Some boats are built for sailing, others are meant to explore to the ends of the Earth. But for those who enjoy the relaxing pleasure of living on the water, a LeVen yacht is the way to go as enjoyment on the water is the premise of the design.
From the Netherlands' Van der Valk shipyard, the first 28-metre LeVen 90 was delivered in 2019 and built in aluminium. Conceived for a serial boater, the Bahamas-ready yacht (with a shallow draft of just 1.3 metres) is the first known private yacht to implement Voith’s linear jet propulsion system and Vripack’s innovative slide hull.
Earning no less than four nominations at the 2020 Boat International Design & Innovation Awards and winning the hotly contested award for Best New Series, the judges praised the new build for its innovative design, stating “there was nothing quite like it for an easy-living, no-shoes-required lifestyle."
The judges also highlighted the yacht’s multilevel living area, which is unobstructed from sports deck to galley, claiming that it “recalls the day when boating was [an] uncomplicated family recreation." They also noted that as an ideal vessel for day-trip island-hopping in the Bahamas with full luxurious overnight accommodations below deck, the yacht “combines the best of both worlds, especially considering its balance of quality finishes and attractive price."
Lifestyle is at the fore, pairing entertainment spaces with relaxation hubs. Open-air dining is king in the Exumas, so multiple levels with outdoor terraces and a permanent al fresco dining area define the innovative design. Vast interior spaces benefit from three-metre ceiling heights, a dramatic use of glass and an open-plan layout. In the owner’s suite, the spectacular windows feature paired-back mullions and are just 30cm above water level.
“The owner didn't want to have a big boat, he wanted to have a boat that gave him efficient enjoyment,” explains Bart Bouwhuis, co-creative director at Vripack. “So, as designers, we were required to focus on how the layout of the yacht connects with all of the surfaces and ensure that every surface has a function.”
Best of both worlds
Aside from awards and accolades, the LeVen 90’s biggest win is its upgrade from a custom one-off to a series build. Originally designed with a particular client in mind whose central vision was for a “dry boat” on which to explore and entertain in the Exumas, Vripack sketched a high bow with a flare for the ultimate sailing experience.
Voith’s linear jet propulsion system sits underneath the boat, creates minimal wash and is virtually noiseless. It achieves all of this without compromising on performance, enabling the LeVen 90 to deliver speeds in excess of 25 knots. Vripack’s beamy ‘slide hull’ further reduces drag and draft.
“The slide hull had been in development at Vripack for 13 years prior to its inclusion on the LeVen 90,” explains Peter Bouma, Vripack’s senior naval architect. “It delivers speed and comfort even in rough seas, and in fact becomes more comfortable the faster the boat travels.” Thus proving that performance and efficiency can go hand in hand.