Hot Lab’s evolution of the explorer concept, presented at the most recent Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in the exhibition space of Italian shipyard Viareggio Superyachts, is known as the VSY 67 m Explorer.
The designers and the shipyard chose each other to promote a very attractive design for a new 67-metre explorer which will enhance the range of yachts on offer in a segment increasingly rich in options. Owners have become more and more interested in the explorer concept, especially in recent years, thanks to designs that are increasingly capable of combining the typical functionalities of working vessels with the special features of a yacht. This is a process that is anything but simple, since the designers need to fulfil specific technical requirements that in turn need tailor-made construction solutions that are often very different from the typical solutions found in the yachting world. Here is where the classic concept of a working vessel – one with a deckhouse or entire superstructure that juts forward prominently together with large aft spaces for carrying out the work for which the vessel was designed – sees 21st-century designers looking for ever more interesting solutions. Again in the case of this yacht, what appears to be a limit in yachting, namely the lack of a large salon near the stern, the natural access route to the yacht, instead becomes an area for open-air activity with dimensions that would otherwise be unthinkable, very close to the sea. The centre of gravity for life indoors moves towards the bow, resulting in open-air activity moving aft. However, the two are always connected, especially when it comes to the upper deck and the main deck, and – the crowning glory here – the second upper deck with its huge swimming pool with a transparent stern wall, and ultimately the sun deck. At first glance, one striking feature is the extraordinary amount of open-air spaces for sunbathing and relaxation with sofas, tables, a swimming pool and all sorts of sunbathing equipment, from the beach chairs on the main deck to the large sun beds on the sun deck, all served by bars, informal dining areas, sofas, and armchairs in the gaming areas. In short, yes, it’s about exploration – but without ever forgetting that we are on board a yacht. The profile obviously resembles the typical working vessel profile, with a high bow and in this case a wide body up to the upper deck for one third of the length of the hull, with a superstructure that juts forward prominently. With a length of 66 metres and intelligent management of volume and shape that means the full length can be appreciated, the profile is sleek in spite of the three decks above the main deck and the resulting silhouette suggests without a shadow of a doubt that this is a yacht and not a working vessel. In our view, it is a very balanced design, with a configuration that has made it possible to obtain open-air spaces occupying genuinely large areas and on four different levels, without sacrificing the interiors at all. Even with the large spaces on the main deck for relaxation under the sun, the designers have enhanced the options for enjoying this yacht even further by creating a direct link between this deck and the aft bridge, from which the beach area can be accessed. The beach club offers dimensions that are unique for the category, obtained simply by launching the tenders which are moored to the two side platforms created when the sides are opened out. In practice, from the aft bridge to one third of the way along the ship forward, the entire space is transformed into a beach club, with direct access to tenders and water toys that are already in the water. It is served by a bar, a gym area and a covered relaxation space, as well as beach chairs that can be placed on terraces to enjoy privacy at sea level.
Hot Lab has proposed two different versions of the interior layout, offering six or seven cabins, but of course both the designers and the shipyard are ready to handle individual requests that differ from the existing proposals – although those presented at Fort Lauderdale strike us as genuinely capable of meeting any and all needs. Antonio Romano, Hot Lab partner and marketing manager, had this to say about the interiors: “This project’s strengths include the intention to create an owner’s suite located in the forward section of the upper deck, with a 180° view of the sea, a private study and two bathrooms. In addition, there is also the sky lounge with windows on three sides, a panoramic gym on the bridge deck and a larger than average beach club.”
In terms of external stylistic elements, Michele Dragoni, partner and architect at Hot Lab, told us: “The interplay of alternating solid elements and empty spaces that rises gradually from deck to deck along the superstructure is almost certainly the most characterful stylistic element of the exterior.” Other elements such as the prominent wing stations, typical of commercial vessels for functional reasons, have been echoed for the bridge deck of the VSY 67m Explorer. The yacht will benefit from them not only as an aesthetic element that calls to mind the origin of this kind of design, but also from an operational point of view as they will offer the captain very advantageous visibility when manoeuvring.
The interior design was developed by Enrico Lumini, partner and architect at Hot Lab, who develops interior designs for the firm. It is worth reiterating that on this yacht, the relationship between the exteriors and the interiors is always very strong, beginning on the bridge deck where the bridge and adjacent captain’s office and cabin provide access to both the large wing stations and the Portuguese bridge with its forward-facing sofa. Then to aft we find the gym, two bathrooms and access to the swimming pool outside with sunbathing spaces and a large pool. Going down to the deck below, the forward section is entirely occupied by the owner’s suite, surrounded by a private open-air space, then to aft we find the upper lounge area with gaming tables, sofas and a large bar. This provides access to the open-air dining area, which in turn has an adjacent relaxation space with sofas and coffee tables. The main deck, perhaps more than any other, highlights the relationship between covered and uncovered decks, with two VIP cabins forward, then the main salon with a formal dining area and a large bar that is partly covered and partly open-air. To aft, a further large area with sofas, small tables and accessories marks the edge of a living space that is continuous with the preceding sections but in a more open position. The large stern section of this deck can be used as a relaxation, sunbathing, party etc. space, but also features all the systems needed for helicopter landing and take-off.
This is undoubtedly a very ambitious project that offers the possibility of not only taking on long voyages, but doing so in the utmost comfort and with consistently very high privacy levels for guests. This can be seen in the careful study of access circuits on board, intelligently divided between those for crew and those for guests. The four cabins on the lower deck – two double and two twin – are served by a central corridor that faces a lobby providing access to all the decks via staircases and a lift. Forward of this area are the crew quarters, which feature not only large cabins and relaxation spaces suitable for long periods on board, but also facilities for managing the loading of pantry supplies directly from this area so that staff do not have to pass through the aft section.
This is a very attractive design due to all the many features it offers, and Viareggio Superyachts, which has already proven its huge construction and qualitative skills with yachts like the 72-metre Stella Maris, the 62-metre vessels Roma and Sealyon, and the 64-metre Duchess of Tuscany currently under construction, will certainly be able to give the project the build it deserves.
VSY 67 M EXPLORER
|Construction type||Steel / Aluminium|
|LOA||66.53 m / 218’27’’ ft|
|Beam (max)||11.6 m / 35’35’’ ft|
|Draft||3.10 m / 10’17’’ ft|
|Depth||5,85 m / 19’19’’ ft|
|Gross Tonnage||1130 GT (approx.)|
|Main propulsion system||2 x CATERPILLAR 3512C|
|Max & continuous power||1765 kW at 1800 rpm each|
|Main generators||3 x CATERPILLAR|
|Max & continuous power||Max power 200 kW each|
|Emergency generator||1 x CATERPILLAR|
|Max & continuous power||150 ekW|
|Bow thruster||Rim thruster SCHOTTEL SRT (or equivalent)|
|Stern thruster||AZIMUTHAL PUMP JET|
|Rudder / steering system||Two indipendent electrohydraulic power units|
|Stabilizers||ZERO SPEED stabilizers system gin|
|Maximum speed||16 Knots|
|Range at 12 Knots||5000 nm with 10% sea mar|
|Guest & Owner Cabins||5+1 / 10 + 2 pers|
|Crew & Captain Cabins||8+1 /15 + 1 pers|
|Interior areas||745 sqm / 8019.11 ft (approx.)|
|External areas||485 sqm / 5220.50 ft (approx.)|
|Tender & water sports equipment||Garage/beach club in the hull aft area lower deck
1 x Tender 8 mt (approx)
1 x Rib Tender 8 mt (approx)
2 x Jet-Skis Yamaha VX cruiser
2 x Shell doors downward in garage / beach club
1 x Rib Rescue Tender 4.2 m