Crown jewel

GRP has been a choice boatbuilding material for yachts and pleasure craft for six decades but rarely has it been used at such scale and skill as at Majesty Yachts. Enter the CVS-ready, 55.1-metre Majesty 175 to our shores.

Written by Sam Fortescue

21 April 2022


There are some giants in the rollcall of the world’s biggest fibreglass yachts. Towering above all others is the 78.4-metre M5, an achingly sleek sloop built by Vosper Thornycroft.

Then there’s the venerable 55.2-metre motor yacht Lady A, built in Japan. And if you’re looking for boats bigger than the latest launch from Gulf Craft – well, that’s about it.

Measuring 55.1 metres length overall (LOA), the magnificent new Majesty 175 is, quite simply, a project on a massive scale. She also clearly wears the crown for the largest series yacht built in GRP.

Why harp on so much about this material choice? Well, it’s key to the boat’s identity, as Sydney-based agent Richard Morris knows well, having sold five 100-foot-plus Gulf Crafts to Australian clients.

“GRP is an excellent, robust material that resists corrosion and, with maintenance, maintains its gelcoat gloss much longer than paint,” Morris tells me.


It’s an important consideration for potential owners. Less time in dry dock means lower costs and quicker turnaround times to take advantage of Australia’s year-round charter market. “It’s true to say that all my Majesty clients are savvy, experienced superyacht owners,” says Morris.

“They want to maximise the charter potential and return on their investment while reducing the cost of ownership through charter revenue, which offsets running costs.

“Majesty Yachts is earning an enviable reputation as being reliable and supplying well-built charter superyachts at a competitive price compared to their European rivals.”

Amidst the pandemic and despite the 45-degree summer heat, Gulf Craft has managed to launch a yacht that not only breaks size records but marks a departure in terms of hull shape and interior fit-out.

This is a slower boat than its predecessors, one that has been purposefully designed with a semi-displacement hull instead of the previous planing hull.

It’s a smart move, in step with concerns about climate-bashing toys. It also permits a freer hand on design for an interior that offers 40 percent more volume than the Majesty 155.

Twin 2,012 hp MTU 12V 4000 M63 engines can shift her 500 tonnes at a top speed of 16.5 knots, while cruising is a decent 10 knots.

“The Majesty 175 is extremely manoeuvrable and handled the sea trials exceptionally,” reports Captain Patricia Caswell. “Maintaining good top speeds with this machinery package, she showed very strong performance.

“We really pushed the 175 during trials and the incredibly low noise and vibration readings noted were a great surprise.”

The naval architecture of the boat was produced by Massimo Gregori of Yankee Delta Studio near Pisa, Italy. He also drew the previous 155 flagship, and pushed hard for the switch to semi-displacement.

“Convincing the managing staff and chairman, His Excellency Mohammed Alshaali, to go for a different kind of hull was a long process, but in the end we were instructed to design a vessel with long range, good speed and excellent seaworthiness, all of which we’ve done with full success,” he says.

A classic round bilge is not at all revolutionary, but allied to the lightweight construction of the boat, it produces a draft of just 2.11 metres – handy for exploring in the Whitsundays or nosing into Gold Coast nooks.

Meanwhile, a chine at her imposingly high bow deflects spray for offshore passages. With a range of 4,000 nautical miles from her vast 61,503-litre fuel tankage, “She is a seaworthy vessel with high safety standards, full comfort, lots of space for provisions and high stability,” says Gregori.

The owner of hull #1, an Emirati businessman, is planning a world cruise.


Flexible luxury

This is a boat that would be easy to spend time on, both for charter guests and an owner’s family. There’s a stunning 5-metre infinity pool on the foredeck, for instance, with a counter-current system for swimming against and an elegant, curved glass front.

A glass lift connects the three main decks, and the skylounge with its cool, curved bar pod and sun pads is convertible into an open sun deck for parties and entertaining.

The upper deck is dedicated to a huge owner’s suite that occupies the full beam with panoramic views. Behind the bulkhead, which serves as an anchor point for the owner’s leather-padded headboard, there’s a walk-in dressing area with wardrobes for him on one side and her on the other.

Double basins are sunk into a block of gleaming black marble that resembles obsidian. And there’s a desk with a comfy sofa set opposite it where you can imagine the real family business of the boat being done in strict confidence.

A series of lobbies leads back to a huge private saloon that gives onto its own aft terrace, where up to eight can eat under the stars (or a carefully designed awning).

There’s also a fully-equipped bar and plenty of comfy seating, where the owner can invite their friends and family for more personal, convivial occasions.

“Creating a layout where the wheelhouse has its own dedicated deck allowed us to create an exceptional owner’s area,” says Cristiano Gatto, who designed both the interior and the exterior.

“It makes the owner the centre of the most iconic areas of this project. Where the owner area usually is on the main deck, we have the two VIP staterooms.”

Guest accommodation is equally generous, punching far above its weight as a 55-metre boat. Besides the two large VIPs forward on the main deck, there are a further four big cabins on the lower deck – two doubles and two flexible twins. Supported by up to ten crew, it’s an ideal set-up for high-end charter.

Entertainment systems were another big focus in the design process. The upper saloon, for example, offers two 55-inch 4K televisions that retract into cabinets, but across the boat there are an eye-popping 14 giant flat screens, all with their own satellite receiver and Apple TV.

Along with Bang & Olufsen audio and the Ku-band-ready VSAT Sailor 900 tracking dish, it’s perfect for those who are serious about watching and listening.

Beyond relaxation, at which this yacht excels, there’s plenty of space for those of a more active disposition. First up is the gym, tucked onto the starboard side of the main deck.

With envy-inducing views of the harbour or anchorage, guests can easily pedal, row, pump or pound their way to their personal fitness goals.

There’s a broad bathing platform aft that includes a large transformer, which extends the area further and makes climbing in and out of the water easy.

The gleaming GRP of the transom swings up to reveal a beach club that is deep enough to accommodate two large sofas as well as a coffee table. This leads on to the tender garage and toy storage that can access the sea via a large shell door.

“The 175 can accommodate a 1,500-kilogram tender that would be stored in the converted beach club,” says Gulf Craft marketing manager Mahmoud Itani.

“In the garage as well as the large open bow area, there’s huge space for additional toys, such as jetskis.”

With up to 6 metres available for the tender, options including the Castoldi Jet Tender 19 would definitely work.

The first hull was built on spec with neutral styling to appeal widely. It’s restrained and modern, with pale upholstery, mirror-polished stainless steel, dignified tan leathers and, in a tell-tale nod to the region’s design history, simple geometric marquetry inlays, especially in the marble panels in the floor. Gatto sums up the design brief as emphasising quality with rich simplicity.

“The main idea for the interior style was to create a modern and relaxing look that makes the yacht welcoming,” he explains. “We focused our work on the interiors based on a calm palette of material and colours, with accent colours for each area of the yacht.”

There’s marble, leather and woods, but you won’t find rare or extravagant materials here.

“With a view to sustainability, making a common and easily available material rich and pleasing to the eye allows us to customise an interior with more refinement,” says Gatto.

The loose furniture on board is largely custom-made for the yacht, with a few pieces by Poltrona Frau to showcase Italian design. But, this is just what’s possible; owners can naturally specify their own styling.

“We don’t outsource much, which makes us more flexible for customisation,” says Itani.

And, there’s one final handy feature of this boat that will appeal to Australian clients. It’s not sexy and it won’t win any awards, but it will save time and money.

“Majesty Yachts is the only foreign-built superyacht shipyard that can and has delivered superyachts direct into Australia’s Commercial Vessel Survey standard,” explains Morris. “Therefore, they all charter very successfully.”

Sounds like now is the perfect time to start planning that cruise to the Whitsundays.



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