55m Gene Chaser support yacht joins Amels Gene Machine mothership

Written by Charl van Rooy

Damen Yachting has confirmed the sale of the 55-metre support yacht Gene Chaser to the owner of motor yacht Gene Machine, a repeat client who is about to take delivery of the 2020 yacht support vessel known before as Blue Ocean. The customised support yacht will operate alongside her mothership as a floating laboratory and science centre to support her owner, Dr Jonathan Rothberg’s research work.Gene Chaser yacht on sea trials off VlissingenPhoto: Damen YachtingGene Machine Photo: David Honeybun

Over the past two months, Damen Yachting has been hard at work transforming the flexible deck layout of the YS 5009 vessel to meet the owner and crew’s requirements which include the running of a mobile Gene Lab setup. Luxury areas such as the main salon have been modified into a wet and dry laboratory while other spaces have been set up for conference and educational purposes.Gene Chaser yacht christening ceremonyPhoto: Damen Yachting

Owner Dr Jonathan Rothberg sums up the motivation behind Gene Chaser. “Coronavirus reminded us of the fragility of our world. Whether it’s a global pandemic or global climate change, each of us must rise to the challenges we face, as we are best prepared. For my family, this means Gene Chaser and her onboard Gene Lab – a next-generation lab to address mankind’s greatest challenges. Gene Chaser will be the tip of the spear as we deploy never before available technology to characterise, understand, and expand our knowledge of biodiversity, and identify nature’s solutions – within her genes – to the world’s greatest existential threats.” Dr Rothberg confirms this is also the origin of the name Gene Chaser. “We are going to go after genes to combat global warming and clean up the oceans and the air. That’s why it’s the Gene Chaser. In our planet’s very genes lie the answers to our biggest challenges and the key to our salvation.”Gene Chaser yacht christening ceremonyPhoto: Damen Yachting
In addition to an already matching paint scheme and signature orange boot stripe, Gene Chaser will be outfitted with colourful LED name boards in March as seen on Gene Machine.Gene Machine yacht cruisingPhoto: David Honeybun

Out on deck, Gene Machine’s custom Fjord 42 chase boat now can be lifted onto Gene Chaser’s deck for safer passages while the rest of the 225 square-metre aft deck will be used to carry mission-specific equipment. Inside, accommodation for up to eight visiting researchers and scientists will make for a creative and dynamic live-aboard environment. In addition, the vessel will run with seven crew and four full-time scientists on board. Gene Chaser yacht on sea trials off VlissingenPhoto: Damen Yachting

Gene Machine Captain, Matthew Gow, who represented the owner during the sale of Blue Ocean, further explains what benefits this new platform will bring for the program. . “Extending the scientific and research side of Gene Machine has been on the cards for a while, and this Yacht Support provides the ideal solution. The owner and his team can dedicate Gene Chaser and its onboard operations to the bold, extensive projects they have planned. It provides more lab space and room for essential equipment; importantly, it also enables them to separate this work from their family time on Gene Machine.”Gene Chaser yacht on sea trials off VlissingenPhoto: Damen Yachting



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