Rebuilding A Giant: The Yacht Conversion of Enigma XK

By Ben Roberts

Built 28 years ago, the ex-fishery patrol vessel Norna was the recent focus of an owner looking for a robust yacht capable of sailing in all conditions. After approaching the Atlantic Refit Centre, her owner embarked on a new conversion project with designer Philippe Briand to create an Enigma.

The project was to convert the ex-fishing patrol vessel Norna into the timeless superyacht ‘Enigma’. Maintaining the rugged exterior aesthetic, but with a complete overhaul, the new project would transform the patrol vessel into a yacht fit for tropical climes.

This new project hosts a wealth of elements outside of construction which encapsulate the ideal explorer vessel. Open spaces across the exterior, a touchdown helipad and open entertainment areas which could be protected from excessive sun exposure, extensive storage for limo tenders, all-terrain vehicles, water toys and motorcycles, make up the new layout.

One of the most impressive features of the newly converted superyacht is its glass observation room, which provides panoramic views of the ever-changing cruising grounds that the yacht is set to explore. With travel to the Polar Regions available to the owner, this will no doubt be the most popular space from which guests can discover the natural beauty of these destinations without leaving the comfortable, warm cocoon of the superyacht’s interior.

Philippe Briand, who leads the team of designers and naval architects at Vitruvius Yachts, commented on the challenge: “Refit work is very complex for a designer, as you often need to have a strong appreciation for the design of technical systems and naval architecture. On the Enigma XK project, I worked with a geometer to recreate all the areas of the vessel. Only then can you start doing the detailed work.”

The next challenge was to open up the interior to natural light, as the original design of the vessel had restricted portholes to a minimum. In total, 27 port lights of 1.2 metres’ height were added to Enigma XK during the conversion, which now flood the living space with light and offer much improved views of the surroundings.

Te internal space also required the low headspace of 2.50m to be addressed before opening space for 12 guests, a fitness room and massage parlour amongst contemporary glass house style.

After the project began in August, Enigma has recently been reintroduced to the water for a long and prosperous career as one of the global superyacht fleet.

By Ben Roberts
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