Thursday, April 15, 2021
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Royal Huisman’s shipyard: project 405’s construction starts

An intriguing look behind the busy scenes at Royal Huisman’s shipyard reveals this: the impressive full-scale mockup for the 46m high-performance cruiser sloop “Reichel / Pugh – Nauta 151”, which started construction this month. This versatile sailing yacht is designed and built for very experienced Owners who presented a stimulating brief: comfort and safety to explore the world, in an extremely lightweight structure to ensure victories in superyacht regattas.

From vision to concept

The vision with which every project starts has, for Project 405, now been brought to life with a full scale mock-up of the aft half of the yacht’s main deck. To accommodate this very sizeable mock-up, the paint hall on the 30,000sqm shipyard premises was made available for this temporary purpose. There is no substitute for the actual experience of walking around in, touching, assessing and appreciating all aspects of an emerging construction. So the  main goals to be achieved with the mock-up were to explore, develop and optimise the conceptual ideas of the design team before construction begins, and to ensure that the Owners’ lifestyle objectives are totally integrated with the engineering, systems, construction and operational requirements for the project. Team meetings in the mock-up, with literally all relevant parties on board and carefully looking at the same detail at the same time, helped to identify opportunities and resolve potential issues relating to the use of space. The shipyard’s craftsmen subsequently enhanced the temporary structure based on the concerted input from the Owners and their design and build team, consisting of Owners’ Representative Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport, Nauta Design, Reichel / Pugh, Bouwe Bekking and Royal Huisman.

Nigel Ingram comments: “Building the 1:1 scale mock-up has proven to be a fundamental part of the design process, enabling the Owners and their team of architects, designers and builders to fine tune the deck layout down to the smallest details with the greatest confidence.”

Dutch professional race captain Bouwe Bekking (eight times Volvo Ocean Race competitor) represents the Owners’ race team: “No competitive yachtsman would enter a race without the utmost level of preparation. This full-scale mockup provides us with the opportunity to review how the design would work in regatta conditions. It delivers exceptional and very practical value as a design tool, and has given the project’s design process the ultimate edge for regatta success. But without sacrificing her cruising side: we found the perfect match!”Royal Huisman’s shipyard: project 405's construction startsRoyal Huisman’s shipyard: project 405’s construction starts

Getting it right

Royal Huisman’s full-scale mock-ups support the design and decision-making process from vision to concept. At first glance a detailed creation in a substitute material might seem just-for-fun or perhaps even “excessive”, but in fact it is a very constructive and practical tool to review and experience the design during the superyacht creation process.

Indeed, virtual reality can be very realistic as well, but ergonomics, interactions and a “physical live” experience cannot be 100% imitated with a Virtual Reality (VR) headset or a digital 3D-model. Apart from the early stage enjoyment of stepping onboard the superyacht that the Owners ordered just a short while ago, it is the optimum investment in “getting it right” for a yacht – an investment that will still deliver many decades from now. VR 3D may create an exciting “first impression”, but when it comes down to assessing those few modified centimeters here or there, “stepping on board” is by far the best way to feel, adjust and optimize the design and ergonomics.

Various Royal Huisman clients requested the shipyard to build them a full-size mock-up months ahead of the start of the actual production of their dream yacht. The scope can vary from a pedestal with steering wheel, to large areas such as a cabin layout or deck section. The goal is always to ensure total integration of all potential wishes, and avoid having to make late-stage (or even post-delivery) changes.

From concept to realisation

The hull construction of Royal Huisman Project 405 aka “Reichel / Pugh – Nauta 151” commenced earlier this month. Her structure is based on a new, innovative method developed by the shipyard, to make her extremely lightweight due to the optimal use of the materials that the Royal Huisman team knows so well, complemented with extensive Finite Element Analyses to ensure the very best blend of “proven” and “cutting-edge”, and with target performance, excellent racing properties, and sound ocean worthiness all thrown into the mix as well, she is on course for greatness.

Mario Pedol, of Nauta Design says: “To combine comfort and safety to explore the world with an extremely lightweight yacht to be competitive to carbon composite superyachts in regattas wasn’t an easy task. Our early intuition was that an aluminium construction sailing yacht could be much lighter than the existing aluminium fleet. Royal Huisman supported this vision with enthusiasm and accepted the challenge. Extensive research work and calculations, confirmed our initial thought.”
Owner’s representative Nigel Ingram adds: “In addition, Project 405 will offer all the benefits associated with existing Royal Huisman yachts: comfort, low sound levels and optimal world cruising characteristics. All good news to the Owners, who anticipate exploring the world in their new yacht.”

Royal Huisman’s CEO Jan Timmerman says: “In spite of Covid-19 restrictions, work on all aspects of Project 405 continues as planned. The full project team, designers, architects, our engineers are on schedule – mostly working remotely from home – so the development of the design and systems continues while our inhouse craftsmen have made a start with the production. The team meets regularly in online meetings and we are all pleased with progress so far. At this moment we are looking forward to the next milestone: the hull turning at Royal Huisman’s headquarters in Vollenhove.”

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