Hong Kong-based businessman Richard Beattie is drawn to exploring remoter parts of the world and went in search of a vessel fit for the purpose, capable of long periods away from the madding crowds. Equally important to him was contemporary styling, wide open spaces, strong connections with the sea, plenty of natural light and views through floor-to-ceiling windows.
Having failed to find what he was after on the open market, Beattie turned his attention to creating a vessel to meet his requirements. Canadian Greg Marshall was commissioned with the design as he came up with the glass, styling and versatility that Beattie was after.
Three years later, in early 2010, Big Fish was launched at McMullen & Wing’s yard in Auckland, New Zealand – a purposeful large-volume 45 metre vessel that immediately declared herself as an explorer looking for adventure.
Big Fish is nevertheless a luxury yacht, built to an extremely high standard and brimming with technical innovation. Glass abounds – some 250 square metres of custom laminated windows with UV protection properties, and acoustic and thermal functions.
Filled with light
From the owner’s bridge deck suite, there is an unimpeded view through massive side and aft facing windows and ranch sliders, which open out to a private aft deck. One level down, guests can enjoy similar views through floor-to-ceiling windows in the main saloon and dining area with large glass access doors to the side and aft decks.
Glass is an interior feature too, with glass balustrades on landings and stairways, and glass stairway treads, embedded with LED lighting. The theme of transparency and light has been picked up in the interior furnishings and décor, which was undertaken by Ann Motion Design with input from chief stewardess Jenny Nicholson.
The atrium is a major feature of the interior, an open space soaring up through three decks, terminating with a four-panel skylight above. The overall effect is of light pouring down into the interior living spaces. Instead of a static artwork, it has a high-tech dynamic three-storey video wall. While the principal function is as a dynamic piece of experiential art, it can also serve as an entertainment or information display.
To further enhance the views and the interaction with the surroundings, sections of the boat fold out to create terraces and beaches. On the main deck, the port and starboard bulwarks opposite the principal dining area fold out to open up wide terraces and offer views to the horizon. On the lower aft deck, two side bulwarks fold flat to just above water level to create beaches.
Situated on the lower deck, the guest areas can be arranged either as two massive, full-beam cabins, or divided into four half-beam suites. They offer en suite facilities and large portlights exposing views and natural light.
Catering to the guests are up to 10 crew, who have crew quarters that are a cut above the standard. Attention has also been paid to reducing maintenance. The huge areas of glass have been treated with a hydrophobic coating, which sheds water and reduces spotting, and the external Alexseal paintwork was finished in shades of light grey to avoid the high maintenance required on more fashionable dark hulls. There is no external timber demanding constant varnishing or cleaning, while the decks pioneer a composite stone treatment, instead of the traditional teak planking.
Considerable attention has gone into reducing environmental impact and energy consumption. For example, the lighting throughout the vessel uses LED technology and heat exchangers from the exhaust system are used to heat the domestic water supply.
Self-sufficiency is ensured with 96,000 litres of fuel capacity, which provides a range of 10,000 miles. An enormous galley complete with walk-in cooled pantry, copious stowage for provisions and 11 Hoshizaki fridge/freezers cut down the need for supermarket visits.
Every explorer yacht needs a substantial tender – ‘a kind of SUV of the sea’ – and for Big Fish an 8.5 metre custom tender was built in aluminium, powered by a diesel jet engine with a 250-mile range and equipped with head and holding tank, refrigerator, and hot and cold water. This is accommodated in a vast garage under the foredeck, which also offers storage capacity as a bosun’s locker, can be a kid’s playroom with large flatscreen television and video gaming equipment, a dance floor or yoga and aerobics studio (a separate gymnasium is located in the aft walk-in lazarette).
After her launch, Big Fish set off on an ambitious one-year circumnavigation taking in both Antarctica and the Arctic North East Passage.
Big Fish is currently listed for sale and charter by Y.CO.