Any passerby who has the fortune to witness Aquarius in person is immediately charmed by her deep black polished hull and enormously tall masts. Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman has crafted the 56-metre sailing yacht Aquarius to the highest possible standards and delivered the performance ketch to her new owners earlier this year. With details kept tightly under wraps, little information has been released about the yacht, until now. Photo: Carlo BaronciniBorn out of a collaboration between Dykstra naval architects, Mark Whiteley Design, and Royal Huisman, Aquarius was created in response to an owner’s brief which stated that the ketch should be “an elegant, muscular sailing yacht with a classic profile for family enjoyment.” The owners worked closely with Erik Wassem, Senior Designer at Dykstra, who said that the couple were looking for ‘a yacht capable of world cruising’. Experienced sailors themselves, the owners emphasised the term ‘simplicity’,- indicating that the yacht should utilise an already proven technological platform. Photo: Carlo BaronciniRoyal Huisman teamed up with Doyle Sails NZ, Dykstra Naval Architects, Carbo-Link and the shipyard’s sister company Rondal to create the sailing platform onboard. Key components of the rig setup include a mainsail measuring 520 square metres, a carbon fibre Panamax rig, remote and fixed sail control units, a sail inventory which includes roached main and mizzen sails with integrated reefing, a jib, performance and heavy duty staysail and a reacher. Two helm stations aid the crew in both upwind and downwind sailing for maximum performance.Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniBelow the waterline, Aquarius’s naval architecture includes a balanced spade rudder and a 4.8-metre fixed keel. Marvelling over Aquarius’s performance, her owners said, “She sails beautifully and is ‘near perfect’ on beam reaches.” Photo: Carlo BaronciniHer sleek, black aluminium hull (built to Lloyd’s Register and MCA compliant) contains a two-tender garage and three-tender stowage locations on deck. Guests are able to step onboard via a three-metre fold-down boarding platform when arriving aboard by tender, or a passerelle when dockside. Stainless steel and teak fittings dot the deck and make for a contemporary and uncluttered profile. Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniBehind the deckhouse and saloon lays the main cockpit. Sheltered by bimini, the outdoor seating area transforms into a sophisticated dining space fit for a party of 10. Further aft is the private cockpit of the owner, which links directly inside to the owner’s suite.Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniInside, guests are greeted by soft and palatable colour scheme - which makes for a ‘New England’ atmosphere. As per the request of the owners, the ambience is calm and elegant. Whites are complemented by mahogany joinery while portholes and large saloon windows let in plenty of natural light.Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniTwo double guest cabins, each with private en-suite facilities, are accessible via interior hallway and staircase. Further down the hall is the lower saloon with a large cinema screen and informal seating. One more guest stateroom can sleep four by way of Pullman berth and recessed bed able to be lowered from a niche in the ceiling.Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniAn ovular skylight surrounding one of the masts floods the owner’s cabin with natural daylight. Filling the entire beam, the suite features an aft-facing bed and full en-suite bathroom. Just aft of the bathroom is a study with porthole. Photo: Carlo BaronciniPhoto: Carlo BaronciniCrew spaces onboard feature the same furnishings as the guest spaces and are built to LY3 yacht code. Furthermore, the superyacht contains a spacious and day-lit open galley and a fully-equipped gym complete with machines and free weights. Photo: Carlo BaronciniUnder sail and with the assistance of one 832hp MTU engine, Aquarius is more than prepared to set off whenever and wherever her owners might choose to go. In the words of the owners themselves, “It’s a dream come true to own a boat like this, and to look at her and sail her with such a strong sense of accomplishment and appreciation.”
SuperYacht Times - The State of Yachting 2020
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