Damen has announced the sale of the second hull in the SeaXplorer series – a 75.2m luxury expedition yacht with exceptional sea-going capabilities. Justifiably, the SeaXplorer is proving to be a popular concept; it is leaps and bounds ahead of most out-and-out expedition yacht designs from an operational standpoint.
Damen expects the owner will take delivery in the second half of 2020. The 2,500-gross ton vessel will feature a below-deck hangar for two helicopters. Unpredictable and inadequately mapped terrain can be perilous, so a back-up helicopter becomes more of a necessity than a luxury; it also demonstrates just how far afield this owner is thinking of going.
“Our partnership with Damen on the SeaXplorer concept was fantastic because it’s one of the first times a leading yacht builder has sought expert advice in terms of what’s required of an expedition yacht,” explained Tim Soper, of EYOS Expeditions, in an exclusive conversation with SuperyachtNews.
“I think Damen was originally expecting a dozen or so suggestions, but we gave them 155 – and all of them have been incorporated into the concept,” added Rob McCallum, also of EYOS Expeditions. “Every single suggestion was a lesson learnt from another vessel and it’s a synthesis of thousands and thousands of hours of expedition cruising.”
In addition to providing operations for two helicopters, the 75m vessel will also feature a dive centre (with a changing room, dry room, tank store and compressor room etc.); a submersible hangar; a toy store; a tender garage for a 10.5m landing craft; retractable zero-speed stabilisers for use in icy conditions; and, among other notable features, huge tank deck provisions stores and garbage management.
The original spec for the 65m SeaXplorer concept (SX 65) comprised accommodation for 12 guests and 20 crew. This vessel will have the same accommodation capacity and five additional crew, suggesting that the extra 10m in length and 500gt in volume are for life and performance-enhancing features.
Explorer yacht designs continue to be to the tastes of many of today’s owners, yet the market is littered with yachts dubbed ‘explorers’, that do not serve their intended purpose. This is fine if the owners are pottering around the usual stomping grounds, such as the French Riviera, but traversing the globe is a different story.
It’s not about how far you can go, but for how long. Damen has spent considerable time looking at self-sufficiency at sea, taking into account key expedition yacht design challenges: autonomy and endurance, seakeeping and icebreaking, safety and the environment, the yachting lifestyle and expedition logistics.
While we are yet to see the SeaXplorer’s functionality in practice, you can’t argue that Damen has been proactive in formulating a concept that mitigates the existing challenges of cruising in unchartered territories.