The (Sea) X-Factor
Ben Lyons is a licensed captain and CEO of EYOS Expeditions.
one of the main criteria for exploring any remote region is autonomy, so the vessel should be able to remain at sea without shore support for up to 40 days. icebreaking capability is obviously another factor in polar regions. the SeaXplorer concepts are the first of their kind to be designed in compliance with the new Polar code, which will be applied to new vessels built from the beginning of 2017 and basically simplifies the current ice classifications and environmental standards under a single set of rules.
We wanted to keep the proven seakeeping capability of the damen axe Bow, but we also introduced an icebreaking stern for thicker ice. the tenders are hugely important too, and the quicker they can be launched the better, especially when watching wildlife. Part of our brief was to recommend the types of tenders and fast deployment systems, so we can get craft in the water even when the mothership is underway. in total, we had a wish list of over 250 specific features that we felt should be included.
to ensure the vessel still looks like an explorer yacht and not a research ship, the azure Yacht design team had complete control over the exterior styling, and there was a very clear division of labor between the aesthetic and technical parts of the vessel. We specified wide bridge wings for better visibility when breaking ice, and recommended an observation post in the bow so guests can easily follow wildlife in the water or on the ice. We also advised on the boarding systems to allow tenders to come up against the hull without gangways hanging down, and the transition zones from the harsh conditions outside to the luxury interior environment.
the merits of an explorer yacht should be defined by the experiences it can offer owners and guests. damen and amels approached us because they recognized that we have experience and expertise in our field, while for us their combined commercial and yachtbuilding experience made them the perfect partners. From the start, we were on the same page in wanting to do something different, and do it better.