Made in America, Invictus is designed for world domination
by Tim Thomas
The owner of the new Delta Invictus is very pleased. ‘The marble work throughout the boat is incredible,’ he indicates as he shows me around. ‘Our goal was to build an American boat that would rival any boat coming out of Europe, and I think Delta nailed it, and then some, in terms of woodwork, finish, design, technical specs – everything.’
The 65.5 metre Invictus, launched in 2013, is certainly one of the most significant new launches in North America in recent times. At first glance, you can sense she is a large yacht, but her incredible volume of 1,945 gross tonnes is well disguised in her classic, elegant lines. Even armed with the knowledge of just how much interior space she offers, nothing prepares you for the sheer scale of her social areas. I’m not talking straight floor area here, although she certainly doesn’t fall short on that count, but in the main deck aft saloon, for example, the deckheads rise into coffers producing an incredible nine feet (2.7 metres) of headroom. The extraordinary airiness this creates, combined with giant floor-to-ceiling windows, means that Invictus' saloon area, with its sofas, seating areas, fireplace, piano and bar, feels both homey and unrestrained. The décor has room to breathe, and while the finish shows great depth and intricacy, it never becomes overwhelming.
The reason for the towering headroom has to do with the genesis of the project. Begun as a hull with expedition intent, the original lines included a helicopter hangar on the main deck. When the project evolved into what it is now, complete with a slight stretching in the overall length of the Ice-Classed hull, the height of the space created by that hangar was kept and translated into the impressive headroom the yacht offers today. ‘It went from a yacht that was conceived around a helicopter to a yacht that didn’t really need or care about a helicopter,’ says Christian Oliver, a senior designer in Delta’s design department.
‘We had a significant amount of deck-to-deck space to work with between the main deck and the owner’s deck that allowed great expanses of headroom and still left plenty of room to run our systems,’ adds Jay Miner, chief naval architect at Delta. ‘We had more of a challenge on the level below the main deck because that’s where we were paying that price. In the tender bay we had to work hard to get the headroom in there and get the gantries mounted and the tenders and the hull doors in, so that was one region of intensive engineering.’ The tender bay holds both a Novurania Chase 27 sports boat and a custom-built Comitti 8.5 metre tender crafted by a yard based on Lake Como.
Following the dramatic entrance to the saloon from the aft deck, the main deck continues forward with a full-tiered cinema where you might expect to find a formal dining area. ‘It’s got a 103-inch screen, and we put proper windows in there,’ says the owner. ‘So if you want, you can just go in there and cruise and read.’
The forward half Invictus' of the main deck becomes the family wing for the owner’s children, when running in private mode. Six cabins, three on either side, offer plenty of space and large en suites, and each has a distinctive colour theme chosen by the children. Two further cabins are on the lower deck, while the master suite takes pride of place forward on the upper deck.
Here, a central corridor leads first to a panelled sitting room to starboard then on to his-and-hers en suites outboard on either side. Hers contains a large bath, while his offers a huge shower. Each has floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of the elevated view, along with doors to the sidedecks to access the forward owner’s seating area. Gates aft on the side deck can be closed to indicate to crew that privacy is required.
The real wow factor on Invictus, though, is reserved for the forward sleeping area, surrounded by near full-height windows that offer a stunning panorama even from the bed. Windows throughout the yacht are built as close to the deck and as wide as possible. ‘That was always the design intent,’ the owner explains. ‘We wanted to maximise views whenever possible. Even in the cabins on the lower deck the oval windows are huge.’
The aft part of the upper deck is an ample formal dining area with two snug seating areas forward on either side. ‘We travel with a lot of friends, so Delta built us an amazing table that could seat 22,’ says the owner of Invictus. ‘We designed the area so you can have a cocktail and relax before stepping to the table. And when the kids want to break off and watch TV and we want to sit and talk or have a drink, we’re not separated. That’s why we made sure we had a bar at every level – you’ve got to be prepared.’ For the dining service, pantries with dedicated china are on every level, ready to receive dishes from the industrial-standard galley located on the lower deck.
The bridge is pushed to the top deck, giving captain and crew a commanding view, while aft is an outboard gym to port with doors that open to the fresh air. Farthest aft is a bar and saloon that, with matte black and plush red décor, feel like they have been lifted from a Parisian nightclub. ‘This has become one of the more popular spaces,’ the owner of Invictus says. ‘It’s a big bar where you can lounge and relax, and a TV comes up from the cabinet. The detail in the metalwork and ceiling, and the backlit bar, are incredible. Delta did an unbelievable job. Our designer Diane Johnson is great with details and making rooms very accommodating.’
Not surprisingly, exterior spaces are equally remarkable. Invictus' huge sundeck – built of carbon fibre to save weight aloft – includes an aft spa pool, a bar under the arch, sunbeds, big awnings, a large dining table and loose seating and furniture. ‘The space up top is so important. We were careful to make the most of it,’ notes the owner.
Apart from a large circular dining table on the bridge aft deck, nearly all the deck furniture is freestanding. ‘The yacht was intended to be more like a great home, a great apartment that you would find in London or Manhattan,’ notes the owner. Furniture that’s not built-in felt more like home to us.’
The concept of Invictus was based on the owner’s experience with his previous boat, a 45M Bennetti. ‘We travel with a lot of people, have a big family, and enjoy entertaining, so we wanted spaces that are comfortable and fun, where you can relax and it still feels like a home even though it’s a big boat.
‘We are all very proud of her. It’s been a great effort,’ says the owner as we finish our tour. ‘You know, there are a lot of great yachts out there, but this stands above them all. I’m a little biased probably, but I think it’s true!’
Photography by Rupert Peace
Photography by Jim McHugh