Aluminium and glass are probably the two key words that best describe the design essence of the semi-displacement motor yacht launched this year by Feadship. With build number 688, she was delivered to her owner Neville Crichton with the name Como. Together with Ed Dubois, who developed her naval architecture and exterior design, and Redman Whiteley Dixon, which created her interior design and décor, the Dutch shipyard produced Como to order for Crichton, the world-renowned and highly experienced yachtsman who was made Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit by HM Queen Elizabeth II in 2012 for his services to yachting and business. A New Zealander by birth, Crichton has previously commissioned the construction of numerous competitive sailing boats, and recently also motor yachts, from various Kiwi shipyards, but on this occasion he made an exception to the rule and went to the Dutch shipyard for the construction of a custom super yacht.
Among the many shipbuilders at the highest levels of qualitative excellence in the Netherlands, he opted for Feadship. Crichton had this to say about his “unusual” decision: “Having built many yachts in New Zealand, my choice of Feadship came after a careful and extensive examination of its expertise and its facilities. Once the decision to work with Feadship for the first time was made, I followed the construction process closely at all stages. I am pleased to be able to report that Feadship has exceeded my expectations (in particular the quality and finish of their workmanship) in all areas and working with them both professionally and personally has been an enjoyable experience, with a remarkable and unique super yacht as the end result.” The management of the famous Dutch shipyard naturally welcomed Crichton’s decision very positively, and everyone at the yard is highly satisfied with the work that ended with the launch of Como, as Henk de Vries, Feadship’s Director, proudly explains: “We are delighted to make our mark once again in this size range. Feadship is not only about very large super yachts: we also pride ourselves on creating exceptionally well-honed objects on a more human scale. And, like all our yachts, everything has been totally customised to the client’s individual requirements. We have used the very latest technologies and developments to push the window – and the windows – on what is surely the most sophisticated forty-six metre super yacht in the world today.” From a technical perspective and an aesthetic perspective alike, Como flawlessly reflects the Owner’s individual ideas, based on one main theme that guided the design of the vessel: metal and glass. Perhaps it could not be otherwise, given that recreationally Crichton is not only an expert sailor but also a skilled race car driver and, in the business world, a very successful car importer. With this background, Crichton has a particular predilection for the dynamic shapes and sporty lines of race cars, and therefore wanted to introduce them into his motor yacht as well. This is clearly borne out by many of the overall characteristics and details of both the hull and the superstructure. Firstly, her dynamic sleekness is emphasised by the layout on two and a half decks, which is exceptional among Feadship’s most recent yachts of this size which instead have had a four- or five-deck layout. In addition, the hull, which has a modern bow and a whaleback sheer, has large windows that have few precedents in terms of number and size. Similarly, the panoramic top deck is entirely covered by glass and surrounded by windows that can be raised or lowered to make the deck an enclosed or open space.
Together with the metal surfaces on board Como, generous use has been made of glass surfaces, which, although expressly requested by the Owner, who has a taste for the avant-garde, are in fact entirely representative of the current trend for the increasing use of glass in the design of super yachts. The incredible progress made in glass working technology, which radically changed both structural approaches and aesthetic appearance in the construction and architecture sectors over the last century, has had a major effect on the exterior look of super yachts as well.
This transformation is one that has progressively grown and evolved over the years: half a century ago, approximately 7% of the total surface of a yacht’s silhouette was in glass. A quarter of a century later, this proportion had almost doubled and the glass sections began to play a more important design role in the exterior styling.
For its part, Feadship has always been a courageous pioneer in advanced research for innovative uses of glass in the nautical industry. The most recent developments in this technological research gave rise to the proposal for the first project in the Feadship Future Concept series, named X-Stream, which was presented to great acclaim in 2006, as Bram Jongepier, Manager of Knowledge Development at Feadship, explains: “We received an enthusiastic response to our idea of offering a fully glazed superstructure and a glass observation area in the bow. This led to a research programme focused on the use of very large glass panels, the deployment of glass for strength, and the influence that glass has on interior comfort levels.”
Feadship focused in particular on the complex study of glass structures and their capacity to support the static load of the deck above on glass panes. A design prototype was developed using a structural support core containing stairs, ducting and technical spaces, much like in buildings.
Its first practical application was in the design of Musashi, an 88-metre super yacht launched in 2011 and presented in issue 24 of Yacht Première. In this yacht, the structural and service elements around the luxurious interior spaces were kept to a minimum and the proportion of glass to metal in her exterior profile was over 20 percent. Since then, numerous projects in the Feadship Future Concept series have been fitted with larger window panes and underwater windows. These include “Aeon”, which featured glass in the hull and showed how large windows at the waterline level could offer amazing views of the oceanic world. This idea was made a reality on the 78.50- metre Hampshire II in 2012, which features an underwater viewing port of over one metre in diameter from the wine cellar on the bottom deck. The revolutionary 78.20- metre Venus, also launched in 2012, featured a special way of using glass as well.
Bram Jongepier explains: “Once Venus was launched, we could measure actual hull deflection with the tank loading centred and completely to the ends. We were also able to check the accuracy of our FEM calculations – the first time anyone has had access to real-life feedback on the computational models used. Crucially, we were able to replicate the results of the tests to an accuracy of 10-15% – an impressive figure for such an extraordinarily complex product.”
The giant windows on her pavilion deck required close cooperation with Lloyd’s and a glass expert, Eckersley O’Callaghan. Normal windows for a yacht are tested at full scale in a steel construction using water pressure to see whether the construction will hold. Venus’ pavilion windows measure 10 x 2.4 metres, however, and there is no testing facility for such a size. Additionally, the connection system is very different as there is only a connection on one side with the windows resting on a couple of supports. With Feadship, state-of-the-art use of structural glass goes further. In 2012, Feadship began a study on load-bearing glass that focused on specific locations on the yacht. As an exercise, the load of the wheelhouse roof of a 45-metre Feadship vessel was placed on the windows. After calculations it was discovered that by increasing the thickness of the front windows from 1.4 to 3 cm they could support the roof. Five full-scale tests were then carried out which proved that an enormous amount of weight could be placed on top of the windows. For regular windows, a normal load is prescribed by class of about three tonnes per square metre. The roof above is also considered a design load, and this was also transferred onto the window (about 3 tonnes). Lloyd’s regulations require that windows be able to support four times the normal load without breaking. The tests put four times the normal load on the window and then started adding the deck load (compression load) as well.
It took a load of more than 15 tonnes before they actually broke. Jongepier says: “This is the stage at which we are now. We are convinced that we are able to load our windows with the load from the deck above in a local situation. We know how thick they need to be, we know how to test them, and we have already discussed this with the class authorities. Ovens of the size required to bend giant glass panels are now available, and Feadship has the design and construction expertise needed to ensure total safety at sea. Now we are working with designers and clients on something truly spectacular that will reap the rewards of all this research. There is much more glass on the horizon!”
As for the present in the form of Como, Jongepier says: “Here the superstructure glass is placed on top of the metal rather than being set into it, creating a continuous surface. These glazed side panels give uninterrupted views from the owner’s stateroom.
And the exceptionally large windows in the hull go way beyond what is permissible from a regulation point of view. We proved to Lloyd’s that we were able to make glass windows suitable for that location and size, and that the glass laminate would hold.”
Jongepier concludes: “Moreover, the glass covers the structure on Como in a continuous glass band. We had learned that you have to measure and correct the complete superstructure in the paint and filler works to be able to make a fair transition from the paintwork to the glass and back to the paint again. The gloss lines have to be continuous… and on Como they are.”
Like every Feadship custom project, Como’s Owner’s requirements were met in style and the interior design is finished to an exceptionally high level with extensive use of timber and a wide range of fascinating fine details.
Photos by courtesy of Feadship
Como Technical Specifications
|Type||Twin screw motor yacht and|
|Length overall||46.22 m / 151’6” ft|
|Beam overall||9.00 m / 29’6” ft|
|Draught (loaded)||2.20 m / 17’3” ft|
|Fuel capacity||51,000 litres / 13,473 US Gallons|
|Fresh water capacity||16,000 litres / 4,227 US Gallons|
|Main engines||2 x Caterpillar C32 / 1417 kW @ 2300 rpm|
|Generators||2 x Caterpillar 6.6
2 x 90.125 kW – 1500 rpm
|Stabilizers||Quantum zero-speed stabilizers|
Four guests in two double guest staterooms and
four guests in two twin guest staterooms
Eight crew – four crew in two crew cabins;
two in captain’s cabin, two in engineer’s cabin.
Storage rooms, laundry, galley and crew mess on lower deck
|Naval Architect||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Exterior styling||Dubois Naval Architects|
|Interior design||Redman Whiteley Dixon|