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Masts stepped on Royal Huisman sailing superyacht Aquarius

Dutch yard Royal Huisman has released the first photo of its 56 metre classic ketch sailing yacht Aquarius with her two Rondal masts stepped.

Dykstra Naval Architects explained that the standing rigging has been scaled to an air draft that maximises sail area, but is within the Panamax height limitation. The height of the masts is all the more impressive given that the mizzen mast rests on an oval skylight above the owner's cabin.

Sold in December 2014, Aquarius was built for an American couple and their brief called for a yacht that is equally well suited for Bucket regatta racing and round-the-world family cruising.

Interior designer Mark Whiteley revealed: “The brief called for a relaxed home afloat for the owner’s family and friends, and aside from a split-level master cabin featuring a private deckhouse and cockpit, the accommodation includes a large deck saloon, three en-suite guest cabins, a media room and even a dedicated fully equipped superyacht gym.

"One cabin will serve as a bunk-room for the owner’s extended family with twin beds that can convert to a Queen-sized double with a set of Pullman berths above. The gymnasium too will have an optional Pullman fitted.” As a result, Aquarius will accommodate up to eight guests and 11 crewmembers.

Whiteley explained that the New England-inspired interior would very much complement the classic looks of the hull shape, with raised and fielded white painted panelling, trimmed with an elegant but simple profile of fine varnished timber throughout.

Go behind the scenes at Aquarius' farewell party

Thys Nikkels of Dykstra Naval Architects added: “The owner’s brief has been for a stunning looking yacht for family enjoyment. We created a slender hull with long overhangs for an elegant and classic-looking yacht, with favourable sea-keeping characteristics that are ideal for worldwide cruising.”

While performance underway should be sparkling, below the water she’ll carry a fin keel and spade rudder, giving light airs agility.

“We might see her in a Bucket regatta,” said Nikkels, “but with below deck stowage planned for numerous toys such as a Laser, kayaks, windsurfers and bicycles, she will be as much at home in a secluded bay as on the race course or the high seas.”

Design details include oval portholes in the dark blue hull and a mid-deck lounge with sun canopy above. Aquarius will carry a 6.2 metre jet drive tender and an Aero sailing boat. Her twin helms will be well connected to a large shaded main cockpit area, which itself adjoins an even larger glass-rimmed deck saloon.

Following delivery Aquarius and her new owners will head to the Windward and Leeward islands for her maiden cruise. Other superyacht projects under development at the Dutch yard include the 81 metre schooner Project RH400, which is due to hit the water in 2020.

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