The zeal of the convert

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Time and money are precious and are why a prospective superyacht owner might choose a conversion Over a new build. But the advantages of transforming an older commercial, already seaworthy vessel into a pleasure yacht are bountiful.

Marcela de Kern Royer, the business development consultant at Icon Yachts, certainly thinks so. “There are so many boats in the world already – why to build another one?” she asks.
“Just use a hull that is seaworthy and strong and builds a brand new superyacht on top of it.”

De Kern Royer points to Icon’s 2015 conversion of Legend, a 253ft former Soviet ice-breaker launched in 1974. In just a year, Legend was transformed into a luxury explorer yacht but with many of her original characteristics preserved. “When it is chartered, the crew talk all about the ghosts and history. It creates much more of a charter experience – the guests love it,” de Kern Royer says.

Naval architect Boris Kirilloff has completed a number of conversions, including the 299ft Swiftships Voyager, which is now an explorer superyacht. “There is no limit to what you can do to these types of boats,” he says. “Clients chartering expedition vessels are more concerned about having a helicopter or submarine on board than a Jacuzzi.” A boat built by an experienced commercial shipyard as a world-roaming ice-breaker, for example, offers the qualities such a yacht requires. As de Kern Royer says: “Sipping champagne in Saint-Tropez gets boring after a while.”

The world's 10 biggest super yacht conversions
The world’s 10 biggest super-yacht conversions
A history of the converted fleet by build and conversion dates
A history of the converted fleet by build and conversion dates

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