Covid-19 may have brought the world to a standstill in 2020, but Al Waab II’s tight 24-month build has stayed the course. At Alia Yachts, in Turkey’s coastal city of Antalya, work on the 55-metre yacht has continued apace. The Vripack-designed steel and aluminium motor yacht celebrated the joining of its hull and superstructure in June. Now, against all odds, the progressive new build remains on schedule for its July 2021 delivery.
“It’s been difficult to say the least, but we’ve taken a lot of health and safety measures, followed up with our suppliers to mitigate any delays, and, most importantly, have reorganised and reshuffled our production work,” says Gökhan Çelik, president of Alia yachts. “To offset delays experienced by our European suppliers, we worked around the problem and found ways to recreate lost time.”
Aside from the impressive schedule, the amount of volume found on the sub 500 GT 55-metre platform is itself noteworthy. The exterior design and naval architecture, which hails from Vripack’s experienced drawing boards, balances the considerable issues of weight, space and function with ease making Al Waab II a standout yacht.
“The amount of volume on a yacht of this size is absolutely unique,” says Bart Bouwhuis, co-creative director at Vripack. “We achieved it by optimising space and taking a holistic, collaborative approach to the design; gaining 10cm depth here, raising the ceilings by another 3cm there. The focus is not just on the volume itself, but how you use the volume with the purpose of giving maximum enjoyment to the owner. We don’t waste any space, anywhere.”
The exterior design, with its extensive use of glass, provides optimum sight lines and optimum routing paired with logical layouts that all point to one goal: the living experience at sea. Vripack is renowned for sketching yachts with superior seakeeping capabilities, but Al Waab II matches this onboard comfort with a renewed sense of ownership and belonging. For the owner, who first stepped foot on board the in-build yacht in August, getting a feel for what life on the water will be like once the yacht is complete was thrilling.
“The owner was really surprised by how much volume has been created and the sense of large open space that the design delivers,” says Francesco Pitea, CEO at SF Yachts, which has served as owner’s representative throughout the project. “Al Waab II is a highly complex project that brings together many technically challenging elements, and it has taken a huge collaborative effort leveraging the project management expertise at SF Yachts to achieve these engineering accomplishments, on schedule, and to the owner’s satisfaction.”
Two out of three decks are now built, and all the piping, aside from in the engine room, is complete. The steel hull has been primed for painting, ready for the topcoat to be applied in January. In a bid to make up lost time, Alia Yachts has taken the unusual decision to complete all of the cabling outside of the boat, having reserved one of its sheds for this process.
“This allows us to run nearly 5km of cable in five days,” says Elkin Yildirim, project manager at Alia Yachts. “We are constantly finding new solutions and ways of working in line with the current conditions, which means we haven’t postponed any element of the project. We are 14 months into the build, and confident of continuing this level of progress.”