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Not so plain sailing

Yachts have always been the preferred transportation of the truly wealthy, and Jordan Bintcliffe discovers that just they got super


Superyachts indicate SOMEONE is at the pinnacle of their success. Now, at the forefront of innovation, perhaps the most exciting superyacht yet greets the market.

According to Boat International it is, “one of the world’s most amazing superyachts… [it] could spell the future for efficient long range cruising”. The boat in question is the Adastra. It exudes style while showing that, despite a global economy on the brink of collapse, the world’s wealthiest have not forsaken their superyachts – and it can even be controlled by an iPad.

Pushing the boat out
Not many possessions conjure up such images of grandeur and exclusive luxury as the word ‘superyacht’ – they are the playthings of oligarchs, billionaires, kings and princes around the globe. Roman Abramovich, Google founder Larry Page, and many more of the world’s wealthiest, can all claim ownership of a superyacht. The cost of these grand vessels can easily run into the millions of dollars over the years it takes to design, build, test and operate.

But the superyacht business has suffered since the onset of the recession. Many banks previously happy to lend on the purchase of boats have pulled back, worsening the slump in revenue streams. This has caused a host of smaller companies to shut down as sales dry up.

Regulations have also tightened as the closing of loopholes throughout Europe has meant stricter rules on paying tax for superyachts, dissuading some from investing the millions needed to buy one of these grand ships.

There looks to be light at the end of the tunnel though. While smaller superyacht companies are still suffering, the market is slowly picking up as interest in these big-ticket items is reignited. Most superyachts are now going to a handful of wealthy westerners, or as exports to emerging markets. In order to stay afloat, the superyacht market is vastly becoming increasingly innovative.

The recently launched Trimaran Adastra from the Zhuhai shipyard, China, is one such vessel taking great technological strides. The Adastra is visually striking, and pushes the design envelope. Just some of the luxuries included are a sauna, steam bath, whirlpool and a foldout diving platform, perfect for soaking up the sun’s rays or plunging into the sea.

Commissioned for $15m by Anto and Elaine Marden, based in Hong Kong, the Adastra was envisioned by seasoned yacht designer John Shuttleworth. Throughout the five-year design process, Shuttleworth Yacht Designs worked closely with the Mardens to produce a high quality superyacht in line with the experienced ocean-going couple’s specifications.
With the completion of the Adastra, Shuttleworth have expanded their already impressive portfolio. They have previously made record-breaking ships Earthrace and Cable and Wireless, and remain at the forefront of sea faring innovation.

At imposing 42.5 metres in length – superyacht status is attained at 24 metres – the Adastra is 16 metres wide and weighs in at 52 tonnes, offering a top speed of 22.5 knots.

The hull is glass and Kevlar foam, creating a ship that is both sturdy and lightweight.

The Adastra has a distinctive trimaran shape, making it instantly recognisable. The sleek curves give it a futuristic feel – very appropriate for what is an incomparably high tech and luxurious superyacht. As expected with a craft of this size and calibre, no expense has been spared in the quest for quality and luxury. Great effort has been made to create a vessel that simultaneously offers aesthetic style, comfort, seafaring ability, and fuel economy in combination with great technical specifications.

Fathomable technology
The Adastra’s length and width gives its guests plenty of room to relax. There is a spacious saloon area situated on the main deck, which accommodates a lounge, dining table, and navigation station. It has a plush interior, decked out in lightweight oak cabinetry using honeycomb panels. This luxurious and relaxing space, perfect for fine dining or entertaining guests, is replete with panoramic views of the surrounding seas.

Also offering lavish and sizeable accommodation, the Adastra has additional space created below deck by slightly flaring the hull of the boat above the waterline. This area is split into two sections with a full-width master cabin, accessible from the saloon. Besides the master cabin, the Adastra offers a further two rooms for guests, which are complete with luxury bathrooms. The ship can comfortably accommodate nine people and there is additional space for up to six crew members.

The main helm of the craft provides seating for two, and is positioned in a raised pilot house between the aft deck and saloon area, forming part of the ship’s cross beam structure. The foredeck is great for sun lounging and is accessible by a forward facing door in the saloon window. There is a bar on the aft deck, with a sofa for comfortably reclining with a drink, and a dining area to starboard.

Further towards the stern is space for a 4.9 metre tender, while directly below is a garage capable of storing a 3.1 metre tender. The garage door folds out, doubling as a sizeable dive platform – perfect for family excursions or a dip in the water. While creating the ship, the design team worked to ensure it was lightweight and a streamlined vessel with good fuel economy. This required state-of-the-art structural analyses of all major components in the ship. To make the Adastra as lightweight as possible, almost every aspect of the boat was custom built, including carbon fibre hatches, port lights, ladders, and even hinges. This was vital in ensuring low fuel consumption. The resultant fuel efficiency is around 90 litres per hour at 13 knots or 120 litres per hour at 17 knots.

Depths of luxury
With a remarkable range of up to 4,000 nautical miles before needing to refuel, the Adastra’s shape sees it cut swiftly through waves as it navigates the world’s oceans. This outstanding range means the Marden’s can comfortably travel from London to New York and still have 500 miles worth of fuel left. This is made possible by the ship’s dynamic sailing efficiency and its vast petrol tank. At slower speeds of 10.5 knots, the ship has a range of 10,000 miles.

Furthermore, the ship has fully automated fuel management capacity, including an Alfa Laval system to clean the fuel. One Caterpillar C18 engine of 1150hp at 2300 rpm produces the Adastra’s speed and power, along with two Yanmar outrigger engines of 110hp at 3200 rpm.

Palladium Technologies, based in Florida, created the iPad app that can be used to control the Adastra and installed its own graphical user interface screens strategically throughout the vessel. Mike Blake, president, said: “From the beginning of this project, our goal was to create a custom total technology solution that would advance the state of the art in megayacht monitoring and control technology.

“At the owner’s request, we even designed the first-ever iPad-based remote engines, steering and anchoring system that allows the owner to manoeuvre the vessel and to deploy and retrieve the anchors, which are stored in hidden clamshell-door compartments inside the hulls.” The ship uses an integrated monitoring system (SiMON) to keep track of fuel consumption and other vital statistics. SiMON observes the pump sensors, electricity, lights and security of the vessel. The camera security system can also support eight motion-sensitive cameras.

Adastra also boasts a unique anchoring system as well, with three anchors driven by carbon fibre drum winches that are, in turn, run by hydraulics. The primary anchor is a hefty 130kg Bruce style anchor, deployable from the starboard wing. The secondary anchor, 80kg, deploys from the bow. The third, weighing 60kg, can be used as a stern anchor. All can be controlled from up to 50 metres via the iPad app.

In order to ensure the Adastra would be seaworthy, structural analysis was carried out in comprehensive computer simulations. These included side slamming, wave impact, and torsional effects of the outrigger riding through waves. The result is a sturdy and efficient vessel that effortlessly blends effectiveness with highly designed comfort.

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