Nestled in the bustling harbour town of Concarneau on France’s Brittany coast, JFA Yachts feels right at the epicentre of French sailing. The yard itself is a hard one to classify as – much like the diverse talents of the French sailing heroes who hail from this region – JFA doesn’t just build one type of yacht.
It became well known both for its custom sailing yachts such as the 86-foot Ti Moune or the 82-foot Atalanta as it did for its expedition motor yachts Axantha I and Axantha II, its classically styled support vessel Bystander – which became the escort vessel for the J Class yacht Velsheda – and more recently its Long Island range of large sailing and motor catamarans.
The latest, just-announced project – for a private client, and on which construction is due to start this Autumn – draws on the skills and expertise used in all those previous builds, wrapped in a 50-metre modern explorer-style shell and with a heap of innovations thrown in.
The yacht will be a hybrid in more ways than one. While at its heart will be a pair of beating MTU engines integrated into a hybrid powertrain, the yacht itself will feature a combination of aluminium hull and a superstructure built partially in composite glass epoxy.
Exterior design and naval architecture for the project comes from the boards of world-renowned Humphreys Yacht Design in the UK. The design employs a light displacement philosophy and that focus on sustainability thanks to that hybrid propulsion system, and she will feature both fin stabilisers and a large gyro, as well as capacities for considerable autonomy.
An inside-outside approach also marks the design, with large expanses of glass to connect the owners and their guests to the land- and seascapes, and generous outside areas that also allow for sizeable tenders and multiple toys – key considerations when undertaking long voyages and heading to more remote cruising grounds.
“The design,” says Tom Humphreys, Director of Humphreys Yacht Design, “has benefitted from a highly integrated approach to marry all the technical, functional and client-specific requirements. It has been underpinned through a rigorous naval architecture effort where intensive CFD (computational fluid dynamics) work was ultimately validated by one of the most comprehensive model testing programmes.”
The interior design comes from the drawing boards of m2 atelier, the international studio based in Milan founded by architects Marijana Radovic and Marco Bonneli.
The client’s team is headed up by A2B Marine Projects. “To work so closely with the client and to understand his wishes, the search for the right team and shipyard is a very important journey,” offers Christian Poorte, the client’s project manager, who works alongside JFA’s project manager Michel Siou.
“Building a yacht is not simply asking for a building slot, but also requires a solid base for a multi-year collaboration on all levels within a shipyard organisation.”
“The special requirements and needs of a client to accommodate differ for every project,” Poorte continues. “It became clear to me that JFA Yachts could offer the dedicated approach and versatility that was required to build this unique vessel. The mix of JFA’s DNA on aluminium, composite and lightweight materials, together with the inhouse production departments and the team’s passion for the sea made JFA the right fit.”
The yacht – which will feature an LOA of 50 metres, a beam of 9.1 metres and a draft of just two metres – is scheduled for completion in 2024. “Since 1993, the expertise of JFA Yachts – based on construction and renovation of projects that are all different from each other – allows us to go further,” enthuses JFA’s CEO, Frédéric Jaouen. “We see in this unique project both a great confidence and recognition for all these years of service to our clients.”