Project Nova: focused on high efficiency

Chris Jefferies wrote an article about Project Nova in Boat International.

The client is described as a connoisseur who has owned multiple yachts before, however Project Nova will be their first Heesen. Thom Conboy from Heesen Yachts USA said, "The client was attracted to this project for several reasons including its unique and modern exterior as well as its modern, high-tech interior design."

The Dutch superyacht builder revealed the first renderings of its ultra-silent yacht during the 2015 Monaco Yacht Show. Project Nova boasts a fast displacement hull with vastly lower fuel consumption. This all-aluminium yacht, previously known as hull 17850, introduces a new breed to Heesen’s lineup — adding a hybrid propulsion system to the innovative Fast Displacement Hull Form (FDHF) that was developed by Van Oossanen Naval Architects.

Heesen Yachts built the world’s first FDHF yacht with the 65 metre Galactica Star and has since built three yachts with fast displacement hulls – the 42 metre Alive in steel; the 50 metre Sibelle in aluminium; and the 55 metre steel Azamanta. Unlike Galactica Star, which was built for speed, Project Nova is focused on high efficiency.
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According to Heesen, Project Nova will burn 98 litres of fuel per hour at 12 knots and only 57 litres per hour at 10 knots. Despite this focus on efficiency it will still achieve a respectable top speed of 16.3 knots when powered by its main engines and the diesel-electric propulsion system will allow silent cruising at up to nine knots. Project Nova is being constructed in light aluminium and will be powered by relatively small engines for its size — twin 804hp MTU 12V 2000 M61s. With a particular attention to weight control, Project Nova is predicted to achieve a transatlantic range of 3,750 nautical miles while cruising at 12 knots, with a maximum cruising range of 8,000 nautical miles at eight knots.

Smaller engines mean the yacht will also be more spacious, with less space taken up by the engine room. Heesen added, “The result is unique: a high-performance, supremely comfortable displacement yacht with reduced environmental impact.”

Project Nova also puts a priority on silence, the ultimate luxury. Heesen’s Mark Cavendish said that Project Nova should only register 50 decibels of noise in the owner’s suite while underway. When using hybrid mode at nine knots, the noise will measure just 46 decibels in the owner's suite. “The owner and guests will enjoy a vastly quieter environment,” said Cavendish. To put this in perspective, 46 decibels is the sound of soft rainfall.
During the Monaco Yacht Show presentation of Project Nova, Heesen invited Professor Barry Smith, who founded the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London, to share his research on the importance that sound has on the other senses. “Sounds have an effect on all sorts of things, including eating,” said Professor Smith. “Silence is not hearing nothing, the brain is always taking in information, what is going on will affect your mood.”

Being able to run extremely quietly will not only benefit how Project Nova’s owners experience the other senses whilst on board, but will also be extremely practical, allowing the captain to depart port before dawn without disturbing the guests.
Exterior styling comes from Frank Laupman of Omega Architects, who has penned the striking superstructure and almost vertical bow, which will reduce vertical acceleration, thus improving on-board comfort. Project Nova is a “modern, innovative yacht with striking lines and a lot of glass,” said Laupman. “More like a beach villa in style, with nature all around you.” Project Nova will accommodate 12 guests across six staterooms. Guest accommodation is separated from the engine room by the lower deck superyacht gym, which stifles any noise and vibration, while a zero-speed stabilisation system further enhances her blue water cruising credentials. Following her debut season in the Mediterranean, Project Nova will cross the Atlantic. The owner was particularly drawn to the yacht's shallow 2.1 metre draught, which makes her well suited to cruising the Bahamas.

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