Every now and then, a design collaboration comes about that showcases the strengths of both parties. The exterior design of the Nordhavn 148 is a perfect example of that. It is the second project the two powerhouses work together on, and was exclusively unveiled at this year’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
The power of partnership between Dutch design studio Vripack and builder of expedition yachts Nordhavn followed from their previous collaboration on the interior design for the Nordhavn 80 in 2018. It was the pairing’s first project and the shipyard’s first foray into working with an external designer. This design unequivocally proved that a homely Scandinavian chic interior hailing from the drawing boards of Vripack pairs seamlessly with Nordhavn’s bold explorer vessels.
In addition, the exterior of the Nordhavn 148 now perfectly illustrates that when pairing the shipyard’s build pedigree with Vripack’s in-house naval architecture expertise and vast experience designing explorer vessels that take on Northwest Passages, the results are explosive.
How did we design a yacht that is so different, but recognisable at the same time?
Stretching 148ft in length, she will be the largest Nordhavn to date. It will also be the first ever metal Nordhavn; with the yard having only built in composite until now. Sporting a steel hull, aluminium superstructure and round bilge, it is a displacement yacht that offers comfort and durability.
“Nordhavn were keen to tap into our explorer heritage,” says Marnix Hoekstra, co-creative director at Vripack. “Nordhavn boats are renowned for venturing to remote off-the-beaten-track destinations; and so the aim was to demonstrate to owners that this significant latest model has been conceived by a design studio that has a proven track record in this arena.”
As a no-nonsense go-anywhere explorer boat, the Nordhavn 148 possesses the strong Nordhavn DNA and feel, but with Dutch styling. “It is modernised and vastly different to anything they have ever done before, but wholly recognisable as a Nordhavn,” explains Hoekstra. “As a designer, we really were able to be on the cutting edge in terms of how far we could stretch the Nordhavn brand without losing its heritage. It’s a Nordhavn explorer – designed by Vripack – but it remains a Nordhavn nonetheless.
Our aim was simply to reimagine it.”
A globetrotting yacht needs to go above and beyond
Key to the design are Vripack’s reinterpretation of particular features, including a flared, rounded bow; the yard’s interesting combination of square and round windows, and an industrial chic aesthetic.
“We reinterpreted certain recognisable elements through fresh eyes but were careful to remain true to the form,” says Hoekstra. “I believe that with a larger yacht, we can put more emphasis on certain design expressions.”
In addition, the yacht will benefit from an ‘ice belt’ – a.k.a. an ice-strengthened hull; a stiffer hull than the minimum requirement by classification and a generous-sized engine room. In terms of interior layout, she is spacious, grand and has enough tender storage to accommodate two 8m tenders.
“We have made sure that as a globetrotting yacht, she goes above and beyond what is required,” says Hoekstra. “This was a specific request from Nordhavn in order to remain competitive and in-line with market trends, and we happily obliged.”