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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hermes design luxury £90m yacht... but where's the back half?

By Claire Bates

Hermes, best known for it's £3,000 Birkin handbags and silk scarves, is branching out into another luxury line... revolutionary yachts.

The stylish French company has teamed up with the Monaco-based ship-builder Wally to create the 'WHY 58x38,' a craft that will cost around £90million to build.

Naval architect Mauro Sculii said: 'The advantage of travelling on the WHY boat is that you take your own space with you, your house, your island so you are not in a hurry to arrive, you just have the pleasure of travelling and being on board. That's the novelty. Usually a boat is just a means of transport.'

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No man is an island... but this strangely-proportioned luxury yacht will let the owners take their own space with them on their travels

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From the front the Wally-Hermes Yacht or WHY, looks like a traditional vessel

The two companies unveiled a real-size model of the 38-metre (125ft) wide vessel late last month in Ancona, Italy.

Unusually the width of the yacht is almost two thirds of its 190ft length. Instead of a traditional tapered stern, the WHY has a sheared off appearance, with a 30metre 'beach' running along the back. This gives access to a naturally-lit spa, that includes a traditional Turkish Hammam.

Luca Bassini, founder of design company Wally said: 'I think the best part of this boat is the stern. It's not like the usual stern of a boat, it's more like the real beach of an island; a beach which is protected from the wind and the waves, where you can really relax.'

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A full-scale model has been built of the WHY. It was shown to the public in Ancona, Italy last month

The middle deck of the luxury yacht has guest rooms with sea views

The middle deck of the luxury yacht has guest rooms with sea views

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The yacht's top deck is more akin to an exclusive hotel than a floating vessel

The naval architect Mauro Sculii said the strange dimensions gave a great stability to the boat.

The boat, which is built on three decks, also features a 25metre swimming pool on the bow that hug the contours of the helipad. Inside 'adaptable living spaces' are organised around a salon that contains a cinema, a music room, a library and a dining room that opens on to the sea.

The lucky owner has their own 200-square-metre suite that covers the entire third floor and has sweeping views of the sea from its private terrace.

Up to 12 guests can stay in the five sumptuous suites on the second floor and their every wish would be carried out by a 20-strong crew.


The luxury boat will cost £90million to build

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The living space will include a dining area, music room, library and cinema

The yacht will cruise at 12knots with a maximum speed of 14knots. Impressively the makers claim it could make four Atlantic crossings without any major maintenance.

Mr Sculii said the yacht would rely on existing, if avant-garde, technologies.

'We wanted this project to stay realistic from the beginning. Something concrete and thus possible to built. It wasn't supposed to be a dream or a pure concept; it was supposed to be real.'

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The width of the yacht is almost two thirds of its 190ft length

Any eco-conscious buyer can be reassured that the ship has been designed with three large sky lights and 300 square metres of windows to give a maximum amount of natural light. It will also be fitted with an ultra-low consumption LED lighting system.

Solar panels covering the roof and sides of the vessel will help save at least 200 tons of diesel fuel a year, Hermes said.

The yacht also comes equipped with waste management systems made to handle both organic and inorganic waste.

Gabriele Pezzini, Design Director of Hermes said: 'The designers wanted to totally rethink the relationship between man and sea.'

It will be the first yacht for Hermes who have previously helped design a luxury helicopter and a collection of smart cars.