Text by C.C. Schindel
Photography by Onno van der Wal & Giuliano Sargentini
Launched in mid-October of 2008, the 50 meter aluminum ketch superyacht Baracuda, was the 46th unit in the Perini Navi (Perini) fleet. The design team consisted of Perini's in-house naval architects and teamed with New Zealander Ron Holland, this superyacht features many important project innovations which include a canting keel that passes from 4 (keel up) to 9.7 meters (keel down) and the transom door can be nearly opened entirely and become transformed into a large swimming platform.
Perini has firmly established itself as a leader in the 40+ meter global market of sailing superyachts. With its renowned sailing systems, unique design, and dedication to quality, Perini has designed an impressive fleet of large superyachts in a relatively short time. Aside from being the only shipyard in the world to design, develop and build their own superyachts, what makes a Perini creation immediately recognizable trademark deckhouse lines, with curved windows and long flying bridge. Though their technological breakthroughs are noteworthy, Perini has now become respected for their quality construction, decadent comfort (both at anchor and underway), and interior designs. Features which have set an entirely new standard for vessels of equal caliber.
The aluminum hull, tapering and deep semi-compensated rudder, extended waterline, and lead ballasted swinging keel, makes this superyacht the latest evolution of the successful 50 meter series and may be considered an innovation culmination of all that Perini has achieved in the last 25 years. In the words of Ron Holland, talking about Baracuda, “The design development for Baracuda has included a relatively long waterline; this incorporates hull lines with forward waterline angles to minimize sailing resistance in rough sailing conditions and firm mid ship sections. This hull shape combined with a high aspect ratio centerboard maximizes sailing stability. These features are not only designed to improve speed and close winded ability under sail, but also intended to create a comfortable yacht for all aboard."
Astern, the reversed transom offers an innovative solution for both tender launching and swim access. The access to the sea is through a hydraulically operated swimming platform which can be submerged 8 inches below the water's surface. The Owners and their guests can ascend the platform thanks to a stylish staircase, that can be opened for easy tender launching and recovering. There are two tenders onboard. The main tender, at the Owner's request, is 21 feet long and stowed on the deck forward, partially sunken. The original project plan had included a 18ft tender fully sunken underneath a capacious hatch. In terms of aesthetics and habitability, one of the main innovations are the squared portholes: with a dimension of 2 x 3 feet that offer unique sun lighting to the lower deck.
The general arrangement of this superyacht consists of a main deck and lower deck. The main deck is one level , 22 meters from the aft sunken cockpit throughout the inner wheelhouse. The extended windows provides great lighting and panoramic view. The lower deck hosts the full beam Owner’s suite with central king-size bed and his and her bathrooms. UP to 8 guests can be accommodated comfortably in four guest cabins. The guest cabins consist of two VIPs cabins fitted with queen-sized beds and two cabins with twin-beds and pullman berths. All guests cabins have en-suite bathrooms. The crew area allows for 8 crew in 4 cabins, plus an additional captain’s cabin.
To fully appreciate this superyacht, an understanding of her state-of-the-art sailing system is really necessary. Baracuda’s ketch rigged masts are also aluminum, respectively 56.7 and 42.9 meters from the DWL. The masts were designed and produced in-house at the Perini Mast Department in Viareggio. Perini also designed, engineered and manufactured the carbon fibre electric in-boom furling system. 11 Perini Navi (also in-house made) captive reel winches handle a sail plan of 1,418 square meters, which consists of the main and mizzen sails plus genoa and blade jib.
Baracuda's interior design is by British architect John Pawson, guru of the modern minimalism. The style and project philosophy are extreme simplicity and clear lines. In his own words, this is how John describes this one-of-a-kind superyacht, “…the great challenge with Baracuda was to take a particular set of spatial principles and apply them to the very different conditions of a 50-meter cruising yacht... to create an environment which honored the priorities of light, space and proportion which have shaped my work since the very beginning".
"The main deck is conceived as open living space, with no partitions, the aim being to keep a much clearer, unencumbered visual field than is conventionally the case on ships of this type. The parchment wall covering was chosen not only for the subtle beauty of its color and texture, but also for the way it serves to dematerialize the central stair volume."
Additional details of Baracuda include the following:
• LWL 43 m
• Beam (max) 10.5 m
• Class and LY2 compliance ABS: Malta Cross A1 Yachting Service+AMS. MCA
• Total sail area 1418 m2
• Mainsail area 398 m2
• Mizzen sail area 208 m2
• Genoa area 490 m2
• Staysail area 322 m2
• Main engines 2XCAT 3412E x 710 kW at 2200 rpm
• Max Speed power 14 knots
• Range at 10 knots 4000 nm
• Control and monitoring Perini Navi