Quinta Essen­tia

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Ad­mi­ral E Mo­tion hy­brid Quinta Essen­tia is un­likely to be con­fused with any other yachts moored along the French and Ital­ian riv­ieras. Not only does the 180-foot (55-me­ter) su­pery­acht have eye-catch­ing ex­te­rior styling that sin­gles her out from the crowd, but she is truly a stand­out be­neath her strik­ing bur­gundy and white liv­ery.

The start­ing point for the project was her Rus­sian owner’s pre­vi­ous Heesen of the same name and length over­all, launched in 2011. A com­pet­i­tive sailor who races in the Melges 32 class, he mostly used the semi-dis­place­ment yacht as a moth­er­ship dur­ing re­gat­tas. The prob­lem was that her pow­er­ful 5,766-horse­power MTU en­gines were not ideal for keep­ing sta­tion on the start line or fol­low­ing a sail­boat race: noisy en­gines that pro­duce clouds of diesel fumes at low revs is not the best way to make friends among sailors.

The owner ap­proached bro­ker-turned-de­signer-and-builder Sergey Do­broser­dov of Nakhi­mov Yachts in Monaco to de­vise a more “re­gatta-friendly” yacht with ad­di­tional in­te­rior and ex­te­rior space for post-race par­ty­ing. Do­broser­dov De­sign was brought in for the ex­te­rior styling, Vri­pack in Hol­land for the naval ar­chi­tec­ture, Michela Re­ver­beri in Italy for the in­te­rior de­sign and Bri­tish con­sul­tant Rob Wil­liamson—who had cap­tained the Heesen Quinta Essen­tia— as the owner’s project man­ager. The re­sult is an all-alu­minum dis­place­ment yacht with dy­namic ex­te­rior de­sign, ef­fi­cient propulsion and am­ple con­nec­tion to the sea. The Ital­ian Sea Group in Car­rara, Italy, built the yacht un­der the Ad­mi­ral brand.

“Our key ob­jec­tives were com­fort in terms of noise and vi­bra­tion, com­bined with ef­fi­ciency, flex­i­bil­ity and re­li­a­bil­ity,” Wil­liamson says. “Af­ter ex­am­in­ing the op­tions, we re­al­ized that hy­brid propulsion was the way to go.”

The new is fit­ted with rel­a­tively small 1,400-horse­power MAN en­gines cou­pled to an Aux­ilia DC elec­tric mo­tor in­stalled on each drive shaft be­tween the main engine and gear­box. Pow­ered by two vari­able-speed gen­er­a­tors, the e-mo­tors can drive the yacht with­out the main en­gines, or can serve as shaft gen­er­a­tors with the gensets switched off. Bat­tery banks were con­sid­ered, but re­jected on ac­count of their lim­ited en­ergy out­put and the ex­tra weight and space they re­quire.

The e-mo­tors pro­vide near-silent ma­neu­ver­ing in and out of port—or on the re­gatta course—and low-emis­sion cruis­ing at 9 knots (an elec­tric Voith bow thruster and elec­tric CMC sta­bi­liz­ers fur­ther re­duce noise and vi­bra­tion). For faster cruis­ing up to a top speed of

16.5 knots, the main en­gines take over, while the e-mo­tors can ser­vice the ho­tel loads. In diesel-elec­tric mode us­ing the e-mo­tors, the yacht has an im­pres­sive range of around 6,000 nau­ti­cal miles.

In ad­di­tion to the quiet propulsion sys­tem, dou­ble- and tripleglazed win­dows through­out with flush glass on the out­side of the port­holes fur­ther re­duce noise lev­els. A heat-re­flec­tive film ap­plied to the glass in­creases the ef­fi­ciency of the air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem, which means lower air speeds from the fan coils and less noise. At an­chor in the owner’s state­room and guest state­rooms, for ex­am­ple, the noise level is 41 deci­bels—about what it would be in­side a li­brary.

“Ba­si­cally, the yacht ticks all the right boxes,” Wil­liamson says. “You can come in and out of a har­bor with much less noise and blus­ter, and the yacht is def­i­nitely more fuel ef­fi­cient than con­ven­tional propulsion when cruis­ing at low speed with the elec­tric mo­tors.”

Vri­pack op­ti­mized the hull form by do­ing re­sis­tance, propulsion and sea­keep­ing tri­als in the tow­ing tank, and by us­ing pro­pri­etary com­pu­ta­tional fluid dy­nam­ics soft­ware. Be­cause of the owner’s plan to use his yacht at in­shore re­gat­tas, the draft had to be rel­a­tively shal­low. The light­weight alu­minum hull re­duced the draft and wave pro­file, and low­ered re­sis­tance to max­i­mize speed in hy­brid mode. But the rel­a­tively high su­per­struc­ture and full-height glass raised the meta­cen­tric height (cen­ter of grav­ity), which is crit­i­cal in sta­bil­ity cal­cu­la­tions, so Vri­pack in­tro­duced a wide aft body and bilge keels that work with the sta­bi­lizer fins to dampen roll.

“We re­ally put the model to the test in con­di­tions the yacht is un­likely to en­counter in a real-life sce­nario,” says Alek­sandr

some­what ironic that Quinta Essen­tia is un­likely to be used for her in­tended pur­pose. At the time of writ­ing, the yacht was for sale, but the hy­brid con­cept has pro­duced a spin-off: an Ad­mi­ral E Mo­tion 52 cur­rently in build. With ex­te­rior styling again by Do­broser­dov De­sign, its propulsion sys­tem con­sists of four main en­gines and two DC elec­tric mo­tors that can be com­bined to reach a higher max­i­mum speed of 23 knots.

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