When a new and innovate concept surfaces from a designer or design studio, there is nothing more compelling than delving into the designer’s mind set and examining their thought processes to uncover what their inspirations were for such futuristic ideas. In most cases, these wildly futuristic concepts are a little far fetched, to the extent where it wouldn't be feasible to take to construction stages, However in designer Henry Ward’s case, after working with BMT Nigel Gee, one of the leading UK-based naval architecture and marine engineering design consultancy firms, they say there is no technical reason why Project Time isn’t feasible.
Project Time is a 66m explorer concept, which takes a fresh look at the boundaries of technology, with an abundance of special features which offer a totally new experience on board the yacht – most prominently the 18m floating lodge docked within the aft of the vessel. The idea is that, on approach to shallow waters, the lodge can be launched as an independent vessel for mini expeditions in harder to reach places.
“My inspiration for the project was to design a yacht that stood out from other explorer concepts by offering versatile features on board that make the owner’s experience that little bit more special,” says designer Henry Ward. He calls the floating lodge a key driving factor behind the design, stating, “I feel guests should be able to have some alone time while exploring the globe and be able to go that extra mile where the mothership cannot reach. Time gives you the flexibility to do this.”
Another of the concept’s many interesting aspects is that when the 18m floating lodge is detached, a large protected pool is revealed. Here the aft topsides of the yacht can fold down to maximise the available space, creating 190sqm of deck around the pool.
Furthermore, BMT Nigel Gee has carried out an initial feasibility study for the naval architecture of the 66m vessel, and the results appear to be promising.
For a company such as BMT Nigel Gee, concept development is an important aspect, despite the fact it doesn’t generate revenue. But what it does generate is fresh ideas and free thinking. “We are often approached by designers looking for support with concept development. This can range from established names who have many projects behind them, to younger designers starting their career,” says BMT Nigel Gee yacht design director, James Roy. “We often find that the latter fresh-faced category can come armed with some wilder ideas.”
In order to initially examine the concept’s feasibility, BMT Nige Gee looks for two principal aspects: that the project is challenging both aesthetically and technically. The technical challenges are then measured to gauge the project's feasibility. “The only thing that cannot be changed are the laws of physics,” says Roy. “However, barriers such as regulatory compliance, established engineering practices and industry-specific limitations can be worked around.”
Roy points to one particularly exciting feature of Project Time that he believes really makes the concept stand out in the market: doors. “I was initially drawn to the idea of utilising a bow visor to access a tender garage at the bow”, he says. “Such doors are commonplace on commercial vessels, but have never been utilised on a yacht. This frees up space at the stern, which is always at a premium; it is the one area where you can get close to and intimate with the water surface.”
For Roy, the concept’s most radical feature is the floating dock. But is it feasible? Yes, according to Roy. “Our work at looking at that, while it’s very high level, indicates there is no technical reason why it is not feasible,” he says.
But this isn't the first time a floating aft section has been feasibly incorporated into a yacht concept. Monegasque design studio Pastrovich unveiled the 77m X R-Evolution concept in 2014, which included a detachable floating aft section.
“I’ve come to realise in life that time is the greatest luxury,” says Ward, when discussion moves to the name of the project. “Every day I hear people say they wish they had more of it and, of course, no one can really buy it. The more you have when partaking in something you like, the more enjoyable the experience. I feel, therefore, that the name ‘Time’ is perfect for this project. Those who have the time to explore the world in her would create the most memorable moments of their lives.”
Now that the project is in the public domain, Henry Ward and BMT Nigel Gee hope to start generating interest in Project Time from potential new owners.