A pure custom Feadship Shinkai has made the first journey of what will be a lifetime of global exploration… The 55m Vitruvius Yachts designed explorer, is nearing her delivery date at Feadship’s Aalsmeer shipyard, having just completed sea trials in the North Sea’s waters off The Netherlands.
Like every genuinely custom superyacht, the design for Shinkai revolved around these specific choices of the client. In this case, the key was how best to incorporate a 7.2-tonne submarine on the aft deck along with the giant crane required for launching and collection. Taking this as the starting point, designer Philippe Briand and the teams at Vitruvius and Feadship have developed a 55-metre explorer yacht which will be able to travel the world while remaining both self-sufficient and fuel-efficient.
As the creative force behind Shinkai’s powerful yet elegant design, Vitruvius Yachts’ Philippe Briand was onboard to experience her performance. Here, the designer and naval architect shares his thoughts on how she measured up to expectations during the critical sea trials assessment.
‘The cold, grey November weather presenting itself to us on the day of Shinkai’s sea trials could not have been better to test her unique blend of rugged explorer meets comfortable superyacht. When you first step onboard, you are greeted by the ‘tech beauty’ of her striking red submersible and its accompanying immense ‘goldorak’ style crane; and then your attention is drawn to the glossy silver superyacht before you. A true rarity, she presents an inspiring combination of styles and capabilities’, described Philippe Briand.
The many adventures Shinkai is expected to embark on in the coming years include taking on the North-West passage. The Feadship’s steel hull has therefore been built to ice class and includes an advanced WASSP sonar system to explore the ocean floor. She is not being fitted with traditional stabiliser fins as these could potentially hinder the ability to retrieve the submarine in certain seas.
For the first time on a yacht of this size, a gyroscope system has been fitted within the hull, with the tank deck arranged in such a way to enable traditional stabilisers to also be installed later if required. Measuring 3×3 metres and weighing a hefty 23 tonnes, the gyro is the largest unit built to date and a heavy piece of equipment for a yacht built to go far on less fuel.
‘Shinkai’s full-height reinforced windows delivering an astonishing 270-degree view. Experiencing her excellent performance first hand, after four years of involvement in her creation from the very beginning, I confirmed to her owner by phone that she will be the perfect protective and comfortable cocoon from which to explore all the world’s oceans. And of course, Shinkai’s design efficiency and Feadship de Vries’ technology will help protect the planet’s oceans, too!’, added designer Philippe Briand of Vitruvius Yachts.
Photos & video Feadship