AMSTERDAM – Damen Shipyards, owner of superyacht maker Amels, unveiled its explorer yacht series at the 2015 Monaco Yacht Show. It will launch 3 SeaXplorers _ one each in the next 3 years _ that blend superyacht quality with high seas capability in extreme weather conditions.

Damen’s Herculean undertaking shows the extent to which the high-end segment of the superyacht industry finds itself at a crossroads these days.

“More and more owners are heading to extreme areas of the world,” says Damen Product Director Mark Vermeulen. “A trip to the Arctic asks more in terms of resistance to storms and ice or self-sufficiency in food and fuel than standard yacht designs can provide.”

Superyachts these days brim with very edgy propulsion, HVAC, stabilization, navigation, hospitality, fuel efficiency, pack-ice chewing and other technologies. In developing globally capable SeaXplorer yachts (65 to 100m), designed by Azure Yacht Design of the Netherlands, Damen put the bar very high. It wrote up an 8-point operational profile of a purpose-built expedition vessel finding many existing yachts intended for exploring to be wholly sub-standard.

“Few existing ‘expedition’ vessels were ever designed with expedition in mind. “Most are either refits or reconversions. Or traditional ‘white boats’ that have been pushed to the limits of their design envelopes.” Damen said in a report to the 2016 HISWA Symposium on Yacht Design and Construction, a forum for engineers and designers worldwide to share build challenges. Its next edition will be held Nov. 12-13, in the margin of the 2018 Metstrade show.

For the 90m SeaXplorer, Damen _ aided by EYOS Expeditions, a British expedition organizer _ drew an optimized, ice-capable hull in line with Polar Class demand. It added room for extra-large provisions, spare parts and equipment spaces, a zero-discharge management system, a hydraulic lift helicopter hangar, internal storage for multiple tenders and a large dive area. SeaXplorers of different lengths meet different sets of expedition requirements.

The SeaXplorer can operate in temperatures from -10 to +45C (17 to 111F). With 600 cubic meters of fuel storage, go for 40 days without a port call and chew its way through pack-ice going forward and back.

Damen Shipyards Group runs 34 shipyards worldwide, has 10,000 employees and a portfolio of 6,000 commercial vessels. Says  Managing Director Rose Damen, “The combination of our Amels luxury yachting knowhow with our Damen Shipyards Group experience delivering commercial vessels is really unique. You can see that in the (SeaXplorer) design.”