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Yard Updates

The Dutch yard recently launched a second Icon 62m, MY ‘Baton Rouge’. She departs imminently.

JUNE 2010

She is ‘Project Florida’, which was originally intended to be the third Icon 62. She has jumped ahead of the second 62 ‘Project Midlandia’, which is presently stalled – you can see her in the bottom picture.
The first Icon 62 – designed outside and conceptually inside by Redman Whitely Dixon and with a contemporary Studio Linse interior – launched last summer, was shown at the 2009 Monaco Yacht Show and is presently for sale.
MY Baton Rouge is based on an identical technical platform as the other Icon 62s, but has a Tim Heywood exterior and a Redman Whiteley Dixon interior translated by Metrica, which did the first one and will eventually handle the third. MY Baton Rouge's interior is, for the moment at least, a closely guarded secret. There is hope that she will make Monaco 2010. Burgess is managing the vessel.
What makes the Icon Yachts’ approach different is the build philosophy.
The idea is that, by careful design and extensive pre-engineering, considerable time and cost can be taken out of a vessel’s construction without any reduction in quality, although thus far it hasn’t had the unit volumes to meet the original cost projections.
The ‘Icon Method’ is certainly interesting. It welds its own hulls and epoxies and bolts on the aluminium superstructures, which are fabricated by outside contractors; there are no weld-transition joints anywhere aboard. The Chockfast Orange epoxy isolates the steel from aluminium. Everything is geared to minimizing welding aboard after the initial fabrication work is completed. And because there’s no welding involved putting top and bottom together, the superstructure of Icon No3 should be accurate enough to faired and painted prior to mating with its deck, although this hasn’t happened yet. Another advantage of that approach is the reduced scaffolding requirements.
Then there are the pre-fabricated modules, standardized for a given technical platform and assembled and fully tested off the boats. Soft patches play a big part in how modules are craned between decks. For instance, the engine-room consists of no fewer than 21 modules ‒ engines, gearboxes, fuel-oil unit, bilge unit, fuel system, fuel-stripping unit, freshwater system, chiller unit, sewage, intercool unit, sea-water pump unit etc etc. And then there are galley units and so on throughout the rest of the boat. And the claim is that each module takes just one day to install.
And there are countless more examples big and small.
The idea is the cost savings are passed on to clients in the form of reduced prices and quicker delivery times, but again the crisis has had considerable impact on the business model. The prices of an Icon 62 is said to be just over €1 million a metre; her displacement is around 1,060 tonnes.
Styling concepts have been worked up by all manner of design studios. Not only based on its existing technical platform, which is effectively a ‘60m-plus’ platform than could conceivably stretch up as far as 73m. Then to entice there are 50m-plus, 80m-plus and 90m-plus concepts, which would require the development of new core platforms. And in theory at least it could go much bigger. Facilities at the former commercial-ship yard include a huge covered dry-dock with space for yachts up 150m and a 4,500-tonne synchrolift.
Despite its modular-build approach, the yard has taken in a 40m composite project to finish off at its Harlingen yard; it was started in Germany at Kaiserwerft, but stalled when her builder went bankrupt. Bootwerk is handling her interior. For obvious reasons, not much more is being said on that one; she should launch later this year 2010.
The yard’s hugely experienced Wim Koersvelt recently stepped down as CEO.
In October ’08 Icon and Gulf Craft announced a co-operation. The latter will act as a sales and service point for Icon and in turn Icon will help train Gulf Craft’s staff with regard to large yacht construction, which will be especially useful for a new 40m (131ft) Gulf Craft project.

For more, www.iconyachts.eu

© Phil Draper