Rüya: Inside the 41m sea-faring Tardis from Alia Yachts
by Nick Burnham
Omer Koray, general manager of Alia Yachts, reaches above the seven metre Novurania Chase 23 jet tender and taps the garage ceiling. “Fuchs gantry crane,” he says. “German-built and almost as expensive as the tender. We have fitted only the very best equipment aboard Rüya.”
Just as impressive is the headroom in this tender garage: it’s well over 1.8 metres and with no intrusion at all by the gantry. With a side-opening door that leaves room on the transom for a compact beach club, it cements Rüya’s superyacht credentials before you’ve even reached deck level.
This is Antalya in Turkey, on board Alia Yachts’ latest prodigy. Built from GRP — unusual in a full displacement yacht — Rüya certainly looks the part, towering over the quayside, white superstructure over a pale cream hull, the latter punctuated by the tall rectangular hull windows that are fast becoming an Alia trademark.
“We build in all materials: steel, aluminium and GRP,” says Gokhan Celik, president of the shipyard. “We’re particularly specialist in composites. This owner chose to capitalise on that experience and specify GRP construction because he wanted ultimate durability — no chance of corrosion.”
He wanted strength, too, which is why the hull of Rüya is a single skin laminate below the waterline, 24mm thick. Above the waterline, carbon-reinforced sandwich construction is used to reduce weight and lower the centre of gravity.
Another important element is volume – and not just in the tender garage (or the equally spacious engine room that houses the two Caterpillar C32 1,000hp engines). Sam Sorgiovanni, of Sorgiovanni Designs from Fremantle, Australia, was the man tasked with that particular conjuring trick for Rüya.
“The brief was to create a timeless design that was both practical and functional,” says Sorgiovanni. “It called for tremendous interior spaces along with generous exterior decks, including a beach club and tender store. Achieving this within a constraint of 500GT, and with an exterior profile that was both voluminous and sleek, proved a considerable challenge.”
He succeeded; for a 41 metre yacht, Rüya seems vast. “She’s not far off the sort of volume more commonly associated with 50 metre yachts,” says Celik. In the tastefully executed and palatial saloon, that’s an easy claim to believe. Lit by those floor-to-ceiling “glass wall” windows evident from outside, you could easily be on a much bigger boat. “The client wanted a tactile, comfortable, resort feel, reflective of the relaxed and casual lifestyle he enjoys in day-to-day life,” says Sorgiovanni.
Aykut Berhan, general manager of interiors at Alia, was the man in charge of creating Rüya’s décor. “We’ve gone for bamboo tiles for the ceiling and strips of plain ebony with inset pale rugs for the floor,” he says. It’s the details that add the wow factor, though, and Berhan is a master of exquisite finish.
That ceiling is framed by bamboo louvres that conceal speakers and air-conditioning ducts — every one is hand-made. The solid-looking Tasmanian oak on both floor and ceiling is steel-brushed and then satin-varnished to reveal its natural texture. The pelmets between the ultra-slim mullions have a smooth stucco finish, while rainforest marble graces countertops and a large low-level table — the latter edged by a thick band of woven leather.
“We make everything in-house,” says Berhan. “The only thing you can see in here that we haven’t created ourselves are the dining chairs, which are an Italian design favoured by the owner.” It’s a feast for the fingertips; you find yourself drawn to caress every surface.
The forward bulkhead looks solid but features two sliding doors, both cunningly edged with mirrors to give the impression that Rüya’s saloon windows stretch further than they actually do. The port door connects to a pantry (there’s one on the bridge deck above, too) aft of the galley, while the starboard door leads to the main lobby. Here the open-tread staircase that links each deck wends itself around an illuminated glass sculpture.
The forward section of the main deck is given over entirely to Rüya’s master suite. The doorway to this area is a perfect example of Berhan’s obsession with innovative interior design. It looks like artfully distressed steel but is in fact a composite material, the three-dimensional texture created by dripping acid on to it before finishing.
You pass through a lobby-cum-study area into the cabin, natural light flooding through three of those signature vertical hull windows on either side, but it’s the bathroom, forward again, that is particularly noteworthy – Berhan has been busy. The mirror at the head of the freestanding carved stone bath features an invisible (until used) flatscreen TV and the two basins have been milled from a solid block of rainforest marble.
“We had a block the size of a small truck delivered,” laughs Berhan. “It’s why all the rainforest marble matches perfectly throughout the yacht and why the execution is so flawless.” The paler marble of the (heated) floor has been sandblasted to add texture and grip for wet feet, while the matching marble on the bulkheads has been left smooth but satin-finished, not polished. A massive rainfall shower completes the ablution options in Rüya’s master cabin and its footprint is even bigger than the bath opposite.
Four large guest cabins on the deck below are laid out as two doubles and two twins, with joinable beds in case more double berths are required. There’s also a fold-out third berth in each twin room, but to refer to it as a Pullman would be to sell it short. Rather than merely hinging from one wall, each third bed retracts from a concealed location in the ceiling.
Crew accommodation on Rüya, forward on this level, also merits mention for its sheer size. It sleeps eight, in four well-appointed en suite cabins, and there’s a generous crew mess and separate laundry.
Where are they getting all this space from? Certainly it hasn’t been created at the expense of the bridge deck. Rather than echoing the main deck with another generic lounge, Rüya’s upper saloon has been laid out as a cozy media room, with a large curve of sofa facing an 85in Samsung screen, speakers for the surround-sound being concealed by more bamboo ceiling louvres.
Rüya’s captain has his cabin on this deck — of guest-cabin quality and size — and there’s a small office area with three floor-to-ceiling cupboards crammed with media servers and communication equipment.
Vertical windscreens ensure that the bridge feels exactly like what it is — the command centre of a proper ocean-going boat. With a range in excess of 4,000nm at 10 knots, Rüya has genuine globe-straddling ability. Koray points to the banks of navigation equipment and five VDUs: “We fitted Simrad Professional Series ship equipment,” he says. “The yacht is equipped to go anywhere. Realistically, the only places out of bounds are the poles.”
If the quality and attention to detail on the inside of Rüya are relentless, there is no let up when you step out on deck. “We had four months of consultation with the owner’s team before plans were even begun so the concept was strong from the very beginning,” says project manager Kivanç Nart. “They are a very professional team and, as a result, it’s been a detailed but very smooth and professional project.”
He points to a double socket tucked discreetly into the corner of a bulwark as an example. “That’s an eight bar high pressure water and compressed air supply for cleaning and maintenance work. There are two aft and two forward on the main deck, one on the bridge deck, one on the sundeck and one more on the mast. They were written into the spec at the very start to avoid the need for long hoses and air lines to be draped around the deck.”
Further testimony to the thought, detail and experience in the design and build of Rüya can be seen throughout the exterior decks: clear folding side-screens providing shelter for external dining on both the main and bridge decks, a toilet built into the wing of the sundeck, a 10-person superyacht spa pool and hydraulic hatches built into the foredeck as storage for a crew tender and two jet skis.
Celik sums up his latest creation as “the ultimate expression of a full custom yacht”. Sorgiovanni agrees, describing Rüya as a new benchmark. “We’ve created a fully and purely custom personalised yacht in a highly competitive size range dominated by ‘lookalike’ production vessels,” he says. That last point is an interesting one. The 40 metre category has become awash with production builders such as Sunseeker and Princess creating very credible yachts.
But without doubt this is the real deal — a superyacht built from its 24mm-thick keel up, entirely to owner specification. It’s the sheer volume that has been achieved within Rüya’s length that impresses the most: personal space really is the ultimate luxury. And the ultimate joy of Rüya isn’t just that she’s a 24-carat, genuine, custom-built superyacht. It’s that she is a space ship as well.