SAFIRA: Guilt-Free Luxury Yacht

SAFIRA: Guilt-Free Luxury Yacht

SAFIRA is a custom, global explorer yacht, built in 2013 by Newcastle and refit in 2015. In 2014, SAFIRA was the Winner of the Showboats Design Awards for Naval Architecture and Finalist for Environmental Protection. She was a Finalist for the World Superyacht Awards 2014 for Best Displacement below 500GT. Select Yachts toured SAFIRA on the lookout for green innovations. We had heard that the yacht had some unusual properties.

SAFIRA: Guilt-Free Luxury Yacht

The first thing that we noticed were the flawless, composite Esthec decks.

Every day, it is estimated that 200 acres of teak forest are logged. Composite decks are a conscious contribution to an eco-friendly build. Interiors are designed with forest-certified Sapele. We are told that much of the marble is also recycled from other projects. There are water makers that phenomenally generate thousands of gallons. Most surprising, the Stew mentioned that this fuel-efficient expedition yacht cannot go backwards, but Captain Kent is required to unravel this mystery.

The main deck aft features two tables in front of a plush, white sofa that spans the beam. This is comfortable seating for the charter party and several guests. Entering the main salon, dual leather sofas with matching coffee tables flank both sides. The formal dining room is defined by two bureaus that separate the space. A bold work of modern art serves as a focal point that energizes an elegantly subdued décor. The stately, marble dining table accommodates 10 guests.

While we know that charter guests don’t spend time in the galley, but the galley on SAFIRA feels like home. It’s a welcoming place to hang out, smell the aromas and maybe get a few tips from the Chef. The layout features a huge central counter/work space, loads of cabinets and state-of-the-art equipment and appliances. There’s even a bottle crusher. There are two large capacity refrigerators and we are told even more storage below. Static charter events or long-range cruising are no problem on SAFIRA. She can provision for 30 days.

Luxury accommodations are ideal for charter families and friends.

SAFIRA has an opulent master, two double and two twin staterooms. The staterooms surround a small lobby with well-stocked mini fridge. Throughout the staterooms, the carpeting, backed with thick foam padding, is absolutely luscious underfoot. Dark wood paneling and joinery, and classic, polished portholes, lend an Old World ambience. The master has ample drawers, under bed storage and an enviably large, cedar closet. The two twin staterooms each have Pullmans and roomy bathrooms with plenty of counter space.

Up on the bridge deck, we try to comprehend the joystick maneuvering system that lacks a reverse gear. How did Captain Kent maneuver stern-to in a boat show slip that lacks any margin for error? “Very carefully”, the Stew tells us.

We proceed forward to the Skylounge, a favorite spot for kids on board. There are lots of electronic games and regular board games as well. The modular furniture allows rearranging the room to suit different activities. Outside, the large dining table can accommodate the entire charter party. Everything throughout the yacht is immaculate, not a thread out of place. And it really feels like you’re on a ship, rather than a stylish loft apartment.

We meet Captain Kent and head back to those joysticks on the helm.

Captain Kent is friendly, easy-going and immediately engaging. He explains, “Z drives, or shuttles with Azipods, are fixed pitch propellers mounted on steerable pods that drop down through the hull of the vessel. Both propellers go in the same direction, usually facing forward. When water comes off one, the other one picks it up, so it ends up being super fuel efficient. We burn half the diesel fuel using this system. For the Owner and charter clients it’s a significant savings.

The downside with both propellers going in the same direction when we’re cruising, is that we don’t have reverse. The propellers are independent. For docking, I turn one 180 degrees around keeping the other at an angle. It takes 11 seconds just to turn, and 15 seconds to really slow the yacht down, so you really need to know what you’re doing. 15 seconds is a long time with 425 tons.

The Azipod system was primarily used in the commercial industry, the oil industry, offshore supply vessels, some tugboats, but they normally have forward and reverse thrusters. Today, there are three colleges that offer instruction, but my learning was hands-on in the Miami Harbor. (Yikes!) I’m quite comfortable with it now and have quite a few thousand miles of experience.”

SAFIRA is stunning, above and below the water line.

SAFIRA: Guilt-Free Luxury Yacht

The name SAFIRA is of Arabic origin and means victorious. The Owner was definitely triumphant in building an eco-friendly yacht without sacrifice to luxury and performance. Sophisticated exterior styling and engineering are a credit to Sparkman & Stephens. There are four tenders, three of which are stowed on the foredeck. The yacht carries no gas, but the tenders can fill up with diesel fuel at the stern. Elegant interiors reveal enlightened design. Furnishings are organic, natural, recycled, sustainable and renewable. LED lights automatically dim when not in use. The yacht is ABS certified and Ice Class compliant. Global cruising, guilt free.

SAFIRA is available for summer charters in New England and winters in the Caribbean. Accommodations are for 10 guests in five luxurious staterooms with eight crew.

Contact Select Yachts for additional information and to book SAFIRA for your dream charter vacation.


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