Features

Anyone for Tennis

After sailing the seas for ten years on his first 68-metre Aviva, the passionate Owner returned to Abeking & Rasmussen with a brief for a much bigger 98-metre Aviva, one that had to include a near plum bow, a masculine look and... a padel tennis court.

Steve Chalmers

Abeking & Rasmussen knew exactly whom they were dealing with when the brief came through for a 98-metre new build. After all, just ten years earlier, they had delivered the Owner’s first yacht, the 68-metre Aviva, with her plum bow, battleship grey hull and white superstructure. However, this was no ordinary repeat customer, as the Owner was renowned for using his yacht heavily for business and pleasure, often spending months at a time enjoying its carnivorous (for a 68-metre) interior volumes.

During the initial discussions between the Owner and shipyard, it became clear that this would be no ordinary project: the Owner wanted more toys, more interior volume and a style that would make it instantly recognisable as his Aviva. Basically, a 100% unique 98-metre, but with the character, ambience and personality of the original yacht. Oh, and he wanted it built in less than three years, with an interesting addition.

Exterior Design

With such a short build time, the design was entrusted to the original Aviva’s designers, Reymond Langton. Having already worked with the Owner, the team managed to create the exterior and interior designs in only six months – half the time that usually goes into a project of this size. Style wise, Reymond Langton Design worked with Toby Silverton, and together they developed Aviva’s ultra distinctive look. A near plum bow starts the proceedings, with a powerful yet curvaceous hull, which courtesy of extensive testing, is as efficient as it is pleasing to the eye. The long foredeck area leads to a low profile superstructure which for such a large superyacht, manages to look sporty and ultra modern. Of course, Aviva’s most distinctive styling trait is her colourway, consisting of a turquoise blue hull and a metallic grey superstructure sliced by the gloss black window frames and dark tinted glazing. For yacht spotters, Aviva is easily one of the most recognisable yachts on the water.

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Interior Design

As the Owner was going to use Aviva as his primary home and not just for the odd weekend, creating a homely space was the priority for Reymond Langton. Due to respecting the Owner’s request for privacy, we are unable to print any of Aviva’s suites, lounges and cabins, however, what we can confirm is that the space between the 17-metre beam has been made to feel like a house, more than a yacht. On all the open decks, instead of using traditional teak, Esthec decking has been used. This high-tech, synthetic material is often found covering hotel terraces, spa areas at luxury villas and roof gardens, making it the ideal covering for a home on the water.

To make the outside and inside feel more integral, the deck covering is repeated in the interior carpet patterns. As a result, each of the decks has its own unique pattern, smoothly flowing from the salons to open terraces, imitating complex geometric shapes. The futuristic theme continues with the furniture, which comprises built-in sofas, armchairs and chaise longues of various shapes, that unexpectedly burst into bright yellow and turquoise colours against the background of metal structures.

Natural light is also a major factor and Aviva’s glazing deserves special attention. If you look closely, you’ll notice most of it is seamless, with no visible cross bars. Besides the obvious advantage in terms of visibility, this technique has also reduced the overall weight of the yacht. The lower deck portholes have also been grouped into longer window strips, keeping the guest cabins light and bright too. And then we have the padel tennis court.

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Tennis Court

With the Owner spending so much time on board, Aviva’s lifestyle elements were paramount to keeping those on board happy, healthy and fit. However, there was one huge change in the Owner’s sporting interests and that is, he had become passionate about padel tennis.

Although it sounds like a bit of fun, padel tennis is basically normal tennis doubles but with added squash elements. This means you can play off the walls, making the game much more dynamic and a lot harder to score – after all, the ball never actually goes ‘out’. It’s played in a 20-metre long, 10-metre wide and 6.5-metre high court and the original design had Reymond Langton place it out on deck with sliding and folding walls. “This was in itself a difficult challenge,” commented the designer. “But when the Owner told me he wanted the court permanent and indoors (of a yacht of 90-metres, or so) that is when the real challenge began, especially as the intention was for guest or visitors to not know it was there until the big reveal.”

The answer was to place the court at the max beam location and as low as possible (only 600mm from the keel), so the game can be played while making way. That was just the half of it though, as padel courts are usually built on concrete floors, with rock-solid concrete walls (for the correct rebound of the ball), but in the case of Aviva, the base is made of steel, with a sprinkling of two tons of special sand which is covered in astro-turf. As an off-shoot of the Owner’s passion for the game, the crew also got into the padel swing and are ready to take on any guests and even give the boss a run for his money.

When not in use, the net can be removed and the crew can play football or use the other exercise equipment in the sports hall, making it one of the largest gyms on the sea. What really does amaze, is the fact that the court in no way affects Aviva’s layout, neither is the route down to the area any less lavish than the main staircase.

Performance

To accommodate the court, Abeking & Rasmussen had to make careful stability calculations, as well as seriously approach the issue of emergency exits and watertightness of partitions. As a result, Aviva provides excellent seaworthy characteristics while the resistance of the hull was reduced by 20%. As a consequence, she requires less engine power when making way, which means a significant reduction in fuel consumption. Maximum speed is 20 knots, which is rare for a superyacht of this size and can be attributed to the efficient hull as well as the two MTU 16V 4000 turbo diesels that produce 3,862hp, each. Aviva also has a hybrid mode that allows her to travel at 11 knots using only electric motors. This provides smooth and quiet sea crossings, supplemented by the obvious economic benefits.

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Conclusion

Aviva and her Owner are unique in many ways. Living on board for months at a time means she has been created specifically for him and him alone. There is no chance of charter and the only way you’ll ever get to see her interiors is by invitation. We like a bit of mystery here at YACHTS and fully respect that the Owner wants to keep his home on the sea a secret. This, is what commissioning a superyacht is all about: passion, individuality and loyalty.

Aviva Specifications
LOA 98.40m
Beam 17.24m
Draught 3.85m
Hull Steel
Superstructure Aluminium
Gross tonnage 5000GT
Engines 2x MTU 16V 4000 M7 3L
Max Speed 20kn
Cruise Speed 14kn
Guests 12 + 35 crew
Naval architecture Abeking & Rasmussen
Exterior design Reymond Langton Design / Toby Silverton
Interior design Reymond Langton Design
Shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen Germany