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5 ways Heesen’s 55M Class yacht design is set to evolve

26 October 2021• Written by Laura Nicholls for Heesen

In 2020, the superyacht industry first met the 55-metre Moskito. Back then, she was known as Project Pollux, the fifth hull of Heesen’s 55M Steel series and the latest example of the model’s capabilities. 

At the time, the Dutch builders had decided to revise the internal spaces for Moskito and give her everything from panoramic windows to larger social areas and an altered five-stateroom layout. However, Heesen’s creative ideas didn’t stop there as for what is described as “the next part of the series” – the 55-metre Project Apollo – houses even more changes and is expected to hit the water in 2023. 

Read More/First look: Heesen superyacht Moskito makes Monaco Yacht Show debut

As the first superyacht of the series to feature a revised exterior design from Omega Architects, it is high time to find out from the design studio’s founder, Frank Laupman, and builder’s CEO, Arthur Brouwer, what there is to anticipate for the in-build Project Apollo and upgraded 55M Class.

Spacious skylounge

“We wanted to create one room with spatial qualities and a special view – it is called the skylounge and has a much better view of the outside,” explained Laupman. To achieve this space, the roof has been lengthened but in a way that still retains the “sporting character” of the vessel. Having omitted the surrounding side walkways, the skylounge found onboard Project Apollo is able to make use of the yacht’s full 9.6-metre beam.

Specially-designed wing station

As one of the few non-obvious elements of the design, the yacht’s seamlessly designed wing station can be found beside the wheelhouse. The station is styled in a way that gives the nearby free-floating lift raft cavity the correct width to house the equipment safely and neatly. “We have engineered this element directly with Heesen in order for it to be exactly right,” added Laupman.

As Laupman explained, forward of the wheelhouse is an altered version of a Portuguese bridge: “It’s not a real Portuguese bridge, as there is a division between the seating area and the foredeck.” The foredeck and its sub-deck are where the tenders are stored and so, the foredeck is built to be a long and high area to not disrupt the area’s cosy seating plan and to also occupy a tall tender. “This space and its dimensions isn’t visible from the dockside as such, but is certainly something we paid attention to,” said Laupman.

Technical sub-deck

Superyacht owners and their guests are reliant on tenders, particularly for moving from ship to shore. To cater to this need, Omega Architects created a sub-deck under the foredeck to hide the tenders, as Laupman described: “There’s a hatch hiding in a technical deck that has been designed in a way that does not disturb the exterior line. It is here that the tenders, generators, toy store, anchoring room and emergency exit for the crew are located.” This hidden area benefits the captain with additional storage and heightens the general safety of the yacht. “I don’t think we have that on another Heesen in the way it’s has been done for Moskito and Project Apollo,” adds Laupman.

Read More/Heesen reveals 55m Steel Class superyacht Project Apollo

Hybrid capable

“Our new boats in the 50-55 metre range are all able to be built as hybrid vessels if the client joins the construction stage early enough,” explained Arthur Brouwer. “That’s an enhancement we have engineered for all of our engine rooms, it's a big feature!” This move also reflects the yard’s ambition to be a more sustainable business and today, there are already measures being taken to achieve this. “The positive pressure we creating around the theme of sustainability is not something we are wanting to look at in a few years’ time, we are already proactively investing in research to find out how the existing ‘normal’ propulsion systems can work better,” added Brouwer.

Great lighting

One of the ways the 55M Class has matured is through its enhanced onboard spaces, glazing and the use of glass. “Frank did a great job with the windows and the way they have been treated. As a result, you get a huge amount of natural light and many vistas, which provides a very light environment,” said Brouwer. This set-up has helped to inspire the interior designers to give each and every unit a unique interior. “At Heesen, we don’t create 20 identical boats. Instead, we build a small series of between 4 and 5 boats and each one is different. We always want to make the next unit better, more customer orientated and attractive for both families and the charter market.”

Having already sold nine yachts to date since early 2020, Heesen is seeing that the 50 to 60-metre yacht sector and the speculation builds within this size range are selling fast – and not just for 2021, but up until 2023. To find out more about what the Dutch yard has in the shed and what is to come from the 55M Class, click here.


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