The refit of the iconic 43m Heesen superyacht Octopussy

They said it couldn’t be done, but Netherlands-based builder Heesen proved everyone wrong in 1988 when they delivered Octopussy, the 43.58-metre superyacht that topped the 50 knot plus barrier. Commissioned by American entrepreneur John Staluppi, Octopussy defied the odds by reaching speeds of 53.17 knots and cementing her place in yacht building history as ‘the fastest superyacht in the world.’Octopussy yacht cruisingOctopussy has exchanged hands several times since her delivery. Over the years the alterations of her previous owners’, in addition to deferred service and maintenance caused performance issues that led to her top speed being limited to around 18 knots. In 2021, Octopussy was sold to her new owner who appreciated the history and accolades the iconic superyacht had garnered over the years. As a result, Octopussy was hauled to the Safe Harbor Lauderdale Marine Center in South Florida, USA. The Starboard Yacht Group was entrusted with the task of completing a major refit.Octopussy yacht refit at Lauderdale Marine CentreRead: Heesen’s 44m ‘world’s fastest yacht’ Octopussy prepares for major refit

Once the fastest yacht in the world, Octopussy’s refit will see her attempt to claim a new title, “instead of speed, Octopussy will focus on stability to become the most stable yacht on the planet,” commented Jake Stratmann. The refit will see her receive three Seakeeper 35s and Humphree's trim with stabilisation systems to ensure a smooth and comfortable cruising experience and over 100,000 nmps of stabilisation horsepower. Octopussy will also receive a new propulsion system of twin 4,000 MTU engines and Voith Linear Jets, as well as a few structural changes to optimise her overall performance. Her owner had previously used the Starboard Yacht Group for refits on some of his smaller vessels so enlisting the team at the Florida-based refit centre made perfect sense. Octopussy yacht saloonOctopussy yacht saloonThe yacht's interior prior to her new ownership, this interior is now being entirely remodelled in line with the new owner's styling.
Octopussy already has such an iconic history with Heesen, but this major refit allows the Starboard Yacht Group to write a different route of innovation into her history. “The plan for Octopussy is to combine a special lightweight efficient hull, with a three-and-a-half-metre beach club extension and a whole new level of stability to create the most epic dive boat for her owner!” added Jake Stratmann. During this extensive refit, Octopussy will receive a complete interior refit from Fort Lauderdale-based Karen Lynn Interiors.

Starboard Yacht Group will work closely with her original naval architect designer, Mulder Design to make Octopussy better than before without compromising her iconic original design. “Mulder Design founder Frank Mulder has the original plans and some invested interest into Octopussy, so we quickly got him and his son Bas Mulder, as well as their team onboard with the project,” added Jake Stratmann. “The idea is to achieve a 28 knots, 80 percent load cruise capacity and when working with the boys, they kept playing around with the whole design to get the Voith Linear Jets and shaft right alongside her extension.”Octopussy yachtThe new owner of Octopussy is a keen diver, and her original design did not have a large enough platform to accommodate this. Her exterior design and beach club extension have been entrusted to Miami-based Luiz de Basto Designs who are extending her original Mulder design. “We needed to work out how we could create a new hydraulic swim platform while adding weight and still meet the owner’s intended use,” stated Jake Stratmann. “This previously wasn’t possible due to the positioning of her triple 3,600 MTU engines, so it was great that the owner was also keen on stability, rather than speed as our needs and expectations aligned very well.”Octopussy yacht refit at Lauderdale Marine CentreThe refit process is underway at the Starboard Yacht Group, with the swim platform removed from her superstructure. Engineering has already begun to make way for all this new innovative technology and her twin 4,000 MTU engines have already been ordered. For the most part, everything is going smoothly, and she is looking at a timeline of Summer 2024 for completion. Joe Seintz and Project Manager Jeff Vrana are currently working with the Octopussy crew and Starboard Yacht Group team doing demos in preparation for the final designs to be approved by the owner. The refit of Octopussy originally started off as a swim platform and a paint job, but upon completion, she will be a pioneer for innovative technology.

This article was originally published in Issue 44 of SuperYacht Times newspaper. To read more stories like this one and to never again miss another issue of the SuperYacht Times newspaper, subscribe here.