Now that Dutch shipbuilder DAMEN, in cooperation with its luxury yacht builder AMELS have just launched the innovative hull of their SeaXplorer 75, a stylish, sturdy and highly customized 246-foot-long expedition yacht that’s capable of breaking through polar ice (in addition to providing ultra-lux accommodations and a wide array of toys and tools for polar exploration), it’s safe to say that ice class/expedition grade superyachts are way more than just a passing fad.
And since I’ve been lucky enough to experience a mind-expanding trip to Antarctica aboard a much smaller (only 160-foot long) private yacht organized by EYOS Expeditions (who also provided extensive operational input to the SeaXplorer concept) , it’s easy to see why some of the world’s richest and most adventurous people, like the Russian banking billionaire Oleg Tinkov are opting to build expedition yachts like the SeaXplorer 75, instead of more conventionally opulent superyachts (like Dallas Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones’ $250 Million Yacht) that spend their summers in the Mediterranean and winters in the Caribbean.
Tinkoff attended the hull launch with his family at Damen’s Shipyard in Galati, Romania recently, and the yacht (scheduled to be completed in Holland in time for the 2020 Monaco Yacht Show) has already been named La Datcha in honor of Tinkov’s growing collection of luxury hotels and villas in France, Italy and Russia.
“The Earth is so big and our life is so short, so we have to explore as much as we can,” said Tinkov just before the launch. “And the SeaXplorer project is just perfect. I fell in love with the shape, the design. Don’t forget that this is the one yacht with two helicopters, so you can really go further into the mainland. You can see the bears. You can see the animals. You can heli-ski. Any kind of activities, fishing and so on. With two helicopters you have absolute freedom to explore any remote territory as deep as you want.”
In fact, La Datcha may just be the ultimate adventure yacht. It’s capable of carrying provisions and facilities to allow Tinkov to go to the most remote places on earth for up to 40 days without having to re-provision in port. And the yacht’s extensive collection of toys, tenders, and snowmobiles—in addition to its two helicopters and personal submarine—is unparalleled.
“I’ll be really excited to have this boat the first time in Kuril Islands and then Kamchatka in 2021,” the adventurous owner continued. “That’s a real excitement because I’ve explored Kamchatka quite well with the helicopter but it would be quite nice to explore it from the shore, more remote territories and see the far east of Russia and then continue on to Alaska. From there, we can go on and do so many things.” And business-mined Tinkov also intends to make La Datcha available for charter in a range of polar and tropical destinations during an extensive two-year global tour.
AMELS and DAMEN Managing Director Rose Damen was also at the launch. “The owner has a lot of energy and ideas that went into the design of La Datcha. This yacht is the largest and most capable SeaXplorer so far, custom built to the owner’s requirements. There is no other yacht like it in the world. We’re very proud to be building her and can’t wait to see La Datcha exploring the world.”
La Datcha is designed to accommodate 12 guests and 25 crew. The yacht’s exterior design is by Azure Yacht Design, while the interior is by the owner’s choice of designer, Vasiliy Shprits and his studio, which has also designed many of the owner’s residential properties.
“When La Datcha is delivered next year,” Rose Damen continues, “I’m sure she will transform the way people think about high-end explorer yachting. There’s so much more of the world to explore and have the most amazing adventures and there’s no better yacht to do it with than La Datcha SeaXplorer 75.”
And if Tinkov’s 246-footer is just not big enough for you, SeaXplorer designs are available up to 345 feet and also combine the highly respected yacht building pedigree of Damen with extensive operational input by design partner EYOS Expeditions and an exterior design signature by Azure Yacht Design.
During my previous life as an editor at several American yachting magazines, I was lucky enough to sail thousands of offshore miles on a wide variety of boats. My job as yachting scribe has brought me on adventures from the Arctic Circle to the equator, and to nearly every tropical destination in between. I’ve dodged high-speed hydrofoils on the brown waters off St. Petersburg, Russia, anchored in impossibly blue water off uninhabited islands in the Seychelles, Scandinavia, the BVI, and the Bahamas, and even flown aboard a Jayhawk helicopter with the US Coast Guard on training missions. These days, when I’m not travelling or writing about the magic that happens at confluence of superyachts, offshore adventure, luxury travel, and technology, I sail my ultra-simple, ultra-fast dinghy, ride my gorgeous and gloriously-expensive carbon fiber bike, and push our little one in a baby stroller all over New England.