Ever wonder how the world’s largest superyachts—and hundreds more than are not quite as large—cross back and forth between the Americas and Europe? The crossing doesn’t necessarily happen on their own hull bottoms. Rather, they often take place on a large vessel designed to carry dozens of yachts at a time. Loading and unloading can be a nail-biting process in which these multi-million-dollar yachts are lifted by crane from the water, a hundred feet into the air and then set on cradles on deck.
DYT Yacht Transport (previously Dockwise) has the only dedicated fleet of yacht transport semi-submersible vessels in the world. Now, it’s building the King Kong of submersibles, a 699-footer called Yacht Servant, that can carry up to 36 superyachts back and forth across the ocean. It will be the largest vessel of its type.
Instead of hoisting yachts by crane, Yacht Servant takes on ballast water until the main deck is flooded. The boats can then float on and off—a process DYT calls “flo-flo.” When all yachts are loaded, divers attach temporary supports to keep the boats elevated as the ballast water is released. Yacht Servant floats up and its decks become dry. At that point, the yachts are fastened into cradles for safe transportation. The process eliminates the need for cranes or dry docking.
Yacht Servant will increase the size and type of yachts that the company can transport, compared to its current largest carrier, Yacht Express. “On average, Yacht Express carries around 25 yachts with tenders on a single transatlantic voyage,” Andriy Antonenko, DYT Load Master, told Robb Report. “With Yacht Servant we can up that number to 36 yachts.”
Carrying a third more superyachts is significant. From an operational standpoint, Yacht Servant also cuts in half the two days it currently takes to load the yachts, because the time it takes to ballast and de-ballast is reduced to one hour. “That means it’s only a day to load and unload,” says Antonenko.
Last month, Yacht Servant held special keel-laying ceremony in Yantai, China. “This is not just the laying of a keel, but the start of a new era in yacht transport,” said Laura Tempest, DYT general manager. “Yacht Express will set a new benchmark in the yacht transport industry.”
Tempest says that sailing yachts that could not be accommodated before because of their deeper drafts can now be transported. The vessel was designed by DYT’s parent company, Spliethoff Group, in Amsterdam.
“We opted for to build a new vessel because there is a lack of availability worldwide of boats that can be converted to a submersible yacht carrier,” Tempest told Robb Report. “Everything was either the same size or smaller than what we already have. A new build gave us the opportunity to increase our capacity and be more fuel efficient. We’ve really maximized the whole ship in terms of what we can do.”