Icon yachts 70m conversion project master rendering

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Project Master: 70m conversion project in full swing at Icon Yachts

26 April 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

Dutch shipyard Icon Yachts reports "steady progress" is being made on the conversion of Kleven-built offshore rescue and support ship Ocean Ness. Now going by the name Project Master, the vessel is set to be transformed into one of "the world's most capable explorer yachts" by 2024. 

First announced at the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2021, the red-hulled vessel arrived at Icon Yacht's drydock facility in Harlingen in 2022. Since then, various parts of the vessel have been demolished and the old interiors have been ripped out to be replaced, leaving a blank canvas for the team to work with. 

The conversion is the first of its kind to be undertaken by Icon since the delivery of 68.2-metre Ragnar in 2020.

Credit: Guy Fleury

Yacht management firm JMS Yachting is working with Icon on Project Master, and said it was a "great decision" to remove the vessel's existing interior as they "found that the insulation was wet and the structure behind was affected. Whilst removing the wall panels, we discovered the extent of the corrosion".

The team has also removed all the equipment from the wheelhouse to be recycled or reused and will give Project Master all-new technology that will ensure she is "ready for the next 20 years and significantly more comfortable".

Credit: Guy Fleury

The project has been designed in collaboration with Espen Øino and will see Ocean Ness undergo a four-metre extension, bringing her total length to 70 metres, but will retain 95 per cent of the ship's original platform and superstructure.

The owners brief called for a "family-orientated" vessel capable of tackling extended voyages while remaining suitable for charter.

Project Master's explorer credentials will include a large toy store, a 42-square-metre expedition area and two 11.5-metre cranes that can be altered to launch and recover submarines and other guest tenders. On the top deck lies a fully certified helicopter deck that can double as a space for entertaining, providing more than 200 square metres of additional outdoor space.

The owner also requested a Jacuzzi, spa, sauna and gym to be incorporated into the design.

The yard will convert the Kleven-built offshore rescue and support ship Ocean Ness

Accommodation is for 12 guests across six en suite cabins including a 140-square-metre owner's suite. On the upper deck, guests will find the main saloon with floor-to-ceiling windows, with the remaining guest accommodation positioned on the main deck, comprising two VIP cabins and three twin cabins. Once complete, Project Master will sleep an additional 19 crew. 

The project was sold to an experienced superyacht owner looking to travel further afield. "The owner was initially playing with the idea of a new build but after talking to us and seeing the benefits of a conversion project he was convinced," said Stephan Vitus, head of project development at Icon Yachts. "We spent a long time with the family trying to identify a vessel for the conversion and this is exactly what they were looking for in terms of the facilities and the platform."

Project Master will feature hybrid thrusters to allow for near-silent cruising at ten knots. The configuration of the propulsion will also allow for installation of a full diesel-electric system at a later stage, offering her owner future-proof possibilities. Once complete, Project Master will have a top speed of 14 knots and a range of more than 6,000 nautical miles.