From the 196m The World to the proposed 289m Njord, private residence yachts are growing rapidly in popularity. Now, Winch Design has joined the fray, presenting designs for a 222m “private residence superyacht” named Somnio which will be built at Norwegian yard Vard for a scheduled 2024 launch. But rather than joining the existing fleet of these vessels, Somnio is set to stand apart, according to Winch’s creative director of yachts and aviation Jim Dixon.
Somnio, Dixon says, is “neither a superyacht nor a cruise liner” but will instead “create a niche in the market by itself - a Yacht Liner”. This is a philosophy that guides the whole project from the bones up. Dixon reveals the “fast track” construction process, which will see the first steel cut in March 2022, will be based on the existing build process of a “conventional cruise ship”. “That’s why we’re building at Vard,” he adds, “because they’ve got such experience building cruise ships”. However, the fundamental construction of the hull and superstructure will be married with the “experience and quality” of interior contractors from the superyacht industry, which typically fit many of Winch Design's superyacht projects. “It’s a substantially higher level of design, quality and complexity than you would see on a typical cruise liner”, Dixon adds.
Elsewhere, Somnio will be bursting with the “facilities, amenities and itinerary you would expect from a luxury cruise liner”, including a panorama lounge, a 10,000-bottle "wine den", a variety of restaurants and a huge beach club complete with its own marina. But with only 39 customisable apartments on board, listed with starting price of €9.5m, Somnio will embody the “privacy, security and exclusivity that a superyacht owner would expect.” “We are trying to give potential owners the best of both,” Dixon says.
Key to this exclusivity is the selection process which will field the hopeful owners of the 39 apartments on board. The team behind the project, which includes former captain of The World Erik Bredhe, has established a steering committee which will select owners according to its strategy to bring together a “community of like-minded individuals”, Dixon reveals.
The marketing effort won't have any particular geographical focus, Dixon says. When it comes to prospective buyers, Somnio is proving the popularity of the private residence yacht model. The project has received a “huge amount of interest” from all areas of the buying community since it was first revealed in late June 2021, including enquiries from brokers, family offices, investment groups and individuals. As far as Dixon is concerned, “all buying channels are open”, as is the possibility of some buyers investing in more than one apartment.
Designs are already well underway on the fully customisable 39 apartments, which range from a 150sqm one bedroom apartment to a 600sqm apartment, which is large enough to include three to four bedrooms with a living and dining area. “The intention is that the apartments are self-sufficient,” Dixon explains. Owners are encouraged to include a kitchen space in their apartments to allow them to cook on board. They can also use the “ship’s room service” or eat out at the many restaurants on board.
When it comes to interior design, owners can opt for an interior penned by Winch and the project design partner Tillberg of Sweden. Each owner will have the chance to issue their own individual design brief and choose features including a private massage room, gym, private office and various accommodation layouts. The intention, Dixon says, is for owners to design their apartments around the lifestyle they plan to have on board. “Some owners might choose to spend three to six months on board,” Dixon says, pointing to the pandemic as a factor in this. “We know more owners are wanting to spend more time on their vessels, bring their families and conducting business on board.”
To ensure owners are well provided for, Somnio will be fully equipped with medical facilities to ensure “everyone is kept safe and healthy”. Owners can be taken “ashore as quickly as needed” thanks to the vessel’s fleet of tenders and helipad on the foredeck. Additional focus has been put on offering a wider range of wellness treatments and maximising the facilities available at the on board spa. A crew of around 170 will be on hand to facilitate owners’ stints on board, with the possibility of a “dedicated concierge” attending solely to one owner, their guests and family.
Somnio is already well advanced in the engineering phase and is set to begin construction in March 2022. Until then, there’s plenty to do, with Winch already fleshing out a typical apartment to show the select group destined to become the Somnio’s exclusive community of owners.