Earlier this month, Feadship Royal Dutch Shipyards released a teaser video promising a “sovereign surprise” at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show. On Wednesday the company took the wraps off in Monaco as it unveiled a scale model of its 2013 Feadship Future Concept. Dubbed the Feadship Royale, the concept is designed to mark this year’s ascension to throne of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands.
The brief from Feadship was to give its draftsmen free reign and let them design a concept royal superyacht for King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxim to use for personal and official purposes. Feadship has already built a number of royal yachts including ones for the Shah of Persia and the Saudi royal family, and in 1937 Feadship designed the Piet Hein, which was a wedding present from the Dutch people to King Willem-Alexander’s grandmother, Princess Juliana, and Prince Bernhard.
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The final result is, in terms of design, a study in contrasts – if not contradictions. According to the brief, this has to be a home-away-from-home, a showcase for Dutch industry, and a place for meeting other heads of state. It also has to reflect the nature of the royal family and the Dutch nation. It has to be open, yet private, designed for the modesty and practicality of a bicycle monarchy, yet palatial enough for diplomatic receptions and trade missions.
The end result is no skylark at a length of 86 m (282 ft), 14 m (45 ft) abeam, and a draft of 2.5 m (15 ft). With a transatlantic range, it has room for the King and Queen and their three children, eight guests, and 22 crew.
The most striking feature is the all-glass superstructure that draws on Feadship's experience in building with the material. “While recent builds such as Venus have already established our leading position in this highly specialized area, Feadship Royale deploys glass to an unprecedented degree,” says Tanno Weeda, one of the design team. “Having a full-height glass superstructure is a challenging concept but we are convinced that it is now technically possible. As more and more glass is used on land-based projects, our sophisticated clients have the right to expect the same on their superyacht. Ovens of the size required to bend giant glass panels are now available, and Feadship has the design and construction expertise to ensure total safety at sea.”
“The expansive glass in the superstructure and interior is inspired by the transparent nature of the Dutch, who pride themselves on their no-nonsense honesty and openness,” Feadship says. The glass floors provide light to the grand three-story atrium that serves as the reception space and exhibition area, and there is a sweeping walkway and facade that connect decks. Bulwarks are left out to allow in natural light.
The ship’s plan also reflects two natures. Many areas, such as the beach club and the main deck, are very open and allow direct contact between the royal family and the people, as well as allowing small private tenders to dock alongside. There are also private apartments for the royal family, including four suites, a lounge and a country kitchen area, as well as an area on deck giving them seclusion. In addition, there is a drive-through tender dock for coming and going with greater discretion and security.
The most spectacular part of the royal family area is the three-story glassed-in retreat in the bow with one-way glass that can only be entered through the royal apartments. It’s very daring from an architectural point of view, though it’s hard to imagine an engineer seeing it and not breaking into a cold sweat.
In terms of performance, the Feadship Royale is designed to do 17 knots thanks to two Riim drive thrusters rated at 1,500 kW each. These, along with the ship’s systems are powered by two medium-speed 2,219 kW diesel generators and a 400 kW generator. Feadships says that this system exceeds the IMO Tier III and EPA Tier 4i lower emission regulations that come into effect in 2020.
“Feadship Royale is not an official gift for their majesties, although we do hope they have fun exploring our thinking on their behalf,” says Farouk Nefzi, marketing and brand director at Feadship. “Feadship has built a number of stately superyachts for sovereigns from around the world. We also designed Piet Hein, a gift from the Dutch people to King Willem Alexander’s grandmother Princess Juliana on the occasion of her marriage in 1937. It is fair to say that we are rather proud of this royal heritage.”
The Feadship Royale is just a concept and it unlikely ever to be built, but Feadship has been known to include concept elements in its production yachts.
The video below is the teaser for the Feadship Royale