fbpx

Akira update

Owners’ representative MCM offers an update on the construction of the 57-metre Heesen superyacht project Akira, which is due for delivery this year.

11 April 2024

Advertisement

When it comes to building a multimillion-dollar superyacht, typically, nothing is left to chance. While the choice of designer and builder is paramount in most people’s minds, the decision of which team to represent the owner’s interests is central to the success of a project, and the ultimate satisfaction of the owner upon delivery.

The owners of the 57-metre motor yacht Akira – currently under construction at the Heesen shipyard in Oss, the Netherlands – have chosen US-based Marine Construction Management (MCM) to oversee the build.

“We were introduced to these clients a few years ago when they were weighing up the options of designing and building from scratch, purchasing from the brokerage market or purchasing a yacht already in build,” MCM co-founder Peter Wilson says, “which obviously was the final outcome.

“Based on that relationship, they advised that they wished to retain MCM to represent them through the construction process.”

Advertisement

Wilson says being an owner’s representative is not just being a face at the table, but rather it’s a complex, multi-disciplinary role that draws on everything from engineering knowledge to sea-going experience.

For Wilson, whose background includes working as a superyacht captain, a boatbuilder and a technical surveyor (and which also encompasses seven America’s Cups, including the winning 1992 campaign), it’s the combination of all these facets that makes for a successful owner’s representative and project manager.

Founded in 1988, MCM has become one of the go-to companies for project management, owner representation and ongoing yacht management, spanning both sailing yachts and motor vessels.

“In MCM’s 36 years of operation, we’ve seen a lot – and not least, how superyachts have developed in terms of size, regulation and sophistication,” Wilson says.

“I draw upon my hands-on boatbuilding experience and that is complemented by thousands of miles at sea, so I understand what can happen on the darkest and windiest of nights.

“As a result, we are well-versed in multiple facets and disciplines from construction and engineering, systems and equipment selection and also that which happens when the vessel is underway.”

Building the dream team

Retained prior to the purchase of Akira, MCM’s first tasks were to review the project’s specifications and drawings, make observations and recommendations, and work with the lawyers in the development of the final specification and contract documents.

It’s a critical aspect of a yacht’s build where the knowledge and experience of the owner’s representative is crucial in laying the best foundation for the rest of the project.

For Akira, this also meant adapting to a construction process that was already underway, while ensuring that the spec matched the owners’ requirements and the elements of engineering and design that could be changed were brought in line with the owners’ wishes.

“The bulk of the aluminium works on the hull, deck and superstructure was complete, though at a stage where the owners could still put their imprint on the design, particularly in the interior,” Wilson says.

“We had a lot of input into the technical specification of the yacht, and the project was at a stage where those betterments could be implemented and included in the yacht’s system.

“Having said that, the specification was already written to a high standard and some choices come down to preferences, not necessarily right and wrong.”

New beginnings

Akira marks the start of a new series for Heesen, boasting a gross tonnage volume of 750GT on a 56.7-metre-LOA platform that delivers speed thanks to an all-aluminium build, and efficiency thanks to a Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF) hull shape. This means that Akira is projected to be capable of reaching an impressive 22 knots, while still offering very long range at lower cruising speeds.

The exterior design is by long-time Heesen collaborators Omega Architects, including a laterally concave transom scoop that complements the sculpted profile lines. The interior has come from Harrison Eidsgaard studio, and was developed to incorporate the owners’ wishes.

“There are many aspects of the design that separate Akira from the crowd,” Wilson says. “Her hull design concept is the FDHF which provides hydrodynamic efficiency allowing for low consumption and long range at cruising/delivery speeds. However, the ability to go 22 knots on demand can be very attractive. Also, importantly, based on her keel laying date she is fully IMO Tier III compliant.”

The all-aluminium build only draws 2.3 metres at half load, which makes it particularly adaptable for its size in terms of accessing shallow bays, anchorages and harbours.

“Further,” Wilson adds, “the clients were very closely involved in developing the Harrison Eidsgaard interior from where it was pre-purchased – now it closely reflects their design inspiration and preferences terms of layout, materials and finishes.”

Collaborative key

The success of the project depends on several factors, but key to all of them is the expertise of the owners’ team and their ability to collaborate with and guide the shipyard, design teams, and various other parties involved in such a lengthy and complex project.

Akira is indeed the first of a new series,” Wilson says, “however our projects are typically custom, so this being the first in this line for Heesen is not really a differentiation from our normal modus.

He adds: “I should say that the shipyard has been very inclusive and open to ideas, and welcome recipients of our experience that we can bring to bear. It has been a really healthy collaboration.”

Akira is on track for a 2024 delivery.

“The yacht is progressing extremely well – currently, the engine room is close to fully populated and from a systems perspective, the yacht is quite complete,” Wilson says.

“The interior is being installed at a fast pace, and the exterior paint process is nearing completion.

“Sea trials will start this summer, and we are excited about putting her through her paces in the North Sea quite soon.”

 

mcmnewport.com
heesenyachts.com

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement

  • Advertisement