Babas Motor yacht underway image

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Baba's: On board the 56m flagship superyacht from US shipyard HSY

3 February 2022 • Written by Cecile Gauert


Motor Yacht
HSY Yachts ·  56 m ·  2019

Baba’s may be the premier launch from Hargrave’s new superyacht division, but there are many years of experience behind her well-conceived and attractive design, says Cecile Gauert

The name is unusual and personal, a mark of high respect and affection for an elder, a wise person or a grandfather. However, it wasn’t the name that made this yacht such a noted addition to the face dock at Bahia Mar during the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last year. It was the fact that Baba’s, at 56 metres and 880GT, is the largest Hargrave yet and looks nothing like what the company has shown before. Despite her generous dimensions, this full-displacement yacht appears sporty with sleek lines, a graceful bow and a few angular features.

The owner of Baba’s decided to design and build his own yacht because he could not find a yard that would build one with the high ceilings he wanted
All images courtesy of Josh Escalante/Fraser

Baba’s owes her attractive looks in great part to her owners, who had designed and built the unconventional 41.5 metre Hargrave Dreamer before this. Husband and wife were both deeply involved in the yacht, having nearly everything to do with the exterior styling, layout, interior decor and details such as the galley’s cool touchless faucet and artwork on the walls.

Colourful paintings hang near the wide entrance to the sky lounge, which, in the evening especially, has the feel of a New York supper club with its high-gloss dark walnut on bulkheads, parquet flooring, plush maroon seating and stone-topped wet bar. “My wife painted all of these,” says Sam Shalem, a grandfather and a real-estate developer from the north-east with a passion for boats, who had built three previous yachts with Hargrave.

Baba's is currently available for charter with Fraser.

Not only is he a repeat client, Shalem is a professional builder, which is not unusual according to Hargrave CEO Michael Joyce. “When we started this, for the first five years almost 100 percent of our clients were professional builders,” he says, and he likes what this says about the company – they know they can count on Hargrave to build what they want. “Our job is not to have a vision, it’s to listen to the guy with the vision and tell him everything we’ve learned about the business,” Joyce says.

In this particular case, the partnership goes a bit further than customary. Shalem, who speaks softly and is quite modest about his achievements, is a majority stakeholder in Turkey’s newly established HSY Yachts. “HSY” stands for Hargrave Superyacht, a division that made its public debut with this spectacular first launch, known for a time only as the 56m HSY.

The goal is to build custom yachts that could appeal to boaters from around the world, something besides the yachts in the 30 metre to 37 metre range in composite that the company has delivered over the years and continues to build and sell successfully.

“Everyone who sees this knows it has nothing to do with what we did before. We were laser-focused on the US market; we were not trying to do anything in Europe,” Joyce says – until now. Part of the goal is  to diversify and widen the appeal of the Hargrave brand.

The first offspring of the HSY line is a showcase. Joyce says he doesn’t expect people to rush to Hargrave to build large superyachts. And this yacht is quite personal as a family oasis where spaces have been created for several generations to enjoy time together or apart. It is also well conceived for charter with guest cabins that are nearly identical in size and amenities, several spots for outdoor dining and lounging, two spa pools and comforts such as at-anchor stabilization.

The owners shopped around and visited many yards but could not talk them into building exactly what they wanted, so eventually they decided to find a way to build again with Hargrave Custom Yachts, which was established as a design office and prides itself on flexibility.

A bar with a backlit stone top near the aft entrance anchors the spacious sky lounge

“Every successful yard has a formula, and most are not going to start from scratch from a piece of paper,” Joyce says. “I don’t know if people understand that we build custom. That’s our niche.”

One of the key points the owners wanted was to have lots of headroom on an elegant and seagoing yacht with room for entertainment for all ages. “I haven’t been on many boats where you can’t touch the ceiling,” says Captain Christopher Twyman, who joined the build team in the last few months. “It gives you a sense of size and volume.” The neat trick is that the exterior styling does not give any hint of ceiling height – 2 metres.

Situated forward on the main deck, the owner’s suite includes a large marble bathroom

Twyman, who spent three years as captain on Dreamer, took the yacht across. “The boat really handled well. We had no issues whatsoever,” he says, adding in jest, “the most-used equipment on the bridge is the coffee machine.”

With a nearly full complement of crew, 11 aboard, they crossed at between 11 and 11.5 knots with the twin Caterpillar engines at 1,200rpm, which seems to be the sweet spot. They could have gone faster, but the fuel burn would have picked up significantly and, as he says, they were in no hurry. The yacht’s maximum range is roughly 3,700 nautical miles.

The pilothouse, spacious and with 180-degree views, sets the tone for the rest of the yacht. It has an attractive set-up and design in hues of grey and bronze and custom-finished seats with careful stitching. Böning screens display information from the paperless bridge, CCTV cameras, Caterpillar engines and generators. The set-up is “very clean cut, uncluttered, functional,” the captain says. “Everything is fully integrated.” Wing stations that jut elegantly to the sides provide a good view all the way down to the water level, forward and aft.

An iPad, one of two master iPads, is on the wall near the door leading to the rest of the bridge deck. It handles everything from lights to shades and curtains.

“The craftsmanship in the whole boat is excellent and everything was customized,” Twyman says. The captain’s double cabin is adjacent to the bridge and there is a second cabin, which the owner, who enjoys spending time in the pilothouse, uses on occasion.

While Baba’s does not have the floor-to-ceiling windows seen on many of the new yachts delivered these days, and despite the decor using darker earth tones on wood and finishes, the impression of light and space is remarkable, and the ceiling’s decorative patterns draw the eye up for a wow effect.

In the main saloon, shimmering silver mosaics from Italian company Sicis reflect the light and provide an interesting backdrop to a sweeping staircase with an elegant banister, which leads to the bridge deck. More Sicis mosaics decorate the lower-deck lobby at the bottom of a wide staircase that delivers guests to four comfortable and well-insulated cabins, each with a private en suite. Indirect lighting works with muted, warm colours to create a cozy atmosphere.

The main saloon is divided between a formal dining area and a convivial saloon space whose seats slide apart or together to form a semi-circle facing a large television screen housed inside a cabinet. The dining table is flanked by sliding doors that can be opened at anchor to allow cross ventilation.

Seats and tables adjust in the main salon for movie time. A pop-up television separates the lounge from the dining room.

Forward, the large galley is designed for owners who like to cook, with top-of-the-line appliances, practical storage and a central island that draws a crowd with its shimmering backlit white quartzite countertop. It’s a type of stone called Lumix, just a notch below diamond in terms of hardness, explains the yard manager, Oguz Eldeleklioglu. A comfortable settee and table make this a perfectly suitable space to eat a meal or keep company with the many cooks in the kitchen.

While the galley is meant as a sociable space, the full-beam owner’s suite forward is a restful and private spot with grey upholstered wall features and furniture by and in the style of Cavalli and a large en suite with polished white Cristallo quartzite. A chaise by a large window covered with a wide Venetian blind is particularly enticing after a long day in the sun.

The sundeck is private and inviting with a bar and large spa pool in a nest of sunpads and a good section of shaded area for tables and settees. At water level is a substantial beach club with a second hot tub and room for storage or gym equipment.

About 10 years ago, aboard his newly delivered Dreamer on display at the Miami Yacht Show, Shalem told me he’d never build anything bigger. I remind him of this as we walk through this much bigger yacht and he smiles. “This,” he says, pointing to the generously sized glass-enclosed elevator, “is why we built a bigger boat. I want to be able to use this for many years.” The elevator, which can fit a cart, goes from the lower deck all the way to the sundeck.

The beach club

Dreamer and Baba’s were both built in Turkey several years, but only a few yards, apart. Despite similarities that speak to the way the family likes to use the boat – gourmet galley, convivial spaces, no outdoor television screens – they are very different boats, not only in size and styling but also in construction. Dreamer was a curvaceous design built in composite. Baba’s is a steel and aluminium yacht built to Lloyd’s rules by the fledging Hargrave Superyacht division.

The project from beginning to end took about 26 months, the build captain says. The last four were the usual rush to the finish but it all came together in time for the owners to enjoy a Mediterranean cruise. By August 2019, the yacht was ready to leave, cruising in the Mediterranean to Valencia before heading to Gibraltar and the Canaries, the starting point of its first transatlantic crossing. Shortly after arrival, it was cleaned, polished and readied for its first public appearance at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, welcoming a steady stream of visitors curious to see what Hargrave had been up to in southern Turkey. The company had been fairly mum about the project because Shalem did not want to disclose too much about the build before the big reveal. He did not want speculation. “It’s better to show what you have done,” he says.

And they’ve done well. The boat feels very well built, is easy to move around in thanks to the luxury of space and there is a sense that the people behind this yacht are practical and experienced. Baba’s does not have outdoor television sets or multiple unfolding balconies; it has a well laid-out crew area with a real galley and mess, as well as a crew lounge that can double as a children’s hangout.

Very little was subcontracted and the Turkish tradition of craftsmanship is evident, from hand-cut and hand-sculpted wood patterns on the interior walls that form an elegant geometric pattern – a meticulous and time-consuming task – to heavy teak sun loungers on the beautifully finished sundeck.

The HSY shipyard has several other yachts under construction, not quite in this scale yet, but the word is out that a new builder with a familiar name has the means to deliver a superyacht of this complexity and magnitude.

Baba's is currently available for charter with Fraser

First published in the US Edition of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.


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HSY Yachts   56 m •  2019

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