The owner of 70-metre Rossinavi Polaris wanted to go far – with plenty on board to entertain and delight along the way. BOAT discovers how to equip a yacht for long-haul comfort, outside and in.
In the first month after she was delivered, the 70-metre Rossinavi flagship Polaris had already travelled more than 3,000 nautical miles. It’s a distance that’s nearly as vast as an Atlantic crossing, but it’s small change compared to how the owner plans to use his new yacht. Polaris will visit the usual Med and Caribbean hotspots, but she will also journey to the ends of the earth. When dreaming up his new yacht, the owner had his sights set on cruising the icy climes of the Arctic and Antarctica, and it was this mission that shaped the entirety of Polaris, from her ice-classed hull to her diesel-electric propulsion and her inviting interior, chock-full of amenities to enjoy while far from land.Read More/EIV: On board Rossinavi's automotive-inspired 50 metre superyacht
“The owner’s dream was for a long-range superyacht that could comfortably cruise the world,” says Enrico Gobbi of Team for Design, who penned her exterior and interior. Having worked with Rossinavi, Arrabito Naval Architects and Team for Design on his previous yacht, the 48-metre Polaris I (now Parillion), the owner already had his Italian dream team in place for his new creation. Between yacht builds, Gobbi had also designed the owner’s holiday residence ashore, all of which gave the designer a firm footing for understanding his client’s style preferences.
Polaris meets the requirements of Class II of the Finnish-Swedish Ice Class rules. “This includes some upgrades compared to a normal boat: there is a reinforcement of the first forward quarter of the hull and there are reinforcements in the structural part of the pods and propellers,” says Federico Rossi, Rossinavi’s COO. The shape and volume of the sea chests are also specifically designed for navigation in icy waters, with two different de-icing systems, including hot water from the engines that can be sent to the sea chests. “We have not had substantial difficulties as she is Ice Class compliant and not a pure icebreaker – and this drastically changes the construction techniques,” he says. While Polaris is the first ice-classed Rossinavi yacht, she will not be the last; the yard already has others under construction.
The exterior design was influenced by her explorer capabilities. “Mainly the height of the hull and the bow, which had to have certain characteristics in order to navigate in all conditions,” says Gobbi. “A tall and long bow was not only a technical requirement, but also a necessary aesthetic feature to balance the proportions of the yacht.” The straight, tall bulwarks form a splash guard edge to ensure dry decks even in adverse cruising conditions.
The owner briefed a yacht with a slender silhouette and eye-catching exterior lines. “The superstructure needed to have a dynamic appeal, flowing decks and unique identifying features. When drawing her profile we imagined her anchored in the bay, showing off the harmonic connection of all decks and the sleek outlines of the superstructure,” says Gobbi. Team for Design created a harmonious exterior that, upon closer inspection, is composed of sharp angles that catch the light and add interest. Best appreciated in profile, the edges of the superstructure are slanted so there is a continuous line at a 45-degree angle that draws the eye from the bridge deck down to the main deck. The owner also specifically requested a stern design that would be recognisable in a marina without being too pretentious, so the aft ends of each deck overhang slightly. These overhangs are painted grey to match the radar arch and transom. “This is an identifying feature of Polaris and it helps to create a dynamic stern view,” says Gobbi. He notes that it’s also functional, with each overhang forming part of the ceiling for the exterior deck spaces below and hiding lighting that illuminates the boat at night.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the owner didn’t get to visit the yard often during the build and only saw the yacht once before she was launched. When he finally saw Polaris on the water, he was “stunned by the dimensions”, says Gobbi. “I don’t think he actually managed to appreciate her length and overall size until he saw her on water.” Besides stepping up by more than 20 metres in length, the new yacht has more than triple the volume, from 499GT to 1,542GT. This meant plenty of space for the facilities, starting with the gym and spa, which hold pride of place on the main deck.
“The spa and wellness centre is actually the space from which the interior project started,” says Gobbi. “It’s a space the owner uses frequently and wanted it to be located in a privileged area of the yacht with panoramic views.” The gym/yoga room features a huge opening terrace to port, complemented by a hammam, massage room and full bathroom to starboard. The wellness area is decorated with fabric walls, marble and glass mosaics.
The interior design for Polaris was brought to life slowly, after many meetings and yacht viewings between owner and designer. The owner desired a timeless interior, neither too modern nor too classic. It should be cosy and inviting to contrast the icy climes that might be found outside when navigating polar environments. “The interior motif had to convey an atmosphere of warmth and comfort to the owner and his guests the moment they step inside,” says Gobbi. The colour scheme is understated, with grey and white soft goods and glossy dark wood furniture. Pops of colour are more whispers, with a pale green accenting glass lamps or artworks throughout.
Timeless, however, doesn’t have to mean bland. The interior is characterised by art deco-inspired furnishings, and there’s more than a touch of glamour in the many crystal chandeliers and reflective surfaces. The owner also requested a “maximum level” of customisation, says Gobbi. Almost everything had to be unique and bespoke for this yacht. Most of the furniture is custom designed by Gobbi’s team, accompanied by contemporary loose furniture, decorative lighting and fabrics sourced from top Italian and international brands. Among these are Armani/Casa, Baker, Donghia, Rubelli, Porta Romana, Schonbek and Preciosa for the custom lighting, while pieces from Paola Lenti, Summit, Jim Thompson, Hermès, Mariaflora and Ralph Lauren are found on the exterior living spaces.
“One of the main requests he had for the interiors was to have a ‘wow point’ on each deck designed to impress the guests, such as a feature wall, a chandelier or an artwork,” says Gobbi. In the main saloon, this translates to a waterfall flowing down over a wall of backlit onyx on the forward bulkhead. A round sofa in the aft lobby of the saloon welcomes guests, and glass doors to port and starboard of the main sitting area can open to let a breeze flow through. But it’s the waterfall that is the undisputed focal point. It is flanked by curved walls in vertical strips of crystal, which Gobbi says were inspired by the Baccarat Hotel in Manhattan. “The intent was to create a double ‘wow point’ here in the saloon, with the central waterfall and the crystal wings,” says Gobbi. The saloon itself is free of televisions, but duck around the corner of the crystal wall and you’ll find a cocoon-like cinema space. This takes the place of a formal main deck dining area, which was of no interest to the owner. The cinema features soundproofed walls and the latest audiovisual technology.
The stairwell forward also adheres to the owner’s wow-factor brief. An impressive vertical chandelier made of different-sized crystal rings rises from the lower deck lobby to the upper deck, creating a waterfall-of-light effect. Light from the chandelier also reflects beautifully off the wood-and-resin backlit walls of the staircase. Another focal point is the forward wall of the owner’s deck lounge. Here, Gobbi aligned thin slabs of backlit onyx in a wave formation, which also works practically as a curtain to separate the lounge from the wine rack found on the forward bulkhead.
“This is my favourite space on board because it has a very elegant design and a lovely panoramic view,” says Gobbi of the lounge. “I very much like the curved front wall in onyx with its soft lighting effect, the chandelier made of crystal cylinders hanging from the ceiling, and the overall warm atmosphere.”
As the owner plans to spend a good deal of time on board, it made sense to give him a dedicated deck, to which this lounge is the entry point. Forward of the wine rack is a VIP suite to starboard – which can be used by the owner or assigned to a guest – and a full-beam owner’s suite with a walk-in-wardrobe, dual en suite bathrooms and a forward-facing bedroom. “The owner wanted a panoramic suite, with his private front balcony and the bed placed right at the centre of the room looking outward. He liked the idea of being able to follow the yacht in navigation directly from his bed,” says Gobbi.
The private forward terrace has two chairs of woven fabric, a small table and chaise longues, all that’s needed for the owner to sit and enjoy the expansive views ahead. Another water feature is found here – a waterfall runs down the full length of the forward bulwark and has a lighting effect that makes it especially vibrant at night. Aft on the owner’s deck is a huge round table with seating for 12, which speaks to the owner’s plans to entertain guests. “My favourite element on board is the entire owner’s deck,” says Rossi. “In boats of this size it is really a plus to have an owner’s cabin with a front view and private balcony.”
But comfortable living during long-range cruising extends beyond the yacht’s amenities. A focus of the brief was for excellent seakeeping and silent navigation. “We are extremely proud of the comfort on board and the silence. Our Zero Noise technology in this boat has expressed itself to its maximum potential and after being personally on board cruising I can say that the boat is really extremely silent and pleasant [while underway],” says Rossi.
Delivered in 2014, the original Polaris is a semi-planing yacht that was specced to reach speeds in excess of 24 knots, but for the next Polaris, the owner was more interested in endurance. “It was a totally different concept: he wanted a full-displacement yacht that could reach anywhere in the world,” says Giuseppe Arrabito of Arrabito Naval Architects, who created both Polaris yachts. “The hull is equipped with a bulb resulting from an iterative process of CFD optimisation aimed at reducing resistance and damping the pitching motions of the oncoming sea.” CFD calculations, together with tank tests of the Kongsberg Azipull propulsion, were also carried out to improve performance. The owner was enthusiastic about Arrabito’s suggestion for the new yacht to have full diesel-electric propulsion with the Azipull system. The system operates with variable-speed generators, so that the fuel efficiency is optimised in all sea conditions.
Yet the new Polaris is no slouch either; she was contracted to reach at least 17 knots and goes one better, hitting a top speed of 18 knots while cruising at 15 knots. And her range is more than 6,500 nautical miles at a reduced speed of 12 knots. This should give the owner plenty of scope to meet his world-girdling goals.