Inspired by a childhood sailing in the yachting center of La Rochelle, France, Philippe Briand has dedicated his life to perfecting the art of conquering the sea. His designs stand out for their technical excellence and precision, combined with his strong artistic flair and ability to drive innovative design trends as he seeks perfection. As one of the founders of the Water-Revolution Foundation, he contributes to the standards moving towards the neutralization of the ecological footprint of the yachting industry, and Vitruvius Yachts are 30% more efficient than other yachts of comparable size. The custom superyacht Shinkai was recently transferred from Feadship’s construction hallway in Aalsmeer. The designer’s eighth superyacht has the construction, and co-naval architecture carried out by Feadship De Vries, while Daniela Boutsen has provided her interior design.
“This is a special project for us, as Shinkai is the second yacht we have designed for her owner. In fact, he was the first yachtsman to embrace the benefits of Vitruvius’s efficient hulls,” says Philippe Briand. The result is a 55m, 974GT motor yacht demonstrating the following characteristics:
Adventurous Shinkai can reach the most remote places on the planet. She is ice-classed and stabilized by a vast mono gyroscope, which has never been specified on a yacht of this scale before. The 23-tonne gyroscope is particularly important for submersible operations, which needs a perfectly stable launching platform. It is also beneficial when navigating through waters at high latitudes, replacing conventional fin stabilizers, which are at risk of being damaged by ice and debris and are inefficient at low speeds.
A departure from the characteristic low-profile aesthetic of Vitruvius Yachts, Shinkai spans four decks plus an observatory setting. The spaces inside meet the detailed requirements of the very experienced client. The owner’s cabin is positioned forward in the superstructure, with an exceptional area of 73sqm and a 135-degree view through full-height reinforced windows. There are four further guest suites, while seven cabins for 12 crew complete the accommodations.
Shinkai carries a wide variety of serious toys, such as her 7,400kg U-Boat Worx submersible for three passengers. “I imagine it would have made Jean Jacques Cousteau jealous of such bright possibility to explore underwater!” adds Briand. The yacht’s design includes an extended aft deck to support the toys that make for a truly adventurous expedition, including a 4×4 land vehicle, a large limousine tender, and multiple robust RIBs.
The Vitruvius “touch of design” assures the seamless integration of both “facets” of the project: an attractive superyacht and a powerful explorer. The high freeboard and superstructure are cut by longitudinal lines, each having its movement and raison d’être.
With Shinkai’s far-reaching cruising plans to explore the planet comes the responsibility to be environmentally sensitive in her operations, which Philippe Briand took into account when designing her hull lines. Even with the yacht’s generous displacement of 974GT, her hull resistance has been optimized to deliver reasonable fuel consumption of 19.5L per nautical mile at a cruising speed of 12 knots.
Once she is delivered, her owner plans to cruise extensively worldwide, from the frigid polar regions to the warmer tropics on the equator. With the capabilities afforded by her submersible and other toys, Shinkai is primed to provide those on board with the chance to explore the oceans in three dimensions, both at the surface and well beneath it, too.