Superyacht Design

As Unconventional As it Can Get : Superyacht SKAT

August 22, 2009 by Superyacht Design
As Unconventional As it Can Get : Superyacht  SKAT
Designer: Espen Øino Naval Architects
Yacht Type: Luxury catamarans
Engine: 2/2,720-hp 16V4000 M79 MTU diesel inboards
Material: aluminum superstructure
Year: 2009
Hull Material/Type: steel
Naval Architect: Espen Øino Naval Architects/Lürssen Yachts
Yacht Class: Motor

If the design of a custom yacht is the yardstick for measuring an owner’s brilliance, then luxury yacht SKAT is the sheer embodiment of excellence and technical know-how. There are very few yachts in the world, which though look unconventional, are the finest products of a technically brilliant mathematical mind.

Super yacht SKAT is the epitome of unconventional wisdom and smart designs. Dominated by planar surfaces, straight lines, and angular corners, the crispness of the yacht’s exterior styling suggests a geometrical precision that permeates every facet of the yacht.

The first glance of the yacht is sure of evoking a sense of military design influence in SKAT. The luxurious yacht with all its unconventional looks seems more of a naval frigate. But contrary to the exteriors, the unique design of the yacht is what impresses the most. To everyone’s surprise,the extraordinary 232-foot SKAT is the owner’s first yacht, and that she was conceived, designed, and constructed precisely in accordance with his specifically delineated requirements. But it wasn’t that the owner sat for nights together sketching the whole design by himself. A team of highly skilled naval architects, designers, and stylists were assigned to develop design and specification that would satisfy the owner’s requirements. Espen Oeino was selected as the naval architect and exterior stylist, and was charged with the task of transforming the owner’s concepts into a functional, balanced, properly proportioned yacht. Marco Zanini was awarded the equally daunting challenge of developing an interior design that captured the owner’s preference for minimalist décor. And Lastly, Lürssen Yachts of Bremen was contracted in November 1999 to transform the designs and specifications into reality.

SKAT’s most striking feature is the angularity of her exterior surfaces. Needless to say, there are no curves, save for the forward portion of her shear line, which sweeps from the bow to about a quarter of her length aft before melding into her topsides. High atop the deckhouse, her bridge deck is a semi-hexagonal fortress with large glass panels standing proudly beneath a protective brow, slightly resembling the bunkers at some country’s border. That same semi-hexagonal form is echoed in the aft end of the deck house, with her saloon, seating, and entertainment spaces rimmed by walls of glass.

SKAT, is a function driven ship,with due deference to the aesthetics. Angular, and finished in pale gray, SKAT presents an almost military bearing. Moreover, the the Lürssen project number, 9906, painted on the hull in bold battleship-style block lettering would tend anyone to mistake her for a defense vessel. Also, the distinctive gray color not only works aesthetically but also functionally by cutting glare and making it easier on the eyes than the usual stark white color.

The absence of conventional deck overhangs gives a much more open, spacious feel to the side decks. The design provides a feel of strolling down a sunny lane rather than the boxed-in feeling created by the overhangs on most yachts. Though an open yacht, there are provisions made to fight inclement weather.Alternate passages fore and aft through the yacht’s interior does the needful during harsh weather conditions. Yacht’s stark exteriors are complimented by a gleaming stainless steel hand rails positioned not only for the customary role of ensuring passenger safety, but also providing a secure place for crew to stand while cleaning the yacht’s numerous windows. All these handrails are fabricated from sections of identical length and diameter, joined by small black rubber flanges that complement look of the stainless steel. If a section of handrail is damaged, it can be easily removed at the flanges and replaced from an inventory of spares carried on board, as easy as that!!

An interesting aspect is yet to be revealed.As seen on most of the yachts, large sliding glass panels let guests step outside under the aft bridge deck overhang. This feature is to the consternation of the captain and chief engineer for the common propensity to leave the glass panels open so guests can enjoy the yacht’s heating or air conditioning systems even while they are outside. But during the design of SKAT, additional care was taken to get rid of this problem. The chief engineer proposed an innovative solution which included recessed overhead, heating lamps providing warmth when it’s chilly outside, while tiny nozzles expel a cool mist around the perimeter of the deck when it’s warm.

This was all about the exteriors, but not to forget that the yacht’s interior spaces echo the same design themes as her exterior with flat surfaces, angles rather than curves, and stark but minimum décor . The yach’s Bulkheads, overheads and decks are finished in muted tones that complement the yacht’s gray exterior, while simple but boldly colored furnishings provide contrasting visual satisfaction. The salient feature of the yacht is that you wouldn’t find anything that seems “out of the place” or done “over the top”, Neither the yacht looks like an art gallery with extravagant precious fabrics ready to get spoiled.

The moto of the yacht is simple. Come aboard, relax, and enjoy, and at the same time get impressed by its imaginative styling and appearance. The yacht reflects a sense of discipline in each and every facet – engineering, construction, and systems. Everything is made with strict attention to detail and a singular commitment to purpose.

Before the yacht was declared seafaring it went through an extensive program of scale model testing at the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (HSVA) in order to confirm the naval architect’s design calculations and to establish the yacht’s speed, fuel consumption, seakeeping, and maneuverability. At a model scale of 1/10.4, the scale model itself was the size of a runabout, over 22 long. Self-propelled, the model was fitted with shafts, brackets, stabilizer fins, and rudders, along with dynamometers and instruments to measure propeller thrust, torque, and rpm at different speeds. The model was built to accommodate either of two different fore body shapes, a normal yacht stem or a more ship-like bulbous bow. During the course of testing, optimization of the bulbous bow was found to produce a fuel saving of about 15 percent. It was also found that Similar optimization of the rudder and stabilizers produced an additional 9 percent savings in fuel consumption. Moreover, her hull displayed a full-displacement form facilitating cruising at 15 knots and capable of a maximum speed of 17-knot top speed.

Equal amount of thrust was applied at the time of designing the machinery and systems, especially those related to control of noise and vibration. Two big stainless steel-encapsulated exhaust systems were fixed at the upper regions of the machinery space, which reduces the main engine exhaust noise to barely audible levels. Both main engines and all three generators are mounted in a sound-absorbing enclosure within the center of the engine room, on an isolation foundation that eliminates the transfer of noise and vibration into the hull. In addition, floors and ceilings throughout the yacht are soft-mounted to eliminate propagation of noise or vibration through the structure.
In spite of the fact that the yacht is provided with more than one engine and other machinery to support, the yacht is able to achieve a speed of 13 knots on just one engine. A cooling pump integrated into the gearboxes assures safe operation on one engine by pumping oil through the idle gearbox. The shaft of the idle engine can be disengaged, leaving the idle propeller and shaft to freewheel.

The design of the motorcycle lift, which runs from a lower deck up to the main deck, consists of a elevator platform which has low profile. The design has been made in such a way that it conceals all the mechanical parts even when the platform was is in its raised position. This was done by using a drive system similar to that used for theater stages, a chain drive to raise the platform about two-thirds of the way, and a scissors mechanism within the platform for the remainder of the lift.

The best aspect of the yacht is the design of the system for launch and retrieval of the tenders, through large rectangular hatches in either side of the hull. A system of hydraulic rams pushes the hatch door straight out to the side then rotates it to a horizontal position. A pair of horizontal beams is then extended through the hatch opening, permitting launch and retrieval of the tender. The whole operation occurs with the touch of a single button, fast and smooth.

Thus SKAT features impressive and innovative designs with mathematical precision, making it unconventional yet a terrific design with classy sophistication.

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