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Inside the New Lightweight Sailing Superyacht That’s Fast Enough to Race

Royal Huisman's 151-footer is designed for contradictory missions--to be a global cruiser and win regattas.

Royal Huisman All Images Courtesy of Royal Huisman

Royal Huisman has long followed the saying, “if you can dream it, we can build it.” The Dutch yard has certainly proven it can live up to that slogan, with custom sailing superyachts like the 295-ft. Athena and 184-ft. Aquarius and dozens of others that expanded the frontier of sailboat design.

Its latest project, the Nauta Reichel Pugh 151, promises to be another breakthrough design—not so much for her size, which is modest compared to many other giant sailing vessels, but because of the complexity. The term “high-performance cruising sloop” sounds almost like an oxymoron, since cruising yachts tend to be large, high volume and often cumbersome. A trend, however, for owners to race their own superyachts has been emerging over the last decade, and this new 151-footer could carry it to the next level.

Experienced sailors, the owners wanted to be able to sail their yacht around the world, but also win regattas. To do that, they assembled a dream team to put the complicated superyacht together. Nigel Ingram of MCM Newport and the owners’ professional race team were brought in as consultants to turn the boat into a racer, while Reichel/Pugh did the naval architecture. Mast and rigging specialists Rondal were hired to create a Panamax rig, while Nauta Design was tasked with the exterior and interior styling. Nauta Reichel Pugh 151, which accommodates eight to 10 guests and 10 crew, will be built at the Royal Huisman yard in Vollenhove.

Royal Huisman

The Dutch shipyard has built some of the most groundbreaking custom sailing vessels in the last 15 years. Launched two years ago, Aquarius is a good example of a beautiful but highly technical design. 


“It is truly an honor to work with the owners and this great expert team of designers to realize their lightweight superyacht,” said Jan Timmerman, CEO of Royal Huisman.

The yacht’s lightweight aluminum and carbon composite construction will present formidable competition to existing carbon yachts, considered the current state of the art, while delivering an extra level of comfort since aluminum yachts tend deflect sound better. The design of this sailboat also has to be much more precise than most motoryachts, especially since it has three potentially contradictory missions: sail fast, traverse the ocean and be comfortable. The naval architects and rigging specialists combined proven technologies with cutting-edge designs in order to reach the yacht’s target performance (and ensure excellent racing properties) while designing in seaworthiness.

Adding Covid-19 to the mix was also a challenge. The shipyard is following the Netherlands’ “intelligent lock-down” procedures for its manufacturing facilities. Royal Huisman says the shipyard has moved to day- and night-time shifts to allow workers to observe social distancing.

Royal Huisman

Nauta Reichel-Pugh 151 will be designed for two very different missions: sailing the world and winning regattas. 

The Nauta Reichel Pugh 151 is also “the first yacht that was contracted as the result of intensive video conferencing and telephone calls between the owners, their representative and the design/build team,” says Timmerman.

The yacht is scheduled to be delivered in 2022.


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