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Yacht Experiences

Founders’ Note: The Continued Growth of the Explorer Yacht Trend

The explorer yacht trend continues to boom within the world of yachting, a movement that Pelorus co-founders Jimmy Carroll and Geordie Mackay-Lewis welcome. 

Snorkel amongst a rich and diverse aquatic life

“The future is in the hands of those who explore… and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.”

Jacques Yves Cousteau

With 2020 taking an unexpected turn for us all, and the yacht industry, like many, having to adapt and adjust to remote working, projects being put on hold and unexpected cancellations, we take a look at a trend that in spite of all this, looks set for continued growth. The explorer yacht. Here, the Pelorus co-founders look at how certain yachts are adapting for exploration and how the Pelorus Yacht Expeditions team can play an integral role in this.

Operating in some of the world’s most remote regions, usually scarcely, if, at all visited by yachts, Pelorus understands the specialist requirements for vessels and their crews when visiting these areas”, explains Geordie. He adds that “while we can advise and assist any yacht in preparing for these off the beaten track expeditions, preparing your yacht in the build or refit stage will often allow for greater, more self-sufficient exploration, sometimes negating the need to charter a support vessel. This is a trend that is on the rise.

From yacht design concepts to yachts in build, new launches, and refit projects, we have seen a significant increase in the focus placed on exploration in recent years. This is greatly due to the desire to move away from the Caribbean and Mediterranean milk run and to experience new and unusual adventures. The Covid-19 Pandemic is likely to be a driving force in further cementing this trend as people look to escape to remote locations, away from crowds.” says Jimmy.

Recent launches worth noting include 88.51-metre OLIVIA O, the first luxury yacht offering from Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein Verft AS with Espen Øino, and Ulstein collaborating on her exterior design. Her X-Bow is designed to endure the harshest of sea conditions and a full-beam raised tender garage is operational even in rough weather. She also comes with a commercial-rated helicopter platform.

Launched in 2019, Silveryachts 85.3m BOLD is another noteworthy vessel, and she is available to charter. Jimmy observes that “her impressive top speed of 23 knots is a real exploration asset, minimising crossing times and maximising the area you cover whilst exploring on board.” Fuel efficiency is increased due to her shallow draft of 2.3m, also allowing access to shallow cruising grounds. Flush lighting on her heli deck allows for after-dark operations and a heli hanger doubles as an entertainment or nightclub space. A Wintergarden also allows for exterior dining in harsh conditions.

Oceanco 105m yacht concept ESQUEL has piqued interest since its release in 2019. “Pelorus Yacht Expeditions provided consultation during the design process and played an integral role in ensuring that once built, ESQUEL will be equipped for remote, adventurous cruising,” comments Geordie. This Polar classified yacht has been designed to carry and deploy two submarines, a land vehicle, and motorbikes for shore-side exploration, as well as accommodating a helicopter. She can also be equipped with laboratories for scientific and ocean conservation research.

More recently, the Pelorus Yacht Expeditions division has consulted on a yacht design concept for Sturge Design; 96m RIMOR-X. This 5-deck explorer yacht will carry a helicopter, a submarine, and snowmobiles, and is equipped with a ‘mud’ room for transitioning from outdoor expeditions to the interior of the yacht. Her semi-submerged ‘Mermaid’ Lounge will offer a constant and immersive connection with the underwater world for all family generations on board.

Respected yacht builders such as Heesen are also following suit, with their first explorer yacht concept, 57m XVENTURE, designed by Winch Designs, launched late in 2019. New builders such as Arksen, who are developing an expedition yacht range in the 20 – 30m bracket with a focus on efficiency and environmental impact, are also contributing to this rising trend.

26.2m Arksen Yacht render 57m XVenture
esquel yacht exterior pelorus yacht rimor-x mermaid lounge pelorus

Building a new yacht, however, is not the only option when seeking to explore further afield, “refitting can often be a more financially viable option for many yacht owners and more time-efficient,” explains Jimmy. Although built as an expedition vessel, 69.15m Damen yacht GAME CHANGER is currently undergoing a refit period at Icon Yachts to further adapt and prepare the yacht for various ambitious missions.

With the rise of the explorer yacht comes a greater need for specialist expertise and knowledge from those who have experience in both yachting and in remote exploration. This is where Pelorus can greatly enhance a design, build, or refit project. With decades of experience in the yachting world, a military background, and extensive expeditions and reconnaissance missions under their belts, Pelorus co-founders along with their yacht expeditions team are excellently placed to consult.

pelorus papua new guinea suri tender

“We focus on future-proofing the yacht and creating the best possible experience for the owner for years to come”

Jimmy Carroll
Pelorus Co-Founder

It is refreshing to see that more and more owners and designers are thinking about the use of the vessel and how that affects the designs much earlier in the process,” says Geordie. Jimmy adds, “When Pelorus is involved with a yard period or design process, we focus on future-proofing the yacht and creating the best possible experience for the owner for years to come. We work with the shipyards and designers to come up with practical, flexible, and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Yachts are designed to travel and helping owners get the most from their investment is pivotal to us.


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