Royal Huisman project 405 Nilaya

5 images

All images credit Carlo Borlenghi

47m Royal Huisman sailing yacht Nilaya completes first transatlantic crossing

15 December 2023 • Written by Katia Damborsky

The 46.8-metre Royal Huisman sailing yacht Nilaya has completed her first transatlantic crossing. She now lies in Antigua for a "pause" following the 10-day journey, before moving on to the St Barths Bucket. 

Nilaya was delivered to her owners in June, with Royal Huisman CEO Jan Timmerman describing the yacht as a "milestone in composite superyachts". She is the first model to be constructed using Royal Huisman's trademarked Featherlight construction method, which promises increased performance thanks to an 11 per cent decrease in overall weight when compared to "typical advanced aluminium cruising yachts".

Silence, safety and space were crucial components of the brief

Nilaya, meaning “blissful home” in Sanskrit, was commissioned for a repeat client of Nauta Design who was looking for a powerful, high-performance sailer capable of regatta racing, while also providing the comfort and reliability required for global circumnavigation. 

Nauta Design co-founder Mario Pedol called the yacht's performance "outstanding" during sea trials. “We sailed on a broad reach with the mainsail and Code Zero and rapidly reached a truly impressive 17 knots boat speed. This fantastic yacht showed to really match all of the quite demanding main aspects of the owners’ brief."

Nilaya hit the water in early February 2023

The brief focused on upgrading their existing 46-metre sailing yacht while retaining its spirit, specifically the deckhouse design. "The deckhouse is essential as it allows you to look outside and see the sea while seated in the main saloon,” explained Massimo Gino, Nauta Design co-founder and partner. Silence, safety and space were also crucial components of the brief.

Combining all of these elements was not an easy task, according to Mario Pedol of Nauta Design. "Our early intuition was that an aluminium construction sailing yacht could be much lighter than the existing aluminium fleet," he told BOAT International last year.

Pedol explained that while aluminium hulls weigh around 60 to 70 per cent more than carbon, the weight of the deck is only around 15 per cent of the total weight of the sailing yacht. With this in mind, the owner then enlisted the expertise of Reichel-Pugh to perfect the hull form, as well as America’s Cup CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) specialists Caponnetto Hueber and Giorgio Provinciali. Royal Huisman's sister company Rondal is responsible for the carbon fibre mast and sail rigging.

According to the yard, Rondal has also created a radical new curved carbon fibre spreader design that is both shorter and more aerodynamic than anything previously available. Nilaya also employs a structured luff sail design by Doyle Sails, which ensures the mast and rigging can maintain a low weight. 

Nilaya is defined by a low, sporty profile with a straight bow and wide transom. The aft deck has been envisioned as an open-air lounge area, with additional sofa seating below shading further forward.  A recessed tender well on the foredeck can be transformed into a seating area or remain a flush deck.

Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport has served as the owner’s project manager on the build. “While the new Nilaya is meant to take the owners world cruising, he also asked for a boat with all the ‘good habits’ of their previous racer, meaning responsiveness and excellent handling. Royal Huisman was not afraid to invest in research to explore and develop all manner of innovative weight-saving possibilities. They really chased the details.”

Nilaya is the largest sailing yacht project that Nauta Design has worked on and the 14th largest yacht in the Royal Huisman fleet. According to BOATPro, there are three other yacht projects currently underway at the Royal Huisman yard.

Read More/Everything you need to know about the groundbreaking new 47m Nilaya

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