Prior to the launching of the outrageous Wally Island megayacht two years ago, Monte Carlo-based Wally Yachts was probably best known for its millennium-award-winning Wallypower 118, but with the launch of Wally Hermès Yachts (WHY), a joint venture with French high fashion house Hermès, it will almost certainly be known for its first WHY Yacht— it's a multi-story 58 metre-long, 38 metre-wide floating personal holiday resort with almost an acre of floorspace, an ultra-stable Norwegian Ramform hull, and an energy efficiency so high and carbon footprint so low that it can be sailed to the location of your heart's desire. It aint fast, but it can cruise at 12 knots in a Force 4 gale and has enough range to cross the Atlantic four times without refueling.
WHY is a joint-venture created in June 2008 between Paris-based luxury goods designer Hermès and similarly-positioned yacht constructor Wally Yachts, to develop a new type of motor yacht redefining the art of living on the sea. The venture was conceived as an equal partnership whereby each company becomes fully involved in all aspects of the concept and design of each project.
The common values and complementary expertise of the two brands led to an initial offering that offers an unparalleled living space at sea. The vast amount of space desired to create the required ambience was enabled by employing the proven Norwegian Ramform hull, which is characterised by exceptional and unprecedented stability and was spotted by Wally owner Luca Bassani Antivari as the ideal solution for the WHY 58x38 project in that it has been used with great success in the oil exploration industry for more than a decade.
Indeed, there's plenty of scope to enlarge upon the first WHY effort as Ramform hulls have been used to more than double the length of the 58 metre.
Following this unique adaptation, the decks and the interiors were developed in accordance with the fundamental credo of WHY, 'form-equals-function'. Thus were born other innovations in the world of mega yachts: patios generously flooding the interior with natural light, photovoltaic panels on the glass hull sides, as well as on the roof opening, like Venetian blinds, a 25 metre-long forward end swimming pool, and a 36-metre aft deck beach.
"We are very interested in creating a yacht that will have a low environmental impact," says Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès. "Its relationship with the sea must be respectful and easy. WHY intends to offer a new way of moving over water by creating an innovative way of managing and recycling its sources and uses of energy."
"If you want to go totally ecological, the only solution is sailing. The reality is that today, 90% of the market is powerboats, echoes Luca Bassani Antivari. Our aim is to reduce diesel consumption per year and per yacht: 20 to 30% for propulsion and 40 to 50% for generation."
Thanks to its specific hull, WHY 58x38 requires less power at cruising speed than a boat of equal size. Its diesel-electric propulsion is the most efficient motorisation today, and the surface of the photovoltaic panels, almost 900 square metres, covers most of the boat's auxiliary system needs.
WHY Research and Development plan to optimize this project's energy consumption by improving the isolation of the yacht and the heat recovery of its engines, and is also investigating the latest wind energy production and wind propulsion system technologies.
In comparison to a yacht of the same size, WHY 58x38 has been conceived to reduce drastically its energy consumption, saving up to 200 tons of diesel per year.
The WHY R&D program includes tank testing for hull stability in the SSPA facilities in Sweden, and the construction of a full-scale mock-up in order to allow the design team to fine tune the living areas correctly in accordance with the hull's unique shape.
"The WHY 58X38 yacht looks very unfamiliar but it remains on a human scale. Space is the greatest luxury on the sea, but I believe the new luxury will be the time to enjoy it," concludes Pierre-Alexis Dumas.