Nomad 95 SUV: On Board the 29.7 Metre Gulf Craft Superyacht
by Risa Merl
The new Nomad 95 SUV by Gulf Craft looks like it’s meant to go places. It has the distinctive lines of an explorer yacht, with a Portuguese-style bridge and high bulwarks that rise towards the bow. Its profile – and name – are not-so-subtle hints at what the UAE builder hopes to achieve with its SUV explorer series of Nomad Yachts, offering a blend of comfort and functionality in pocket superyachts that boast longer range and seakeeping abilities to take on all sorts of weather.
“The brief was to create a unique vessel that’s able to cover serious distance and cope with challenging sea conditions,” says Gareth Lloyd, sales manager at Gulf Craft. To meet this aim, the yard turned to UK naval architect Andrew Wolstenholme, of Wolstenholme Yacht Design, who penned the previous Nomad Yachts models. The exterior and interior design was by Gulf Craft’s in-house team.
Constructed in FRP with carbon fibre and Kevlar reinforcements, the first Nomad 95 SUV (built on spec) is the new flagship of Nomad Yachts, following the 75 SUV and 65 SUV. One might assume the “95” in its name refers to an overall length of 95ft, but the yacht is actually larger, measuring in at 29.7 metres, or just under 100 feet.
“The 95 shares the same design philosophy [as the previous Nomads] in answering the yard’s brief for a hull capable of running efficiently at low and intermediate speeds and offering exceptional seakeeping. It’s a hull suited for extended cruising with long spells spent on board,” says Wolstenholme.
If explorer yachts have good range, while planing hulls achieve higher speeds with the sacrifice of a reduced range, Gulf Craft sought a best-of-both-worlds approach for the 95 SUV. Wolstenholme designed it with a round bilge semi-displacement hull form, which gives a much smoother rolling motion than a hard-chine planing hull. A spray chine defines the lifting surface and cuts down on topside wetness. She also has a moderately large keel to aid directional stability and protect the stern gear. This is paired with a fine bow entry and fairly deep forward hull, “which gives a soft ride in a head sea and provides a much gentler motion”, he says.
Her captain, Mick Long, attests to the yacht’s seakeeping prowess. “It really is an all-weather boat,” he says. “I took her out in 30 to 35 knots of wind – because we had a photoshoot scheduled and the helicopter was organised, and I was absolutely amazed by how she performed. The sun was out, the winds were high, there was nobody else out there. I am not promoting going out to sea in bad weather, of course, but if you’re out there, she can handle herself. The beauty of this yacht is you can still cruise in the Med in April – it extends your cruising season.”
You may not want to eat outside in April, but guests could find shelter in the formal dining room on the main deck, forward of the saloon. The glass-top dining table seats 10 and is backed by a feature wall on the forward bulkhead. A fire-rated sliding door leads to the galley forward to port, which is fitted with Siemens appliances. The large main saloon windows provide sweeping vistas from the two sofas or the two loose armchairs. From the outside, the windows look even bigger than they are because the mullions are painted black to match them, giving the impression of one large expanse of glazing along the entire main deck.
The main veneer found on board is an open-grain sand oak, accented by dark grey oak, which adds to the feeling of a light, bright and modern interior. Wood detailing, with built-in LEDs, arches from the walls to the ceiling in the main saloon, cleverly defining a sense of separation between the saloon and dining room. This feature was designed and built in-house; Gulf Craft prides itself on constructing everything, from the stainless steel to the joinery and furnishings.
On the main deck, a hallway leading to the master suite dog-legs so you don’t have a view straight from the hall into the master, for much-appreciated privacy. There is a small Dometic refrigerator in the suite so the owners can have their favourite drinks at hand without intrusion from crew. A watertight door from the master leads to an exterior forward seating area. “But whether you call this, the master suite or the VIP is debatable,” says Long. “Because on this one, I would imagine that the owner would prefer to have the upper deck VIP cabin with the big terrace off the back.”
On the upper deck, I see exactly what Long means. The usual upper saloon has been set up as a window-filled VIP opening on to an aft deck terrace, which would be a prime spot to wake up and take in views of a pretty bay. The aft deck has a wet bar with an ice-maker and barbecue.
The Nomad 95 SUV has a flexible interior layout, allowing the general arrangement to be changed to have four, five or six cabins. The upper saloon can be fitted as a saloon with a living space or as a VIP cabin, as it is in hull No 1. Gulf Craft hasn’t ruled out going further and moving bulkheads to suit an owner’s needs, though Lloyd says that this would, of course, depend on any impact on the structural integrity of the yacht. “We are very accommodating in trying to meet the owners’ individual requirements wherever possible,” Lloyd says.
The helm could benefit from wing stations. Gulf Craft doesn’t plan to augment this on future hulls, but Lloyd notes that there is a Yacht Controller option offered and there is also a rear engine control console at stern, both of which help with docking.
Crew accommodation is divided so there are five crew aft in decent size quarters with mess attached, and there is also a separate two-person crew cabin forward. UAE decorum dictates that the boat should be able to accommodate male and female crew in separate areas, but this cabin can be removed to make more use of the owner’s interior living space. On hull No 2, this forward crew cabin will disappear to accommodate four guest cabins on the lower deck. Hull No 1, however, has three cabins on the lower deck – two twins aft, each of which can be converted into doubles as the beds slide together, while a forward VIP has a vanity area and plenty of storage. The bathrooms are a good size for guest suites on a yacht of this size and there are full rain showers with a little seat.
With its Nomad Yachts collection, Gulf Craft is hoping to attract adventurous owners and their families who are looking for a yacht that can take them to more remote locations in comfort and style. “The Nomad 95 SUV is really designed for family use,” says Lloyd, enumerating its family-friendly charms. “A large interior space, high side bulwarks for safety and the upper saloon area offer a degree of separation for the kids and adults when required.” She can also carry plenty of toys for kids of all ages to enjoy in the aft garage, along with a RIB tender and two jet skis, accessed via an electro-hydraulic garage door.
Perhaps the Nomad Yachts collection could best be described as “explorer light”. It is certainly much more capable and comfortable than your average planing yacht, but her 1,343nm range at 10 knots is not transatlantic. “The yacht is not designed to be an out and out explorer,” explains Lloyd. “The concept is longer-range cruising in comfort, with spacious living accommodation. But we would consider enlarged fuel tanks if a client requested that option.”
It’s obvious Gulf Craft is putting a priority on flexibility in this semi-custom offering, allowing owners to edit everything from layouts to fuel- carrying capabilities. The standard fuel tanks hold 14,570 litres, and they power twin MAN V12-1900 1,874hp engines. “Cruising is fantastic at 12 to 15 knots, but she can still go 25 knots top,” says Long.
With a reasonable price point of $5.8 million (£4.45m) for the standard package, the Gulf Craft Nomad SUV presents an enticing option for the nomadic family who is ready to roam.
Images courtesy of Blueiprod.
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