High-end yachting is changing as a new generation of luxury travellers dreams of reaching remote destinations like papua new guinea, the northwest passage, svalbard, and antarctica’s ross sea. Now these wanderers can get there in style and safety. By Clare Mahon.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

High-end yachting is changing as a new generation of luxury travellers dreams of reaching remote destinations like papua new guinea, the northwest passage, svalbard, and antarctica’s ross sea. Now these wanderers can get there in style and safety. By Clare Mahon.

Rossinavi – ARGO 48m.
Rossinavi – ARGO 48m.

EXPEDITION BOATS ARE growing in popularity for positive characteristics like wide stern areas, superstructures carried well fore and stable hull lines. But what exactly defines an explorer or expedition-type yacht?

“Many of the expedition yachts on the water today are actually former surveying, fishing or even military vessels that have been taken out of service and refit for private use,” says Mario Pedol of Nauta Design. “When you talk about purposeddesigned explorer yachts like the CdM Nauta Air series, the principal characteristics are sturdiness, seaworthiness and long-range cruising capacity. Owners like the freedom that comes with ocean-going endurance and ample storage areas for provisions, water and fuel.”

Luxury and comfort are also required by Owners, so the latest explorer yachts being built or still in the design stages are upping the levels of both to meet the demands of what appears to be a booming market.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room

The world of superyachts meets the world of discovery in Cantiere delle Marche’s latest collaboration with the Milan-based design firm Nauta Design. Narvalo, the CdM Nauta Air 108’, is built in steel and aluminium and has been designed for intrepid clients who want to explore the unknown while enjoying all the comforts of home.

The yacht combines sturdy lines with a certain Hollywood glamour expressed in a sweeping staircase aft.

The current flagship for CdM’s Nauta Air line, Narvalo made her debut at September’s Cannes Yachting Festival following her launch in Ancona, Italy in May. The previously launched hulls in this series – a 86ft for an Owner from Thailand and a 90ft – already are well known for reliability, safety and seaworthiness qualities that Narvalo shares and multiplies.

While many explorer yachts have a chunky, workaday look, the CdM Nauta Air’s lines – with an almost plumb bow and vertical wheelhouse windows – look honest and clean.

“Our designs always aim to achieve lightness in both senses of the word: a rational visual ‘weight’ and a sense of brightness,” says Pedol. “Applying our concept to this yacht, we maintained an optimal relationship of brightness and communication between interior and exterior spaces. And to enhance her exploring potential, Narvalo has a reduced draft specifically designed for navigation in shallow waters.”

While Nauta Design is well-known in the yachting world for the understated elegance of its designs for both sail and motor yachts (having designed the Loro Piana family’s series of yachts named My Song and the exteriors of the world’s largest privately owned yacht, Azzam) Cantiere delle Marche is equally respected in the industry for its expertise in commercial shipbuilding, applied today to private yachts.

My Reading Room
My Reading Room

“Narvalo features a balance of solidity and substance with elegance and style,” says Vasco Buonpensiere, Cantiere delle Marche’s Sales Director. “We are world leaders in the 80ft to 112ft explorer yacht sector and in building this yacht we were responding not only to the owner’s brief, but also to a specific market demand for carefully engineered, safe and reliable displacement hulls with ample exterior and interior spaces that also boast Italian styling and design.

“We may be a relatively small shipyard, but our yachts guarantee huge navigation experiences.”

In addition to the seaworthiness of an explorer yacht, Narvalo boasts luxuries both large and small. The main deck aft has a large and wide receiving area with couches and chairs whose cream and turquoise upholstery sets the yacht’s colour theme. Inside the main deck saloon, the Owner’s love for Italian design, art and nature are evident immediately.

“We kept the interiors light and fresh with sand tones set off by turquoise accents and bleached oak veneer,” says Pedol. The open space is subtly divided into a large living area and a dining area. A large TV disappears into a sideboard so that the space’s third use, as a home cinema, doesn’t predominate.

Views to the exterior and natural light provide the backdrop for pieces from the Owner’s collections of art and art glass. But Narvalo is not just an exercise in style: the bleached oak floor is subtly textured for extra grip in rough seas.

The spacious galley is port side on this deck and has two dedicated staircases: one that leads directly to the crew quarters and an exterior one that leads to the upper deck so that the chef and steward/stewardess can go about their tasks without passing through guest areas.

The guest stairwell foyer features dark, slatted wood walls and dramatic lighting that contrast with the light and brightness in the rest of the yacht. A suspended facsimile narwhale tusk (narvalo means narwhale) pierces the space in the stairwell from lower deck all the way through to the upper deck, a complex design feat in a yacht this size.

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The foyer leads to the full beam Owner’s suite whose spaces include an entryway with a sofa and desk placed in front of a large window. The cabin has a centrally placed double bed with a couch under the starboard window and another desk under the port window.

Bed and chair heights have been calibrated so that the views can be enjoyed while sitting or even lying down views from. The full-beam bathroom is accessed through doors placed on both sides of the bed and includes a communal area with double sinks, a bathtub and a large spa shower that leads on to two completely independent toilet and bidet rooms.

The upper deck aft has outdoor storage for a 5.5m tender and a Jetski. A launching crane is starboard, making it easy to free the space for entertaining. A table that can seat 10 comfortably is shaded by the sun deck overhang and sideboards that flank the sliding glass doors into the upper deck saloon conceal a handily placed bar and a refrigerator.

The upper deck saloon picks up and repeats the themes from the main saloon. Again the spaces are divided into a living/home cinema area and a dining area. This large space has commanding views and is separated from the wheelhouse by shelves and a textured wall.

Fore of the wheelhouse there is a large, split-level deck with sweeping views over the seascape. There are couches on both sides with tables that can be adjusted to two heights: high for dining or playing cards, low for joining with the couches for use as bases for sun loungers. A day head can be accessed from the well-protected side passage.

While the yacht was built for exploration and adventure, the sun deck spaces hint that there might be a party or two planned at some point. The aft area features a glass-sided Jacuzzi and the same varyingheight tables as on the fore deck. The table’s versatility means that this area can be used for dining, lounging or having cocktails.

Further fore, a hardtop with elegant LED light strips built into the teak-lined ceiling shades a dining table with seating for 10-12 on folding chairs and banquettes and an elegant, almost calligraphic bar with barstools.

The octagonal foyer on the lower deck leads to two double VIP cabins and two twin cabins. All cabins are en suite with fittings in bleached oak and cream fabrics. Also on this level, but accessed from a different staircase, are two double crew cabins and the Captain’s cabin.

The crew area has significant refrigerated spaces and sub-lower deck access for dry provisions so that Narvalo can stay out at sea for weeks without the need to land to re-supply.

The CdM Nauta Air 108’ was built for an Owner who wanted a yacht with go-anywhere, do-anything attitude, but the elegant, sweepingly wide staircase that leads down to the beach platform gives it a kind of Hollywood ending. Perhaps on top of yacht that’s sturdy and functional enough for long-range exploration, this owner also had making a splash at the Cannes Film Festival in mind.

The CdM Nauta Air 108’ has twin Caterpillar C18 engines and twin Kohler 55kw generators. Fitted with a Dynamic Positioning System and a sophisticated navigation system, her efficient hull shape, designed and optimised by Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec, grants a cruising range of 5,500nm at 9 knots. Narvalo is available for charter this winter in the Caribbean through Y.Co.

CdM also produces a line of Darwin Class explorer yachts, ranging from 86ft to 107ft. Lee Marine in Phuket recently negotiated the sale of a CdM Darwin 102 new construction project.

Built of steel and aluminium, this new explorer yacht is under construction at the Ancona based shipyard with a delivery time of 22 months. Featuring three decks, with the total of 244 GRT volume, the vessel will accommodate the owner’s large family.

“The Owner has a great deal of experience and wanted a genuine, world expedition yacht with a very high comfort level and unparalleled sea keeping,” says Lee Marine Managing Director Josh Lee.

Lee Marine will oversee the build for the Owner and expects further Asian sales as a result of this order. “We built and delivered the first Nauta Air with CdM and trust them to come to the fore again this time with a super high-quality build, delivered on time, and with a smile,” Lee says. “This is an exciting addition to Lee Marine’s Superyacht New Build Division.”


My Reading Room
My Reading Room