In the motoring world you may choose to occupy the rear seat and be chauffeured around, or to take the opportunity of taking the wheel yourself when the occasion is right. Probably the biggest influence on that decision is the machinery; the back seat is the more obvious choice in a Rolls-Royce Phantom, while in a Maserati Grandturismo, the driver’s seat is where you would want to be.
For superyachts, nearly all owners would choose the chauffeured option – hiring experienced captains and crew to do the hard work, while your guests and you, the host, relax and enjoy the experience.
As in the motoring world, the size of the yacht plays a big part in this – helming an 11.88m Rivamare is likely to be a more engaging pursuit for an owner than steering a 30m displacement yacht, for instance.
And in the sailing world, there is the headache of sail-handling, which necessitates a lot of manpower. Comanche, the 30m supermaxi that won line honours in the 2015 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race carried a total of 21 crewmembers. Even a 10m racing yacht may need a crew of six to manage. Cruising yachts tend to need less manpower than racers, but for the most part yachts in the over-30m range are likely to be fully crewed.
But in today’s world of automation, things are changing, and at the forefront of this movement is Perini Navi’s newly-launched 38m sloop Dahlak.
Named after the Red Sea archipelago where the owner sailed as a boy, Dahlak is a step up from his previous 18.3m sailing catamaran. In an unusual move – one which reflects his passion for sailing – the owner obtained an RYA Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence in order to enjoy sailing his new yacht himself. And with the Perini Navi Automated Sail Handling System where controls are integrated into the carbon-fibre helm stations, it is well possible.
The system features Harken deck winches and three semi-automatic electric captive winches engineered by Perini Navi. The 388-square-metre mainsail furls into the carbon fibre boom with the halyard on one of the captive winches. For headsails there is the choice of 357-square-metre blade, a 210-square-metre working jib (both on individual captive winches) and 68-square-metre storm jib. An 850-square-metre asymmetrical rounds out the sail inventory. The mast is a 51.4m carbon-fibre unit from Southern Spars with EC6+ standing rigging.
The owner wanted to be able to sail in silence, so Dahlak is fitted with an EST-Floattech 136kWh marine lithium polymer battery system, that handles both hotel loads and the sail handling system without the need to run the generators for up to eight hours of silent, emission-free running.
Unlike the sister ship P2, launched in 2008, the weight and positioning of the battery system on Dahlak replaces P2’s water ballast system. The Philippe Briand Yacht Design silhouette of Dahlak is very similar to P2, with only the deckhouse raised by 15cm to open up the salon interior without drastically affecting the sleek lines. The increased space is enhanced by a skylight running the length of the coachroof which fills the deckhouse with natural light. All the glazing in the salon has been specially treated to filter out infra-red and ultraviolet rays. The white lacquered ceiling and leather furniture surfaces here provide a light and airy ambience, which will surely make it a popular entertaining location.
The other main difference between Dahlak and P2 is that the former is made entirely of Sealium 5383 marine grade alloy, whereas P2 employed composites for the superstructure. Both feature a lifting keel that varies the draft from 3.5m to 5.5m, and there’s a surprisingly large transom garage, than in Dahlak’s case houses a 16-foot Castoldi jet tender.
In the hull there’s accommodation for up to eight guests, with a spacious full-beam owner’s stateroom and an ensuite cabin to the aft, and another en-suite cabin forward that is ideal for children with Pullman bunks, though there is a single bed on slide rails that creates a double.
There is crew accommodation in the bow, with three ensuite cabins – one double and two Pullman – for up to six crewmembers, plus a crew mess.
Perini Navi is responsible for the interior design, featuring bleached teak veneers with high-gloss teak accents and brushed stainless steel detailing, while the floors are satin-finished teak with white caulking, for a clean and uncluttered look that will surely age gracefully.
Arguably with the owner at the helm though, the focus of activity on board will be on deck – specifically the cockpit area, which is replete with versatile dining and seating options, and weather protection in the form of a deployable dodger and bimini top. The guest areas here are safely separated from the dual helms and sail-handling for family-friendly entertaining.
“The owner was insistent that Dahlak is a family boat in every sense of the word,” says Burak Akgul, managing director of sales, marketing and design for Perini Navi. “By that he meant not only his own family, but also the Perini Navi family. We feel enormously privileged that he entrusted us to build his new sailing yacht to explore the world in complete safety and comfort.”
What is clear is that he’s a keen sailor who is willing to plot his own course.
Perini Navi Dahlak
Construction (hull and deck): Marine Grade Aluminium Alloy (Sealium 5383)
Total sail area: 1,873 m2
Engine: Caterpillar C12 400kW @ 2,100rpm
Power: Two Caterpillar 40kW generators
Naval Architect/Exterior styling: Philippe Briand Yacht Design
Interior design: Perini Navi
Cabins: One owner’s suite, two ensuite guest cabins, three ensuite crew cabins.
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