Conversion projects are an increasingly relevant path to superyacht ownership. There are significant cost and time benefits along with a multitude of design options when approaching concepts based on existing vessels.
There are many interesting vessels available for conversion with equally diverse histories and purposes. Claydon Reeves in conjunction with Asia Pacific Superyachts and Island Marine Services Pte Ltd, both in Singapore, have attempted to refine the ‘ultimate explorer’ concept with their 70m conversion of an offshore anchor handling vessel. The original ship was constructed in Singapore and tasked with providing support to the offshore drilling industry. Capable of withstanding the exceptionally hostile environment of commercial usage in all weathers, this hull provided a perfect platform for the project.
To enable the ship to become a yacht, most of its original features had to be removed including a 150 tonne winch used to drag anchors onto the stern load bed. In the belly of the ship, 9 silos previously full of cement and mud used in the support of offshore drilling excavations have also been scrapped. The engines remain in their original positions having been remounted to reduce noise and vibration. The entire superstructure has been removed and replaced with a new design that also calls for a raised shear line and freeboard. By using a hull that was created to carry such vast loads, Claydon Reeves were able to undertake a complete redesign without fear of overloading the yacht.
The aim of the team was to design a turn-key project, for a client with a flavour for adventure and exploration. The new yacht (codenamed Cosmos) was to feature a drive-in stern dock for a 37ft limousine tender which is further flanked by twin 30ft ribs and three jet skis. Moving forward through a glass hallway, visitors pass by one of the yacht’s unusual features; a moon pool or ‘wet porch’ that allow divers to safely leave and return to the vessel without being exposed to the outside elements. This is also a feature borrowed from oil industry drill ships.
The main saloon and dining area is the focus of on-board socializing. This area has an impressive 3m headroom throughout and vast full height windows either side. There are three separate seating zones as well as a games table for competitive travellers. The outer sofas can be reconfigured to either look inside the room or rotate to enjoy the outside views. The aft seating area is surrounded by art and has a relaxed mood with expansive views through the large windows looking sternward. Through the glass floor panels you have a direct view of the pool underneath, the flickering water surface dappling the interior with reflected light. Two fireplaces offer comfort for arctic cruising or atmospheric events. The dining table, which usually seats 12, can be extended to entertain up to 20 people for a banquet.
One of the most enchanting features of this area is the indoor lift. This elevator allows guests to ride straight to the observation lounge past the external sundeck, the highest internal point of the yacht. In the enclosed glass crows nest drinks can be served with the best views of Cosmos and the infinite horizons that this remarkable vessel can access.
The 8m indoor pool on this explorer is surrounded by large floor to ceiling windows which can be opened fully to allow views of the exterior environment whilst swimming. With the folding bulwarks lowered there are uninterrupted vistas of passing seascapes and remote destinations. Integrated into the surrounding space is a spa lounge and bar enhanced by a spiral waterfall gently tumbling into the pool. To give this area further flexibility for entertainment an adjustable floor transforms the pool into a dance floor or karaoke area. Moving forward, a gym with glass partitioning leads to the sauna and massage room for treatments and relaxation whilst aboard.
On the main deck, above the garage, a helicopter pad large enough to land an Agusta A109 resides, along with a full hangar into which the aircraft is moved forward horizontally for storage. Due to the beam of over 15m two VIP suites are placed outboard, on either side of the hanger. Both cabins have commanding views of the passing seascapes through their near double height glass walls and private balconies.
Throughout the yacht, great emphasis has been placed on the creation of spaces of unusual scale and intrigue. When walking along the side decks, the superstructure is facetted to visually deconstruct its not inconsiderable volume, while additionally creating generous side decks and interesting external spaces. The surfacing is simple, flat steel and glass that can be produced and maintained by a commercial ship yard. By embracing this simplified construction method the yacht remains true to its origins albeit in a totally reconsidered aesthetic.
It is the sundeck that best demonstrates the truly unique features of this yacht. Access to this huge outdoor area is reached though the large entrance foyer that subdivides the front and rear sections of the boat. Looking sternward, the viewer is faced with an enticing glass ended pool, with swim up bar and waterfall feature. The massive pool steps up in depth to accommodate the helicopter hangar below whilst still providing a clear nine-metre swimming length. Large side decks become wider as you travel along the length of the pool, leading you to the seating and dining area. The balcony at the end of the sundeck provides a commanding eye level view of all helicopter flights, retractable glass screens shielding the deck during takeoff and landing.
Above and aft of the sundeck a further unconventional structure looms. With a 360 degree view, the heli-bar is the perfect place to view the passing world. Contained within the floor to ceiling glass turret, one finds another bar and seating area. The twin balconies that flank the structure provide ample shade for the seating area below.
For those with a true head for heights there is an additional outdoor viewing platform above the owner’s private observatory. This is the tallest point on the yacht and an excellent place to view all manner of natural and man-made marvels as the yacht cruises remote locations.
While Cosmos has its origins in commercial shipping the converted yacht can be outfitted to any standard an owner specifies. Crew areas are capacious and simply decorated whilst the guest and owner’s areas are far better appointed. The Cosmos concept shows that by choosing an existing commercial vessel for conversion, great gains can be achieved. The spaces that are created and the increased functionality combine to provide a yacht of unique character and style.
Speed (max): 14 knots
Range @ 10.5 knots: 7,500nm
Guest cabins: 6
Crew capacity: 21