Acclaimed British architect Norman Foster has revisited luxury yacht design with his elite fleet for fractional ownership that reveal acute considerations for light and space.
YachtPlus rules the waves as Foster's covetable craft takes cruising to exceptional new heights, heralding a return to the golden days of seafaring.
Ardor for acclaimed architecture goes beyond the shoreline, as Yachtplus's new fleet of super-yachts attests. Over recent years, fractional ownership has brought ease, convenience and economy to yachting enthusiasts. These luxury floating timeshares alleviate the financial burden of staff salaries, maintenance and mooring fees commonly associated with yacht ownership – and with weekly costs starting from 80,000 to 100,000 euros per week for a 12.5% share of your own starchitect-designed craft, part ownership has become an attractive proposition for smart-money seafarers with a penchant for style. "From the outset, we had the vision to bring a new type of yacht to a new generation of owner, and this is now happening," says YachtPlus's CEO Han Verstraete. Confirming Verstraete's vision, each of the eight shares of the premier model, which will be unveiled at this year's Monaco Boat Show, have already been snapped up.
In 2005, the London-based luxury yacht ownership and services company commissioned the 1999 Pritzker Prize-winning architect Norman Foster to create its first fleet of ten palatial 41-meter crafts. This was his third nautical commission, as Foster had previously designed the 58-meter Izanami motor yacht in 1993 and was responsible for the customization of Wally's über-chic sailing yacht Dark Shadow. Foster once again displayed his nautical prowess with the completion of the Yacht Club de Monaco's spectacular viewing terraces, overlooking the famous marina, in 2006.
Each turnkey craft bears Foster's stamp, from the outer shell down to the super-sleek brushed metal door handles. Every detail is carefully considered – exemplifying the care and diligence that has established Foster as a world-leading architect. "This is an invitation to think afresh the concept of a 41-meter luxury super-yacht from a broad-brush strategy down to the smallest detail – both inside and out," says Lord Foster.
The luminous vessel boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and a panoramic saloon on the upper deck, offering wide, unobstructed views of the horizon, and natural materials such as solid teak and coconut husk fiber flooring further dissipate the boundaries between the lush interior and the sleek, chic outer deck to elegant effect. The craft also claims 30% more interior and exterior space than other yachts in her category, further testament to a capacious feel. "With my team at Foster and Partners, we have given a new emphasis to such issues as quality and quantity of space, outdoor terraces, light and views. Our work on luxury hotels and residences has also informed a fresh approach to achieving privacy and comfort, here in the context of a nautical tradition," notes the acclaimed architect.
The Master-Owner suite commands from the top deck, looking out to the bow. His and her balconies add opulence and stature to the primary cabin, which, at over 53 square meters, measures more than any other boat in its category. An adjacent children's game area and cappuccino bar pay tribute to the family-oriented approach of Foster's design. "The internal planning of the boats will be flexible, to respond to the diverse needs of owners, their guests and families, spanning all ages," he explains. However, this practical design approach does not detract from the overall sexiness of this super yacht. The curved living spaces of the lower deck sensuously follow the rounded profile of the hull - a collaboration between the Foster studio and Italy's leading shipyard, Rodriquez Cantieri Navali - which blends an appreciation for form with high-quality Italian engineering, making YachtPlus's elite craft the most elegant vessel to grace any marina.
State-of-the-art lighting systems evoke a moody ambiance amidst the solitary night sea, while the latest gadgetry, such as an impressive home cinema with a giant screen concealed flush in the ceiling, rivals even the most sophisticated land-locked home entertainment system. However, the main showpiece of the Signature 40's stunning interior is a spectacular glass spiral staircase, which commands attention without sacrificing light or infringing upon the overall spatial appeal of the design.
The entire fleet is projected to be fully afloat by 2010. Dividing their time between the Mediterranean for summer and the Caribbean for winter, these nautically fantastic floating timeshares promise to be the ultimate luxury lifestyle asset of the 21st century.
Propulsion 2 x 1044 KW Caterpillar C32 Diesels
Range 1,500 NM at 12 knots, cruising 16 knots
Speed, max 17.5 knots, cruising 16 knots
Overall Length 41.0 m
Length at waterline, 35 m
Max. number of persons on board, 12 guests and a permanent crew of 6
Beam, (max) 8.40 m
Displacement laden, 205 Ton (half load)
Fuel capacity, 21,000 Lit
Fuel consumption, approx. 510 LTS/H at 15 knots
Water capacity, 8,000 Lit
Watermakers, 2 x 3100 Lits/Day
Generators, 2 x 86 KW