Nobiskrug’s 77-metre hull, Black Shark, continues its voyage to completion. The superyacht makes its maiden splash in Kiel, Germany.
In the gloom before dawn, the shipyard is already operating at full swing, but one corner lies quiet. And there, on a distant quay facing the bright lights of Kiel, a familiar form is moored. This is just the hollow hull with the dull red of steel primer, but the aggressive curve of its superstructure and the striking reverse to its bow speak volumes. Black Shark is afloat.
“It’s a rewarding feeling for all involved,” says Nobiskrug director Fadi Pataq. “It’s the first time when you see all the designers’ sketches take shape, all the arguments and all the agreements coming together. We sometimes lose sight of how many people it takes to get a yacht from inception to completion.”
It is hard to believe looking at her coherent form in the water, but the hull was built in three huge sections that were welded together at the end of the construction process. In August 2019, the ready-made superstructure was lowered into position and married to the hull over the course of three weeks. “It sounds simple, but it’s a long process,” says Pataq.
Back on the dock in Kiel, two tugs bustle alongside and take lines attached to temporary eyelets welded to the bow and stern. With a shrill blast on its horn, the lead tug starts – ever so gently – to prise the dormant hull away from the quay. It picks up speed and turns north towards the entrance of the famous Kiel Canal, up which the boats must travel to reach Nobiskrug’s superyacht outfitting yard at Rendsburg.
The locks at the mouth of the canal are designed to accommodate ships up to 235 metres long and 32.5 metres in the beam. Though her 77 metres don’t fill the chamber, Black Shark dominates the lock, to the excitement of watching tourists. The water level inside drops around a metre before the inner gate slides slowly back and the yacht is on her way again.
With the minnow leading the shark, the convoy makes good time up the canal, passing under the three high bridges that span it. At eight knots, they soon arrive in the picturesque branch off the main canal that hosts the Nobiskrug facility and waste no time tugging in to the dock. In a matter of weeks, the hull will be moved undercover into the neighbouring superyacht dock, which will be drained to provide a home for Black Shark until she is ready to swim again. That won’t be until 2021, when her transformation into one of the world’s most eye-catching superyachts will be complete.
Photography by Uli Weber.