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Exclusive: pushing the boundaries of technology, Sailing Yacht A

Andrey Melnichenko is a man with exceptional vision. Where other yacht owners like to blend into the background, he wants his superyachts to push the boundaries of design, creativity and technology as well as make a statement. His first superyacht, Motor Yacht A, rocked the superyacht world with its radical design and now he’s done it again. 

With an insatiable appetite to drive change he has put together a highly skilled team to build his new creation, currently under construction in Germany. Boat International was given exclusive access to the yacht, and we can reveal for the first time its name, Sailing Yacht A, and that this huge new project is a “sail-assisted motor yacht”. 

This is the second yacht in Melnichenko’s portfolio. His first, Motor Yacht A, split opinion, but today stands as one of the most talked about and recognisable yachts in the world. But Sailing Yacht A is a much bolder move and Melnichenko has raised the stakes even higher with a radically designed yacht that introduces new technologies and techniques never before used in the shipbuilding industry. He also broke down barriers by creating his own project team to undertake the build from start to finish. Sailing Yacht A is a monument to invention.

Philippe Starck, who created Motor Yacht A, and from there went on to design Venus for the late Steve Jobs, is working once again for Andrey and Aleksandra Melnichenko on the project. “I am honoured and happy to bring to life the owner’s dream of what will be the summit of high technology and poetry,” says Starck.

Sailing Yacht A is a unique story that began as far back as 2008 when eight of the world’s leading designers were invited to submit their ideas for a huge project – the creation of one of the world’s biggest sail-assisted private yachts. Initially, French designer Jacques Garcia was chosen for his designs, but later there were concerns about the progress of design development, and the owner decided on a change of direction.

Sailing Yacht A is slated for delivery in 2016, although her masts were not stepped when Boat International was invited on board in July. The interior was also under wraps, but here we can take a look at some of her incredible statistics. 

She is a three-masted, 142.81 metre (LOA) sail-assisted motor yacht, with a moulded beam at the widest point of 24.88 metres, an eight metre encapsulated keel and a gross tonnage of approximately 12,700GT. For a vessel of this size it was a challenge to find a shipyard that had the capacity, knowledge and skills to put together the naval architecture and engineering for the motor yacht side of the project. The one chosen, given its skills in building large yachts, was Nobiskrug in Germany.

For the sailing design, rig and keel, and associated structural engineering, Dykstra Naval Architects in The Netherlands was appointed for its advanced technical abilities demonstrated on various world-class sailing yachts. Aloft Sailing Yacht A carries three of the largest and most highly loaded composite freestanding structures in the world produced by Magma Structures in the UK. The custom booms were made by Future Fibres in Valencia, and the custom sails by Doyle Sails in the USA.

With a hull and superstructure predominantly constructed of steel and incorporating composite and accents of carbon fibre, in order to keep the weight and draught to an acceptable level, Sailing Yacht A is the highest classified vessel of her type: (Maltese Cross) 100A1 Passenger ship Sail Assisted, (Maltese Cross) LMC UMC and (Maltese Cross) 100A1 Yacht Mono G6. 

Propulsion comes from a customised hybrid diesel-electric package made up of two MTU 3,600kW diesel engines, and two 4,300kW electric motors, driving shafts ending in highly skewed five-bladed Andritz controllable pitch propellers. She is expected to cruise under power at 16 knots with an expected range of 5,320 nautical miles and will have a top speed of 21 knots.

With her uninterrupted shard-like appearance she carries her eight decks aft along the sheerline, which slopes up towards the stern, reaching a full beam width of 24.88 metres at the widest point. All her machinery is hidden within the hull structure, and as you can see, everything, including the windows, are flush. The bridge control centre for propulsion and sailing systems is on deck seven and there is a touch-and-go helicopter pad on deck six. There is accommodation available for up to 54 crew.

There are many more technical advances, innovations and surprises throughout her hull, decks and keel, which Boat International will reveal, in detail, in an exclusive feature in the November issue.

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