Delivered by the prestigious Royal Huisman custom yacht builder in the Netherlands in 2012, the 55m (181ft) Spirit Of Tradition ketch Kamaxitha spreads her wings and reaffirms her potential as an offshore flyer. Sailing Yacht KAMAXITHA was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, with beautiful interior design by Rhoades Young. While crossing the Atlantic, she demonstrated long ocean legs, following which she manifested her elegant and purposeful lines as she threaded her way amongst the Windward and Leeward Islands of the West Indies in the Caribbean. The vessel will cruise the eastern and central regions of the Mediterranean this upcoming summer season, after her return to Europe.
A fascinating combination of authentic traditional ketch and advanced offshore rocket ship, there is more to Kamaxitha yacht than first meets the eye. Thanks to the Spirit of Tradition revival, enthusiasts of fine traditional sailing yachts can now enjoy the spectacle of a host of elegant new classics in ports, on passage, and at regattas around the world.
Kamaxitha’s owner is one such enthusiast, but one who could see no reason why fine traditional lines should be in conflict with sparkling performance and exceptional handling. He commissioned Dykstra Naval Architects to design, and Royal Huisman to build, a yacht that carried with it a spirit of tradition, combining classic hull lines with a highly advanced underbody, keel and rudder configuration to complement a powerfully efficient ketch rig. For good measure, he invited Rhoades Young Design to create an interior that stakes a strong visual claim to yachts of an earlier era yet incorporates all the luxurious amenities and operational necessities of the modern era.
The owner’s vision has been realised. Kamaxitha is a yacht that inspires, both as a fine recreation in the classic tradition and as a true sailor’s yacht of the present day.
With her elegant sheer line, dramatic plumb bow and fine counter stern, the 55m (181ft) ketch Kamaxitha looks every inch a worthy successor to the working sailers of a former era to which she pays homage – boats such as the Bristol pilot cutter and the Brixham trawler.
With no portholes to interrupt her topsides Kamaxitha looks both traditional and purposeful. Her fine hull lines, accentuated by a gold-leafed cove stripe and visually uninterrupted teak cap rail, are complemented by a traditional ‘open bulwark’, clean open deck spaces and neatly proportioned teak-clad deckhouses.
Sympathetic period features include two beautifully-joinered skylights inset with bevelled glass. In keeping with tradition, deck planks are laid fore-and-aft parallel to the yacht’s centreline, running without interruption, it seems, through hatches that show no visible margin planks.
The twin helms are thoughtfully positioned to give exceptional lines of sight over the deckhouses and to create a reassuring sense of scale that belies the size of this yacht. These helms may introduce a more modern note, but care has been taken to maintain a sense of authenticity in their presentation: the helm station displays and controls can be lowered out of sight when not required, the helm seats and urrounds are finely joinered teak gratings with varnished margin planks, and the carbon ventilation louvers are cleverly disguised with a thin layer of varnished teak.
The carbon composite rollaway masts and booms and the Duplex high tensile stainless steel bowsprit are all spray-painted cream, a further evocation of a former era, while the aesthetic simplicity of a clear working deck and uninterrupted topsides is emphasised by the absence of any visible anchoring equipment. This is achieved by way of a submarine anchor and launching system, sealed by a profiled hatch below the waterline.
Dykstra Naval Architects have a well-earned reputation for drawing yachts that represent a stunning marriage of classic aesthetics above the waterline with highly advanced hull configurations below – ensuring that maritime beauty is complemented by exceptional performance. This is undoubtedly true of Kamaxitha superyacht, already dubbed a wolf in sheep’s clothing because, in place of the long, full keel that defined her forebears, she sports a fine canoe under-body with flatter after sections, a fully ballasted 62-ton lifting keel, and a deep spade rudder fabricated from carbon composite. Almost all the keel weight is concentrated into the bulb, ensuring a low centre of gravity to balance out the powerful driving forces of her rig. Draft extends from 4.5m (15ft) to 6.75m (22ft) for optimum performance as well as the ability to access the widest choice of ports and anchorages.
With her plumb bow, long waterline, low wetted-surface areas and high sail area to displacement ratio, luxury yacht Kamaxitha is designed to deliver fast acceleration and high speeds. To optimise that potential, Dykstra Naval Architects also devised a powerful ketch rig capable of carrying up to 2,449mÇ of downwind sail. The rig features Rondal carbon composite masts and rollaway booms, North 3DL sails, and composite forestays for lightness and stiffness. The whole rig is easily and efficiently handled by a sail-handling system that employs Lewmar high speed drum winches, Harken furlers, Rondal captive winches and feeders, and Rondal custom-built deck hardware including blocks specially upgraded to meet high loads within a compact format.
Life on deck
The social centre of S/Y Kamaxitha revolves around the main deckhouse, together with the main cockpit and helm stations neatly grouped behind the companionway and protected by a sun awning. The main cockpit is designed to provide secure, sheltered seating with excellent views and easy access to service from below, as well as social interaction with the helm. Behind the mizzen, the aft deckhouse is an extension to the owners’ suite that offers private deck-level amenity and shelter while also giving access to the delightfully secluded owners’ cockpit affording excellent all round views.
Forward of the main deckhouse two tenders are accommodated when at sea. In port and in secluded anchorages with the tenders afloat, this space can be transformed into a charming and imaginative alfresco dining area with a specially designed dining table installed beneath a oriental-influenced tent design that neatly connects to the main boom.
Just forward of the main mast a compact cuddy gives dedicated access to the crew quarters below. Traditional skylights and sea tight mushroom vents are strategically positioned on deck to provide light and fresh air to the cabins below.
Access to the deck when at anchor is provided by a secure boarding system consisting of a rigidly attached platform at tender level and a retractable platform at deck level. The two are connected by self levelling sea stairs. A passarelle is situated aft for deck boarding in port.
Peaceful and traditional
On stepping into the main deckhouse, one immediately encounters the calm, peaceful ambience of tradition that Rhoades Young has so successfully created throughout the interior of this fine yacht.
One of the principal themes is matt-finished SWEETA NIA mahogany joinery, known for its calm grain and consistent hue, which sets an elegant tone beneath hand-painted white deckheads set above contoured and chamfered beams and lit by period style light-fittings. Fielded panelling is complemented by railings of hand-turned spindles, and bookshelves surmounted by shell-design pediments. To further enhance the period finish, locker doors are hand painted rather than sprayed, intentionally leaving the subtlest traces of hand brushwork.
The theme continues through to the crew quarters where the joinery details are accentuated with teak rather than mahogany trim. The floors are immaculately laid in walnut. This traditional evocation belies the fact that Kamaxitha yacht, in the Spirit of Tradition, is furnished to levels of luxury and equipped to standards of technology that could never have been dreamed of in earlier times. The great skill is in designing and building an interior that delivers all the benefits of modernity whilst maintaining a credible aura of period authenticity.
Luxurious and flexible
Double ‘pocket’ doors from the cockpit retract neatly out of sight on a roller system to provide access to the main deckhouse. Here the upper salon fulfils its role as a social hub with casual seating to starboard and relaxed dining for eight to port (extendable to ten), all with commanding exterior views. Going forwards, elegantly splayed stairs give access to the main salon where a ‘Gentleman’s bar’ to port, complete with beer tap, overlooks a relaxed and intimate casual seating area around a fireplace.
This may be a facsimile of the real thing but it looks extremely convincing as water vapour and light provide, with safety, the illusion of smoking coals. A TV above the fireplace can be concealed behind a painting when not in use.
To starboard, there is an attractive internal dining area for eight (extendable to ten) and a short corridor that provides access to both the forward twin guest cabin and, via a sliding door, to the crew quarters for service.
Stairs aft of the main deckhouse offer access to a day head and another twin guest cabin to port, to a double guest cabin to starboard, and to the owners’ suite aft.
The owners’ suite comprises a large double bed in a classic bed box, walk-in wardrobe, an office with casual seating, double bathroom with bath, shower, separate wc and bidet, and a separate steam cabin. Steps aft lead to the owners’ upper lounge in the aft deckhouse: a light and spacious area with excellent privacy, offering direct access to the snug owner’s cockpit.
All cabins benefit from the natural light thrown by deck skylights and from the rich visual interest created by the use of colourful, fabric-lined panels in outboard recesses. There is under-floor heating in all the luxury bathrooms, including the Captain’s, and throughout the owners’ suite, eliminating the requirement for fan coils when sailing in colder regions.
Considerable thought has been given to achieving maximum flexibility of guest accommodation. A high level Pullman berth is installed above the inside bed of the aft twin guest cabin; an additional mobile Pullman can be set up for extra berthing on the outside of either of the aft guest cabins; and there is a sofa bed in the lower salon. Guests using the sofa bed can use the day head, which has shared access to the shower serving the portside aft guest cabin. The forward guest cabin has been specially configured to be also accessible for a wheelchair user.
The crew quarters link to the guest accommodation via a sliding door for service but are principally accessed by a generous stairway from on deck. There is a crew mess to starboard, comprehensive galley to port and four crew cabins forward, all with ensuite bathroom facilities.
Performance and handling
From her earliest sea trials, superyacht Kamaxitha has made a singular impression on those who sail her. True to her promise, she powers up and accelerates rapidly, with an appetite to reach top speeds – often exceeding true wind speed – with little or no fuss. Particularly notable is the clean passage she makes through the water, her fine plumb bow cuts the surface with scarcely a hint of a quarter wave, her stern wake is little more than a ripple. Thanks to Dykstra Naval Architects’ rudder design and to Royal Huisman’s “signature” direct steering system there is a precise and balanced feel to the helm, offering a fine degree of control and good feedback for the helmsman. The helms are perfectly located on the outboard sides for viewing the blade jib to achieve optimum upwind sailing power in regattas – up to 14 knots at a healthy 35º apparent wind angle. Off-wind, Kamaxitha has already demonstrated the ease with which she can reach and sustain her theoretical hull speed of 17.8 knots. Given a willing crew and suitable conditions speeds in excess of 25 knots may be anticipated as she will rise up and surf on her canoe type underbody.
Kamaxitha is very responsive, especially for a boat of her size, manoeuvring with agility and speed on her high aspect fin and bulb keel. Tacking is a particular delight under main and blade jib as there is no inner forestay or mast overlap to require furling. Kamaxitha can make a rapid tack and regain full speed while other yachts might still be furling. The 62-ton keel can be raised or lowered in two minutes 15 seconds, even with up to 10º angle of heel (most lifting keels operate only in vertical mode).
So Kamaxitha has little difficulty in adapting herself from fast cruising or regatta mode to preparation for port entry or a snug anchorage. The yacht’s submarine anchor – no heavier than a conventional system and avoiding the complexity of a swing-over arm – ensures that nothing interferes with the attractive presentation of the bow. Smart engineering design means that the bottom of the anchor is also the bottom of the boat, and that perfect alignment is ensured every time the anchor is hoisted, thanks to a neat corkscrew arrangement. A snubbing line is run out to the bow for longer periods at anchor which, it should also be noted, can be fully deployed manually in the event of an emergency.
Kamaxitha has a full and flexible sail wardrobe, a particularly attractive and effective off-wind combination being full main and mizzen, with asymmetric headsail and mizzen staysail set. A neat touch is the recessed push button mizzen staysail furler in the forward main deckhouse to ensure clean lines.
The technical perspective
Kamaxitha’s board systems have been built around a brief seeking the highest levels of performance and delivery compatible with assured reliability within BASIC/SIMPLE system architecture and without added complexity.
A compact air-conditioning package has been developed, yet still includes humidification and filtration in the fresh air units supplying air to the fan coil units.
The hydraulic system is highly performance-orientated, drawing power from the main engine and generators in a variety of ways to provide flexibility, redundancy and the ability to meet peak loads when racing.
The hydraulic power-takeoff, using pumps off the main engine, is a neat, compact installation flange mounted between the aft of the engine and the gearbox. Another new engineering development from the Royal Huisman team.
The entertainment package, based on the Apple system and integrated with satellite TV, has the benefit of worldwide support by local dealers.
In keeping with established Royal Huisman practice, electrical cabinets and computers are installed in corridors, not guest cabins, to avoid any disturbance to owners and guests when servicing.
The simple, yet thoughtful, lighting design in all social areas and cabins satisfies the senses without frustrating them. It is based on the imaginative use of just three control switches to achieve, in effect, all the moods likely to be required.
Regrettably the owners are unavailable in time for this submission. On their behalf we extrapolate some of their past comments:
“When we set out to create Kamaxitha the goal of my family and me was to create a yacht that should be exceptional in three distinct respects. First, she had to evoke the revival in the spirit of tradition with the greatest possible sense of authenticity. We are particular admirers of early working designs such as the Bristol Pilot Cutter and the Brixham trawler and these classic references to form and function were central to our brief. The second element of the brief was the firm belief that, with the current state of superyacht design and build technology, there is no reason why the requirement for a classic concept should be in conflict with the desire for exceptional performance and handling. We wanted a boat that, while not extreme, would be more than a match for more contemporary designs in terms of fast passage-making and successful regatta sailing, offering manoeuvrability and acceleration as well as outright speed on the water.
Thirdly, we wanted to enjoy the highest standards of fit-out, design and amenity within a traditionally-inspired yet luxurious interior without any indication or intrusion from the systems architecture and sail management systems required for efficient operation. In all three respects our chosen team of Dykstra Naval Architects, Rhoades Young Design and Royal Huisman, together with our Project Manager Jens Cornelsen, have delivered a yacht that has surpassed our expectations. Kamaxitha’s agility makes her a pleasure to sail, a pleasure to live aboard and, as we are constantly reminded by admirers, a pleasure to look upon.”
Naval architects: Dykstra Naval Architects
“A brief that brings together the requirements for traditional design and optimum twenty-first century performance plays well to the strengths and experience of our team. We created a classic hull shape above the waterline, with a plumb bow, counter stern and finely sheered topsides without the interruption of portholes. The clean parallel to centre line-planked decks are surmounted by teakclad pilot houses and complemented by other sympathetic period features such as skylights with bevelled glass and polished stainless steel mushroom air vents.
Below the waterline it is however a very different story. Kamaxitha’s advanced, low wetted-surface area hull configuration features a fine canoe under-body with flatter after-sections, a fully-ballasted 62-ton lifting keel extending to 6.75m draft and a deep spade rudder fabricated from carbon composite. Almost all of the keel weight has been concentrated in the bulb to balance the powerful driving forces of a ketch rig that is capable of carrying up to 2,449m2 of downwind sail. The result is a high sail area to displacement ratio, designed to deliver fast acceleration and high speeds, being complemented by carbon spars and forestays for their inherent lightness, stiffness and reduced centre of gravity. The sail management system was carefully developed in co-operation with the shipyard team to ensure fast, safe and efficient handling of the high loads that would be generated.
Twin helms make obvious seafaring sense when campaigning a yacht of this size and power. Their positioning is designed to optimise sightlines both to sails and to the external environment, while the more contemporary visual note they introduce has been carefully nuanced through traditional styling and the use of stowaway displays and controls. The performance and handling evidenced at Kamaxitha’s sea trials and on her first transatlantic passage give us every confidence that she will deliver everything and more that her owners have asked for: she tacks fast and precisely and has powered close-hauled upwind effortlessly at 14 knots, easily reaching her theoretical hull speed of 17.8 knots as she bares away. With the right crew and conditions, up to 25 knots off-wind will be registered on her instruments.”
Interior design: Rhoades Young Design
“Our objective was to create an interior with calm, reassuring ambience based on traditional design and furnishing elements, warm colours, suffused light and an understated sense of luxury. The owner sought to achieve a rich environment, maximising the use of the woods and pursuing a very great level of authentic detail.
The underlying theme utilises satin-finished Sweetania mahogany, known for its calm grain and consistent hue, set beneath hand-painted white deck-heads and contoured, chamfered beams. Fielded panelling is complemented by railings of hand-turned spindles and by book shelves and display alcoves surmounted by shell design pediments, all enhanced by the glow from period-style light fittings. The floors throughout are immaculately laid in walnut. Subtle, fine joinery and architectural features gradually reveal themselves and add to the visual interest.
By day, the social hub of the yacht is the pilot house, with casual seating and dining to port and navigation seating to starboard. The lower salon boasts many interesting features including a “gentleman’s bar”. This was requested by the owner and has been beautifully crafted by Royal Huisman as an area the owner can be rightfully proud of showing his guests. Formal dining and a snug informal seating area around a fireplace in which water vapour and light create the convincing impression of a genuine coal fire are formed around the retractable keel casing, artfully concealed as it is, you would never know it. Skylights and carefully designed engine ducting allow a very open relationship between the upper and lower saloons.
The guest accommodation is luxurious and highly flexible with two guest cabins aft and a forward starboard cabin which converts to accommodate wheelchair access, with steps that fold away and adaptable beds and specially widened doorways and shower. Access throughout the rest of the yacht has been considered too for wheelchair access. The owners’ suite, aft, features a rotunda around the mizzen mast and skylights further aft, a classic box bed, walk-in wardrobe, office, double bathroom and steam cabin. Steps aft lead to an upper lounge in the aft deck-house, giving on to the owners’ private cockpit. As with all the accommodation, the suite benefits from natural light from the deck skylights. Situated forward are the large, well-equipped galley, crew mess and four crew cabins, all with en-suite bathrooms.”
Builder’s statement: Royal Huisman
“Kamaxitha provided the yard with the opportunity to draw on the full spectrum of its talents and capabilities: the construction of a strong, highly insulated hull with retractable keel; the design engineering that optimised interior space while incorporating comprehensive, reliable and easily maintainable systems; the highest standards of cored lightweight, MCA approved interior joinery and fit-out; the carbon composite construction of the Rondal rig and the development and installation of advanced sail-handling systems are merely an indication. Numerous individual technical features and solutions were developed by the yard for this project. To maintain the attractive presentation of the bow and forward deck, Kamaxitha has a submarine anchor, the base of which is smartly engineered to make flush the immediate underbody when in the stowed position. Perfect alignment is assured every time by a neat passive corkscrew arrangement. The 62-ton keel can be raised or lowered in just two minutes 15 seconds, even with a 10 degree angle of heel, whereas most lifting keels operate only in vertical mode. A precise, balanced feel to the helm, offering a fine degree of control and feedback to the helmsman – especially important for regatta sailing – is assured by Royal Huisman’s “signature” direct steering system. Each of the two helm stations benefits from full navigation/information displays and controls that are designed and engineered to slide smoothly into the cockpit coamings and out of sight when no longer required.
The yacht’s board systems have been built to deliver the highest levels of performance within BASIC / SIMPLE systems architecture, without added complexity. A highly compact air conditioning package was developed to reduce intrusion on space yet still includes humidification and filtration in the fresh air units. A special, performance-orientated hydraulic system was designed to provide maximum flexibility and redundancy and to meet peak loads and winch speeds when racing. Owner and guest-friendly accommodation facilities include an entertainment package based on the Apple system, integrated with satellite TV; the innovative lighting system was conceived to deliver whatever lighting mood may be required, through the simple use of just three control switches.
All of these details (and many more) add up to a yacht that is much, much more than the sum of its parts. The Royal Huisman team is proud to have realised such a significant and successful project.”