Coming in just below the 500 gross-tonne mark, despite a generous length of 55m, Vripack-designed Al Waab by Alia Yachts challenges the norm and sets new standards. It’s this rule-breaking boldness and Vripack’s holistic design that caught the judges’ eye at Boat International’s coveted Design and Innovation Awards that took place this year in Milan on 22 June, culminating in a hat trick of awards.
Scooping ‘Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m’, ‘Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below’ and ‘Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts’, the judges singled Al Waab out for her holistic interior, exterior and naval architecture. It’s a design approach that Vripack has long championed and places Al Waab at the forefront of yacht design.
“Al Waab pulled ahead as a solid, smart design that’s slightly more efficient than its fellow nominees,” commented the judges. “Further tipping the balance in her favour was the holistic element of her naval architecture, exterior styling and interior arrangement.”
Commenting on the awards wins, Vripack’s co-creative director Bart M. Bouwhuis, says: “Since 1961, Vripack’s design ethos has been underpinned by our holistic vision. Creating world-class interior and exterior designs that are conceived with expert naval architecture in mind not only delivers a yacht that comprehensively answers an owner’s brief, but one that gains worldwide industry recognition too.”
Build by Alia Yachts | Project management and owner’s representative throughout the build: SF Yachts
For many owners, the concept of enjoying a ‘home at sea’ is what drives their passion for yachting. But when industry standards and regulatory constraints come into play that simple vision is often lost. Not so for the owner of Vripack’s new 55m yacht, whose desire to use his boat as a family apartment became the founding principle of the entire design. Underpinned by the Dutch studio’s engineering expertise and inexhaustive creativity, the result is the very essence of living on the water.
Renowned for a holistic approach to design, the interior, exterior, naval architecture, and engineering all derive from Vripack’s design boards. Virtual reality was used to fine-tune the turnkey solution, enhancing the owner’s understanding of space planning, sightlines, and layout all from the comfort of his home in the Middle East.
“The virtual reality was a big surprise to the owner, and he loved it because it made it so easy to understand the space and its interaction with the outdoors – far more so than renderings and sketches. Ultimately that resulted in the entire design working in such a way that it exceeded his expectations.”
BART M. BOUWHUIS – CO-CREATIVE DIRECTOR
The amount of space and the flow of the layout were crucial to the owner’s enjoyment of his yacht. The yacht can sleep up to 12 guests in six staterooms – rare on a 499GT yacht – including a lavish split-level master suite on the upper deck with a private 4-metre pool on the foredeck.
A sprawling beach club in the stern is another highlight. Moreover, by placing the tender bay in a sunken deck in the bow the tenders are easily accessible yet hidden from view. The grated ‘tween deck arrangement provides storage for two tenders, a pair of jet skis and other water toys, but because it is not an enclosed space is not included in the yacht’s overall volume.
Design emphasis has been put on the yacht’s vast exterior areas and structural elements have been kept to a minimum to allow unobstructed views of the sea. The intimate family areas, including a drop-down bulwark in the cosy dining area, are paired with an almost endless owner’s aft deck.
The clean and modem exterior is matched by the contemporary yet evergreen interior design. The owner wanted to avoid bright direct light, hence the diffused lighting throughout the vessel with soft, muted beams. Matt-finished bamboo slats on the ceiling helps to absorb the natural sunlight flooding through the large floor-to-ceiling windows by day. A key feature is the gold, illuminated wall installation with integrated crystals in the stairwell that covers all three decks. Glass is also a central element in the design. The result is uninterrupted sight lines and a seamless flow between interior and exterior spaces. Glass bulwarks on all decks provide uninterrupted outboard views and large outdoor areas for guests to enjoy the vistas in a private and comfortable setting.
Due to her main dimensions, the comfort rating has been increased by 40% compared to other 500GT vessels, ensuring excellent seaworthiness and comfort at sea while greatly reducing seasickness incidence. In addition, the elongated hull design has a Bahama draft of 2,1 meter allowing her to travel safely in shallow waters. The efficient lines plan of the optimized hull uses around 35% less fuel than other 500GT vessels at the same speeds, increasing her range with the same amount.
Geometric lines shape the open-plan interior and the minimum of fixed furniture contributes to the homey atmosphere. An exposed floating staircase featuring a semi-transparent art installation ascends all the way to the sun deck. The owner’s suite benefits from a split-level bathroom, open-plan stairs, and a private 4m pool on the foredeck. The entire design is pulled together by the sprawling beach club with a direct connection to the water to heighten the onboard experience.
"I am thrilled to have selected three companies (Alia Yachts, SF Yachts and Vripack) of such pedigree and calibre in the yachting sector to work with. I am very much looking forward to the build being complete in the near future, and keenly await the day when I can experience life on board and travel the world with my family and friends."
OWNER – AL WAAB
|Current name||Al Waab|
|Draft (full load)||2.10 M|
|Owners rep. & manager||SF Yachts|
|Type of vessel||Displacement Motor Yacht|
|Material||Steel / aluminum|
|Classification||RINA, unrestricted navigation|
|Engine||2x C18 C-rating 533kW at 2100rpm|
|Speed (cruising/max)||10 / 13 kts|
|Fuel capacity||51,500 ltrs|
|Fresh water capacity||17,300 ltrs|
|Grey / black water capacity||16,587 ltrs|
|Owner & Guest||18 / 12 (private / commercial)|
|Crew||10 / 8 (private / commercial)|
|Tenders / Toys||7 m tender|
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