Pendennis – Hemisphere
Hemisphere, the world’s largest luxury catamaran, was launched to considerable fanfare and was the star of the 2011 Monaco Yacht Show, and was built for luxury charter by those wanting some serious fun in the sun
There is a list of reasons why Hemisphere is more than just a superyacht. First, it is the largest sailing catamaran ever built. Launched in time to appear at the 2011 Monaco Yacht Show by UK builder Pendennis, Hemisphere was nearly eight years in the making, starting with the ambitions of her owner to create a perfect superyacht for Scuba diving enthusiasts and active charter guests looking to explore the world’s best aquatic playgrounds. Then there is the array of materials: 15 types of stone, 18 different leathers and a variety of woods were used to create an unrivalled interior and guest areas on deck. Each of the cabins, which house up to 12 guests, features a unique design. The layouts are unlike anything achieved in a sailing yacht so far. The technology that’s been deployed to build Hemisphere is unique – including bomb-bay style doors to release the tender. But most of all, the 44-metre Hemisphere is, simply put, beautiful.Stepping aboard Hemisphere, it’s hard not to notice the abundance of curves and shapes that have been deployed to escape the sometimes boxy appearance of smaller catamarans. The aft end of the hulls have been elongated to create beautiful, elegant proportions. As with all good design, there is function in the form. Aside from stretching the waterline length, those long rear sections of the hulls also house a small tender and storage for Scuba gear. Certainly, building a large enough catamaran allows designers to spend a bit more space on luxuries and amenities. Not that the design team of Michael Leach Design and multihull mavens VPLP wasted space. But as you take a glance around Hemisphere, one of the first things you notice is the abundance of both public and private spaces. The main and fly decks are of course fitted out with the requisite lounges and dining spaces for all 12 of the guests that may be onboard. More subtle are the many little places where a couple may unwind and enjoy the scenery in privacy. On the aft hull sections, there are twin sunpads big enough for two. On the flybridge, twin wing stations have been created at the aft end of the deck, so that a guest may enjoy the breeze and views of the sea and the yacht while under sail. At the bows there are two more spots – perfect for soaking up the wind.The main deck of Hemisphere stuns those who see it for the first time. Here, in the main lounge, one can enjoy the full impact of the Michael Leach treatment, with the array of materials and finishes designed to create “six-star Polynesian style luxury”. The variety of finishes and treatments on the woods reportedly had the carpenters constantly running their hands over the finishes. Indeed, the mix of textures and colours that blend so artfully had me touching all the surfaces just for the feel of it.The main bridge deck brings out the use of curves and semi-circles. The aft deck lounge features three loungers arranged in a rough semi-circle that take in the rear-facing view. Forward, there is an al-fresco dining table for 12, served by a bar to starboard. This area reflects the purpose of Hemisphere – it’s comfortable and chilled; luxury without pretension.The main deck lounge is entirely open with beautiful views, but is also marked by discrete socialising areas. The designers opted to put the crew areas such as the galley and accommodations on the starboard hull. Consequently, the wet bar on the aft deck and the service station in the main lounge are located on the starboard side, letting the crew do their work without interfering with the guests. In an interesting design touch, the ceiling, rather than being a blank panel, was filled in with circular wooden inlays.Hemisphere doesn’t have a massive master cabin for charter guests to fight over – instead, there are twin VIP cabins of such style and beauty. Two families could easily inhabit Hemisphere in equal comfort. The guest areas onboard Hemisphere are accessed via descending staircases that open out in circular fashion, akin to the grand staircases of art deco luxury hotels of the past.A staircase forward leads to a passage way to the VIP cabins that face forward. Both are superbly sumptuous, and feature access doors to the trampoline area between the hulls, plus a cozy little sitting area to enjoy your morning coffee. The bathrooms are to the sides and are fitted with marble and stonework that will once again have you feeling your way through the experience. The VIP cabins also benefit in that they are a half-level down from the bridge deck, yet still span the entire 16-metre beam, making for cabins that don’t feel pinched in any way.To the port hull, the staircase descends to a small theatre and reading room. From there, three more cabins that can be altered to suit charter party needs. Be it a group of adults or two families, all can be comfortably accommodated. Throughout the interior of Hemisphere, one finds artistic placements from the owner to add subtle moods and ambiance. The most telling is a sculpture of a young boy swimming up to a huge sea turtle. The maritime fascinations of the owner, and the real purpose of Hemisphere, are made plain.
On the waterHemisphere, luxurious as it is onboard, is about being in the water. With its shallow draught of just 3.2 metres, Hemisphere can get much closer to the reefs and lagoons worth exploring than other yachts of similar space and luxury. The owner began his quest for his yacht eight years ago (the captain, Gavin Bladen, was the owner’s original charter captain in the Bahamas, and has been involved in the build process ever since), after deciding to build the perfect boat for underwater exploration, surfing, and charter.One of Hemisphere’s coolest features is the storage and deployment of its main tender, a 8.2-metre Scorpion RIB. Bomb bay doors open up at the middle undersection of the bridge deck, with the tender then lowered between the two hulls. It’s a scene worthy of a James Bond flick.For those wanting to get the most out of a coral reef, Hemisphere comes with a complete set of Scuba gear for up to 12 people – which is good because two of Hemisphere’s crew members are also PADI-certified dive instructors. The yacht also has a Nitrox facility. Surely, this is the way to explore a coral reef teeming with marine life. For those wanting some more topside thrills, there is an array of kayaks, surfboards, Seabobs and towables (that 50-knot RIB would certainly offer a thrill...).Recently, a 54-foot sport fishing boat has been added to Hemisphere’s list of “toys” that can be available during charters.
Under sailWhile a lot of charter sailing yachts are probably inclined to stick to the motor, those who salivate for sailing will find much that is impressive aboard Hemisphere. The carbon fibre mast, which towers 53 metres above the deck, sits on a ball and socket on the desk. Add in the fact that there are no spreaders, owing to the size of the mast-large enough for crew members to go inside.With all the deck gear located up on the flybridge, guests can either enjoy their time under sail or perhaps (with Captain’s permission) have a go at the wheel. Guests will notice the complete set of electronic and hydraulic controls for Hemisphere with a certain amount of awe.The boom is held by a traveller mechanism fixed to the hard top behind the rear guest area. With the main fixed to the end of the boom, guests can enjoy an area completely clear of lines on the flybridge, and yet get the full benefits of performance. As a further indication of Hemisphere’s sailing credentials, the owner fitted the yacht with North Sail’s top-of-the-line 3DL. Combine all this with the multihull expertise of VPLP, which specialises in catamaran and trimaran high-speed racing yachts, and you can expect a thrilling ride on the wind.While up on the flybridge, guests can take in the breeze and the views from centrally-aligned, super-comfy sunpads, served with drinks from the nearby wetbars. It’s difficult to imagine what could possibly be a better sailing experience. Unless of course, you were lounging in the flybridge Jacuzzi while under sail, and being served a drink. Now that’s living!Hemisphere will be available for charter this summer in the Mediterranean. She will return to the Caribbean for the winter of 2012/13 and is then expected to venture into the South Pacific for more adventure.
To charter Hemisphere: www.burgessyachts.com
Technical Specifications – Hemisphere
Built: 2011, Pendennis Shipyard Ltd, UK
Engines: 2 x 490hp Caterpillar
Cruising Speed: 11 knots
Guests: 10/12 (2 master, 2 double, 1 twin with pullmans)
Construction: Welded Aluminium
Classification: Bureau Veritas 1 MACH Yacht Sailing – A unrestricted navigation LY2
Sailing hardware: Tracks and blocks: Lewmar; Jammers by Spinlock
Sails: North 3DL
Mast and boom: Lorimar
Tenders: Scorpion 8.2m RIB; Castoldi Jet RIB; Avon rapid-inflate safety boat
Engines: 2x Caterpillar C12 490bhp
Cruising speed: 11kts
Interior materials: bleached wenge, brushed oak, distressed walnut, various leathers, eggshell feature panels, onyx shower panels