When you think of luxury yachts, you probably imagine cruising the Med or the Caribbean, relaxing on crystal-clear waters and mooring in exotic harbours. But what if you like to explore, to find new places, places where you won’t find another yacht — or, possibly, even another person.
Explorer yachts are fascinating. Many have an almost military aesthetic about them, combining a serious look with all the opulence and comfort you’d expect in a superyacht. They’re popular, too, and the latest being prepared to take to the ocean is the 56m long Extended Explorer by Valerio Rivellini.
It’s very much a tale of two yachts. Upfront it looks like a military destroyer with dramatic, purposeful lines. At the rear, there are decks for sun loungers, entertaining and space for all the toys you need to play on the water. There’s also a helipad, so once you’ve found that remote spot, you can take to the skies above it and explore inland.
“Like many of my other projects, Extended Explorer is the upshot of the desire to make a dream come true: this superyacht was designed for families who want to cruise around the world, alternating between landscapes that are totally different to one another from every point of view, starting with the climate and the sea,” says Rivellini.
“While Extended Explorer’s stability and robustness enable it to tackle the icy seas of the North in total safety and comfort, the exterior spaces are ideal for fully enjoying the warmer seas, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean, thanks to their breadth and versatility, which are further enhanced by the extendable stern.”
That extendable stern is a clever thing, allowing portions of the sides of the yacht to fold out to create landing platforms for tenders or jet skis, or just become another area to sit and take in the view. It’s like the SA Agulhas but with more luxury… lots more luxury.
Taking your luxury yacht into new territory is all well and good, but what about environmental concerns, after all, most superyachts are not the most environmentally friendly things. Rivellini has always been conscious of this, though, and his latest creation features a hybrid system, making it more respectful of the marine ecosystem.
Famous yacht builder Lürssen has also just launched an explorer vessel, Nord. At 141.6m long, it also has a bit of a military look, emphasised by the dark- and light-blue colour scheme of the upper decks. Designed by Italian firm Nuvolari Lenard, Nord is described as a serious ship that transcends the traditional language of yacht design.
“She is a warship wearing a tuxedo; an explorer with the elegance of a gentleman's yacht. We have entered a new direction in serious yacht design,” says the design company.
Designers have been creating some very interesting yachts in the category in recent years. Not all have military inspiration. The award-winning Najiba was launched in 2019. Designed by Vitruvius Yachts and built by Feadship, Najiba is a showcase of technology. Built of aluminium, she’s lighter and more fuel-efficient than most similar yachts, able to cruise up to 6,000 nautical miles.
Of course, Najiba is also luxurious, with two master staterooms, four guest staterooms, and accommodations for 14 crew.
After the year we’ve just had, even the superwealthy are looking for new ways to escape, to be socially distanced in a place where no-one else goes and explorer yachts could well be the perfect solution.
It could easily be argued that they’re not a new thing, of course, one could say they’ve been around since Christopher Columbus first sailed uncharted waters, but today’s explorer yachts are just as luxurious as any superyacht. Columbus could only dream of that level of luxury on his travels.