23 Mar 2015
From rags to riches
By Rory Jackson
The HYS objective, as stated on the website, is to repurpose, reimagine and refit ageing commercial vessels into luxury superyachts. The niche that HYS has been able to occupy is characterised by the original clientele; their desire to own something beyond a plain white boat, without paying the premium price tag a top quality fully custom new build would require. Functionality and endurance were top of the shopping list and in this case Japanese government training vessels fit the bill. Large low-tech engines provide a range of 10,000nm, a respectable top speed of 15knots and a generous fuel economy with none of the complications associated with electrically reliant high-end engines.
14 major conversions later and the HYS projects have progressed from the simplistic interior remodelling of one-off boats to dramatic structural conversions based on conceptualisations of stock ships. The 45m Cklass project is a prime example of a ship being “gutted” and almost entirely remodelled. From its basic governmental form, Cklass has been converted to include a private owners penthouse suite, a crows nest, jacuzzi, helideck (which doubles as an entertainment platform), four guest cabins, a tender deck complete with twin 6.5m tenders launched by dual beam-lifts and a four deck guest elevator.
“Cklass is as close as you can get to a new build…without the price tag,” commented HYS President Mark Pragnell. “What’s important to note about this project is that this isn’t a mere conversion as the yachting industry commonly understands the term; this project is more accurately described as a ‘highbred’ yacht.” Pragnell continues, “Our highbred construction model, which we initiated with Cklass, is much more efficient to build while affording the owner greater leeway in customising the internal/external arrangement to their satisfaction.”
HYS naval architect Simon Jupe explains, “A typical yacht conversion essentially involves physically altering existing spaces within a vessel. Using a ‘Highbred’ project workflow, the only items we retain from the original vessel are the meticulously maintained Japanese government hull and prime mover systems.”
Between the affordable labour of Asia and the presence of a pre-made hull, Jupe estimates that an HYS conversion costs around (or less than) half the price of a new build. Cklass’s owner was so pleased with the results that Cklass will be put on the market immediately after launch, making way for his newly commissioned HYS 80m.
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