Superyachts are complex puzzles of custom solutions, fine illustrations of engineering and perfectly innovated design. Each new-build requires the highest standard of quality embedded into every curve, edge and line. How this is achieved is usually cloaked in darkness, remaining the business of those behind the shipyard doors - until now. Photo: Klaus JordanDisrupting the norm is project Black Shark, which has carved the way for a captivating new wave of reportage after selected media were invited to take their place on the front line and witness each construction phase first-hand. The 77.1-metre Black Shark is quickly taking shape and by the end of 2019, she will be stationed in Rendsburg for the Nobiskrug team to commence her outfitting. More than 1,000 highly-skilled workers who form the Nobiskrug community are involved in bringing the designs of Winch Design and Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design to life under the management of Imperial - all of whom are helping to attain a quality product and drive forward innovation to meet the high expectations of the owner and the industry - something certainly worthy of a spotlight.First off, the dedicated superyacht service team at the famous German shipyard make each superyacht part of their daily life - “we’ve become quite attached to her,” they say. This dynamic is reciprocated by all those working on the project which Imperial Project Manager, Nick Flashman describes as: “All pulling together and moving in the same direction. My philosophy is to get rid of the ‘them and us’ way of thinking and have the shipyard, sub-contractors, designers and the owner’s team all working together.” With this positive attitude and good intentions laid as the foundations of a successful working dynamic, the team quickly established a sure-fire structure for all decision-making. “It is very important to have fast and reliable decisions and so we have improved certain techniques whereby everything is documented. It is not revolutionary, but having established good relationships between all those involved certainly helps,” explains Nobiskrug Project Manager, Rainer Stobrawa.
Photo: Klaus JordanFor all of her new innovations, Black Shark has demanded the attention of her top entourage of decision-makers to form alliances on every minute detail, for which the team have put a foolproof structured process in place. As the man tasked with keeping the project on track on behalf of Nobiskrug, Rainer Stobrawa is stationed on the frontline and relied on to implement this structure on a daily basis. “We have a lot of different meetings with Winch Design, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design and the naval architects to make progress on any design issues. Following that, we meet to discuss the technicalities and the systems." Some elements of the brief have been a little more challenging, as the team have had to investigate the legal viability of how to make new innovations a reality. “Aside from not having much time, the challenging part is how to find solutions for things such as the high-demanding systems required on board. Just this morning we were discussing the technicalities of the audio-video system as this system needs to have real-time streaming responsive to both the large screens throughout the yacht right down to the guests’ mobile phones. This is not always easy, we try to avoid being obstructed by the void between what is required, to what is technically possible and legal,” explains Stobrawa.
Thanks to the project team pouring their expertise and unbeatable level of experience into the project, their successful working algorithm hopes to set the tone for the future. “I like to call it ‘progress making and approval making!’ Our meetings are always very fruitful because we all have a lot of experience from both the user side and from our experience,” adds Stobrawa. Mirroring this work ethic on behalf of Imperial is Nick Flashman, who reveals the company’s chosen working methods: “We are very involved and liaise with each party and the client on almost every decision that needs to be made. Once we come to a decision, we pass that message on to the shipyard. Besides that deep level of involvement, there is a lot that occurs that is not client-orientated. For example, the drawing approval process. Every tiny detail you can imagine - we are involved.”Photo: Klaus JordanAn essential outcome of the decision-making process was the exclusive confirmation of the suppliers contracted for the next phase of construction. As Stobrawa explains, the project team made the most of the intimate setting of the recent Monaco Yacht Show to get together with their new alliances: “This morning we met with various subcontractors and agreed on how to proceed, which was very successful. To make these decisions and solutions - especially at events like the Monaco Yacht Show - you have a lot of possibilities for getting the relevant information and decisions from specific people,” he adds. As a result of the show, the interior outfitters were chosen - a company which the Black Shark team recognised as a reliable and popular choice amongst Italian shipyards.Photo: Klaus Jordan
Whilst the interior outfitters are busy recreating Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design’s designs on the inside, Winch’s expert lines on the outside will be decorated by a well-known exterior paint contractor recently appointed by Nobiskrug. At the time of the keel laying in February this year, the project teams were already discussing paint schemes for the high-volume, three-decked motor yacht. The desired outcome is a matte black hull to mimic the texture of actual shark skin and a sporty, metallic superstructure colour to complement the mast, which is cleverly designed to look like a shark fin. “Even the colour black has its challenges, I can assure you!” exclaims Flashman. “When you look at the vessel, it is actually black and metallic silver. Looking at other existing black vessels, they tend to look like a mirror as the darker the colour is, the purer it is. But unfortunately with this approach you see every mistake, hence why the majority of the world fleet is white as it is much more forgiving,” elaborates Stobrawa. Photo: Nobiskrug
The dark exterior colour will wrap all three decks which are specifically designed by Winch to emphasise every single one of her voluminous 2,080 gross tonnes. “Having only one level above the main deck allowed us to raise the hull, so we have quite a lot of volume in this part of the boat which is disguised by the long sheer line that runs from bow to stern. Tonnage and volume-wise, she will be bigger than most 77-metre yachts. She will also definitely have a main deck that is much higher than other yachts of her size,” Winch explains.
The next step along the path towards achieving the perfect superyacht occurred recently in Kiel, Germany, where the superstructure section was delivered to the Nobiskrug shipyard across the choppy Baltic Sea on board a carrier. Once arrived, the superstructure was mounted and joined to the steel hull, which has spent a cosy summer safely enclosed in a tent housed in Nobiskrug’s 426-metre dock. Photo: Winch Design
Telling the world about this top-quality new-build lies in the hands of the marketing and publicity teams. The media looking to showcase a new superyacht, are usually reliant on the limited information fed from shipyards and their sidekicks, however, the media teams at Imperial and Nobiskrug - headed by pro-marketeers Steve Bailet and Vesna Bloetz respectively - have come together to pen a custom strategy to feed the press every detail of project Black Shark. Their plan so far has helped to orchestrate the keel laying, coordinate interviews and grant a few lucky people a sneak peek at the design and features on board this masterpiece-to-be. Sharing more about their plan, Bloetz elaborates: “This is the first time that Nobiskrug, or any shipyard for that matter, has opened its doors to the media to throw light on the entire build process of one yacht, from start to finish. We want the milestones that have always been important to the shipyard and the owner to become a subject of interest for the media and the general public.”
“Providing an insight into the skilled and highly crafted build process and the hours, weeks and years of work that goes into a build of this size, and the level of detail and knowledge that is required to create a complex superyacht clearly shows the passion and expertise that exists behind closed doors at the Nobiskrug shipyard,” adds Bloetz, who reveals that the next step for the team is to tactfully and slowly release a series of renderings that depict more of the wondrous shape, style and detailing of the Black Shark.Photo: NobiskrugWith the selected media constantly peeking through the cracks in the construction shed doors at the half-completed Black Shark, all those in the superyacht business have been captivated and in turn, the outside world is also taking an interest. “I love the design, I think she is going to be a real head turner!” exclaims Flashman, who, as an instrumental part of her creation, foresees Black Shark being a real game-changer for the industry. In his words, between now and 2021, “there is still a lot to do, but the ball is definitely rolling and it is all going to plan” - something which, given the unrivalled expertise of the project team and the assured quality of the build, was never in doubt. Fast forward 365 days and we will be getting ready to welcome a new queen of the ocean.
This article was first featured in the SuperYacht Times newspaper. Subscribe now to receive your copy straight to your door and never miss another issue.
SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2019
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