Superyacht Design Project Norse Lands on the Market

By Ben Roberts

Project Norse, an 80 metre sail-assisted exploration yacht, has grabbed the attention of yachting enthusiasts after a rugged new explorer emerged from Oliver Stacey Design, in collaboration with BMT Nigel Gee.

The two companies came together with the brief to present a fresh interpretation of the explorer vessel genre and develop a concept designed for maximum self-sustainability, global range and minimal environmental impact.

“When we were initially looking for a conceptual thread for the design, I had recently seen the Viking Voyagers exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth”, explains designer Oliver Stacey. “The extensive range and endurance of the longboat. The adventuring spirit of the Vikings. The use of sail as a secondary power source. These are the inspirational reference points which led to the development of Project Norse.”

Norse is designed around a sail assisted hybrid propulsion system. “We thought long and hard about hybrid, and how such a system might help us achieve our goals for the project.” says BMT Nigel Gee’s Yacht Design Director, James Roy. “Despite outward appearances, this is not a sailing yacht; at a time when hybrid is a buzz word in our industry, we couldn’t move away from the unmistakable truth that sail assistance is the ultimate hybrid. The final configuration makes use of a hybrid diesel electric / diesel mechanical (CODAE / CODOE) with sail assist.”

With a profile inspired by the longboat, Norse offers unprecedented access to shallow water for a yacht of this size. The vessel’s long and robust keel flat, with shallow draft coupled with a high degree of manoeuvrability, means she can access secluded anchorages normally considered off-limits to a yacht of 80m.

Norse is configured to act as an activity basecamp for a wide range of sea, land and air based activities, including heli-skiing, ski-touring, mountaineering, diving, water sports and aerial exploration. A robust gantry crane provides reliable launching and recovery of a wide range of vehicles including a seaplane of up to 12m wingspan.

The extensive tender garage deploys an array of support vessels and adventure vehicles including a landing craft, ATV, submarine and snow mobiles. With extensive stores and provisioning capacity, and a range extended by sail assistance, the vessel can operate in regions with limited or no support infrastructure for extended durations.

In line with the vessel’s long-range and extended self-sustainability, Norse is built to Ice Class 1d and complies with Category C requirements of the Polar Code. Allowing operation in light ice conditions, this capability permits summer operation in the Polar Regions for specific routes of interest, including the Antarctic Peninsula, Arctic Svalbard and Greenland.  

By Ben Roberts