First look inside Superyacht Hamilton

I was privileged to see Hamilton on the water first hand this summer in The Solent, UK, shortly after her arrival, racing neck and neck against Mike Slade’s infamous Leopard 3 during The Superyacht Cup Cowes. It was apparent, and expected, that the race crew would be finding their way so soon after her launch, particularly in a racing environment. Indeed, I scooped up their Spinnaker bag from our RIB on a downwind leg that had been lost overboard… easily done!

It is clear that superyacht Hamilton has been built for comfort as well as speed. Hamilton, built by Green Marine, is the first realisation of the WallyCento rule - to take the concept of the high performance racing yacht that can also be used as a luxury cruiser, to an entirely new level. This project required a combination of 6 companies specialising in naval architecture, innovative design, ingenious and imaginative engineering, and skilled yacht building. Design Unlimited and Struik & Hamerslag were given the responsibility to design and create the ultra lightweight interior.

Design Unlimited were presented with the dual challenge of designing a luxury interior that fully satisfied the Wally ethos while adhering to a strict weight‐saving regime devised to ensure that the yacht would be competitive out on the race course, and undertaking the exterior styling to produce the Wally ‘essence’ with clean elegant lines, a low profile and strong feeling to the cabin top.

The owner’s requirements were for a simple interior which would be functional for racing, but still exhibit the contemporary modern feel of a Wally and have a comfortable relaxing ambience. The owner also wanted a sleek, thoroughbred exterior with a guest cockpit separate from the sail handling area where guests could observe the racing in comfort and safety.

Design Unlimited worked closely with interior outfitters Struik & Hamerslag UK, to ensure that the weight compliance was met. Whilst ensuring that every possible kilogram of weight would be used to maximise the boat’s performance, Design Unlimited also set out to create an interior that met the requirements of the Wally box rule. These include the stipulation that the interior make up at least 54% of the overall volume of the hull, with a large master stateroom with en‐suite, two guest cabins again with en‐suite and crew cabin with en‐suite/day head, as well as additional regulations governing surface finishes and headroom requirements. Other comforts required for extended cruising must also be available including air conditioning, a fully functional galley and entertainment systems ‐ all for the least possible weight.

This has been an exciting and demanding project,” said Design Unlimited’s Mark Tucker. “The focus on saving every possible kilo while ensuring that the interior was both luxurious and complete with all the amenities that cruising guests would expect required a rigorous attention to detail and left absolutely no room for error.”

Struik & Hamerslag UK Ltd was the sole interior fit‐out company for the project. Their responsibilities encompassed the engineering, manufacture and installation of almost all the interior elements. This included all joinery and fitted furniture, deck head panels and base construction.

The contemporary design required a straight grained, light timber finish for the main furniture. Once the main Sen Veneer (often referred to as Japanese Ash) was chosen, Struik & Hamerslag manufactured a full size cabin mock‐up which included many of the standard details. This mock‐up acted as a live sample board and afforded the project team an opportunity to present a number of options for upholstery, flooring, and fixture and fittings.

Various trials were then conducted to determine the most suitable materials for reducing weight. A combination of plywood skins and aluminium honeycomb core was selected for the main furniture construction. The plywood provided a compatible surface for veneering and fabrication whilst the aluminium honeycomb produced an excellent strength to weight ratio. A detailed weight study provided an opportunity to assess the design and highlight any potential areas for weight savings.

It became apparent that a large percentage of weight was allocated to the non structural deck heads and decorative wall panels. A further period of consultation resulted in the development of a carbon composite panel weighing only 1.5kg/m2. This change in material would create a total saving of up to 200kg.

The greatest challenge that the team at Struik & Hamerslag faced was the very short construction period. It was understood from the offset that the WallyCento was commissioned by a very experienced and competitive owner, who was committed to sailing events for 2012. The timetable, therefore, was condensed to 36 weeks from contract award, a tall order to say the least. However, Struik & Hamerslag committed and promised it would complete on time ‐ and they did!

Design Unlimited
Julie Tucker
+ 44 (0) 1329 282444
[email protected]

Struik & Hamerslag UK
+44 (0)1328 853757
[email protected]

By Richard Callender, photos by Justin Ratcliffe



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