Damen Yachting excited the industry after revealing the ambitious design for the SeaXplorer 105 in April 2021.
The largest superyacht in its SeaXplorer range alongside the 60m and 77m, completes Damen Yachting’s ‘neat portfolio’, according to SeaXplorer Design Manager Enrique Tintore.
It is clear that the SeaXplorer range that attempts “to blend, without any sort of compromise, luxury experience…with true expedition capabilities” is a continuation and evolution of Damen Yachting’s work on ANAWA and LA DATCHA.
Both the SeaXplorer 60 and 77 are ice class yachts designed for polar operations that seek to give back to the environment through which they will pass; the SeaXplorer 60, which will be available for delivery in Spring 2024, is noted for her wet lab for ocean research and the SeaXplorer 77 for her bow point observation lounge.
As an explorer yacht of such vast size, comparatively to her sister yachts, the SeaXplorer 105 has been designed with plenty of particular engineering solutions to reduce the carbon footprint of her operational functions that were ironically much harder to implement on the smaller vessels.
One notable solution included is dynamic positioning, which Tintore feels is “fundamental to have”, claiming that it is “one of the essentials if you consider that you might be going to natural reserves, protected areas and corners in the world where you don’t want to spoil nature, you don’t want to spoil life under water with the anchor by destroying some coral.”
The megayacht is equipped with a diesel-electric hybrid engine with pod thrusters as well as effective heat recovery systems.
Though all SeaXplorers are designed with hybrid propulsion as standard, Tintore claimed that the size of the SeaXplorer 105 eradicated some of the challenges posed by limited space for batteries and ventilation in the smaller models.
Perhaps the greatest advantage provided by the yacht’s size from an environmental perspective is her ample room for garbage and refuse.
“You are able to process your waste in such a way that you can keep it on board for an extremely long period of time so that you can treat it properly when you go back to shore,” said Tintore.
Tintore felt that paradoxically her size made the design of these capabilities simpler for his team.
“I know it is a bold statement but the bigger the boat, the more space you are able to get for all of the environmental requirements you want to cover.
“You can make proper space reservations, for instance garbage storage, for new technologies, for alternative fuel cells,” he continued, “You can keep some sort of slack for future growth and for future proofing.”
Despite her immense size, which helped create space for the sustainable elements in place, Tintore believes that the length of the gigayacht did not make her development any more challenging than smaller designs.
“We also have the 58 that will be delivered at the end of 2022, and that is actually as proportionally as complex as the big one because we want to make it as functional and future proof as a bigger boat.”
However Tintore indicated that like every yacht design the SeaXplorer 105 created its own challenges. Aside from ensuring that rules and regulations are complied with, making the right design choices for a yacht of that magnitude posed unique difficulties for the team.
“The bigger the boat the more facilities for expedition you may have, which means you also need additional space for the right qualified staff personnel.
“You are going to have more guests which means that perhaps you don’t only need one diving instructor, you need maybe two. If you have space for two helicopters you don’t need one pilot, you need maybe three pilots.”
Tintore emphasised that the key behind creating the design for the SeaXplorer 105 was looking for “the right balance” as ensuring luxury was an integral part of Damen’s mission.
Decisions taken to determine her design have involved years of extensive market research since her inception at the Damen Yachting offices in Rotterdam back in 2018.
“Indeed something that we try to do is gather feedback from the clients themselves and from the crew. The most important and most efficient way to get better is to get direct feedback and information from the main operators and users of your boats.”
In terms of identifying prospective clients’ needs, Tintore admitted that there is an element of speculation due to the differing profiles of possible superyacht buyers.
He notes that the number of billionaires around different regions of the world is growing with customers potentially coming from South America, Eastern Europe or Asia, creating even cultural differences in the specifications they might require.
“You never know, maybe they are just business-driven, maybe they have a small family, maybe they have a bigger family; so all these aspects, when it comes to the private life of the client, are going to determine how the luxury areas are going to be fitted and used.”
Tintore quipped: “Some have zero interest in having a hairdresser on board and they are more focused on having everything they need for diving or for heli-skiing.”
Although immensely proud of the SeaXplorer105, Tintore emphasised that the pleasure of yacht design is not related to the size of the yacht.
“I would say that for us it is more about satisfying our clients’ wishes and demands regardless of the size.
“For us the biggest achievement is to be able to deliver on our promises.”
The SeaXplorer 105 is the ultimate demonstration of the ethos that has driven the development of the entire range.
The polar class gigayacht takes the fundamental principles of merging luxury and adventure, that is also felt on the 60m and 70m vessels, to new heights as she demonstrates Damen’s wild ambition all the while ensuring that sustainability has been considered.
Tintore sums this up as he said: “So, basically what we thought is having this in-house and not sharing this with the world would be a pity, so I think it is something quite exciting to share and to tell the industry that we have this idea and we are capable of doing that, so why not?"