Vripack - yacht design - Pioneer - 1 - 01

The unrivaled globetrotter

Pioneer (ex Turmoil)

Given that Dick Boon, Vripack’s founder, was born under the sight of Aquarius, he was, in a sense, destined to be an intuitive leader, on whose creations, whatever they were, would be some of the most complex, technical, and functional of their kind ever built.

His attention to detail and meticulous precision have always been second to none. These qualities may not always have made him the easiest person to work with – though he of course begs to differ – but no one has ever doubted the outcome of his approach and high standards.


Vripack - Yacht Design - The unrivalled globetrotter - Turmoil - Pioneer Dick Boon Vripack's founder - Explorer the world and the seas

‘Turmoil - now Pioneer - was the first yacht to ever navigate the Northwest Passage, and the first to do it twice. She has circumnavigated the world not just once or twice, but a staggering twenty-three times’.


Vripack - yacht design - Pioneer - Exterioir - At sea

When Dick met up with legendary shipbuilder Mike Kelsey Sr. and yacht owner Gary Comer, it was to be the start of a conversation that would result in the creating of one of the world’s most remarkable expedition yachts. Comer had been dreaming since the late eighties of becoming the first to sail a yacht through the treacherous Northwest Passage as part of his ultimate global research voyage. Vripack responded to the challenge with a design for a no-nonsense yacht that would place Turmoil in the history books.


Being strong proponents of aluminium construction, and maters at creating long-range cruisers, Turmoil was the perfect embodiment of the studio’s philosophy. While the yachts that emerge from the studio vary in style, the basic principles of their naval architecture remain the same. Turmoil’s high flared bow, narrow waterlines, and wineglass transom made for a dry ship and optimum course stability. Meanwhile, her 162,000-litre fuel capacity and 12-knot cruising speed meant this globetrotter could sail from Amsterdam to Auckland via Hawaii – some 10,000 Nm – without refueling.

Designed specifically for experienced and adventurous yachtsmen to sail around the world and operate in the most extreme conditions is precisely what Turmoil did. In 2001, she indeed became the first yacht to navigate the Northwest Passage, and in 2010 the first to do it twice. Having circumnavigated the world not just once or twice, but a staggering twenty-three times, she shows no signs of stopping anytime soon.


‘We’ve been on major adventures with her, and covered enormous distances. She has been superbly engineered and performed flawlessly. We were grateful to have such an intelligently-designed boat beneath our feet.’



Current name Pioneer
Design number 2470
Year of built 1996
Length 46.20 m
Beam 9.08 m
Draft 2.70 m
Designer Vripack
Naval Architect Vripack
Structural Engineering Vripack
Mechanical Engineering Vripack
Interior Design Vripack
Interior Engineering Vripack
Builder Palmer Johnson
Type of vessel Research vessel
Hull type Displacement
Material Aluminum
Classification Lloyds Registered
Engine Twin CAT
Speed (cruising/max) 12 / 15 knots
Fuel capacity 162,000 liters
Freshwater capacity  16,200 liters
Grey / black water capacity 15,000 liters
Owner & Guest 10 persons
Crew 8 persons

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