Heesen enters the explorer yacht market with X-Venture

Written by Vivian Hendriksz

Dutch shipyard Heesen is officially moving into the explorer market, as it unveils its first concept, the 57-metre X-Venture. Revealed during the Monaco Yacht Show, the new steel explorer yacht, designed by London-based studio Winch Design, will offer a large volume of approximately 1,400 GT. Designed with long-range travel in mind, X-Venture will offer plenty of storage space for multiple tenders and toys, as well as a helicopter. In order to learn more about X-Venture and her design, we speak with Mark Cavendish, Director of Sales and Marketing at Heesen and James Russell, Senior Project Manager at Winch Design. Heesen X-Venture Explorer rendering Photo: HeesenWhy has Heesen decided to move into the explorer segment of the superyacht market at this moment in time?  
MC: Actually, explorer yachts are not completely new to Heesen – in 2001 we delivered AlumerciA (now Unexpected), the first yacht to be fitted with a Schottel Azimuth twin prop system. She also carried a Jeep!   However, in recent months, we have certainly registered a growing interest in this particular niche.  

What was the brief for X-Venture? What was Winch Design’s main source of inspiration when designing her?  
JR: The main source of inspiration for X-Venture is viewing/being in nature; this is at the heart of the yacht and was always in mind when developing the project. Everything revolves around being immersed in different environments and seeing them from different parts of the boat, especially looking forward, to the sides and to the sky.   Heesen 18151 hullPhoto: Dick HolthuisPhoto of Heesen hull 18151
Mark, you mentioned that she will be less of a ‘rugged Land Rover and more a luxury Range Rover’ - how does Heesen aim to combine luxury and functional in this new design? 
MC: First and foremost we have joined forces with Winch Design, one of the most prominent design studios in our industry. Moreover, Heesen is renowned for combining uncompromised luxury with high speed, which is a very difficult marriage to achieve successfully. We will apply the same principles to the marriage of luxury and functionality, researching durable materials with a luxurious feel for the interior, as well as design features that combine style and functionality. A no-nonsense approach and Dutch ingenuity will also be key to a successful marriage. Notable features on board the X-Venture will include a three-deck crystal elevator, a winter garden just aft of the helideck, a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi, and convertible guest cabins for maximum flexibility in the accommodation.  

What makes X-Venture unique to the other explorer yachts currently on the market?  
JR: The X-Venture project will have a distinct silhouette, which is something synonymous with a Range Rover. She will be rugged, but refined, with some key signature lines. One of the features of a Range Rover is its commanding presence felt on the road, and X-Venture will have an equally powerful presence on the water. X-Venture will have a very unique layout for a relatively ‘small’ boat, she will have an enormous interior volume with an impressive tender capacity. X-Venture will not compromise on the ‘go anywhere’ capabilities of an explorer and will combine all of the features associated with a traditional yacht.
Mark CavendishPhoto: HeesenWhat impact do you think this new vessel will have on the Heesen brand and  Winch Design?  
MC:  X-Venture will be the perfect complement to our current range. Today Heesen clients can choose between fast aluminium semi-displacement yachts with a contemporary look, traditional long-range displacement blue-water yachts with timeless exterior lines, and the highly efficient and versatile Fast Displacement Hull Form designs. The X-Venture will have a very distinct look coupled with unique characteristics which mean it will fit perfectly into the Heesen fleet.
JR: It is the first project like this that Heesen has developed. We feel it is a  great time to be developing an explorer for Heesen, as it seems like the market has grown over the last few years. X-Venture will be a great ‘ stepping stone’ for yacht owners who perhaps want more of a rugged yacht, but with all of the comforts of a traditional yacht.  

When can we expect to see X-Venture out on the open sea?  
MC: We are currently in the development phase of the project. We do not plan to build the X-Venture on spec, at least for the moment. However, given our proven track record we do expect the design to attract a lot of interest and we are confident that it will not be too long before we are able to confirm the first order.  

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Monaco Yacht Show
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