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A closer look at the 47m Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 with Mario Pedol

4 April 2022

This one-off performance sloop is a quadruple threat, built for speed, safety, strength and silence, says Nauta Design.

The 46.93-metre Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154 is one of the biggest sailing yacht projects currently in build. The owner is a repeat client of Nauta Design and a highly experienced yachtsman who was looking to step up in size, while still retaining the spirit of his former yacht. Currently being built at Royal Huisman in the Netherlands since December 2020, the new superyacht is being project managed by MCM's Nigel Ingram and is set to be completed during 2023.

Thanks to a new innovative method developed by the shipyard, the hull construction ensures the yacht is extremely lightweight. Royal Huisman has used its favoured materials and has conducted extensive Finite Element Analyses to give the yacht her target performance, excellent racing properties and sound ocean worthiness.

Mario Pedol of Nauta Design, says: “To combine the key attributes – the ability to race, circumnavigate, be comfortable, safe and extremely lightweight – wasn’t an easy task. Our early intuition was that an aluminium construction sailing yacht could be much lighter than the existing aluminium fleet. Royal Huisman supported this vision with enthusiasm and accepted the challenge. The extensive research work and calculations we conducted then confirmed our initial thought.”

“In addition, Project 405 will offer all the benefits associated with existing Royal Huisman yachts: comfort, low sound levels and optimal world cruising characteristics. All good news to the owners, who anticipate exploring the world in their new yacht,” adds the owner’s representative Nigel Ingram.

Unsurprisingly, a "powerful sail plan" was a must for the owner. Nauta considered a carbon-fibre construction early on in the design phase but eventually settled on an aluminium hull that could meet the performance requirements, but also ticked the boxes for robustness and extended bluewater sailing.

“I started thinking that an aluminium hull weighs 60-70% more than a carbon boat, but the weight of the hull and deck is only about 15% of the total weight of a sailing yacht,” said Pedol. The owner then enlisted the expertise of Reichel-Pugh to perfect the hull form, as well as America’s Cup CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) specialists Caponnetto Hueber and Giorgio Provinciali. After numerous tank tests and data showed that in 10 knots of breeze, the yacht would be able to reach a top speed of 13 knots under mainsail and jib when reaching upwind at a 90-degree angle. In 15 knots of breeze, that number then increases to 18 knots of speed.

The racing requirements formed a central part of the owner's brief, but the deckhouse was held in equal regard. Its design is unobtrusive and blends seamlessly with the yacht's austere sheer line. “The deckhouse is essential as it allows to look outside and see the sea while seated in the main saloon,” says Massimo Gino, Nauta Design co-founder and partner.

The deck itself can be divided into three key guest areas: the cockpit, the foredeck and the transom. While most superyacht foredecks work superbly as sunbathing platforms, the length on the RP-Nauta 154 allows for a recessed carbon tender bay, which transforms into a cosy cockpit lounge with a hi-lo table and fitted cushions. In the midday heat, carbon fibre poles can be placed into the deck to support an awning, providing welcome shade.

The main cockpit is shaded by a carbon composite hardtop that can be removed for racing. There are two sun loungers with adjustable backrests – depending on the direction of the heel, as well as a dining area to port for al fresco lunches at anchor, and two tables to starboard where morning coffees are best enjoyed. Unusually, a curved windscreen has three opening sections allowing the light sea breeze to filter through the cockpit.

The third area is aft and is made by two close proximity deck levels. The 10-metre wide transom features a hinged section of the teak that folds down to rest on top of the beach platform, revealing an aft staircase that leads down to the swim platform itself. This way, the design allows for a lounging area on the aft main deck with spectacular sun loungers, sofas and loose coffee tables, and is directly connected to the beach platform below.

While the interior choices are yet to be revealed, the layout will include a spacious dining area and lounge beneath the deckhouse, a full-beam master suite forward and an additional three guest cabins.