The crossover innovation for luxury expedition yachting
The Damen SeaXplorer is the world’s first range of purpose-built, IMO Polar Code B Compliant Expedition Yachts. The three yachts in the 65 to 100-metre range can reach our planet’s most spectacular polar and remote tropical areas. Mark Vermeulen, Product Director of Damen SeaXplorer and Yacht Support, explains why interest in expedition yachting is growing rapidly.
The SeaXplorer range quickly took the world by storm following the introduction at the Monaco Yacht Show in September 2015. Hundreds of global publications picked up the story, from CNN to Forbes to Chinese dailies.
“Ultra-wealthy individuals increasingly seek once-in-a-lifetime experiences in spectacular and remote destinations such as Antarctica, Papua New Guinea and the Amazon,” Mark says. “Often these clients are new to high-end yachting and looking for something different to the traditional Mediterranean and Caribbean destinations.”
However, real expeditions require a level of capability that you just can’t find in traditional superyachts and explorer designs. Owners and charter clients have typically been forced to compromise with conversions of old commercial workboats and retired navy ships.
“Over the last few years we’ve had a number of yachting clients approaching us with ideas to develop existing Damen platforms into truly capable expedition yachts. We quickly realised that it meant making too many compromises. So we took a more entrepreneurial approach. That’s when we began detailed design and naval architecture for three purpose-built expedition yachts of 65, 90 and 100 metres.”
A true expedition vessel with global capabilities has to be equally effective in ice conditions, tropical conditions, a rough seaway and sometimes even in severe weather. To develop this crossover of ruggedised professional capability with high-end yachting comfort and quality, Damen went right back to the drawing board.
The unique synergy of Damen’s professional shipbuilding knowhow with Amels’ intimate understanding of the high-end yachting experience provided an immediate advantage.
“What we didn’t have at Damen was the operational knowhow that comes from organising expeditions. So we approached the expert guides at Eyos Expeditions, who are really at the forefront of the growing private superyacht expedition market.”
Real expeditions requires a level of capability that you just can find in traditional superyachts and explorer designs
Eyos Expeditions provided invaluable operational design input, based on decades of experience organising private superyacht expeditions. Completing the partnership, Azure Yacht Design and Naval Architecture created the seamless, instantly recognizable SeaXplorer design.
With this unique partnership in place, the Damen SeaXplorer is perfectly positioned to provide clients with the very best expedition yachting solutions. Based in Gorinchem, about 50 design, engineering and operations experts are working on the SeaXplorer and Yacht Support product ranges, while the Amels team handles sales and marketing.