. An upper-deck master is possible, as is a traditional lower-deck location. In total, the 97 Arctic Explorer can take an owner’s party of eight.

For more information, contact Atlantic Yacht & Ship.

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