The 46.8-metre Royal Huisman sailing yacht Nilaya has officially been launched after she was seen for the first time rolling out of the construction shed in Vollenhove last week. The aluminium superyacht was transported to the shipyard’s deepwater location in Amsterdam on Monday (7 February) where she was lowered into the water.
Formerly known by the project names Project 405 and Reichel/Pugh-Nauta 154, the sloop-rigged sailing yacht is the first to be constructed using Royal Huisman's trademarked Featherlight construction method. According to the yard, the Featherlight approach involves careful weight analysis and engineering of onboard parts which leads to an 11 per cent decrease in overall weight when compared to "typical advanced aluminium cruising yachts".
The yacht's naval architecture has been developed by Reichel-Pugh Yacht Design, while her interior and exterior are the work of Nauta Design. Royal Huisman's sister company Rondal is responsible for the carbon fibre mast and sail rigging which is expected to be stepped soon.
Nilaya 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. The owners wanted to step up to a 46-metre sailing yacht but retain the spirit of their previous yacht, specifically the deckhouse design. "The deckhouse is essential as it allows to look outside and see the sea while seated in the main salon,” said 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. Royal Huisman supported this vision with enthusiasm and accepted the challenge," he told BOAT International last year.
He 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.
The yacht features a carbon composite coachroof which extends 17.5 metres across the deck, with a recessed tender well on the foredeck that can be transformed into a seating area or a flush deck.
She 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 further sofa seating below shading further forward.
Nilaya employs a structured luff sail design by Doyle Sails, which ensures the mast and rigging can maintain a low weight. 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.
Royal Huisman CEO Jan Timmerman said: "The success of the innovations with Project 405 paves the way to use this bold new approach for future builds. I am proud of the investment we have made in advanced engineering and of the way teams from Royal Huisman and Rondal advanced new solutions to meet the brief from very knowledgeable clients and designers."
Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport has served as the owners’ 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.”
"The owners as well deserve congratulations for pushing everyone to achieve just a little bit more and for encouraging innovation at every step. Nilaya will be the world’s lightest aluminium sailing superyacht for her length: she rewrites the script for high-performance superyachts," Timmerman added.
Nilaya is the largest project that Nauta Design has worked on and the 14th largest yacht in the Royal Huisman fleet. She is scheduled to be delivered to her owners in the coming months. According to BOATPro, there are three other yacht projects currently underway at the Royal Huisman yard.