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Yacht Experiences

Founders’ Note: The Continued Growth of the Explorer Yacht Trend

The explorer yacht continues to be the latest darling of the yachting world, and it’s a burgeoning trend that Pelorus founders Jimmy Carroll and Geordie Mackay-Lewis welcome. 

Snorkel amongst a rich and diverse aquatic life

“The future is in the hands of those who explore… and from all the beauty they discover while crossing perpetually receding frontiers, they develop for nature and for humankind an infinite love.”

Jacques Yves Cousteau

The year 2020 wasn’t exactly what anyone expected. No less for the yacht industry, with innumerable projects placed on hold or canceled as the world adjusted to an enforced remote working revolution.

Despite these turbulent headwinds, one trend continues to hold its course: the rise of the explorer yacht. Pelorus co-founders Jimmy and Geordie examine how these vessels are adapted for exploration, and how the Pelorus Yacht Expeditions team can play an important role in yacht development and designing suitable itineraries.

Operating in some of the world’s most remote regions, usually scarcely, if, at all visited by yachts, Pelorus understands the specialist requirements for vessels and their crews when visiting these areas”, Geordie explains. He adds that “while we can advise and assist any yacht in preparing for these off the beaten track expeditions, preparing your yacht in the build or refit stage will often allow for greater, more self-sufficient exploration, sometimes negating the need to charter a support vessel. This is a trend that is on the rise.

From yacht design concepts to yachts in build, new launches, and refit projects, we have seen a significant increase in the focus placed on exploration in recent years. This is greatly due to the desire to move away from the Caribbean and Mediterranean milk run and to experience new and unusual adventures. The Covid-19 Pandemic is likely to be a driving force in further cementing this trend as people look to escape to remote locations, away from crowds.” Jimmy says.

Significant recent launches include the 290ft OLIVIA O—Norwegian shipbuilder Ulstein Verft AS’s first luxury yacht in collaboration with Espen Øeino. The lauded designer heled develop the vessel’s X-Bow, designed to endure the roughest of seas, and a full-beam raised tender garage that can be used even in challenging conditions. Her offering is rounded off with a commercial-raged helicopter platform.

Another yacht to take notice of, and that is available to charter, is Silveryacht’s 280ft BOLD. Jimmy observes that “her impressive top speed of 23 knots is a real exploration asset, minimizing crossing times and maximizing the area you cover whilst exploring on board.” Due to her shallow draft of 7.5ft, she can access shallow waters and has increased fuel efficiency. After-dark operations are enabled by flush lighting on her helicopter deck, and her helicopter hangar can be transformed into a nightclub or entertainment area. Dine within the glass confines of her Wintergarden even in stormy conditions.

Since its launch in 2019, Oceanco’s 344ft yacht concept ESQUEL has attracted a lot of interest. “Pelorus Yacht Expeditions provided consultation during the design process and played an integral role in ensuring that once built, ESQUEL will be equipped for remote, adventurous cruising,” Geordie comments. A polar-classified yacht, ESQUEL is equipped with laboratories for scientific and ocean conservation research. It’s also been designed to carry and launch two submarines, a land vehicle, motorbikes, and can accommodate a helicopter.

Recently, the Pelorus Yacht Expeditions division has teamed up with Sturge Design to help inform the design of its 315ft concept, the RIMOR-X. A five-deck explorer yacht, the capacious craft will hold a helicopter, submarine, snowmobiles, and has a ‘mud’ room to help transition from outdoor to indoor. The ‘Mermaid’ Lounge offers a semi-submerged viewing window allowing all family generations to experience the underwater world beyond. 

Renowned yacht builder Heesen has also launched its first explorer yacht concept—the 187ft XVENTURE—designed by Winch Designs. Also contributing to this trend are new builders such as Arksen, which is developing an expedition yacht (in the 65 – 100ft bracket) with an emphasis on environmental impact and efficiency.

26.2m Arksen Yacht render 57m XVenture
esquel yacht exterior pelorus yacht rimor-x mermaid lounge pelorus

Building an entirely new yacht is, of course, not the only option when wanting to seek distant exotic locations, “refitting can often be a more financially viable option for many yacht owners and more time-efficient,” Jimmy notes. While originally built as an expedition vessel, the 227ft GAME CHANGER by Damen is being refitted by Icon Yachts in preparation for more ambitious voyages.

As the rise in explorer yachts continues, so does the need for expertise in remote exploration as well as yachting. It’s this specialist knowledge that Pelorus can bring to a design, build, or refit project. With decades of experience in the yachting world, a military background, and countless reconnaissance missions and expeditions under their belts, the Pelorus co-founders and their yacht expeditions team are perfectly placed to consult.

pelorus papua new guinea suri tender

“We focus on future-proofing the yacht and creating the best possible experience for the owner for years to come”

Jimmy Carroll
Pelorus Co-Founder

It is refreshing to see that more and more owners and designers are thinking about the use of the vessel and how that affects the designs much earlier in the process,” Geordie says. Jimmy adds, “When Pelorus is involved with a yard period or design process, we focus on future-proofing the yacht and creating the best possible experience for the owner for years to come. We work with shipyards and designers to come up with practical, flexible, and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Yachts are designed to travel and helping owners get the most from their investment is pivotal to us.