Superyacht of the Week: Abeking’s Awesome Aviva

Written by Charl van Rooy

Unique. The number of times this word appears in the design brief of Aviva cannot be underlined enough. It forms the building blocks for the entire Aviva Mark IV project and set in motion a mentality and train of thought shared by all those involved in the creation of this latest megayacht in her owner’s Aviva fleet. What follows below is a closer look at what could possibly be the coolest yacht you get to see here on SuperYacht Times this year.Aviva by Abeking & RasmussenPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

To fully appreciate Aviva and the reasons behind many of her design features, one first needs to understand that her owner spends most of his life here. Aviva is not simply a bi-annual family getaway in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean for him. The conventional superyacht layout and design goes out the window when the client intends to spend 10 months per year on board the yacht you are designing. Nobody understands this lifestyle better than the trusted design duo at Reymond Langton who are also behind his smaller, 2010-built Aviva.Aviva by Abeking & RasmussenPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

The design team together with Abeking & Rasmussen and the owner created a layout and flow throughout the yacht that would make living on board not only possible for such long periods, but an experience to be savoured each day. After all, having 5000 GT, nearly 100 metres in length and a beam of 17 metres to work with makes creating the perfect layout a breeze, right? Not quite. With just six months to go from a blank paper to final approved design with one, quite literally, giant obstacle along the way, the design and engineering teams were pulling on the short end of the straw right from day 0. Abeking & Rasmussen too were in for a surprise when they found out they only had three years to construct the vessel – a whole 12 months less than what a project of this size normally takes to have ready for launch.Aviva by Abeking & RasmussenPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

“One challenge was to make the yacht look long and sleek and at the same time having her look totally different from the previous Aviva as well as any other yacht out there,” comments Reymond Langton. “She had to be ‘unique’.”  Together with designer and owner’s representative, Toby Silverton, Reymond Langton created an exterior that will stand the test of time whilst challenging even the most radical of superyachts out on the water today.Aviva by Abeking & RasmussenPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

The balance between the curvaceous and feminine hull shape set against an angular and aggressive superstructure is oddly satisfying and comes painted in two complimenting tones of blue and silver which, as Langton explains, helps disguise the sheer size of Aviva. “We have four colours, the blue for the hull contrasting the superstructure helps to visually reduce the height of the yacht and emphasises the length of the hull. The darker colour of hull is less contrasting with the sea and this combined with a bright metallic silver superstructure which reflects the blue of the sky help to reduce the apparent volume.”Aviva anchoredPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & Rasmussen

Aviva exterior detailPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenAll above-deck interiors lead out onto the aft decks through seamless glass panels that create a modern look but also offer an undisturbed view from the inside out. The owner wanted to enjoy ‘the luxury of space’ on his new Aviva and nothing quite creates that sensation than an abundance of natural light and ample viewpoints when resting inside the yacht. The upper saloon would become the main interior hang out spot and for this reason, a nine-metre-long glass section on either side of the saloon was installed that leads out onto a fold-down platform for the ultimate open-air lounge experience. Aviva exterior detailPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & Rasmussen

Another unique feature that had many baffled from the moment the first aerial photos of Aviva were released are the strange exterior decks that bare primal markings on them as if from a sci-fi film. These are, in fact, the same patterns found on the carpets of the saloons and guest areas that bleed out onto the exterior synthetic decks. “The owner is not a traditional yachtsman and he did not want to have teak planking as all those stripes of black Sika bothered him after months on board [the smaller Aviva],” comments the designer. “The result is quite different as we have Esthec decking with different patterns on each deck flowing from inside to out.”Aviva main aft deck Photo: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenAviva upper aft deckPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & Rasmussen

The sculpted nature of Aviva’s exterior design is carried right through to the deck furniture. Oversized fixed pieces create an inviting atmosphere with their vibrant-coloured cushions that seem as if Aviva had to be built around these playful relaxation pads.Aviva deckPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenAviva aerialPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & Rasmussen

But apart from the unique design, the spacious interior and lavish deck spaces, Aviva holds deep inside her a secret that few will ever lay eyes on. One of the major reasons her owner decided to upgrade the Aviva flagship, and a past time that he thoroughly enjoys, is because of the sport of padel. Building a yacht with the world’s best padel court on board was one of the first requests in the design brief and has become a feature Aviva will forever be known for. But finding a space inside any yacht measuring 20 metres in length, 10 metres across and reaching 6.5 metres in height without severely messing up the guest layout is always going to be difficult.Aviva padel tennis courtPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenAviva's padel tennis courtPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

“Having a padel tennis court on board a yacht, one would expect some sort of compromise to the layout (there isn’t) and to the quality and size of the court, however, the owner is adamant that this is the best Padel tennis court in the world, period!”  Without revealing too much detail about the interior, Reymond Langton had the challenge to hide the court so well that guests should only become aware of its location once revealed by the owner or a crew member. “It took quite some figuring out, however, we finally located the padel court at the widest point of the 17-metre-wide hull and as low as possible. It’s on the double bottom 600mm from the keel, shoehorned in between the engine room and crew accommodation.” Location of the padel tennis court onboard AvivaPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

Now with all his boxes checked, including the addition of a 14-metre day boat/tender that is kept on board, the owner can now look forward again to planning world voyages with his new Aviva which was previously simply not an option with the smaller Aviva. Destinations such as the South Pacific, Australia and America’s coasts are now back on the cards and might soon see Aviva pull into port. Aviva aerialPhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & Rasmussen

And cruising far and wide is exactly what she is built for. With a solid range of 6,000 nm at 13 knots, no ocean is too big for her to cross. But it's not only the distance she can cover that is impressive but more the way in which she gets it done. Efficiency was a key aspect of the design and engineering phases and together with Silverton, Abeking & Rasmussen created a new hull shape that significantly reduces drag in a vessel of this size, and is what gives the yacht its distinctive fine entry point and narrow-rounded stern. Aviva by Abeking & RasmussenPhoto: Guillaume Plisson

Continuing the surprise act, also installed is a high-tech hybrid system that allows Aviva to cruise in complete silence at 11 knots without the use of her main engines. By using electric power alone, this mode is not only comfortable for her guests but also good news for Aviva’s friends with whom she shares the ocean with.Aviva wheelhousePhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenAviva wheelhousePhoto: Guillaume Plisson / Abeking & RasmussenPhotos by Guillaume Plisson



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