Colette Flowerdew Kincaid catches up with Sara Gioanola, PR & Press Office Manager for Heesen, to find out what’s new at the undisputed hub of yachting innovation


Sara Gioanola talks technology

Can you tell us what makes Heesen stand at the forefront of technology?

Heesen continuously invests in smart technology. We were the first shipyard to implement the revolutionary Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF) on a superyacht with the 65 metre Galactica Star. Whilst we do not have the exclusive rights to use of this form, it is a very exciting development which we have continued to use on our vessels. Devised by van Oossanen, it is designed to be efficient over the entire speed range, allowing yachts to reduce resistance by up to 35%. It also delivers increased comfort onboard with better sea keeping and wave reduction (meaning a reduced sensitivity to displacement), especially when compared to hard chine yachts.

We have also been the first shipyard to implement the Hull Vane on a superyacht. The Hull Vane is also designed by van Oossanen, and is an underwater wing that harnesses the power of the waves and transforms it into forward motion. By harnessing this power and transforming it into kinetic energy for the underwater wing, it effectively delivers 1 knot for free, allowing for significant savings on fuel and more efficient seakeeping.

Heesen has also been the first shipyard to combine the revolutionary FDHF with hybrid propulsion for silent cruise and excellent performance. Our 49.8 metre hybrid yacht Home is the world’s first yacht to sport this innovative technology and has already received five international accolades for this eco-friendly feature, including the über-prestigious RINA green award presented by HSH Prince Albert of Monaco. She burns 98 litres of fuel per hour at 12 knots and only 57 litres per hour at 10.

I think the grouping of FDHF with hybrid propulsion is something we will be seeing a lot more of in the future. Indeed, we already have a second one in production: Project Electra, ready for delivery in 2020! We really believe in this clever combination of technology.



And what exciting new builds is Heesen currently working on? Any explorer vessels in the pipeline?

Last week we announced the sale of the largest Heesen to date, the 80.07m Project Cosmos with exterior lines by Winch Design. She will sport the revolutionary FDHF and will be the largest and fastest aluminium motor yacht ever built, with a top speed of 29 knots. Her power will come from a quadruple MTU 20V diesel engine set-up. She also has a helipad which can be easily converted into an al fresco cinema, and a crystal elevator running from the lower deck to the sundeck.

Yes, we do have an explorer motor yacht on the drawing board but it is still top secret.


What do you envision the shipyards of the future to look like?

More often we see that Owners aware about the environment, so we predict superyachts will be more eco-friendly and shipyards will research to create yachts that have a smaller environmental impact.
Eco-awareness seems to be something Heesen prioritises already. If you can say, what are the big focuses for your yard’s R&D department?
As I mentioned we recently launched Home, the world’s first FDHF with hybrid propulsion. Our R&D team has been busy researching hybrid propulsion and is still busy with this subject.

When we say hybrid, we mean that the yacht can draw on two sources of power for propulsion: diesel mechanical and diesel electrical. Both sources can be used at the same time, or those onboard the yacht can pick and choose which one suits them best at the time. This provides a more flexible power management system, allowing for less noise and vibration and better efficiency. What makes it so exciting is its promise of delivering a silent cruise – arguably the new frontier of luxury on board superyachts.



Lastly, what has been your favourite piece of superyacht technology released this year so far?

The flat panel satellite domes!

The migration to flat panel satellite domes will free designers from the traditional requirement to carry a dome-heavy mast. The concept and look of our future yachts will change massively when the upper structure is liberated from that awkward array of egg shapes!

Equally exciting will be the use of video wall panels throughout the interior. With razor sharpness these projections will soon be able to mimic, chameleon style, a variety of looks and moods. Imagine being able to change the décor of every interior surface to your whim – just with the click of a mouse.

Thank you, Sara.

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