From Superyacht Digest Magazine / July Issue 2020
German, efficient and with a ground-braking layout: this is the new motor yacht Excellence by Abeking & Rasmussen launched LAST YEAR. Featuring glass panels all around, gym, spa and limousine tender, her spaceship-like silhouette is unlike anything that has ever come before.
The yard is always willing to take a step further in terms of audacity to stand its ground in unknown territory. “To get to know new worlds without losing sight of the old values, means that we discover new possibilities in new challenges and thereby develop new qualities”. Abeking & Rasmussen places a lot of emphasis on this motto, determined to live up to it with every construction that they deliver.
Value, safety and fascination are also key principles embedded into Abeking and Rasmussen’s vessels. Founded in 1907 in Lemwerder, the German shipyard has gathered more than a century of expertise in building luxury, high-quality boats. That, combined with a visionary approach brings about spectacular and unique models, such as Excellence, the one we are now presenting, that brings forward a new era of superyacht design.
Excellence has been developed by Abeking and Rasmussen in collaboration with UK-based design studio Winch Design, whose team, headed by famous designer Andrew Winch, managed to confer to her such a distinctive layout that smashes the mould and promises to turn as many heads in 20 years’ time as she does today and earned her the title of masterpiece of modern yacht design. This is how Andrew Winch commented on the boat: “Excellence represents a huge milestone. A completely unique superstructure, she signifies an innovative and exciting new genre for Winch Design”.
Following her launch in May 2019 and successful sea trials along the river Weser, on whose shores the yard is based, and in the North Sea, the 80-metre superyacht was delivered to her owner and put on display for her international debut at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019.
Excellence features steel hull, aluminum superstructure, 14.45-meter beam and a draft of 3.5 meters. Among her out-standing traits we find her angular reverse bow, spaceship-like silhouette made of sleek and harsh lines, water-level limousine tender and floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass windows, skillfully positioned along the bridge and owner’s decks, that ensure a perfect outlook and contribute to the creation of an unforgettable experience. The interiors, curated as well by Winch Design are no less breath-taking with an array of sophisticated and thoughtful details and cutting-edge amenities, such us a tiered cinema, a spa and a well-equipped gym.
The owner is not new in the world of superyachts, in fact he already possessed a 60-metre vessel that he thought couldn’t be bettered, until he saw a rendering of Excellence at the 2015 Fort Lauderdale show and “fell in love”, as he states. When the owner laid his eyes on the futuristic boat, work had already begun and some of her main features where already in place, but some others where changed and adjusted to the owner’s likings, making Excellence a fully customized yacht.
The already mentioned mirror glass panels are the most eye-catching peculiarity of the clean exterior design, but they nonetheless represented a challenge for the Abeking & Rasmussen in-house engineering team, who had to fix these 1.3-tonne panels and make them perfectly rigid, so as to not disturb the mirror-finish and provide excellent insulation to spare the yacht’s air conditioning. This accomplishment marks an exciting and impressive first time for the German yard, as never before have glass panels been installed in these dimensions on one of their superyachts.
The unusual lines also repeatedly presented major challenges. Hans Schaedla, CEO of Abeking & Rasmussen, commented: “We are very proud of this extraordinary yacht and our exceptional workforce, who mastered all requirements bravely”.
Excellence, the sixth largest vessel of Abeking & Rasmussen, offers more than the expected. The yacht truly lives up to her name in every sense, and especially with all the extras: she provides the perfect opportunity for indulgent relaxation as well as for entertaining and socializing thanks to her spacious layout that allows a lot of facilities to be accommodated on board.
On the main deck aft there is a swimming pool and platform with a small, relaxing bar attached to it that enables guest to dip into the water o sip a drink while taking in the surrounding landscape. Here sliding doors lead to the sprawling beach club with sea terrace, and to the tender garage, where a range of water accessories such as sea bobs, sail boats and jet-ski are stored. On this deck the spa and treatment room is to be found. This is a very cozy place designed with neutral wooden colors that convey a very relaxing aspect to the area where people can indulge in invigorating and restoring treatments after a day in the sun. Contact with the outdoor space is never let out of sight, not even here, thanks to large windows. The main deck also features a nine-seats cinema.
Above, the bridge deck hosts another chilled bar and plenty of comfortable sits, together with a 14-sits outdoor table that provides the perfect opportunity for small gatherings with all the guests on board.
The owner’s deck, that has been designed to ensure privacy and comfort, offers yet another place for relaxation with a jacuzzi and sun-bathing area. Moreover, the sun deck is home to another jacuzzi and is furnished with multiple lounge areas.
Excellence owner was adamant about creating an ambience connected to the outside world, and that is best expressed in the triple-height atrium. This space is flooded with light thanks to the use of glasses that enclose the space from the main deck all the way up to the owner’s deck.
With regard to the interiors, the common thread is luxury cars, an homage payed to the owner’s career in car dealerships. As a matter of fact, car detailing is to be found throughout the boat, ranging from the black-and-white concentric circles on the saloon floor and ceiling that recalls the tyres of a classic car, to the double-stitched leather detailing in the cabins.
The ventilation louvers in the cabin are designed to look like the grill of a bonnet, and there are tyre-track patterns curved into the wooden paneling of a day head.
The innovative, unconventional exterior layout is perfectly balanced with the modern approach adopted for the inside, where bright coffee tones set the mood for a peaceful and tranquil atmosphere. Premium-quality materials, such as noble woods, fine Italian leather and rarefied marbles have been chosen for Excellence and placed in common areas as well as in the cabins to further enhance the luxury feeling of the indoor spaces.
Clever use of mirrors throughout the interior serves to extend sight lines and broaden perspectives. In the main saloon, for example, mirrors behind the louvres make the casing around the ventilation shafts disappear. There are also thin mirrored strips all the way around the top of walls in the cabins, which fool the eye into seeing more space. It has meant being equally cunning with the use of indirect lighting.
Excellence can host up to 14 guests (with 20 crew members) divided in six guest cabins, that the owner requested to be of 25 square metres and of very similar comfort, to avoid any competition for “the big cabin”. Every cabin though has a unique character and its own feature headboard and color scheme. On top of that, the master cabin also features wool carpets with crocodile pattern by Oliver Treutlein and woven silver wire that makes the window mullions look like precious carbon fiber. It is also partially encased in the glass panels to provide 180-degree views over the surroundings.
Many spaces designed for conviviality await inside too. The filled-with-light roomy saloon on the main deck features another large dining table, positioned at the back of the room behind a comfortable lounge area at the center of which there is a coffee table surrounded by cream-colored sofas. The soft but bright neutral colors of the furnishing and the luminosity that shines through the massive glass panels that enclose the space characterize this saloon. On the other side, the lounge on the upper deck is more sporty-looking ad car-inspired. White is the predominant nuance here, interrupted by maroon and golden-brown accents. Excellence is equipped with zero speed stabilizers that reduce rolling motion when anchored. She cruises at 14 knots, with a maximum speed of 17 knots.
Abeking & Rasmussen tells SYD more about the main challanges behind this unique build
“The design of Excellence is outside the standards. The unforgiving mirror effect of the outer glazing required extreme building accuracy and meeting minimum tolerances. Any imperfection would be highly visible in mirror-effect windows like the ones used on board Excellence. In order to achieve the effect, the entire engineering and building process was re-developed. The clean minimalistic appearance of the inclined superstructure prevented the use of any standard exterior doors as the hinges would be visible on the outside.
All exterior doors in the inclined superstructure therefore have been custom designed and produced. The vessels exterior design with the conical shaped glass at the end provided further challenges for the interior. To cover all conically curved 3D angled trapeze shaped windows with blinds, intense research and development was done to solve this. The window sides and top and bottom are simply not parallel. The impact and reduction of interior space by the blinds was kept to be as minimal as possible. The two open unsupported beams and the open space in the atrium staircase were only possibly by enlightening the structure and the use of open unexposed highly tensile steel beams which were to be integrated into the aluminum structure, requiring detailed analysis due to its complexity and location in the vessel”.