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Project Cosmos: Inside the Construction of the 80 Metre Heesen Superyacht

23 July 2020By Miranda Blazeby, By Caroline White

The team behind the construction of the 80 metre all aluminium Project Cosmos, the largest yacht ever built by Heesen, has opened up about the in-build superyacht.

With exterior design by Winch Design, Project Cosmos has now begun outfitting after the joining of the hull and superstructure earlier this month. The yacht is on track for its scheduled launch date of November 19, 2021.

Images courtesy of Heesen

Speaking to BOAT International about the record-breaking yacht, Heesen’s director of sales and marketing Mark Cavendish revealed that Project Cosmos's owners “like this type of sleek, high-speed yacht”.

He predicted that Project Cosmos will be “one of the biggest and fastest yachts in the world”. Equipped with four MTU 4000 M73 engines totalling 19,000hp, Project Cosmos is estimated to achieve a top speed of just under 30 knots.

The “sleek, streamlined and sporty” exterior is paired with a “luxury interior”, Cavendish said, with “marble bathrooms and finely fitted furnishings”. Elsewhere, Project Cosmos will feature a helicopter platform at the bow and a large swimming pool and wellness centre aft.

“She’s every inch a high-end luxury yacht but just faster than the others,” he added.

Winch Design’s yacht exteriors associate James Russell added: “We wanted to create something fairly timeless that also retained the Heesen DNA.”

Both Cavendish and Russell discussed the greatest challenges in the design and construction of Project Cosmos. Cavendish said achieving a top speed of almost 30 knots was a key challenge.

“In order to make the boat go fast, you’ve got to keep the weight down and to do that the only material you can build in is aluminium,” Cavendish said.

However, the “softness” of aluminium posed challenges in achieving the necessary rigidity. “You really need to know how to construct it to maintain the rigidity and strength you need for a boat of this size,” he said.

As a result, the design team developed and patented a new method of naval architecture called the 'Backbone'.

“It’s more or less the same principal as the regular steel I-Beam girder,” Cavendish said. “We’ve got the two sides of the ship and then at the bottom we have the keel and they’re all linked through the structure in the middle that gives the rigidity and stops the boat from bending. All the strength is in the structure.”

The immense power of Project Cosmos’s propulsion package – four MTU 4000 M73 engines totalling 19,000hp – also caused challenges, Cavendish said.

The engines are connected in pairs to two gearboxes, resulting in two propellers, rather than four.

“We have two engines driving each gearbox and propeller so there’s a tremendous amount of power,” Cavendish explained.

To solve this, the team installed controllable pitch propellers that allow the captain to control the pitch and adjust the power.

“Otherwise, when you engage the thrust, they’ll be too much power going to each propeller,” Cavendish added.

Both Cavendish and Russell highlighted the yacht’s sundeck as a particularly impressive feature. Measuring 40 metres in length, the sundeck takes full advantage of the yacht’s 13.4 metre beam.

The yacht will also feature a movie screen at the bow that guests can watch from a seating area on the sundeck, which also features a dining table for 16 people.

“For me the sundeck is probably one of the best areas on the boat,” Cavendish added.