The team at Amels and Damen Yachting has just confirmed the sale of the 55m Yacht Support GENE CHASER. The name of the yacht was unveiled during a private ceremony held at the Dutch builder’s shipyard in Vlissingen. Complete with stunning custom fleet colours and a research laboratory, the Yacht Support will be used alongside the Amels 180 GENE MACHINE.
GENE CHASER, from Damen Yachting’s YS 5009 Yacht Support range, was originally launched in late 2020 as BLUE OCEAN. Over the last two months, she has undergone a period of intense transformation to meet the owner’s exacting requirements for setting up the interior as a working research laboratory and hub for ongoing scientific projects. The main salon has been converted into a working wet and dry laboratory, and other interior areas have been designed for conferences and educational purposes. Guest suites allow for eight visiting researchers and experts, while the crew areas can now accommodate a crew of seven and four full-time scientists. The substantial 225 square-metre exterior deck, with a high-performance knuckle-boom 13 tonne capacity crane, provides ample space for GENE MACHINE’s Fjord 42 and a Hatløy Maritime Oxpro AL8 landing craft, as well as additional mission-specific equipment.
Matthew Gow, Captain of the owner’s 55-metre yacht GENE MACHINE, represented this repeat client during the sale. “We’ve achieved an incredible amount of work in a short period of time, and the collaboration with the team at Damen Yachting has been excellent. Watching the transformation take place has been very special and I cannot wait to see GENE CHASER alongside GENE MACHINE.”
Captain Matt goes on to explain the benefits GENE CHASER will bring. “Extending the scientific and research side of GENE MACHINE has been on the cards for a while, and this Yacht Support provides the ideal solution. The owner and his team can dedicate GENE CHASER and its onboard operations to the bold, extensive projects they have planned. It provides more lab space and room for essential equipment; importantly, it also enables them to separate this work from their family time on GENE MACHINE.”
Owner Dr Jonathan Rothberg sums up the motivation behind GENE CHASER. “Coronavirus reminded us of the fragility of our world. Whether it’s a global pandemic or global climate change, each of us must rise to the challenges we face, as we are best prepared. For my family, this means Gene Chaser and her onboard Gene Lab – a next generation lab to address mankind’s greatest challenges. Gene Chaser will be the tip of the spear as we deploy never before available technology to characterise, understand, and expand our knowledge of biodiversity, and identify nature’s solutions – within her genes – to the world’s greatest existential threats.” Dr Rothberg confirms this is also the origin of the name GENE CHASER. “We are going to go after genes to combat global warming and clean up the oceans and the air. That’s why it’s the Gene Chaser. In our planet’s very genes lie the answers to our biggest challenges and the key to our salvation.”
Damen Yachting commercial executive Jan van Hogerwou collaborated closely with the owner and his team throughout the sales process. “GENE CHASER really sums up what a Yacht Support is all about. It’s taking the proven platform and adapting it to work to your own yachting needs. For this owner, it really is about using the yacht to support and facilitate the great work he does and using it towards fulfilling a very personal drive to find solutions within nature for the good of those around him and the world we all live in.”
GENE CHASER is the eighth Yacht Support to be launched from Damen Yachting’s YS 5009 design. As with all Yacht Supports, of which fifteen in total have already been delivered in the last ten years, she features the successful Damen Sea Axe hull form delivering unrivalled sea-keeping capabilities. What sets GENE CHASER apart from the seven YS 5009s before her is the large multipurpose Main Deck hangar, which can be used for submersibles and dive operations, or as a vehicle garage and workshop. GENE CHASER’s new layout features suites for eight guests, as well as accommodation for seven crew and four onboard scientists. Like her sister ship GENE MACHINE, GENE CHASER will be outfitted with matching colourful LED name boards in March.