The 35m SpaceCat was designed by Espen Oeino

The 35m Espen Oeino-designed  SpaceCat

The 35m Espen Oeino-designed SpaceCat

Possibly the most significant news to emerge from the Singapore Yacht Show 2019 concerned Silver Yachts and the fact that it is to shortly start building superyacht catamarans at a new facility in China.

This is the first real news to emerge about the leading Australian superyacht builder and its new Chinese controlling shareholder, China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd, a listed Hong Kong company, since the takeover in 2017. The new shipyard is located near Zhuhai in the Pearl River Delta and construction will start there next month of the new 35m (115ft) SpaceCat superyacht catamaran, which has been designed by Espen Oeino.

With Silver Yachts building high-performance, fuel-efficient, aluminium superyachts and China Zhongwang being the second largest industrial aluminium extrusion products developer and manufacturer in the world and the largest in Asia, the new SpaceCat will be of aluminium construction.

This new SpaceCat series build project takes Silver Yachts forward in building the next generation of yachts which reduce the environmental impact of yachting. With its previous series of large superyachts of some 77m (263ft) each, the company is a market leader in designing and producing environmentally-friendly superyachts through their lightweight, low-resistance hull forms.

“This is achieved by the high length to beam ratio of the hulls which is fundamental in reducing the wave resistance at higher speeds,” said Oeino. “The overall resistance of a displacement type hull form, whether full displacement or semi displacement type, is composed of frictional resistance and wavemaking resistance.”

He explains: “At higher speed the wavemaking resistance is the dominant part of the overall resistance and significant reductions can be made in the power required to propel a given hull at a certain speed by distributing the hull volumes longitudinally rather than vertically which normally leads to an increase in beam to satisfy the transverse stability requirements and thus a reduction in the length to beam ratio.”

The SpaceCat will see this being taken to the next level as the catamaran will have an even higher length-to-beam ratio hull than the well-known Silver Series of monohull yachts. This further reduces resistance and therefore the power requirements, whilst providing a generous platform with unparalleled possibilities for highly-versatile layouts normally found only on much larger yachts.

With its 35.5m length and 13.3m beam, the SpaceCat offers generous volumes; the external living area boasts over 575sq m of space, while the interior areas are over 300sq m. The volume of the SpaceCat can be compared with a 50m (164ft) monohull and is developed with a large yacht feeling from the roomy spaces.

The SpaceCat project also takes the expansion strategy of Silver Yachts forward with the opening of the new Chinese shipyard in addition to the facility at Henderson, just south of Perth in Australia. The new shipyard has been operational since summer 2018, fabricating marine aluminium structures and components, the yard will be the main facility to build the SpaceCat series of vessels.

The construction of the first SpaceCat will commence in May 2019 with a highly-specialist team of aluminium fabricators handpicked from China working under the close supervision of SilverYachts’ Australian management team.

Driven by the vision of majority shareholder, China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd, and Silver Yachts founder, Guido A Krass, a German eco-industrialist who has multiple greentech businesses predominantly in Europe, the SpaceCat will ultimately be manufactured as a production line, commercializing the shipyard, starting with two vessel builds, gradually building to a production line of over 10 vessels simultaneously.

SpaceCat marks the beginning of the diversification of the SilverYachts product portfolio, adapting to the different demands of the superyacht market in new geographies. By introducing SpaceCat to its fleet, SilverYachts is showcasing its capacity to not only build large superyachts for experienced yacht owners, but also cater to clients that are entering the superyacht experience for the first time.

SpaceCat’s target clients would on the one hand be superyacht owners who instead of having one large vessel, opt for three SpaceCats. The yachts could be positioned in the three main continents; one in Asia, one in the Mediterranean, one in the Caribbean, avoiding any hassle of repositioning and non-availability to use the vessel.

While on the other hand, SpaceCat will also appeal to clients who have a production yacht and wish to upgrade to a larger superyacht. They have the option to take a step into yachting without the high operational costs of employing a large crew, while enjoying a vessel with large volumes.

SilverYachts envisages the SpaceCat being a popular choice in cruising areas within Asia Pacific, such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Australia. The SpaceCat could also be a very interesting vessel for charter, no doubt appealing to charter companies.

The Western Australian-based shipyard maintains its position as a technological frontrunner, with a new series of larger vessels targeting the upper segment of the international market. SilverYachts’ 85m Silver Loft is nearing completion and is prepared for launch, while the design team works on the next project, 85m Silver Square, which will be unveiled during the next yacht show.