About Diane Byrne

Diane M. Byrne is the founder and editor of the website Megayacht News. A longtime yachting writer, she contributes to Super Yacht World, Superyacht Business, Boat Exclusive, and other magazines. She is additionally a member of the International Superyacht Society Board of Directors and a founding member of the U.S. Superyacht Association.

Emerald Isle Auction Falls Short

Emerald Isle at night

The auction of the 126-foot Emerald Isle did not go as anticipated last week, with the minimum bid failing to be reached. But there is still a chance the yacht will sell.

Built by Christensen Shipyards in 1992, Emerald Isle attracted a high bid of $2 million, but the minimum bid had been set at $2.85 million. She features an on-deck master suite plus three guest staterooms, one of which is full beam, and reportedly cost $7 million to build. There are also crew’s quarters for six, all below decks.

Emerald Isle was being offered jointly by J.P. King Auction Company, an auction marketing firm, and Yacht Auction Group, which has overseen the sale of boating-related and other luxury assets. Previously, the yacht, which underwent a $2-million refit in 2009, had been offered for sale through traditional brokerage channels but didn’t sell.

Even though the auction didn’t work as planned, Caley King Newberry, communications director for J.P. King, tells me that negotiations are underway with potential buyers. “As with any of our auctions that, for whatever reason, may not sell that day, our team immediately gets to work on selling it in private negotiations,” she explains. Perhaps those individuals have the same cruising goals in mind as the family that has enjoyed Emerald Isle since launch. In fact, Bonnie Harvey, the owner, says, “Emerald Isle was special for us because it was big enough to be roomy, yet it was small enough that we could go into areas that other boats could not go.” She also adds, “It was like home.”

I’m continuing to follow the story and will update accordingly.

Hydro Tec and Kingship Collaborate on Explorer Yacht

HT116 Explorer

Boasting an anticipated range of 7,000 nautical miles at an 11.5-knot cruise speed, the HT116 Explorer is one of the newest projects being promoted by Kingship Marine.

With exterior styling and naval architecture by Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec, the 116-foot (34.5-meter) megayacht will have a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. As the model name implies, she’s intended for long-range independence. Twin Caterpillar C18 ACERT diesels will help in that regard.

Inside, an elevator connects the four guest staterooms on the lower deck with the skylounge on the upper deck. The 27-foot (8.3-meter) beam is sure to be appreciated, whether the owner is relaxing in his main-deck suite or family are taking a dip in the Jacuzzi on the upper deck. Everyone can also enjoy an alfresco dining area on the uppermost deck, the sundeck, plus a solarium. No specifics have yet been released on the interior decor, as Kingship will develop that in-house with the eventual owner.

Hydro Tec has two more designs in the works with Kingship. One is a 148-footer, while the other is an 87-footer, with both being part of the Explorer series. Scale models of each, plus the HT116 Explorer, will be on display at the Monaco Yacht Show.

Smuggler Marine Aiming at International RIB Buyers

Smuggler Marine 630 RIB

If you pay close attention to the toys toted by superyachts, then you may recognize the name Smuggler Marine. Its RIBs have been aboard Alloy Yachts deliveries such as Salperton. Now the New Zealand-based RIB and trailer-boat manufacturer is setting its sights on farther-flung shores, touting its ability to customize the craft for nearly any need.

Smuggler builds all its RIBs in compliance with CE standards and provides a five-year structural hull warranty. Pictured here are the Strata 630 (above) and Strata 750 (below), just two of a range of RIBs from 4 to 11 meters (13 to 36 feet, respectively).

Seven Strata 630s have been delivered to date, with most powered by a 160-hp Volvo Penta D3 diesel inboard. It can carry eight people and hit a reported top speed of 44 mph with the 160-hp engine. The engine, by the way, is available as a stern drive or with a Hamilton jet drive, and the diesel system naturally makes it convenient to refuel from the main yacht, as some owners and crew do. Aesthetics-wise, the 630 comes with Tek Dek synthetic flooring, an MP3/CD player, handy grabrails off the swim platform, and a fill-in cushion for the forward V seating area.

Smuggler Marine 750 RIB

As for the Strata 750, Smuggler Marine reports that owners use it as a fishing and/or diving platform in addition to a traditional guest tender. Maximum capacity is 12 people. Teak trim on the boarding platform and optional removable carpet gussy it up for the superyacht set. A livewell can be fitted onboard, as can a rocket launcher, if you want to fish it. A drop-down bolster seat with five rod holders is optional. If the 750 will serve divers or swimmers, there’s a handheld freshwater shower and pump plus a water tank. Regardless of how you’ll use the RIB, a hardtop with stainless steel supports is among the other options. Power comes courtesy of a 150- or 250-hp Evinrude E-TEC two-stroke outboard. In addition, the 27-degree, deep-V hull can reportedly take on waters other RIBs can’t.

Smuggler Marine sells directly to builders and consumers alike, so contact the company for pricing, customization options, and other details.

Inace Launches 98 Explorer

Inace 98

Inace Yachts recently splashed the steel-hulled 98 Explorer seen here, one of six models from 78 to 135 feet that it has under construction.

The yacht is for a client of John DeCaro of All Ocean Yachts, who is also the representative for the Brazilian builder. The 98 Explorer was designed by Jon Overing, featuring a raised pilothouse and round-bilge hull form fitted with a bulbous bow. She has classic appeal, with extra touches like a softer transom profile and a fixed hardtop shading the extra steering station and seating area on the flying bridge.

Intended for a 12-knot top speed (half load) powered by twin 600-hp Caterpillar C18-A engines, the 98 Explorer reportedly performed well on sea trials and stability tests. In fact, DeCaro, who was present for the tests, says, “When we put her beam to the seas, she demonstrated a very comfortable, lady-like motion in the short steep seas off Fortaleza.” He further notes that the Quantum zero-speed stabilizers weren’t engaged.

Inside, Michael Kirschstein and the owner selected raised-panel American cherry for the decor. The full-beam (23’6”) master and three guest staterooms are all below decks, freeing up the main deck for relaxing and dining. The general arrangement also calls for a full-beam galley with dinette. Two crew staterooms are provided: one off the lazarette, and one fully forward on the lower deck. The forward stateroom is further adjacent to a laundry area, which has a staircase leading up to the pilothouse.

The Inace 98 Explorer is being built in compliance with both ABS classification and MCA standards. Finishing touches are still being applied, but the yacht is expected to premiere at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in October.

Alloy Yachts Presents Imagine


Here’s the first photo of the completed Hull AY40, a.k.a. Imagine, from Alloy Yachts. The delivery obviously marks a special occasion, but it’s extra special for another reason. Imagine is being handed over 17 years after the yard delivered a smaller sister, with the same name, to the same owner.

The current Imagine measures 44.18 meters (145 feet), and she’s designed by Dubois Naval Architects. Dubois was also the designer of the smaller superyacht, measuring 33.6 meters (110 feet) and, on a side note, has long considered her a favorite. Among other things, the first Imagine, a fast cruising sloop, won the Nioulargue Regatta Big Boat Series in 1994.

Of course, the current Imagine incorporates racing technology, too. There’s a Code Zero arrangement for the North Sails 3DL sails, for example, a setup commonly found aboard America’s Cup competitors. A Code Zero is a cross between a genoa and an asymmetrical spinnaker, used for sailing close to the wind in light air. Imagine further employs a 58.5-meter Southern Spars five-spreader mast, an 18.6-meter hybrid Leisure Furl boom, and EC6 Hybrid rigging with a split continuous backstay. Alloy Yachts built her with a fiberglass centerboard, custom winches, and a custom helm feedback system as well.

Suffice it to say that if Imagine enters friendly (or not-so-friendly) sailing races, she’ll be a strong contender. But for times when her owner wishes to relax, the master stateroom is just off the cockpit. Two guest staterooms are a little farther forward along a passageway.

IAG Yachts Launches First Project

IAG Yachts PrimaDonna

Founded in 2005, IAG Yachts is still relatively unknown, but its international team intends to change that. It’s an independent division of the International Audio Group, a China-based manufacturer of consumer and professional audio, lighting, and video products. It touts a modern shipyard in Zhuhai, in Southeastern China, plus a management team with naval architecture and mechanical engineering experience who have overseen projects at a handful of European yards. In fact, Andrea Nicolai, the shipyard director, and Olga Giannaccini, the technical and commercial director, each were involved in the creation of the Genesis 153, now known as Argyll. Nicolai was additionally a managing director of Baglietto. To better serve potential clients, IAG Yachts has established European, Middle Eastern, and American IAG offices. In fact, the staff of the latter includes Capt. Doug Hoogs, a well-known consultant in the megayacht business who was, among other things, a key player in the creation of the Genesis 153.

Why is all of this noteworthy now? Because IAG Yachts recently marked the launch of its first superyacht, the IAG PrimaDonna 127, which will premiere at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

The PrimaDonna 127 is an all-fiberglass trideck with a 26-foot beam. The styling is decidedly European, with some flowing curves. It’s courtesy of YD&AS, which has previously collaborated with yards like Benetti, Perini Navi, Columbus, and Trinity Yachts on carpentry shop drawings, interior design, and/or exterior styling. The PrimaDonna 127 complies with RINA classification and the MCA code.

Inside, an Italian-inspired decor flows from the lower deck, containing five guest staterooms, through the main deck, featuring the master, and on up to the bridge deck. There are also eight crew cabins, with the captain’s stateroom aft of the bridge. Part of the upper deck as well as a garage are dedicated to watertoy storage, to be provided by the eventual owner (asking price: $12.9 million). IAG Yachts built the PrimaDonna 127 on spec and has two further 127s under construction on spec.

Tank tests of her semi-displacement form were performed at Dalian University. Based on the results, IAG Yachts expects a 20-knot top end and 17-knot cruise. Propulsion is supplied by twin 1,800-hp Caterpillar engines.

Trial Set for Sensation Yachts Property

The legal battles over Sensation Yachts continue to grab headlines in its home country of New Zealand. Last week, word came that a new fight will be settled in court this November.

According to a few reports, HSBC, which holds an unpaid mortgage on Sensation, filed court documents last month in an attempt to force the removal of three partially completed megayachts and other items (“chattel,” in legal terms) from the property. The goal is to sell the land to recoup a reported NZ$6.5 million (about US$4.6 million) investment. However, the court just ruled that a trial must be held instead.

As noted last year, Sensation was placed into receivership and liquidation, after the yard’s former chief, Ivan Erceg, failed to pay several creditors, including Det Norske Veritas. Erceg also failed to pay HSBC, so the bank is now the mortgagee in possession. On a related side note, Erceg himself was placed in bankruptcy by court order in February of this year. He is reportedly fighting that ruling.

The three yachts are among five superyachts that were commissioned several years ago by Balenia, a Cayman Islands firm. (Construction never started on two of the five.) The first yacht was expected to be completed in 2005, with the last one finished by 2007. The bank wanted the projects moved because, its lawyers argued, they had nothing to do with the land and therefore the attempted sale of the property. Balenia, however, objected to HSBC’s request because the hulls are each in excess of 50 meters (165 feet) and, it claims, there is nowhere nearby to store them.

Further complicating matters, some of Sensation’s receivers also have disputes with Balenia. Last October, when HSBC became mortgagee in possession, these receivers did not want the partially completed yachts to be relocated until their claims were resolved.

The trial is expected to last two days. More news once the judge issues his ruling.

While we await those results, one thing does seem to be clear at this stage: The legal wrangling threatens to last longer than the company has been out of business.

Sirius, Feadship’s Fourth F45, Debuts

Feadship Sirius

Somehow it’s fitting that the lastest F45 from Feadship’s Royal Van Lent yard is a celestial-themed superyacht, just like one of her predecessors.

Sirius is the fourth 44.65-meter (147-foot) yacht in the F45 Vantage series. Like Space, delivered in 2007 (and Harle in 2007 and TV in 2008), Sirius accommodates 10, including the owners, with all staterooms on the main deck. When Feadship unveiled this layout as a central part of the series several years ago, some of us in the media wondered whether it would catch on. Clearly it has. And why not? It allows everyone to enjoy equally excellent views. The master stateroom doesn’t suffer space-wise, either. It actually feels more spacious than it is because of the 3.2-meter-high (about 11-foot-high) ceiling, further fitted with a skylight. Take a close look at the foredeck area just ahead of the pilothouse windows, and you can see the rectangular-shaped expanse of skylight glass.

The interior blends deep- and medium-tone woods in the “Miami” decor package from Sinot Branding & Design (formerly Sinot Design Associates), one of a few offered in the series. It has a serene, Art Deco-influenced look. You can see a few photos in a slideshow on the F45 Vantage website. One of my favorite: the upper-deck lounge, which has a dining table tucked to port and teak decking just like the additional dining area outside its doors. In fact, the lounge can turn into an indoor-outdoor spot by keeping the doors open. It’s a great beach club feel.

Sirius is also being offered for charter through the Feadship Charter Division. Interested parties will note that the queen-size beds in the guest staterooms can convert to twins. The megayacht also has an office that can convert to handle extra guests thanks to a Murphy bed. Equally noteworthy, the crew-to-guest ratio is 1:1.

Icon Yachts Premiering 53-Meter Proposal

Icon Yachts 53-meter

As you may recall, Icon Yachts and Redman Whiteley Dixon teamed up for the interior of Icon’s first megayacht series, measuring 62 meters (203 feet). While construction continues on the series’ third launch, the pair have teamed again for the interior and styling of a new design, the 53.1-meter (174-footer) seen here.

Rising five decks, the Icon 53m should do a good job of bringing the outdoors in: There are full-height windows along the sides of two decks. This makes for a bold, modern look, complemented by the equally modern, strong lines. The relaxation and entertainment areas are open for the owner’s input, though Icon and Redman Whiteley Dixon anticipate he or she will want a full-beam main-deck owner’s suite. (The yacht’s beam is 9.45 meters, or 31 feet, so it will be plenty spacious.) There’s reportedly already been some interest in the design, which further calls for a transom beach club and alfresco dining, shaded by the hardtop, on the sundeck.

Performance-wise, model tests conducted at the MARIN Institute show that the Icon 53m should achieve a 15-knot top speed. At cruising speed, she should see a range of 4,000 nautical miles. She should also readily access various superyacht-oriented marinas and anchorages worldwide, thanks to a 3.3-meter (nearly 11-foot) draft. Naval architecture is by Icon’s own Jouke van der Baan.

Since Icon has made its name on a standardized technical platform, it will equip the 53m similar to how it created the 62m. All technical spaces and engineering are predetermined. This includes the engine room, toy garage and anchor handling area contained within it.

Proposed Rybovich Refit Yard to Be Put to Public Vote

Following the verification of thousands of signatures on a petition, residents of Riviera Beach in Florida will now get the chance to vote on the proposed megayacht-refit facility that Rybovich wishes to build.

As we’ve reported before, for the past several months, Rybovich has been in negotiations with city officials to establish a boatyard at an unused marina. When Rybovich and Riviera Beach announced the plans in May, a primary issue was whether the city could legally enter into the proposed 25-year lease. That’s because the state of Florida set aside submerged lands at the marina strictly for municipal park and recreational usage, and current laws do not include exceptions for leases. Many residents were upset over what they saw as city officials ignoring the rules, granting commercial usage of submerged lands. A group known as the Riviera Beach Citizens Task Force decided to circulate a petition among city voters, in an effort to collect enough signatures to force a public vote over the issue.

According to an article earlier this week in the Palm Beach Post, the Palm Beach County elections office verified the minimum 2,052 signatures needed. More than that number was actually collected, but the office stopped counting when the minimum was reached.

Emma Bates, chairwoman of the Citizens Task Force, claimed victory. She was quoted as saying, “There’s going to be an all-out campaign to get people to vote.”

The vote will take place on November 2. The ballot item will request voter input on whether the laws should be changed to prevent the marina from being used for a “commercial boat repair operation.” They’ll also be asked to vote yes or no on restricting the use of submerged lands, so that Riviera Beach would own and operate the marina and the existing properties.