Years after completing a 54-metre sailing yacht project for Vitters, yacht designer Andre Hoek was contacted by the owner again. His sailing adventures in the Pacific were well underway but there was one problem: his tender. Now he was on the hunt for a high-quality “mini-superyacht” to support his explorations in comfort.
His wish list was long and placed at the top a continuity of style with the mothership. A Dutch yard to “ensure the same level of quality as his sailing yacht” was also essential, says Vitters’s PR manager Karin van der Vennen. Along with a high-quality build overseen by owner's repTaco Zwarts of TZ Technical Support, it was crucial that the classic, Hoek-penned styling of his sailing yacht be replicated in the chase boat. Enter Hoek.
Together with his team at Hoek Design Naval Architects, the designer prepared two proposals, complete with naval architecture, exterior design and interior décor. From these, the owner chose what later became the final design of the 23-metre chase boat Stargazer. “He asked for classic styling and for the boat to be a good fit for the mother vessel,” says Hoek. “We did two proposals and he picked the one that he really liked.” The contact was signed in September 2017, sparking the first ever build collaboration between the Dutch yards Claasen and Vitters.
The purpose of the chase yacht was clear: it would support his Pacific sailing adventures. To this end, Stargazer needed to be both a sturdy chase boat and supply yacht, capable of transporting guests and supplies to and from the yacht in comfort. “The owner wanted a proper boat, not just a tender, to go from the shore to the boat, which is often offshore or anchored out,” Hoek explains. The challenge to create a stress-free boarding experience set Hoek to work creating a freeboard design that he describes as “unique”. The cockpit floor and deck house floor are arranged on one level, with “no steps or sliding hatches,” Hoek explains. “The freeboard was designed so that you can step from the mothership to the tender in style and in bad weather conditions,” he says. The result is a sturdy platform that allows guests to travel in comfort. “It’s quite easy to move around the boat,” he says, “there are two staircases leading down to the swimming platform and you can walk down to the water level with a tray of glasses in your hands with no problem.”
Another key feature of which Hoek is especially proud is the aft diving platform, a specific request of the owner. “The owner is a great fan of diving and it was part of his dream to have this kind of tender so he can visit diving areas,” explains van der Vennen. The resulting platform folds flush into the deck when not in use and provides steps leading into the water when deployed. “It means you can walk down into the sea,” explains Hoek. “It’s a nice feature for diving.” The versatile platform can also be angled to reach high docks when the boat is moored, allowing easy on board access for guests.
Alongside transporting guests to remote diving spots, Stargazer is responsible for resupplying the mother sailing yacht by nipping into shore and restocking while the yacht stays anchored out. This has resulted in 900-mile range at a cruising speed of 15 knots and additional storage for both provisions and diving equipment. A storage room large enough to be an additional cabin is located on the port side aft. The remaining three cabins are split into guest and crew quarters. Accommodation for the permanent staff of two sits aft while the guest cabins for over-spilling guests from the sailing yacht are located forward. The crew area is comfortable and simple. White finished walls and ceilings create a bright décor, while the crew bathroom features an Amtico floor and Corian material. The guest cabins, meanwhile, feature luxury carpets and bathrooms fitted with marble, while the wider interior centres around mahogany wood and satin finishing in a style in-keeping with the sailing yacht’s interior.
Outside too, Stargazer has been specifically designed to reflect the mothership. The lightweight aluminium hull sports a classic red and white colour scheme that matches the sailing yacht and ties the two together. “It perfectly fits the style of the mothership,” says van der Vennen, “we don’t see this kind of style very often.” Following an 18-month construction, Stargazer was delivered to her “very enthusiastic” owner and has recently been transported to meet the sailing yacht in Tahiti. Side by side in matching red and white, the motor yacht and sailing yacht cut a handsome dash, undertaking the owner’s Pacific adventures together.