Built in 2016, the 107-meter Ulysses has become the clearest yet definition of an explorer yacht, incorporating swimming pools, spas with a helipad and a myriad of tenders, the largest of which is 22-meters long.
Sold in 2017 by her original owner, Graeme Hart, she became the largest brokerage yacht sold in 2017 with an asking price of $195 million. The deal lead to widespread rumours that Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg had bought the yacht, a rumour that has since been debunked by Facebook and its CEO.
Ulysses' story starts back in 2013 when Graeme Hart, whose net worth is valued at $10.2 billion by Forbes, commissioned the 107-meter yacht (351 ft) from Kleven, a shipyard in Norway that builds commercial ships. According to designers, Hart's choice was driven by quicker delivery times, a better price point than traditional yacht builders and high enough quality standards.
I am very pleased with the quality of the work that has been done by Kleven, and how our organizations have worked together to bring this exciting project to life.
Graeme Hart in November 2014
Hart's statement was however more than just a PR gesture for the Norwegian shipyard. Shortly after his statement on Kleven's quality, Hart signed an order for a new 116-meter explorer yacht with delivery scheduled for 2018. A move that surprised the industry as the first Ulysses was still two years away from completion but made the yacht one of the most anticipated builds of the past year.
In building Ulysses, Hart already had a clear vision of the yacht he wanted to create, having already owned a 60-meter explorer yacht built by Trinity in 2004. The key points of his design brief in creating the 107-meter Behemoth were reportedly to focus on interior volume, aft-facing guest spaces, a fully-functional helipad and large tenders. Ahead of Ulysses' delivery, the billionaire also sold the 60-meter, which is now known as Grand Russalina. The 116-meter explorer currently in build will become Hart's seventh yacht in total.
One of the most astonishing amenities on Ulysses is her large swimming pool, located aft of the upper deck at a height of nearly 9 meters above sea level. Partly covered by the third deck for shade, the swimming pool stretches for 12 meters and is surrounded by lounging areas for her guests to bathe in the sun.
Aft of this 400 square-meter pool deck is an extensive Jacuzzi, surrounded by sun pads, that overlook the yacht's aft. Although an undeniable advantage of being on a yacht is the ability to swim in the sea, Ulysses is purpose built to be able to navigate in remote areas where the sea could be too rough for humans to bathe in, which is when the 100% jellyfish-proof pool deck comes in.
Near the swimming pool is also located a large dinning table, covered by a solid rooftop and ideal for informal lunches during the summer. The table is however in no way the only option on the 107-meter. In addition to many casual tables located all around the yacht's 6 decks, a formal dinning area is located aft of the main deck with direct access to the kitchen for improved service.
Directly opposite from the formal dinning area can be found a wine degustation area with circular walls filled with the most prestigious wines from all around the world. A small bar is also located in front of 4 large windows directly in this area to allow Ulysses' guests to enjoy a glass of wine whilst taking in the view.
Ulysses' hull and superstructure were built by Kleven in Norway with a clear purpose of having a boat that would have no limits in any respect. The expedition style created by New Zealand-based designer Kyle Dick for the yacht's exterior is a clear translation of this philosophy.
The interior outfitting, penned by London-based studio H2 Yacht Design, was on the other hand done in Germany by Finnish company, Europlan who had in the past mostly focused on cruise ships with only a few superyachts under its belt. According to several reports, the interior cost €20,000 per square meter.
Ulysses features a variety of spaces to entertain its guests, from informal to formal locations. With light colors found throughout its interior, Ulysses boasts a large salon on the main deck with extensive sitting spaces and a large bar.
Unlike smaller yachts where most cabins typically look out onto the sea from a porthole, guest cabins on Ulysses have floor-to-ceiling windows directly opposite of the bed that let its guests take in the full view. Ulysses can accommodate a total of 36 guests.
The largest cabin on board is however the master cabin, which takes up an entire deck and stretches across the 107-meter's entire beam. With panoramic windows on both sides of the cabin, the master was however designed to face the yacht's aft. A lounging area is located forward of the cabin, making up the owner's private deck.
Despite its go-anywhere capability, Ulysses has also all of the amenities one could expand from a superyacht and perhaps even more. One of those is the yacht's spa, which includes a plunge pool, sauna, steam room, massage room and more all designed with white and dark blue theme.
The wellness area is completed by a gym located aft of the main deck with a large variety of equipment and a breathtaking view out of a series of tall windows.
Another one of Ulysses' highlights is her fully-functional cinema room. Packed with comfortable sofas and equipped with a pro-level projector and screen, the room is fully optimized for a great sound and viewing experience.
Ulysses' technical capabilities however perhaps best set in to guests when they go up to the guest lounge, located inside the explorer's bridge on the top deck. This acts as a dedicated area for guests to take in the view without being bother by crew operations and vice-versa.
One of the key requirements set forth by Hart was the development of a fully-functional helipad. This took the form of a large, dedicated helicopter landing pad located at the top of the yacht, with the capacity of taking up the world's largest helicopters up to 3,6 tons.
One of the key aspects of the explorer is of course her gigantic toy garage, containing anything from jetskis to motorbikes to SUVs to seabobs, bikes and flyboards. It's not unseen for superyachts to carry a lot of toys but this amount of toys on a 107-meter is something that few have ever seen before.
The most unique feature amongst the whole boat may however be the 21-meter tender that Ulysses carries on its bow. The two-deck boat, which most would call a yacht in her own right, requires to custom built cranes to lift in an operation that takes just over an hour to execute.
Sold at an asking price of $195 million, Ulysses became the largest brokerage yacht sold so far this year, topping the 85-meter Solandge, which sold at an asking price of €155 million. An even larger version of Ulysses is however set to be delivered to Hart later this year with the 116-meter explorer already now in the final phases of construction.
Valued at $10,2 billion by Forbes, Graeme Hart is currently the wealthiest man in New Zealand. Having made his fortune in the leveraged buyout private equity space, Hart consolidated a number of under-performing assets in the packaging space to create an empire in everyday products such as milk cartons, water bottles, paper and foil.
Prior to his successes in acquiring large companies and optimising them as part of his empire, Hart started off as a tow-truck driver after leaving school at 16 years old. He completed an MBA from the University of Ortego in 1987. His first big buy was the Government Printing Office in New Zealand, which he managed to acquire for less than capital value.
Although it is yet unclear who has acquired Ulysses from Hart, rumours within the yachting sector of a buyer from the US tech scene has led to media firing off guesses in all directions, without any concrete evidence. The most high profile of these guesses became Facebook's founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, which emanated from a Turkish newspaper that since deleted that article. "The reports related to Mark purchasing a yacht are completely inaccurate as he did not purchase a yacht." a spokesman for Facebook rapidly debunked.
Whilst it is yet unclear who purchased the 107-meter explorer, its sheer scale can't be denied. In November 2017, her new owner decided to cruise the yacht to Molokai in Hawai but wasn't able to anchor there. Indeed local militants initiated a protest to prevent the yacht from anchoring there to protect their island due to its large size, with Ulysses eventually cruising away on its own will. At the time, the yacht's owner was presumed by media to be Russian billionaire investor, Yuri Milner. "Yuri Milner does not own the boat Ulysses" a spokeswoman for the investor was, however, quick to debunk.
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After successful sea trials, the first Amels 220 superyacht Aurora Borealis has been delivered to the owner. The 67-metre superyacht departed the yard in Vlissingen on 16 July, as the last delivery of a busy 2019 season for Amels.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOverseen by Antoine Larricq of Fraser, the project first known as Project Waka, hit the water for the first time in March 2019 inside the yard's covered dry docks. The yacht remains listed for sale at € 83,500,000 via Fraser.The 67.11-metre vessel features exteriors by Tim Heywood Design and interiors by Winch Design. Spreading over six decks, Aurora Borealis features a 65-square-metre swim platform and beach club area. Special features on-board comprise a guest elevator to all decks, a steam room, spa and a fully-equipped gym, as well as a tender garage spacious enough to house two eight-metre tenders.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingAntoine Larricq also represented the owner in terms of interiors. Aurora Borealis' interior volume of 1,500 GT provides for nearly 1,150 square metres of interior space, comprising seven luxury guest suites. Thus, accommodation will be offered for up to 14 guests, along with 15 crew members.Aurora Borealis is now heading to Antibes. Overall, this year’s four new build Limited Editions yachts, plus three AMELS Refit yachts, were all delivered on time and on budget, the yard reports.Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingRose Damen, Managing Director with Amels, comments: We’re delighted to see our new Amels owners enjoying their yachts delivered as promised. This has been one of our busiest seasons ever at AMELS, and we’re very proud of the high quality of each yacht and the very positive feedback from their new owners.In the meantime, the yard continues work on several yachts under construction inside the drydocks and building bays for 2020 deliveries at both Vlissingen City and Vlissingen East facilities. Photo by Maritimephoto.com via Dutch YachtingOne of the recent projects in hype to be welcomed by the yard for completion, is the 77-metre DAMEN SeaXplorer luxury expedition yacht La Datcha ordered by a Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov.
July 19, 2019
Previously known as Project Fiji, the 95-metre Lürssen superyacht Madsummer, has been delivered to her owner, a repeat client with the Lürssen. The vessel was launched earlier this year at Lürssen’s Rendsburg facility. During her construction period of nearly 2,5 years, the project was supervised by the owner’s captain and brokerage company Moran Yacht & Ship.Featuring a 14-metre beam, the exterior profile of Madsummer comes from a British designer Harrison Eidsgaard maintaining sleek and elegant lines within impressive volumes.Photo: Klaus JordanThe vessel's main trademarks are the 12-metre swimming pool and Jacuzzi laid on the aft deck and protected with glass bulwarks. That contributes to clean and uncluttered appearance of hull surfaces. Other decks are connected through exterior staircases and centreline openings.Spacious beach club and spa zone with a sea terrace on the lower deck also belong on the list of Madsummer’s special features. The bow is equipped with a helipad, while the sun deck aft features hidden crane in the bulwark, aimed to handle an aeroboat. As to the upper deck, it encompasses walkable skylight and an integrated fireplace.Photo: Carl GrollMadsummer’ interiors for 20 guests across 10 suites were designed by Italy-based Studio Laura Sessa represent contemporary modern style. Laura Sessa commented earlier: For this interior design yacht project, I invested inner artistic creativity due to my long relationship with the Owner. I playfully created spaces full of customised details and colours from the sea, emanating harmony and elegance.Photo: Klaus JordanThe latest delivery from the yard will be displayed at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. She will be spending her first weeks in the Mediterranean before her world debut would highlight the port during the show.The superyacht is the third one in the recent series of the 90-metres plus vessels delivered by Lürssen, along with impressive 136-metre Flying FOX and 111-metre Project TIS. Furthermore, the largest Lürssen’s unveiling of 2019, the 130-metre plus in-build Project Lightning has been revealed recently.
July 19, 2019
Among contemporary yachts dominating superyacht charter market, there are sometimes more rare pieces to be found. The 69.7-metre superyacht Sherakhan built in 1966 as a maritime school vessel by Dutch Scheepswerf A.Vuyk & Zonen, is available for charter from € 425,000 per week in the summer season.Back in 1965, the classic yacht started out as Princess Margaret. Her present owner, Dutch hospitality entrepreneur Jan Verkerk, managed to breath a new life into the boat in 2005, when it was rebuilt at his yard and renamed to Sherakhan.Maintaining the vessel’s beautiful classic 1960s lines and style, Verkerk upgraded the interior with Rijntjes Interior Design and carried out a complete technical overhaul.Certified to accommodate up to 26 guests, with a dedicated crew of 20 including Michelin-starred Chef Toine Smulders, Sherakhan has undergone several more extensive refits, with the most recent one conducted at Icon Yachts in 2017.The most noticeable upgrade of 2017 was the 70-meter hull being repainted to a minimalistic white colour from its original vintage blue hue. Along with cosmetic adjustments to the yacht’s interior areas and A/V upgrades, her main generators were replaced with low emission ones to reduce the impact on the environment. The onboard layout of Sherakhan is trademarked with double-height dining room with galleried atrium, skylight courtesy of the glass-bottomed sundeck Jacuzzi and seating for all 26 guests at a dining table. The interior colour palette is calm and neutral, with creams and tan-coloured wood allowing the natural textures and tones to harmonise. The 13 ensuite cabins are generously proportioned, including a full-beam master suite.Sherakhan’s choice of guest deck areas is sizeable, from the generous wicker seating on the main deck or several loungers on the large foredeck to the stellar sundeck with its 18-person Jacuzzi, wet bar and barbecue, dining tables and multiple sun loungers. The toy storage can fit a pair of 7.3-metre tenders, three Waverunner jetskis, wakeboards, surfboards, a number of inflatable towables and an 8-metre custom-made slide.What is more, Sherakhan comes with a full wellness suite including a beauty salon, massage room, gym and sauna. Sherakhan’s technical characteristics allow her to cruise to the most remote areas of the planet, accommodating up to 24 guests within her 12 staterooms.Currently fully booked during a long-term charter in the Red Sea for the summer 2019 season, Sherakhan can usually be found in the Mediterranean during the summer season and the Caribbean over the winter. However, she is claimed capable of exploring more remote areas and has many circumnavigations.
July 19, 2019
Roy Disney, the grandnephew Walt Disney, rescued the crew of a sinking yacht during the Transpac regatta. The boat of Roy Disney, Andrews 70 Pyewacket, which also took part in the regatta, picked up nine crew members from the sinking Santa Cruz 70 OEX boat, led by John Sangmeister.The racing committee received SOS-signal from the OEX boat at around 2 am, on July 15, reporting that the yacht’s rederpost was damaged and the vessel began to take on water.<iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FTranspacRace%2Fvideos%2F424508521486179%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe>An hour later, the OEX crew was picked up by its rivals on Roy Disney's yacht, with no one of 9 crews getting hurt. After that, Pyewacket with the rescued people on-board and its own crew of 10, including Roy Disney, returned to Los Angeles Marina del Rey, from where the Transpac race started.With the reason of the steering axle’ breakage still unknown, the OEX yacht eventually sank. meanwhile, her owner, John Sangmeister, is an experienced yachtsman that had won the Cup of America in 1986–1987. For Sangmeister this was the eighth Transpac race.Transpac is a 2225-mile offshore race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. This year, the regatta has seen several more collisions, with Maserati trimaran Giovanni Soldini running into a huge underwater object. The crew, however, continued the race after stopping for repair.Except for OEX, 6 more hulls out of recording 90 participants, withdrew from the competition this year. Started on July 10, the regatta will see the award ceremony in Hawaii on July 26th.
July 18, 2019
Dutch court has declared the yachtbuilder Moonen Yachts bankrupt, reports International Boat Industry. The decision has been made just two weeks after Moonen had announced they had been about to close a deal with a new investor, in order to boast production.According to IBI, despite the bankruptcy procedure, the builder will continue negotiations with the potential investor. Moreover, the new potential stakeholder of the yard can even benefit from the bankruptcy, as they will be relieved of the responsibility to pay off Moonen’s debts.The name of the potential investor has been kept in secret, although some sources claim it is an Australian company. Earlier, the Mexican steel giant Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) was the main investor at Moonen. In 2015, Moonen issued a statement on payments suspension due to financial problems of AHMSA. The Mexican concern claimed, it was no longer able to finance the construction of two of the three in-build semi-custom-yachts from the Moonen ‘Caribbean’ series, with construction begun a month earlier. At the time, the reason of AHMSA’s financial problems was a 40% price reduction on steel on the international market, caused by dumping of Chinese and Russian competitors.In 2017, the top management reshuffle took place in Moonen. The new CEO announced, he began the process of restructuring the company. In 2018, the shipyard received the World Superyacht Award for the 36-metre Brigadoon, followed by an order for its sistership that should be completed by 2020.But with only one boat under construction at the asset, the board of directors of Moonen decided, further development of the shipyard was impossible without the support of a new, financially stable investor. To keep stable operation, Moonen needs to build two or three projects ranging in size from 30 to 50 meters simultaneously.
July 18, 2019