Project Nova, the 163-foot Heesen hybrid yacht recently named Home, completed five days of extensive sea trials in the North Sea. Now the yacht is on its way to owners in the Mediterranean. RobbReport.com spoke to Nigel Jenkins, the yacht’s captain, during the shakedown cruise about how well the world’s first fast-hybrid yacht has performed.
Home’s new owner is described by the Dutch yard as a yacht “enthusiast” who has owned several yachts. Home is his first Heesen and his first hybrid. He was attracted by its Omega-designed exterior, which includes an almost hawk-like, vertical bow that serves as the entry for a long, lean profile. But the other feature that convinced him was Home’s hybrid electric-diesel propulsion mated to Heesen’s advanced hull shape.
Over the last five years, Heesen has made a name for itself with its Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF), designed by Van Oossanen Naval Architects, and first used on the 213-foot Galactica Star as well as three other steel-hulled Heesens since.
Home is powered by twin 804 hp MTU 12V 2000 M61 engines, which are small for a yacht this size. Despite the constrained horsepower, Home still achieved an impressive top end of 16.3 knots during its sea trials. Jenkins said top speed increased to 18.5 knots when the MTUs were supplemented with the yacht’s two 170 hp DC electric engines.
“It cruises quite nicely at 16 knots,” Jenkins said during the cruise. “At that speed, it only consumes about 71 gallons per hour.” At 12 knots, fuel consumption drops to 26 gph. Using only the electric motors gives Home a respectable speed of 10 knots at an ultra-miserly 12 gph. When one considers the yacht’s length and 295-ton displacement, Home’s fuel consumption seems almost unreal. While the yacht’s fuel efficiency is impressive, Home advances the hybrid model farther with very low sound and vibration levels that define onboard comfort. Its North Sea trials, in fact, reflected levels well below the original standards.
The trip from Holland to Gibraltar was also delightfully uneventful. “We ran it four days nonstop with the e-motors and no hiccups,” says Jenkins. “These electric motors are smaller and much more fuel efficient than traditional generators. We were able to use them instead of the generators at times. They’re definitely the way forward.”
Home is more than just a hybrid wunderkind. The yacht’s aesthetics, inside and out, are as impressive as its technological breakthroughs. Frank Laupman of Omega Architects created the yacht’s striking exterior, from the vertical bow and high bulwarks along the open bow to the floor-to-ceiling windows amidships, to a fixed swim platform at the stern. Interior stylist Cristiano Gatto worked closely with the owner once he bought into the project last summer to customize the interior. The interior has a sophisticated linear design based on a two-tone palette. The bright colors, combined with abundant natural light, creates a warm, relaxed feel across the cabin. Jenkins said the light colors work well with the soft furnishings. Home will make its public debut at the Monaco Yacht Show in September.