70m in-build CRN Project Thunderball revealed

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Exclusive: 70m in-build CRN Project Thunderball revealed

6 July 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

Italian shipyard CRN and design studios Nauta Design and Vripack have teamed up to reveal a new 70-metre superyacht currently under construction and scheduled for delivery in summer 2026.

Named Project Thunderball, the 1,100GT custom build was sold by Y.CO in August 2022 and entered construction earlier this year, after starting life as preliminary sketches in 2018. A first-time collaboration for the three parties, it has been described as one of the team’s most “demanding” undertakings yet, designed to fulfil an exacting owner’s brief for a highly technical and capable yacht that avoids the “floating palace” look and feel.

Speaking to BOAT International, the owner explained that he is a sailing yacht aficionado and as such, the yacht will be accompanied by a smaller sailing yacht that will tag alongside the mothership. The superyacht will be located between the Mediterranean, the Bahamas and Florida and be used as a base for spearfishing, sailing and diving. 

Dutch studio Vripack is responsible for the exterior styling and naval architecture. It was a long process, as Vripack worked to create a design that fitted the owner's “impeccable sense of style and razor-sharp eye for design”, according to Marnix J. Hoekstra, co-creative director and partner at Vripack.

"It's taken two years of designing," confirmed the owner. The finished result has a classic long bow, smooth sheer, and low profile that Hoekstra said is “deliberately reminiscent of times past”. The owner was firm in his desire for a limited number of decks and a profile not dissimilar to the look of The One (now V2V).

The yacht will have a similar "retro" style to F100, pictured above

Explaining the yacht’s technical platform, Hoekstra said: “We took the utmost care to [create] a set of hull lines that focus on highly economical cruising combined with a very soft and comfortable ride”. To this end, the yacht’s entry lines are sharp, akin to a sailing yacht, and her bilges are curved. Her hull is one of the “most efficient ones we’ve ever designed,” added Hoekstra.

“Like all the yachts designed and built by CRN, M/Y 145 Project Thunderball is an expression of high-level naval architecture, engineering, artisanal skills and Italian quality," said Stefano de Vivo, chief commercial officer at Ferretti Group.  "We’re proud to have been able to take the constant dialogue with the client and his team as the basis for creating something unique. CRN shipbuilder, Y.CO, Vripack and Nauta Design; we are all aligned in working to fulfil all the owner's vision and wishes with the highest standard quality, superlative Italian craft and skilled workers and technicians.”

A CRN spokesperson added that the yacht has "a clean, sober, retro style" which echoes the vintage lines of F100, the first explorer designed in 1983 by CRN. "It is a superyacht rich in details, but at first glance very simple."

Meanwhile, interiors come from Italian studio Nauta Design. Artwork and colour are key themes on board, with Mario Pedol, co-founder of Nauta Design, noting that “several areas are specifically thought for properly positioning the artworks or loose furniture elements”. This ties into an overall focus on the layout and circulation of Project Thunderball, with an indoor-outdoor connection underscoring every space.

The owner was a fan of Nauta's original designs on the first My Song

“Nauta has always thought that true luxury onboard lifestyle is achieved through the most direct connection with the surrounding environment,” explained Pedol. “This is achieved through design choices like very large glazing. We worked a lot with CRN to optimise structures and technical solutions […] to have better natural light illuminating the interiors”. Solutions like “leaning” the mullion structures in the windows of the main saloon aim to improve the perception of light and offer unobstructed views over the surroundings.

The project is unique for its use of colour as “a true starring role” with “inventive” uses throughout, Pedol added. Alternating and complementary colours aim to add a sense of character to the interior, and every guest cabin on board has a distinctive colour scheme that is mirrored in the marble of the en suites. "At home, all of our bedrooms have different colours and we wanted to replicate that," noted the owner.

Contrasts can also be seen in the use of lines and shapes. “The interior design is based on a game of geometry, both for layers and for shapes,” said Pedol. “This combination creates dynamism and rhythm in the interior: you never feel the space as too flat, on the contrary geometry is always in motion with its details and finishings creating an intriguing movement.”

The owner admired the lines of The One (now V2V and formerly Carinthia VI

"I've worked with Vripack before on some stuff, and I really like what they do," the owner added. "And for Nauta, I really like their designs on [the first] My Song. I like that they're sailing yacht designers."

The owner has had a number of yachts over the years, but the 70-metre Project Thunderball will be his upper limit.

The yacht has a six-cabin layout with an owner’s suite, five further cabins and amenities including a gym and spa. Project Thunderball has also been tailored with watersports in mind for a “family [which] enjoys activities on and in the water”, said Hoekstra. In terms of tenders, she can carry two nine-metre tenders on the bow and a suite of kiteboards, paddleboards and surfboards.

The steel and aluminium yacht has a beam of 11-metres and a “relatively shallow” draught of 3.2-metres “allowing her to sail and anchor closer to shore,” explained Hoekstra. He added: “A rigorous CFD and tank testing programme was conducted by us to support the development of the lines plan.”

Other features include the winter garden, located in the central area of the sundeck, and a lower deck swimming pool positioned near the beach area, which is designed and built with a cold bath system.

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