The Dutch naval architecture firm Vripack, perhaps the world’s largest private entity specializing in boat and yacht design, engineering, styling, and brokerage, recently published Yacht Design by Vripack, a large-format coffee-table tome showcasing 10 of its most impressive projects. Culled from the more than 7,400 designs executed over its 57-year history, they make for interesting studies in the starry world of superyachts.
Each yacht merits a chapter, introduced with a brief description of Vripack’s commission (dispensing also a bit of the usual romantic superyacht-speak about the importance of being in harmony with the sea and the sky and the rhythms of the universe). But this is a marketing tool, after all.
More germane are descriptions of the design solutions developed for said clients—such as shortening build time for a 70‘ (22.1m) steel motoryacht to just eight months thanks to the company’s Smart Kit technology, combining robotics, laser cutting, and virtual prototyping (see “Tab A Into Slot B,” Professional BoatBuilder No. 148). Or design element specifics of Ocean’s Seven, a 138‘ (42m) yacht built by Kingship in China: “Cabinets eschew the usual multi radii, carved or metal embossed edges, ending instead in clean-lined, softly rounded and uniformly precise 3-millimetre gaps around every door and panel and cast the subtlest of shadows.”
Several of the featured yachts are in the expedition genre, capable of lengthy ocean passages. Vripack says it designed the first superyacht to traverse the Northwest Passage. The 151‘ (46m) Turmoil, the world’s largest aluminum yacht at the time of its construction in the mid-1990s, accomplished the feat in 2001, joining 86 other vessels. So did the 148‘ (45m) Latitude and its owner, Anil Thadani, who had grown tired of “sandy beaches and sedate cruises in gentle waters” and wanted to celebrate his 70th birthday on an ice floe at 81° N. The demand for such yachts prompts Vripack to listen carefully to its captains, “a highly select group of yachting professionals,” who have knowledge “not widely available,” and to “maintain a detailed record of their vast experience in designing yachts capable of meeting the challenge.” Certainly, the skipper of Alumercia also had insights after completing a 113,408-nm voyage that included a circumnavigation.
Intrigued by the styling of yachts, I was particularly interested in the Design Concepts interspersed among the yacht chapters and generated by Vripack’s “ideas platform,” called VriThink, and intended to solve a variety of superyacht problems. They included a “nature-inspired air purifier that separates oxygen from carbon”; a viewing area forward of the helm so that owners and guests can also see forward; and rather than aft, an open deck in the center of the yacht, where it’s more protected from wind.
But lest one thinks the book is all striking photos and creative drawings, there are back-of-the-book sections on naval architecture and engineering, for Vripack is a full-service yacht design business with capabilities in those areas, as well as in tank-testing, structural engineering, cutting-edge software that includes computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and mechanical systems. (For more, see my article “Vripack,” in PBB No. 108, based on a 2007 visit to the Sneek offices.)
The handsome book offers insight into a very imaginative and thoroughly competent company.
Vripack’s co–creative director Marnix Hoekstra wrote to say, “Simply flipping through the stunning photography or reading it in great detail, you will certainly notice our design philosophy…informed by a creative, holistic, and collaborative approach that enables us to conceive yachts that offer their owners the most enriching experience possible on water, while allowing them to immerse themselves in this experience with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you enjoy unparalleled levels of safety and comfort.”
The 240-page hardcover book, published by TERRA Lannoo B.V., contains 220 color photos and 60 pen-and-ink drawings.
Yacht Design by Vripack can be ordered via vripack.com/experience/coffee-table-book for €59,50 (roughly $71.40) including VAT/excluding shipping costs. Books ordered via this page are signed by Vripack’s creative directors, Bart Bouwhuis and Marnix Hoekstra.