A Word from the Captain on Aquarius
Fifty-six metre sailing yacht Aquarius was delivered in January 2018 by Royal Huisman and has since completed several trips, including winter cruising in the Caribbean and a summer in the Mediterranean. Her captain, James Turner, has sailed the ship from destination to destination and was an integral part of the design process. Captain Turner holds a special place in his heart for this Royal Huisman build and tells of his experiences onboard in the following interview.
What are the features of Aquarius that most impress you, as a captain?
First and foremost, it is her striking aesthetic: her long elegant sheer, low, bold deckhouses and significant rig plan all stylishly combined with modern features that pair traditional with contemporary very well. Looking more closely and from an operational perspective, it is the layout of controls/screens and functions of the helm area and deckhouse. At the heart of Aquarius’ design and build was the desire of building a very capable sailing boat for family cruising to regatta racing: her power, handling and turn of speed to combine seamlessly.
How would you rate her sailing capability – in terms of both performance and sail handling?
As can often be found, handling ease is a compromise to performance and vice versa. However, in Aquarius’ case, I believe her designers did exceptionally well to maximise both. With her very powerful rig and sail plan, her performance, power and capability are not something to underestimate – without anticipation, one can be surprised at her power. However, her systems, handling and control all aid to make her handle with relative ease. One thing that is immediately striking about Aquarius is the size and height of her mizzen mast with her high roach sails; as such the force potential of the mizzen cannot be underestimated.
From an overall, operational, point of view, how well has Aquarius met the objectives set by the Client team?
I believe that Aquarius has exceeded the owners’ expectations. The client wanted something that was elegant yet muscular, a yacht that looked as at home on the race course as it does in a far-flung anchorage. They wanted to entertain their family and closest friends. The luxury accommodation had to be comfortable, stylish, yet understated and it had to boast light and space. At the time of writing, the owners have enjoyed only a few trips on board. However, they are exceedingly proud of what they have built and are most excited about what they will continue to achieve with Aquarius. To quantify the objectives set from the beginning, I think Aquarius has not only met but surpassed the brief.
How would you describe the experience of building a custom superyacht like Aquarius at the Royal Huisman shipyard?
Being a part of the build of Aquarius at Royal Huisman is and will remain a highlight of my career. It is no wonder that Huisman has developed the reputation they have within the industry. It is not only their organisation and efficiency as a facility, but it is also above all their pride in what they do that shines through. Without wanting to sound cliché the bespoke construction of a yacht is the realisation of the client’s dream. It is this unwavering understanding, through everyone involved that creates the realisation. This for me made the goal relatively easy to achieve as we were all on the same page. They just get it.
With that being said, we look forward to hearing more about the adventures of Aquarius and the future projects from Royal Huisman.
"As can often be found, handling ease is a compromise to performance and vice versa. However, in Aquarius’ case, I believe her designers did exceptionally well to maximise both. With her very powerful rig and sail plan, her performance, power and capability are not something to underestimate – without anticipation, one can be surprised at her power."