Smit Clyde launched in the Netherlands in 1957, the fastest and best equipped ocean going tugboat plying the North Sea. As a work boat she earned much admiration for extraordinary nautical feats, like pulling supertankers through typhoons and simultaneously towing two US aircraft carriers from Boston to Yokohama. In 1997 conversion from a legendary tug to a head-turning superyacht began. In 2002, SEAWOLF was reborn, a magnificent yacht poised for oceanic adventures once again.
SEAWOLF ‘s enormous volume has been cleverly repurposed for luxury living. Step aboard amidships on the main deck level. The completely sheltered exterior space is quite a grand foyer. An amazing array of tenders and toys can be glimpsed on the aft deck, intricately fitted as snugly as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
The main salon and formal dining area surround the original towing point of the tug, the exact center of the ship, which now houses the elegantly crafted television cabinet. Four guest staterooms and the full beam VIP suite are located forward. They are soundproofed and beautifully designed to be peaceful and private.
The next deck level houses the Owner’s compartments, which comprises a king bed stateroom, walk-in dressing room, living room, and library with office area. The sky lounge, swimming pool, sun lounges and al fresco dining area are also on this deck.
Si Evans, the ship’s dive instructor, is a raconteur of delightful details. He guided the Select Yachts team through SEAWOLF during the Antigua Charter Yacht Show. From the pool area, overlooking the main deck aft, Si pointed out two brand new Jet Skis, 5 paddle boards, two wakeboards, spearfish guns and windsurfers. Romantics can sail Marguerite, a 28-foot replica of a Herreshoff classic. For extreme speed (Si says the Owner is a bit of a speed freak), the 380hp tender goes 60 knots. The family are dive enthusiasts, and there are 12 full sets of gear on board. Si can sign off beginning divers on a discover course, or guide the advanced.
SEAWOLF is an eclectic ship. She has the skin and charisma of a classic yacht. Yet contemporary furnishings and modern amenities belie her true age. The walls are sparsely hung with artwork that feels timeless. Si told us the art is without provenance. It came with the yacht. It is obviously Asian, a collection of framed delicate florals and black and white calligraphy. The Owner likes it. It could be very valuable (especially given her famous voyage to Japan), or it could be basically worthless. In any case, it will remain one of many beguiling enigmas.
Up on the bridge deck the helm is stunning. The surround of windows is framed by rich wood paneling and finely crafted cabinetry supports an array of equipment. The wheel is breathtaking, especially to antiques aficionados. We had to ask, and Si launched into another excellent SEAWOLF story.
When SEAWOLF underwent her redesign in Palma in 2002, a new wheel was installed. The Chief Engineer found the original wheel in the rubbish. He took it home and kept it there. When the current Owner joined the boat the Chief Engineer told him he had salvaged the original wheel. The like-minded Owner was thrilled that the wheel still existed and struck a deal.
The original wheel was exquisitely restored and recommissioned. However, in the future when SEAWOLF is sold, the wheel will be removed and returned to that Engineer. Hopefully he will make another deal, with a new, like-minded Owner, and the wheel will stay the course, steering the ship to ever new horizons.
Allyn Lewis is the present Chief Engineer. He is rightly proud of his impressive domaine. From the bank of computer screens to the complex maze of green and white pipes, lines, gages, gears, platforms, ladders, tanks and cylinders, the layperson could get befuddled. Remarkably SEAWOLF, once the most powerful tug in the world, is still powered by the original twin JK Smit-Man 6 cylinder 4 stroke diesel engines, numbers four and five, which generate 3000hp.
SEAWOLF has a sister ship, still in operation around Holland, still running on engines two and three. The classic work boat continues to operate as a tug, but also welcomes visitors as a floating museum near Rotterdam. Three years ago the two vessels joined up in Holland and many old sailors were brought to tears by nostalgic memories and the vision of them side by side once again.
SEAWOLF is in the Caribbean at present. Her plans include a Mediterranean summer, then heading toward the South Pacific for a few years. Clients seeking a charter vacation of true adventure will not find a luxury yacht and crew better suited to the purpose.
Contact Select Yachts for additional details, rates and current itinerary.
View: Archival Video of Clyde