SEPTEMBER 26, 2015 — If you're the kind of megayacht owner whose reaction to the usual destinations is "been there, done that," then Damen Shipyards may have the answer for you. At this year's Monaco Yacht Show, the Dutch shipuilder unveiled the SeaXplorer, the world's first range of purpose-built expedition yachts. And, if the Arctic's not your thing, the vessels are designed for true global capability and can take you to remote tropical areas.
Damen Shipyards is already well established in the superyacht world. Its product line includes a successful range of yacht support vessels and luxury yacht builder Amels is a member of the group.
The SeaXplorer designs feature the distinctive Sea Axe hull familiar from vessels such Damen's latest generation PSVs. The family resemblance is not too surprising. Development of the new range came after a number of experienced yachting clients approached Amels about adapting Damen's commercial vessels to their needs.
"We knew from them that there were simply no globally capable luxury explorer yachts out there," says Amels Managing Director Rob Luijendijk . "And that's also what we heard from Eyos Expeditions who have decades of experience in bespoke luxury expeditions to the wildest places on the planet. So that's why Damen began developing the SeaXplorer. The result is well beyond a pretty rendering. It's a fully developed range – something only Damen could do."
SeaXplorer vessels have true global capability, including remote tropical destinations
Damen has invested thousands of hours in research and development, ice tank testing, and real expedition pedigree through detailed design input from partner Eyos Expeditions, which took over 250 design criteria to Damen and advised on details from the hull form and bridge layout to the tender davits and Zodiac boarding arrangements.
The exterior lines were penned by Azure Yacht Design and Naval Architecture. Interiors will be the work of the designer selected by the owner.
There are three models in the SeaXplorer range. Each can deliver 40 days of full luxury service for all guests without port call. The vessels carry tenders (including a dive support tender), expedition equipment, toys, submersibles, dive equipment (including recompression chamber) and up to two helicopters. Designed for smooth expedition logistics, the yachts can deploy tenders and toys quickly and safely.
Accommodating 12 guests and with a crew of 20, the 2,000 grt 65 m version has a 14 m beam, a maximum draft at full load of 4 m and, with 3,500 kW of propulsion power, has a 15 knots service speed. It can carry a helicopter with a maximum take-off weight of 4,500 kg
Scaling things up to carry 22 guests and 36 crew, the mid size 5,000 grt 90 m, model has a beam of 16 m, a maximum draft of 5.5 m and 6,000 kW of propulsion power delivering 16 knots service speed. It can carry a 5,000 kg helicopter.
Want to carry 30 guests? You'll need a crew of 50 and the 7,000 grt 100 m model, with an 18 m beam, 6 m maximum draft and 8,000 kW of installed power, again delivering 16 knots. With all those guests, you'll be glad that it can carry two helicopters.
Damen says the SeaXplorer is safe and comfortable in any sea thanks to the patented Sea Axe hull design. It is not the Sea Axe bow that does the heavy icebreaking, though. The Polar Class hull is double-acting, breaking through the ice stern-first.
The price tag for all this luxury and capability? As J.P. Morgan famously said: "You have no right to own a yacht if you ask that question."