Superyacht of the week: Royal Huisman's Wisp

Built in 2014 by the Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman, the 47.65 metre classic sloop Wisp made her maiden voyage to the spectacular fjords of Norway shortly after her delivery last year before carrying on to the Western Mediterranean, where she remained for most of the last summer season. She boasts naval architecture and exterior design by fellow Dutch company, Hoek Design Naval Architects, whilst her interior design was undertaken by Rhoades Young Design.

She is constructed entirely in aluminium, and boasts a performance that belies her traditional lines. The brief given to the shipyard noted the importance of the ultimate comfort whilst cruising whilst also being more than capable of competing in a spot of ‘gentleman’s racing’ from time to time. Commenting on the successful fulfillment of the challenging brief, Royal Huisman states that these demands were catered to - with a little help from the owner. Explaining further, Royal Huisman says, “The client whilst satisfied to cruise at a leisurely pace, was looking for a decent turn of speed without sailing on the edge. Moreover, as he plans to make long passages he expected the same high level of comfort – both inside and on deck – he had enjoyed on various yachts; and with meticulous attention to detail, he was involved in every aspect of the design and construction of what has become his ‘home away from home’.”

In terms of hull design, the Hoek Design team has revitalised the style and grace of the classic sailing yachts of yesteryear, whilst paying homage to the needs of today’s modern lifestyle on board. Several features developed by the team, such as the owner’s aft cockpit, provide a degree of privacy and amenity. Although not typical of the original design period, they help to marry echoes from the past with a thoroughly modern list of creature comforts for today’s expectant guest. The Dutch firm of naval architects was tasked with developing a yacht that would sail very well without excessive heel; hence Wisp’s added form stability, Alustar aluminium hull and spoon bow for a gentler ride.

Her cutter rig, moderate draft underbody, carbon composite spars from Rondal, EC6 and Carbo-Link hybrid rigging and efficient sail handling systems are all enhanced for performance, seaworthiness and ease of handling. The cutter-rig sailplan was designed for balance and simple handling while cruising and the possibility of using overlapping genoas for racing, with much thought going into the track positioning and winch sizes to handle the increased loads and speeds during regattas.

In regards to her deck areas, ample space has been freed up by placing the Rondal winches for the main halyard, mainsheet and preventer below deck in a separate compartment adjoining the engine room, which can still be quickly accessed from the forward engine room entrance and monitored via CCTV cameras. To ensure the 6.2 metre owner’s tender blends in with the sweeping sheer of the hull, it is partially recessed into a pocket on the foredeck.

Another notable deck feature is the crew cockpit just forward of the main mast. With a convertible car-style retractable dodger, protective coamings, storage and direct access below deck to the dinette, it provides a secure assembly point within easy reach of the deck equipment while under sail and a relaxing social area when at anchor.

Moving on to her interiors, she showcases a clean and contemporary layout throughout, with a brief from the owner for a light, airy and calming ambiance in which to travel the world. To achieve this environment, designers at Rhoades Young Design selected a light oak as the principal material on board that had been stained a soft amber.

This neutral background is contrasted with dark wenge inlays and fabrics of the highest quality in courageous colours that range from fresh, leafy greens to rich, duck egg blues and burnt oranges, punctuated with brightly coloured table lamps that have been converted from Murano glass vases. Beautiful handmade carpeting provides the casual charm of Japanese Tatami matting with a softness that only pure wool can achieve.

Jonathan Rhoades from the British interior design studio comments on the “From an architectural point of view, we created an unusual open-plan interior layout that is designed in layers to reveal itself gradually. Below deck you are lead from space to space and at each destination the rooms feel resolved and complete. It is only on exploring further that you realise they open onto other spaces, until finally all the layers are peeled back to reveal salons and cabins with huge sightlines through the various deck levels linking the interior and exterior.”

Providing accommodation for up to eight guests in total, all three en-suite guest cabins are impressively commodious, whilst the owner’s suite is every bit as grand as you could expect. The full-beam cabin has various Japanese shoji screens to bring in a gentle, suffused light into the room. Sliding aside the double doors on the portside reveals a generous bathroom with basins and bath of light green Costa Smeralda marble.

The space develops further when the curved aft doors are slid into their pockets to reveal a charming rotunda with a domed ceiling that leads to the owner’s library on the portside and walk-in wardrobe to starboard. Flowing aft a sweeping staircase raises the eye to the owner’s aft deckhouse that connects to their private cockpit, which is trimmed with two fixed captain’s chairs integrated into the teak surrounds of the cockpit seating. As a whole, the owner’s suite is a fantastically light and airy retreat that maintains the flexibility of distinct areas for working, relaxing and sleeping.

Elsewhere inside, the engine and control room are not typical for a sailing yacht of this length as the owner requested a full-height engine room with maximised access to machinery. A separate soundproofed and air-conditioned control room provides a comfortable and efficient working environment for the chief engineer. It also locates the electronics in a dedicated and properly ventilated space away from the guest areas and the disguised navigation station in the deckhouse, which is used primarily for route planning. She is powered by one CAT C18 Acert 715hp engine.

“It has been an absolute pleasure to be part of the Huisman family, and a dynamic and focused project team,” wrote the owner’s representative, following delivery of the yacht. “Together we have exceeded the expectations of the client with exceptional standards and we can all be duly proud of the beautiful vessel Wisp. “

By Gemma Fottles, photos by Carlo Caroncini and Cory Silken



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