arctic superyacht for charter in tahiti

6 images

Credit: EYOS Expeditions

Fact file: five things you didn't know about converted explorer yacht Arctic P

16 January 2024 • Written by Dea Jusufi


Motor Yacht
Schichau-Unterweser ·  87.57 m ·  1969

A staggering 99 explorer yachts were ordered or in build as of last year, marking one of the largest single-year increases seen in the past decade. Owners' appetite for adventure is evidently growing – but the perfect explorer is sometimes found further afield, with BOATPro also recording a growing demand for conversion projects. Cue the 87.6-metre Arctic P. Built by Schichau-Unterweser to be "the strongest, toughest salvage rescue vessel in the world", she was relaunched in 1993 as the largest converted explorer of her time.

During her twenty-year tenure, Arctic P has circumnavigated the globe, picked up a World Superyacht Award and even set a Guinness World Record. BOAT takes a look at the life of this travelling giant... 

1. She's been owned by the Packer family for generations

Gretel took over ownership from her brother James Packer in 2018
Credit: Tim McKenna
Read More/The best explorer yachts for adventurous charters

"[Arctic P] was one of the first – possibly the actual first – expedition yacht in the world, and that extraordinary conversion was undertaken by my parents," said Gretel in a BOAT International interview. "So, for me, there is just so much history. Plus, I find her very beautiful." Australian billionaire and media tycoon Kerry Packer AC (Gretel’s father) is to thank for Arctic P's iconic conversion, an inheritance that has been eagerly accepted by the next generation. When Gretel is on board, she usually goes on trips of several weeks, staying on board for crossings rather than flying to meet the crew at the final destination.

2. She's in the Guinness Book of World Records

In 2013, Arctic P arrived at the Antarctic Peninsula with a purpose. An unexpectedly warm summer had melted the Ross Ice Shelf (also known as the Great Ice Barrier) at its eastern end, providing the crew an opportunity to travel further south than any other vessel in history. The endeavour was a success – Arctic P made it an impressive 677 nautical miles from the South Pole, clinching that all-important entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Bonus fun fact: Arctic P's team was an absolute powerhouse. Even the yacht's doctor had climbed one of the highest mountains in Antarctica in his early 20s (and also held the world record for the highest base jump).

3. She's had a lot of work done

Read More/Fitting out the fleet: the best superyacht refit projects of 2023

As of 2022, this heritage explorer has needed four refits to keep her in ship-shape. Works included a stint at Navantia Shipyard in 2015, which saw her leave Spain with a swimming pool, Jacuzzi and dining table that disappears into the deck when not in use. A year-long rebuild at Palumbo Superyachts in 2019 is also worth noting, as she was redesigned to commercially-compliant (and thus charter friendly) standards.

Arctic is managed by Y.CO with charters starting from €450,000 per week.

4. She has a 4D cinema onboard (among other luxuries)

Credit: Y.CO

While Arctic P's rugged, tugboat exterior was maintained post-conversion, her interiors feel a world away from the harsh climates she cruises. Leisure highlights include a 4D immersive cinema with surround sound and vibrating chairs, a heated beach house pool protected from the elements, a fully-equipped gym, a curated library and an armada of toys including a professional dive centre. The top deck, also known as "Monkey Island", offers 360-degree views with forward-facing seats, low-slung tables for morning coffees and a casual dining area.

5. She was involved in a high-stakes sea rescue

In 1972, Arctic P famously rescued commercial expedition vessel Lindblad Explorer, which had run aground at La Plaza Point, Antarctica. Among the passengers was Swedish explorer Lars-Eric Lindblad himself, the man who led the first tourist expedition to Antarctica in 1966. The explorer was towed by Arctic P to Buenos Aires, Argentina and then to Kristiansand, Norway for repairs. 

Other adventures onboard Arctic P have included a visit to Cape Adare, the largest Adélie penguin rookery in the world and a nighttime excursion to Panama from the Galápagos Islands.

Read More/Inside the adventures of the 87m explorer Arctic P

Sign up to BOAT Briefing email

Latest news, brokerage headlines and yacht exclusives, every weekday

By signing up for BOAT newsletters, you agree to ourTerms of Useand ourPrivacy Policy.

Sponsored listings