Sailing Yacht A: The Amazing Facts About The Worlds Greatest Yacht

Boats

Man has always been driven to push the limits of technology further, and the building of Sailing Yacht A was such a feat.

This is the biggest Sailing Yacht to ever sail the waters of the globe. The leviathan size is one that to make you wonder if this is a Yacht or a ship.

Well, for those who don’t understand what the fuss about this magnificent yacht is, here are some facts and features that will blow your mind.

Is this really possible?

Let us take a look.

Sailing Yacht A – The Amazing Construction

If you are familiar with Motor Yacht A,another of the finest yachts ever built, then you can guess who commissioned Sailing Yacht A. If you do not, then not to worry, we shall reveal that little secret later on in this article.

The owner of Sailing Yacht A is one who issued to challenging the status quo in everything he does. This is perhaps why he own a multi-billion dollar empire. When it came to Sailing Yacht A, he decided to push the envelope a little further; he wanted a Yacht which would introduce new technologies and techniques in building these sea-faring giants.

Sailing Yacht A made hit both marks. The Yacht is being called a sail assisted motor yacht, and is the largest boat in the world, towering at about 142.81 meters LOA. That is taller than the Big Ben Tower in London.

Well I guess you are chewing your nails asking who the owner of this wonder of the oceans is. We shall not keep you waiting any longer.

Sailing Yacht A belongs to Russian coal and fertilizer billionaire Andrey Melnichenko.

This time, he chose to go with the designer, Philippe Stark and Dirk Kloosterman, as the project manager. Kloostermanis a well-renowned leader of Yacht building projects. Melnichenko is a stickler for getting his team together, and project secrecy is very important to him.

sailing yacht a

 

Kloosterman has been involved in other projects such as the “Rising Sun” owned by Larry Edison and the Motor Yacht A,owned by Melnichenko too.

The construction of Sailing Yacht A reared some challenges right from the start. All other deep-water shipyards were turning down the project saying they could not take on the risk of such a far-reaching project.

Luckily, the company Nobiskrug purchased part of the HDW shipyard in Kiel, Germany and finally had enough capacity to take on the project.

Sailing Yacht A is his biggest undertaking.Kloosterman’s first challenge was to find a shipyard with the capabilities to build such a vessel. Few major deep-water shipyards wanted to take on the risk of such a radical project, but Nobiskrug’s purchase of part of the HDW yard in Kiel, Germany, presented an opportunity.

According to Kloosterman, This dock had large docks and adequate draught, and was therefore perfect. He goes on to say that the pre-engineering deal was signed in March 20111, and the team wanted to control the build and input that the project required. So much control was required that the project was given without the normal bidding process.

Building a yacht that had 8 decks and towering sails was going to be a challenge

 

Sailing Yacht A – The mind boggling project scale

Sailing Yacht A was built as a motor yacht with the potential to sail. The sails could also be used to assist the motor in some cases.

Sailing Yacht A is built using steel with composite and carbon fiber to lower the overall weight. When looking at her profile, you notice the flawless sweep of her side, without any visible doors or windows; they are all there but cleverly hidden. Don’t waste time looking for equipment, anchors, or any deck equipment; the designers wanted them there, but cleverly tucked from sight until they are needed.

The profile rises towards the aft of the boat and then drops down in a stair-case manner to a small retroussé stern.

It is hard to believe the sides have 24 hidden doors which are opened and retracted as needed, creating balconies and other features.

The windows are built such that they look tiny when viewed from the outside, but have a specialized magnifying effect,which makes them look large when viewed from the inside. The windows had a specialized one-way film on the outside for increased privacy, and blended into the custom metallic finish. The company Alex seal was tasked with this concealing project.

The boat initially had a draught of 7.5meters, which did not work out quite well, as parts of the stern, which were supposed to be submerged, were above the water line. This hampered the operation of the boat.

The draught was later redesigned to make it 8 meters, leading to some litigation concerning the added costs of construction.

The yacht has 8 decks, connected using free-floating staircases and several elevators. It also has garages for a submarine, four tenders and a helipad.

The yacht also has spacious living space for the owner, gusts and 54 crew members. The galley is big enough to serve a hotel-sized meal, serve two decks without any interruption and a power plant to run it. In contrast, the underwater viewing pod is quite small compared to the accommodations,allowing people to see the sea-life below, and around the yacht. One can also see the propellers as they turn and move the boat forward.

The building of the pod into the keel underwent a lot of tests

·        Towing tests for the hull were done at the hydrodynamic research facility HSVA located in Hamburg, Germany.

·        Wind tunnel tests to ascertain aerodynamic loads were done the University of Southampton. They determined the best combination of performance under power, behavior at sea and sailing characteristics.

·        MARIN did the final tests for rudders and keel in the Netherlands.

Sailing Yacht A – Rig and Sails

The yacht has the largest carbon masts in the world, three gigantic unstayed masts, with the mainmast towering 100 feet above the water. The main mast has an enclosed electric gimbaled Crow’s Nest,which could quickly carry a crew member 60 meters up the mast for an unfettered view of the open water all around.

The task of designing the masts was given to the Dutch naval architect company, Dykstra Naval architects, who are also the designers of the rig for the Maltese Falcon.

sailing yacht a

Since the yacht is classified as “sail assisted”,it has a lower ratio of sea area to yacht displacement than that found on a traditional yacht. The sail plan was created out of full roach sails, bound to freestanding aerodynamic masts, which could rotate through 70 degrees to create drag and lift.

The curved masts required a lot of ingenuity to design. When they were being designed, the upward sloping free-board had already been defined. It was important that the foot of the sails align with the sloping sheer line.

The gigantic size of the sails required them to furl and not flake when they were not being used. In order to have furling booms, there has to be a 90-degree angle between boom and mast. Instead of tipping the mast forward, they decided to incorporate a curve to achieve the same objective without ruining the aesthetics of the Yacht.

The carbon fiber freestanding spars were designed in the UK, by Magma Structures, Portsmouth.

Carbon fiber is the only material that could bear the stress of this design. Damon Roberts, an employee from Magma said that masts of this size could not be built from any metal.

This posed a huge challenge to the team, given that it had never been done before and there was no stand solution to be applied. They had to rethink the whole project afresh.

Sailing Yacht A – The seamless exterior

The masts were a feat of engineering. They carried the whole load of the sails and they were able to define the bending-force that could be put on the lower bearing of the masts, using predicted upper wind-speed limit.

Once the stress on the material and other safety factors were considered, the structural design was completed.

The main mast has a bending load that is twice that of the Maltese falcon and two-and-a-half times that on the wings of a Dreamliner aircraft. The masts can carry the weight of two double-decker buses, or wind speeds of 90 knots with the sails up; this is equal to a category 2 hurricane.

The conventional female molding technique was used to build the masts from high carbon/epoxy prepreg laminate. This was done in four sections; The middle port and starboard sections, the top and the bottom.

The bottom comprised of 370 layers of carbon in open molds. They came up with software that would monitor and control the 3-day curing bake.

The masts have fiber-optic sensor to monitor and record the condition and performance of the sails.

The sails had a combined area equivalent to half a football field (3,747 sq. m) The Maltese Falcon has 67% less coverage(2,370 sq. m). The Maltese Falcon had small sails combined to make the mainsail; however, Sailing Yacht A has a single-piece mainsail.

No crew is required to deploy or furl the mainsail, as all this is done using a motor. The length of the carbon fiber used is equal to 754 miles.

Sail Yacht A – Underwater viewing pod

The underwater viewing pod comprises the longest piece of curved glass ever manufactured. It weighed 1.8 tons and was 15 meters long. The German company Germany’s GL Yacht verglasung (GLY), was tasked with the creation of this glass panel.

sailing yacht a interior

In order to create an atmosphere of being in the water, the manufacturer created a clear glass pod, and also made the railings out of clear glass, to enhance the feeling of there being no barrier.

Deck seven also has two large glass bulwarks, stretching 11 meters in length. Another is on the forward part of the owner's deck, stretching 14 meters.

Special GLY-Marine Co-bond inter layers were used during lamination to reduce the thickness and weight by up to 50% when compared to what it would have been if traditional glass was used.

Sailing Yacht A – The propulsion system

From the beginning, all engineering ingenuity was used to keep the weight if the ship down since it would affect the choice of propeller. The requirements was a silent sailing experience, with a 21-know top speed and 16-knot cruising speed. The solution was a diesel-electric propulsion system unlike any other before.

yacht a night time

Variable speed generators were used in this case, enabling them to get more power out of a generator. This reduced the number of generators required from 5 to 4, and this saved a lot of money for the project.

The generators are controlled by a Superimposed System Controller which determined the best combination of generators to be used. If there was a need for 2.050 rpm, the SSC would use two generators working at 1,200 rpm to reduce fuel consumption, vibration and noise.

In conclusion

Sailing Yacht A is an engineering wonder.It shows that Man can surely design any craft once He put His mind to work. The ship may have been involved in some controversy over funds, debts and legal issues, but it still remains the most impressive super yacht to sail the oceans.

As the ship left the docks for the final voyage to be delivered to the owner, people lined the shores and watched this magnificent yacht sail past. There is no arguing that there may never be another ship as big as the SY A, at least not in the near future.

For all those who would have loved to seethe Yacht on the water, the images on this article should give you an idea of how marvelous this vessel is. Fans and enthusiast from all over the world have been trying to get an invite to visit the yacht, but to no avail. Andrey Melnichenko is one very private person, and this is why very few know about him, and his Yachts.

Tony Nderi

Tony is a creative writer and has contributed many articles to the DeepSailing community blog.You can learn more about this site in the about  us page. We set this up for a community of sailing lovers all over the world. If you'd like to send us your photos or stories, we'd love to hear from you and share it with our community. Just use our contact form and we'll get back to you.

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