Sustainability Superyacht

METSTRADE Checks In With Icon Yachts

Peter Franklin
Thursday, 2 April 2020

Amongst the visitors perusing the latest in marine equipment, and catching up on industry developments at last year’s METSTRADE Show, was Marcela Royer, Business Development Manager for Netherlands based superyacht builder Icon Yachts, together with some of her colleagues from the yard’s engineering and design departments.

Having engaged in the Q & A session during one of the Sustainability Panel Discussions, Marcela left us her business card, so we followed up with her recently to enquire how she found the show, and to get an update on the latest developments at Icon. The yard is dedicated to maintaining one of the greenest shipyards in the yachting industry, outfitting each yacht it builds with equipment to help reduce her environmental impact. Currently it is forging ahead with its Sunseeker partnership, which will see the first 48 metre superyacht carrying the iconic British brand name, to be built from steel, and slated for launch in 2021.

Marcela told us, “we also have another exciting new build in development, the 50 metre Project 161, where the owner is very keen to incorporate a lot of environmentally friendly sustainable features, including hydrogen energy propulsion, which was discussed by the panel at METSTRADE. By the time the next show comes around, we hope to be able to have one of our engineers at the I-nnovationLab stage to share more details.”

Project Ragnar, an innovative conversion concept

Just a few weeks ago, the Icon yard in Harlingen launched their latest conversion project; a 68 metre explorer superyacht called Ragnar, which Marcela was kind enough to send us more details about. Conversions are a great way to keep older, or redundant vessels in service for many more years instead of scrapping, or laying them up. Icon had already established a reputation for successfully delivering such projects after refitting and converting a former Soviet ice breaking tug with an unfortunate history, including abandonment, and a major fire breaking out onboard. That was the 77 metre MY Legend, which left the yard in 2016 bound for Antarctic expedition charter adventures, under new ownership and notated with Lloyds Ice Class A1.

Following this, Icon receive many enquiries for similar conversion projects, and by the middle of 2017 they were already busy with the next one; an ice breaking multi-purpose offshore support / supply vessel, originally named Sanaborg, purpose built in 2012, to tackle the toughest weather conditions in the world, which had been laid up in the North of Holland. So again, a perfect candidate for conversion by an adventurous and imaginative new owner, and an opportunity for the UK based naval architects RWD Yacht Design to push the boundaries, and to make a truly stunning looking Explorer yacht, out of a fairly standard appearance offshore workhorse.

Rugged functionality combined with medieval history inspired style

Project RAGNAR is LY3 classed with arctic explorer capabilities, and full ice breaking functionality. The yacht has an incredible range of 6,000 nautical miles, giving her the reach to go to the most remote areas of the planet. Apparently, her owner is a passionate enthusiast of medieval battles and associated weaponry, so the designers at RWD took his interest onboard for their design inspiration.

‘Ragnar’ was the legendary Norse Viking warrior King, and the reconstruction of the vessel’s bow section and superstructure can be seen to clearly resemble the battle helmets of the Vikings. But apart from having a striking and unusual profile, MY Ragnar combines the capabilities of a serious, ice-breaking Arctic explorer, with the comfort and luxury of a world-class superyacht. And another operational advantage is her shallow draught and high maneuverability, which make it possible to cruise in shallow waters.

Arctic exploration technical features

Ragnar is designed as a Polar coded vessel which allows her to cruise in extreme Arctic ice laden conditions. With an Ice Class Super A1 hull, she is also fitted with some unique propulsion gear to cope with ice breaking duty. This consists of two electrically driven PC5 Wärtsila Ice pods (FS 1750BOP-ICE) each rated at 1.750 kW. These have specific ice churning capability via fixed 4 blade propellers, plus the thrusters and propellers are also constructed with the capability to break ice. Consequently, she can not only cruise through icy waters, but can physically break ice up to 3 metres thick.

Other key features of the conversion that equip the yacht for subzero climate duties, include heated windows and doors to prevent freezing up, and polar level insulation. Marcela told us that the polar duty rated HVAC system has been specially designed to utilise excess heat from the engines which can reduce energy usage by up to 50%. And, ‘eco teak’ decking made from composite material provides better insulation than the hard wood variety, and has higher resistance to extreme weather conditions.

Interior luxury and lots of toys

The 2-year conversion project included an increase of luxury accommodation areas. Most exploration vessels are not as luxurious inside as Ragnar, which has the highest levels of quality interior outfitting. The owner was keen on creating an extreme contrast between a tough looking and rugged exterior, and a highly luxurious interior, which the RWD design team combined with the workmanship at Icon has managed to deliver in spades.

The vessel also has a functional designated deck for toys such as jet skis, snow mobiles, tenders and a hovercraft, plus a fully-certified helicopter landing pad, complete with its own refueling station so that the chopper does not need to return to shore to fill up.

Images: Icon Yachts & Guy Fleury

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