Tatiana, Bilgin Yachts’ graceful flagship, is born of a lengthy collaboration between a yacht enthusiast with the goal to build a small superyacht fleet and an ambitious family-owned shipyard rooted on the western shores of the Bosphorus.
It doesn’t seem so long ago that I went to Istanbul’s West Marina to take a look at 48.7-metre Clarity, a modern classic with bowsprit, faux stack and elegant hull lines. She was then the most recent launch from Bilgin, built with a steel hull but harking back to the romantic era of yachting.
Yildirim Bilgen, Bilgin Yachts’ sales manager, was multitasking, a smartphone close at hand as he showed me around the boat and discussed an important expansion – new sheds under construction that Bilgin would use to commission much larger yachts. The metal work would take place about 50 kilometres away in Yalova, across the Sea of Marmara, and the interiors, furniture and metal fittings would be done in another of Bilgin’s facilities in Istanbul.
A few months later, Bilgin revealed something radically different to Clarity, an 80-metre yacht concept with exterior design by Unique Yacht Design. By May 2016, Bilgin announced that the construction was underway, with several of the steel blocks for the hull already completed. “Not only does this superyacht meet the exacting performance standards of the luxury industry but [it] sets the bar for Turkey’s growing high-end yacht sector,” the shipyard said at the time about its forward-looking project.
Bilgen, still multitasking, is at the wheel of his car when I catch up with him to go over the history of the new flagship. The yard’s relationship with the client goes back more than 15 years. Bilgin Yachts delivered the first Tatiana, a 33.5-metre in 2006, followed in 2011 by a 45-metre yacht. Not too long after taking delivery of his second yacht, the owner expressed interest in discussing a larger project.
Bilgen travelled to meet the client and his team with naval architect Emrecan Özgün, founder of Unique Yacht Design. That meeting did not result in a new order, but it established a fruitful working relationship between Özgün and the shipyard. “We have been working with Bilgin Yachts since 2013,” says Özgün, whose passion for car design merged with his education in naval architecture and engineering to open doors in yacht design. He collaborated with Bilgin on 46.8-metre Giaola-Lu, 47.5-metre Nerissa (now Starburst III) and 47.5-metre Lilium (now Snow 5). Meanwhile, conversations with the owner of Tatiana continued and by 2015, he was ready to discuss a brand new project.
“As the customer knew my experience in the naval architecture and shipbuilding engineering area, he told me his expectations in terms of performance, comfort and productivity,” Özgün says. “Later on, we had a discussion about the general layout prepared for him. The most important point to him was the exterior design.”
In order to illustrate what he liked and disliked, he invited him outside of his office. “We went out on a terrace overlooking the Dubai Marina. He showed me a few yachts there and said that he doesn’t want a yacht with a high bulky appearance like these.” What he wanted was a yacht that was “sleek, aggressive, sexy,” he says, with a “bullet-like appearance.”
The owner was happy to trade volume for elegance, confirms Brahma Advani, the owner’s representative. Aside from an attractive exterior, among his priorities were a sizable pool in the beach club, a couple of cabins that could accommodate staff or guests, according to the yacht’s private or commercial use, compliance with IMO Tier III emission standards even if the rules did not yet mandate it at the time of keel laying, long cruise capability and low decibel levels for ultimate comfort.
From the get-go, they also had charter in mind. “The owner wanted to use the yacht for special conferences or board meetings besides using it for his and his family’s pleasure and also occasionally deploy the yacht on the charter market. His ultimate goal is to build a good size fleet of superyachts,” Advani says.
Back in Turkey, Unique Yacht Design worked around the clock for about three months, Özgün says. The resulting design was very close to Tatiana – a long hull with a narrow beam and attractive curves atop a sporty profile ending in a sharp bow. It also met the client’s desire for a fuel-efficient boat thanks to a displacement form developed by Unique Yacht Design, which was tank tested at the Maritime Advanced Research Centre in Gdansk, Poland.
“The Unique Displacement Hull Form doesn’t have dynamic trim at low or high speeds,” Özgün says. This form’s stability equates to efficiency. “This helped us reach 260 litres fuel consumption in total while cruising with two engines and a generator at the speed of 12 knots,” he says. This also means a range of around 7,500 nautical miles. However, if speed is required, with engines at 85 per cent load, CFD simulation and technical trials show that Tatiana can exceed 19 knots.
To meet the newest Tier III mandates that restrict NOx emissions in many areas of the world, Bilgin worked with both Rolls-Royce and Hug Engineering to come up with the most effective SCR solution available for the MTU 4000 series engines and gensets. Incorporating environmentally friendly features, incidentally, is high on the shipyard’s agenda for all new builds.
As far as its appearance goes, it has a long and pointed bow, “like a bullet” and a generous aft deck section, home to a stunning feature – in essence, a two-level beach club. The yacht’s lines incorporate wing stations that form an interesting architectural feature at the bridge level and the flush decks conceal hatches for two Castoldi tenders, four Jet Skis and mooring equipment, leaving nothing but a seamless expanse of deck forward. Emergency rafts are also hidden from view on the upper deck. A dual colour scheme brings lines into a pinch at the forward end, slimming the yacht and enhancing the pointed forward end, without sacrificing views through generous windows in the cabins and lounges. The required mast is telescopic and recedes out of view.
Although a lot of attention was paid to the aesthetics, the yacht’s operational side was not forgotten. For instance, the designer included two doors that allow the crew to oversee anchor operations and a service door for loading and unloading supplies. In total, the yacht has 10 shell doors.
Özgün says the owner contributed a great deal of ideas and he had listened carefully. “I was sure that the customer would agree with the shipyard after our presentation and so he did. He really loved every detail of the design,” he says. The size, naval architecture, appearance and the majority of the layout being settled, there remained the matter of the interior design and finessing the outer decks.
Bilgin has enjoyed a good working relationship with H2 Yacht Design. They have collaborated on five projects since 2012 and Bilgen introduced them to the client. The pursuit of pleasure is what yachting is all about and accordingly Tatiana’s interior is, says H2’s principal, Jonny Horsfield, “pretty hedonistic”. The focus was on impressive guest areas with multiple entertainment spaces, several bars, lounges, a formal dining room for up to 16 guests, a cinema as well as a private owner’s space with an office – all of this within a fairly slim envelope. “The styling is aggressive and sleek which meant that the interior had to work within this footprint yet offer everything the client wished for,” Horsfield says.
The yacht’s long lines are the first to catch the eye, but it does not take long to realise that the 110-square-metre beach club is one of the yacht’s main attractions. “This is the epicentre of the yacht and is directly connected to the main saloon via a dramatic staircase,” Horsfield says. This leisure space encompasses two pools, one above the other and two bars, one exterior on the upper level, the other on the lower deck at the forward end of the pool.
The largest pool is 8.5 metres long and nearly three metres wide (with a depth of about 1.2 metres) and occupies the lion’s share of the lower deck. When the yacht is anchored, the aft door and two side terraces unfold. “It emphasises the close connection between interior spaces and the marine environment,” Horsfield says. More light comes from reveals in the walls and small LED lights shining like tiny stars over a lounge adjacent to a shell door. Glass columns, Carrara marble anda backlit blue agate floor near the bar complement the teak deck that surrounds the pool. A cosy massage room with another shell door, for a massage en plein air, a shower and a steam room round out the luxurious space.
Backlit panels add drama to the eye-catching staircase in Macassar wood and Carrara marble that leads from the beach club directly to the entrance of the main saloon, one deck above. Here, the second pool, a large spa pool, features two skylights at the bottom, allowing natural light to shine down below. It’s worth noting that the water from the pool and spa pool is recyclable and can be stored in a heated holding tank.
In terms of design style, the owner wanted something modern and warm, Horsfield says. “The theme of the interior is based on a light but rich palette while the design is definitely crisp and contemporary in feel. There is an overall stunning interior that complements the modern exterior perfectly,” he says. “The design can be described as layers of modern luxury. We wanted to achieve an open airy feel for a clean, sleek look, so the best option was to use light and textured luxury materials.”
Accordingly, the interior is filled with silks, lots of textures – from carved carpets, many sourced from Stepevi, to panels worked with CNC machines – and accents of stainless steel and polished bronze. Light plays an important role in enhancing shapes and creating interesting shadows. Stones, such as onyx, are used in unconventional ways, for instance as headboards in several guest cabins.
Despite Tatiana’s relatively modest volume, the ceiling height is generous, 2.25 metres on the main deck and up to 2.6 metres in areas of the owner’s deck. This is not something that’s expected given the yacht’s lean exterior appearance. “All visitors are surprised when they get on the deck,” Özgün says.
This generous clearance allows for some nice features, such as a glimmering chandelier above the dining table, designed by H2 and made by Lasvit with glass rods and polished steel. Another renowned glass artisan from Bohemia, Crystal Caviar, made the light fixture in the staircase leading to the accommodations. The feature wall in the dining saloon is made with semi-precious amethyst. Counterbalancing these rich elements are more muted materials, such as European oak floors in a white finish and a light Tabu Tay with a straight grain. Details in Macassar ebony and Legnoquattro veneer on furniture add contrast. “We used quite a lot of Tabu,” Horsfield says. “The advantage for us is guaranteed quality and consistent colour, particularly if you go for a light finish.”
The furniture is either custom designed by H2 or sourced from brands such as Minotti and Boca do Lobo. Bilgin built the interiors and all fixed furnishings.
The upper deck is divided between the bridge by Simrad, captain’s cabin, officer’s cabin, staff cabin, the owner’s office and the upper saloon. This space has a welcoming surround of seats framed by decorative columns, a stage with room for a piano and a games room with a pool table by Porsche Design and, of course, a bar. The owner enjoys privacy on the top deck, accessible via a lift, with a lounge, an extensive wardrobe framing a private bath, large cabin, spa pool and terrace accessed through sliding doors. Guests are accommodated on both the main deck and the lower deck, where a gym, sauna and cinema are located.
The forward end of the lower deck and a great portion of the tank deck are dedicated to the crew quarters, crew lounges and service space, including ample cold and dry stores and a generous laundry.
“Our purpose was to create a yacht which is functional, easy to build, with all the comforts and luxury of a superyacht while having a beautiful look,” Özgün says. From the looks of it, they have ticked all boxes. And with this bullet-shaped yacht, Bilgin Yachts has hit more than one of its targets, raising its profile up high and proving itself a worthy contender in the superyacht segment.
This feature is taken from the December 2020 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.SHOP NOW