True blue

The first yacht in Heesen's restyled 55-metre Steel Class has been delivered and named Iris Blue.

09 February 2024


Heesen has successfully delivered the first yacht of the restyled 55-metre series, following intensive tests in the North Sea.

The Dutch boatbuilder says that, during the three-day sea trials, Iris Blue met all the required specifications, and the tests were conducted smoothly and according to plans.

During the second day of trials, the yacht was tested in rough sea conditions, with waves up to 1.7 metres from north to northwest and westerly to north-westerly winds with gusts up to 28 knots.

Heesen says that Iris Blue proved to be “highly responsive”, accepting steering commands immediately. The boatbuilder adds that the use of large rudders in conjunction with a powerful steering unit makes for a very quick reaction, as does the high pitch of the propellers. The overall effect was to instil confidence in the captain when manoeuvring in strong wind conditions.

Iris Blue, previously known as Project Apollo, is the seventh unit in the shipyard’s 55M Steel Class but the first in the series with a revised design.


Frank Laupman of Omega Architects, the original designer of this series, carried out the restyle of the exterior lines.

“As much as we love our original design with the vertical windows, we felt it was time to make an evolutionary step,” Laupman says.

“We opted for a larger expanse of floor-to-ceiling glass, without mullions in the main saloon. Then, we took the opportunity to give a slightly more aggressive look to the profile by using continuous sheets of tinted glass. The horizontal lines stretch the optical length and balance the air draft.

The updated layout and interiors on the 760 gt, six-cabin vessel are by Italian studio Luca Dini Design & Architecture. Laupman adds that the design revisitation lends the yacht a more assertive stance on the water. “The result is beautiful: we retained the family look and feel but gave it an elegant touch.”

The owner’s quarters now feature a veranda on the starboard side. This feature fundamentally changes the space experience in the 78-square-metre stateroom, which now also includes new walk-in wardrobes. “The possibility to access an outdoor area in complete privacy is a wonderful addition to this space,” says Laupman.

The layout has also been reconsidered and now features a larger sundeck with a bar around the whirlpool forward. On the main deck, the central atrium has been modernised, with a wider and revised main staircase, while there is an additional companionway from the wheelhouse deck up to the sun deck to ease crew access.

“Heesen 55-metre Steel is a unique and very competitive design,” says Niels Vaessen, Heesen CEO. “We believe in this proven design platform and have worked with Omega and Luca Dini on creating a yacht that meets the refined tastes of clients who appreciate Dutch quality with a shortened delivery time. Iris Blue is a wonderful addition to our fleet, and we wish the owners and crew many days of happy sailing.”

The yacht can reach a max speed of 15.5 knots, with a transatlantic range of 4,500 nautical miles at 13 knots.



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