American-based design studio Van Aller Yacht and Naval Design has disclosed plans for the conversion of a 61m aluminium fast supply vessel, built by commercial shipyard Edison Chouest Offshore, into a superyacht support vessel. SuperyachtNews speaks exclusively to CEO, Geoff van Aller to find out what exactly goes into a conversion and the plans moving forward.

“The brief for the 61m was to make it look good but keep the conversion reasonable and cost-effective,” says van Aller. One of the many benefits to the project, as Van Aller explains, is to retain the commercial functionality of the fast supply vessels, keeping the modifications down to a minimum with a fast turnaround at a reasonable cost. “What we want to do is keep the majority of the platform and convert the necessary elements to make it functional as a support vessel. What we’re not trying to do is take a supply vessel platform and change it into a superyacht; it is to be used strictly as an expedition or support vessel” says van Aller.

The brief for the 61m was to make it look good but keep the conversion reasonable and cost-effective

- Geoff van Aller

The vessel itself is actually one of a number of supply vessels that van Aller has created plans for conversion into support vessels. Edison Chouest Offshore has a number of steel-hulled vessels, all of which are eligible for a similar type of conversion as the 61m. “The interesting thing about these vessels is that they have all been in service for quite some time, yet since they were built, none of them have changed hands.”

“For the 61m vessel, we’ve kept all of the staircases in the same places going up through the superstructure and modified it and made it a little bit larger to move a couple of staterooms up there,” van Aller explains. “Down in the hulls of these fast supply vessels, the rooms are very minimal and small, so we wanted to include some larger staterooms for the chef, helicopter pilot or captain as they are going to require better access to the goings on of the boat.”

Despite extending the superstructure, a large proportion of the deck behind the garage remains dedicated to storage for tenders and toys. “We still had 60ft behind the garage so we can put a helicopter in the garage, with a boat, a vehicle and some submarines, and then behind it, we can still put a 48ft sportfisher on the deck,” he says.

For this project in particular, there is a very clear aim to keep the changes to a minimum in order to keep the costs and timings to a minimum. “The whole idea is that if the owner has got a 200 to 300ft yacht, there are already a lot of expenses from the mothership, so with a support vessel, you don’t want to spend as much as you would with the yacht - you want to keep those costs down.”

 


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