BVB44M: Sturdy Elegance in a Long-Range Superyacht From Bloemsma Van Breemen Shipyard
‘Long-range cruising in style’ is what best sums up the latest delivery to come out of the Bloemsma Van Breemen Shipyard in Makkum. The 44 metre motoryacht, prosaically named BVB44M, was designed by Pieter Beeldsnijder, the Dutch designer behind iconic yachts such as Athena and Ethereal. The hull lines and engineering were designed by Vripack based in Sneek.
A true displacement yacht, BVB44M features a round-bilge hull with bulbous bow, centreline skeg and trim wedges at the stern. The hull design was model-tested at MARIN with various configurations to result in an optimised shape for economical long-range cruising. Her V-shaped bow sections and steel hull ensure a safe, steady and comfortable motion in heavy seas. The superstructure is built of aluminium. With the upper mast made of composite, combined with a relatively wide beam just shy of nine metres, her stability is excellent. The natural roll period of eight seconds ensures a slow ship-like rolling motion, which is practically eliminated when the stabilizers are engaged. Low accelerations in a seaway translate to a smaller chance of seasickness for those on board.
BVB44M’s remarkable propulsive efficiency is in large part indebted to her large (1,500 millimetre) slow-turning propellers. With the main engines’ top speed of 1,600 rpm and a % reduction in the gearboxes, the propellers’ maximum speed is around 400 rpm. The efficiency is further increased by choosing for inboard-turning propellers, rather than the more conventional outboard-turning, making better use of the wake-field of the yacht.
Structurally, BVB44M is as sound as it gets. Intercostal stiffeners make sure that the steel hull will look fair for decades to come. The lower deck is divided into no less than nine different watertight compartments, but sliding watertight doors in the guest areas are cleverly hidden. A direct passage from the guest cabins to the laundry and other crew areas ensure a swift service without hassle. In general, all crew areas are strictly separated from the guest areas, curtailing unintended interaction between guests and crew – a feature both parties are known to appreciate.
The exterior profile, the general layout as well as the interior design come from the drawing boards of Pieter Beeldsnijder. Having earned his stripes in the struggle for space on sailing yachts, the designer has produced some very intelligent space planning. Onboard, the yacht feels much more spacious than her gross tonnage of480 GT would lead to expect, in spite of her ample tank volumes. This is partly due to the fact that the tender is stowed on an outside deck, and therefore does not eat up valuable space contributing to the GT. The exterior profile looks well balanced and many little details, such as toe-kick recesses, custom-built liferaft holders, and curved knuckle lines add a degree of sophistication. Hidden gutters in the superstructure sides at upper deck and sundeck level avoid water splashing down on the main deck when the topsides are washed down. All handrails are large diameter stainless steel rails, giving the yacht a sturdy look.
Another contributor to useful interior space is the location of the semi-raised wheelhouse. To create an entire ‘owner’s deck’ on the upper deck, the wheelhouse is located at main deck level, but a few steps up from the rest of the accommodation. This has created the space to move the crew cabins on the lower deck further up, giving them more floor area. Although not required, the crew cabins actually comply with LY3 in terms of floor space. Below the crew cabins is an ample storage space with full standing height, and a large walk-in freezer and fridge. There is also a cooled garbage store in this space.
Private owner’s balcony
The owner’s deck deserves special mention. Forward is the owner’s cabin, which features a spectacular 180-degree view across the bow. A door gives access to the private owner’s balcony forward. This space is ideal for a morning coffee in all privacy, and it can also be enjoyed while sailing, unlike the fold-out balconies much in vogue these days.
Due to the layout of the yacht, this balcony is not visible from anywhere else onboard. The high bulwarks and windbreaker give both privacy and protection from the wind. On portside in the owner’s bedroom, a sliding door leads to the bathroom, with a separate space for toilet and bidet. All bathroom walls and floors are lined with a beautiful white statuario marble with a characteristic vein. The marble contrasts nicely with the warm pear wood. On starboard side, the owner’s cabin can be accessed from the owner’s office, which is connected to the bathroom by a long dressing room with ample closet space.
Aft on the owner’s deck is the skylounge, which has deliberately been kept free from fixed furniture, fancoil units and the like. The only fixed item in this space is a 60′ wall-mounted TV. The idea is that a future owner can use this space in many different ways, be it a typical skylounge, an office, an extra dining room, a gym room or a cinema. A small pantry on portside is served by the dumbwaiter from the galley. Through weathertight sliding doors, the skylounge gives access to the upper aft deck, where two J-shaped seating areas are installed, as well as the 5.7 metre tender, which can be launched with an overhead beam crane. The rest of the deck space can be equipped with either loose exterior furniture or a second tender.
The spacious sundeck features a large seating area aft, with a Jacuzzi on starboard. A bar with a dining table and serving counter opposite are located at mid-length, while the forward area is kept free for loose exterior furniture, such as sunbeds or loungers. A large part of the sundeck is covered by the fixed bimini, which has tinted glass segments giving a spectacular view of the mast. Stairs on starboard lead to the top of the bimini, which is another unique feature for a yacht in this size range. This area is an observation deck with a unique vantage point of the surroundings. Below the arch of the mast, a small bench is provided to enjoy the view.
The lower deck houses four guest cabins, with two doubles aft and two twin cabins forward.
Both twin cabins have Pullman berths, to increase the total guest capacity to twelve. Each guest cabin gives access to the spacious central hall. In the crew area, there is a laundry and crew mess, and four double crew cabins. The two aft crew cabins have a removable upper bunk, which can be stowed in a dedicated locker in the corridor. Each crew cabin has an individual bathroom with a shower and toilet.
Access onboard will either be from the stern passerelle or from the side boarding ladder on starboard. The aft deck leads to the spacious lounge and dining room, finished in pear wood and upholstered ceilings. Forward on port is the galley and on starboard the central staircase. A door leads to the crew area with the captain’s cabin, the ship’s office and – a few steps up – the wheelhouse. In the wheelhouse, a comfortable settee and two helm chairs can be found. Five screens display the radars, chart plotter, alarm and monitoring system and a dedicated conning screen. There is also plenty of space to lay out nautical charts. The relatively low position of the wheelhouse is no reason for concern. From the conning position, the water surface can be seen at 48 metres ahead of the bow, which is well below the required distance of two ship lengths. There are also two removable wing stations for close-quarter manoeuvring in tight spots.
Bloemsma Van Breemen is one of those shipyards where the yard owner vouches personally for his product and has the ambition to build an excellent vessel. Nowhere this is more visible than in the engineering. With plenty of sailing experience as an engineer in the past, Nico van Breemen puts a lot of emphasis screens display the radars, chart plotter, alarm and monitoring system and a dedicated conning screen. There is also plenty of space to lay out nautical charts. The relatively low position of the wheelhouse is no reason for concern. From the conning position, the water surface can be seen at 48 metres ahead of the bow, which is well below the required distance of two ship lengths. There are also two removable wing stations for close-quarter manoeuvring in tight spots.
Bloemsma Van Breemen is one of those shipyards where the yard owner vouches personally for his product and has the ambition to build an excellent vessel. Nowhere this is more visible than in the engineering. With plenty of sailing experience as an engineer in the past, Nico van Breemen puts a lot of emphasis on maintainability, reliability, automation and S redundancy. Unlike most vessels in the sub-500 GT category, BVB44M sports a separate engine room, generator room, control room, pump room and harbour generator room. The main generators are housed in a dedicated soundproofed room without sound-enclosures, allowing easy access for maintenance. The main engine room houses all systems consuming fuel and noisy equipment such as watermakers and air compressors and there are ample walkways all around the main engines. The three rooms containing diesel engines all benefit from a freshwater cooling system: in a heat exchanger, a closed loop of freshwater is cooled to seawater temperature. This freshwater is circulated through aircoolers with a large fan, which circulate the air towards the bilges. Even with the engines running at their maximum, this system allows the temperature to be kept just four degrees above the seawater temperature, while the air inlet fans (and ducting) only have to account for the combustion air of the diesel engines. As a result, a lot less (salty) exterior air passes through the engine room. Furthermore, the coolers continuously filter the engine room air, keeping it clean from oil vapours.
The advantage of having three generators, two of 115 kW and one of 55 kW, is that for any given load condition, the generators will be running at a proper load, resulting in less soot production and less hydrocarbons in the exhaust (the typical diesel exhaust smell). The power management software in the ship’s automation system (Dekasis from A. De Keizer) will automatically start up the right combination of gensets for the given load. A shore power converter is installed to allow plugging into shore power anywhere in the world, irrespective of local voltage and frequency.
BVB44M was built to the Large Yacht Code II and Lloyd’s Register Special Craft Rules. Unconventionally, the class notation includes compliance with LR’s chapter 17 for fire protection, detection and extinction, instead of solely complying with LY2 regulations in this respect. The effect is that in terms of fire safety, she has the safety standards of a yacht up to 3000 GT. The measures include a water mist fire extinguishing system for the accommodation, engine rooms and lazarette and a much higher degree of structural fire protection than typically found on sub-500 GT yachts. Another added bonus is the Unmanned Machinery Spaces notation, which allows for a reduction in the number of crew due to the high degree of automation.
The same dedication is applied to creating a silent vessel. The list is extensive, but here are just a few items which are not standard in this class. Both the engines and the main generators feature dry silencers and water-injected exhausts. The gensets are mounted double-resilient: their weighted base is supported on six flexible mounts. The propellers have ample clearance to the hull to minimise propeller noise and the thrust is absorbed in separate thrust bearings from Rubber Design. Flexible couplings in the intermediate shafts allow the gearboxes and main engines to be mounted more flexibly, thus transferring less vibrations into the yacht’s bottom structure. Inline noise dampers are mounted on the engine room ventilation inlet and outlet. The underside of the floor plates in the engine room is fitted with noise-absorbing material behind perforated plate, avoiding the bilges to act as a sound box. The bow thruster tunnel features compressed air injection to minimise the noise caused by blade-tip cavitation.
During BVB44M’s seatrials, the measures to reduce noise showed their effect: in the master cabin the noise level is only 40 dB(A) in port and 45 dB(A) when sailing with the engines at 80%. In practice this means one can hardly notice the difference between cruising or laying at anchor.
BVB44M is currently for sale, and while she would look good in any marina, she is a vessel that yearns for long passages and uncharted territories. The same characteristics that qualify her as a long range explorer yacht (ample storage space, ample crew areas and redundancy of systems to name a few) also make her an excellent charter yacht. With her high specifications, sturdy construction and timeless Beeldsnijder design, she is sure to maintain her value for a long time to come. One needs only to take a glance at the list of suppliers and subcontractors to realise that BVB44M belongs in the top tier of the Dutch superyacht fleet. The only thing currently missing from the yacht is a more inspiring name, an issue which can be rectified in a day.