An exciting collaboration between naval architects BMT Nigel Gee and designers Claydon Reeves, XSS Project Oxygen redefines the explorer yacht genre. Based on a highly advanced 55m catamaran hull platform she combines outstanding speed and seakeeping performance with the luxury and facilities of a true superyacht. Equipped for all manner of pursuits, her primary role is as a dedicated dive- explorer vessel carrying not only extensive diving equipment but also her own submarine, launched from an innovative stern lift that also doubles as an adjustable swim platform.
Project Oxygen utilizes a state-of-the-art Extreme Semi-SWATH (XSS) hullform developed by BMT Nigel Gee, with its origins in technology developed for the US Navy, and subsequently in demanding personnel transfer applications in the offshore energy industry. The XSS hullform offers seakeeping performance approaching that of a traditional SWATH vessel, but with powering and fuel consumption levels comparable to those of a conventional catamaran.
The narrow hull sections at waterline level, combined with a lower centre of buoyancy and a slender bulb at the bow mean that the vessel can operate comfortably in high sea states with waves approaching from all directions, not only during transit but also at zero speed — imperative when holding station to launch or recover her on-board submarine and guests. A shallow draft of 2.2m allows access to many inshore locations.
Four V12 diesel engines provide prodigious power allowing speeds of up to 25 knots to be reached comfortably. Controllable pitch propellers ensure that fuel consumption is optimized perfectly around vessel speed. To launch the submarine, the stern lift
has been designed like a large passerelle extending fully between both aft hulls. Incorporating two sets of stairs, the lift can be set at various levels, from flush with the main deck all the way down to fully immersed, allowing safe launch and recovery of the onboard submarine.
Once launched the lift sits at bathing platform level, allowing access to both port and starboard lazarettes in one 15m wide, full beam space. A catwalk spanning the opened aft decks also doubles as a crane, providing a secondary launch system for the tenders.
Claydon Reeves approached the exterior design and internal layout with a fresh sheet of paper, acknowledging the unique features that the XSS platform provides. The exterior was sculpted as a one-box shape with the main form appearing to be a fully glazed volume promising masses of internal light and spectacular views out. Behind, twin funnel structures frame the generous aft decks whilst containing air intake and exhaust systems.
Grilles mimic air bubbles, hinting at her underwater capabilities. The sundeck provides relaxation spaces including Jacuzzi, sun lounging and dining areas along with gym equipment. Above this and crowning the yacht, the mast and flybridge provide commanding views of the surrounding world. An 8m tender and 5m submarine rest on the aft main deck whilst the foredeck helipad adds further options for guests.
Internally the layout maximizes the extreme width available only on a catamaran. Guest accommodation is spread over two decks with the Owner enjoying forward views on the main deck with a private terrace. Aft on the main deck, Dive HQ provides changing and preparation facilities for the day’s underwater activities and permits direct access to the water once the stern lift is deployed. Forward of Dive HQ a bar and lounge area allow informal relaxation.
The main saloon and dining room are situated on the bridge deck above, along with the VIP cabin. Wheelhouse, captain and senior crew accommodation also share this deck whilst the remaining crew cabins are located on the lower decks. A large dive store with decompression chamber and service area completes the aft portside lazarette whilst starboard, a crew tender is readily accessible.