Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman has revealed new details and never-before-seen images of the world's largest aluminium sailing yacht Sea Eagle II, three years after her delivery.
The 81-metre three-masted schooner left the shipyard in 2020 in the shadow of the pandemic and joined the ranks as the seventh-largest sailing yacht in the world. Since then, she has been on a non-stop circumnavigation and has more than 45,000 nautical miles under her keel. From the Caribbean to the Galapagos and on to the South Pacific Islands, she has proven her mettle as a true adventurer, but the finer details of her design and build have remained a well-guarded secret up until now.
The record-breaking vessel was commissioned by a visionary owner looking to upgrade from his existing 43-metre by the same name, also built by Royal Huisman. A power pairing of Dykstra Naval Architects and Mark Whiteley Design saw the two studios work together to bring his vision to life: it was to be a "true sailor's yacht" and world traveller favouring function over frills, with powerful performance that could be easily managed.
After a four-year build, Sea Eagle II emerged from the shed in Vollenhove almost twice the length and five times the volume of her predecessor and was, at the time, the largest project undertaken by the shipyard. Her Flag Blue hull, Chevy White superstructure, trio of masts and sheer size make her unmistakable.
A powerful Panamax rig comprises three carbon masts, each growing a little taller from bow to stern, with a maximum air draft of 61 metres allowing her to clear the Bridge of the Americas when crossing from the Caribbean to the Pacific. The main mast features a crow’s nest operated by the touch of a button that whisks guests up to the top for a true bird's eye view at anchor.
She canters along at 21.5 knots in moderate breeze thanks to her powerful rig flying 2,580 square metres upwind and 3,552 square metres downwind. All three mainsails can easily be hoisted simultaneously thanks to powerful hydraulics – taking no more time than required for a sloop half the size – and lowered with the help of carbon fibre roller furling booms.
She is fitted with a serious kit on deck too that includes 34 winches, the largest of which – for the yankee, staysail sheets and mizzen sheet - have a pulling load of 18,000 kilograms. Below the waterline, a fin keel minimises wetted surface to enhance speed and heeling, while a five-metre-tall carbon composite rudder is the largest ever produced. Her masts, booms, rigging, and winches were manufactured by Royal Huisman's specialist rigging company Rondal.
A plumb bow, near-full-length waterline and beamy transom work twofold to give her a modern profile as well as better sail-keeping capabilities for long passages at sea. “It may look like a contemporary modern sailing yacht now but in 50 years' time it will be a classic,” said a representative of Dykstra Naval Architects.
“The essence of the yacht’s appeal is illustrated by long, uninterrupted lines of glass, a subtle sweep of superstructure and a blister to enclose the bridge," explained Mark Whiteley. "As the design developed we honed in on a faceted feature which helps give Sea Eagle II her distinctive modern signature, lightens the overhangs and reflects the chine. The overall effect gives the superstructure ‘a curved tension’ that draws the eye from bow to stern. The proportions and low profile were driven by the owner’s request to have a continuous floor from the exterior dining space, right through the large main saloon to the forward dining saloon, with no steps.”
Sliding glass panels separate the deck saloon from the exterior deck without a threshold to step over, which can be opened to create a continuous space with a U-shaped bar at the centre that straddles both inside and out. Steps on either side of the saloon lead up to the flybridge, which acts as the main social hub on board where guests can enjoy 360-degree views and observe sailing operations. A secondary lounge and formal dining area is found forward between the main and mizzen mast on the main deck, with seating for up to 16 guests and wraparound windows.
Accommodation is confined to the lower deck with six cabins hosting up to 12 guests, while accommodations for 14 crew are accessed via a concealed entrance at the foremast near the tender bay, which houses an eight-metre tender. A first glimpse inside shows a bright and pared-back interior with a neutral colour palette, Alpi Walnut bulkheads and very few extravagances.
Access to the deck and interior from the water is supplied through foldout boarding platforms on both port and starboard sides, while the stern platform provides access to the sea for guests wishing to make use of the toys or go for a swim.
"Supersized sailing yachts like this are no longer an impossible dream," said Royal Huisman’s CEO Jan Timmerman. “Continual innovation, accumulated expertise and rigorous self-challenge have come together through our highly skilled and dedicated team to produce Athena, Sea Eagle II and, currently in-build, the world’s largest sloop Project 410."
The 85-metre Project 410 is one of three superyachts currently under construction at Royal Huisman, including the 65-metre Project 408, also known as Aquarius II, and the world's largest sportfish built under the codename Project 406.