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The former naval pilot boat underwent a multi-million dollar refit that sadly removed any means of actually ruling the seven seas

Rich people are always looking for new ways to one-up each other, whether it’s opting for an outlandish finish on their car, buying up some exotic mansion or starting a sports team collection. Now, there’s a new way rich people can prove their might and it’s by buying an ex-navy vessel that has been turned into a luxury yacht.

The ship in question is a 200-foot yacht that’s now up for sale through brokerage firm TWW Yachts, and it’s quite the specimen. Called OMNIA, the ship reportedly began its life as a pilot boat for the Dutch navy. The ship was first launched back in 1974 when it formed a trio of new vessels built by shipbuilder Amels for the Dutch Navy, / pilot service according to a report from Autoevolution,. After serving with the pilot service until 1999, She was converted into a superyacht by Vosper Thornycroft in England in 1999 under the supervision of BMT Nigel Gee, where she was fitted with a helicopter deck and hangar as well as stabilisers. She then became AKULA under the ownership of Jonathan Faiman, co-founder of the successful Ocado online grocery delivery business, who continued to revamp and refit the vessel and took her on an expedition around the world. She was most recently sold in 2020 and her new owner embarked on a 14-month rebuild, encompassing structural, mechanical and cosmetic work to the value of $14,000,000. She now joins the market with Seara Maritime, who project managed the entire rebuild, and has only been used privately since her initial conversion.

"Converting AKULA into a modern superyacht was a challenge, but no detail was overlooked. Every amenity of a superyacht her size now graces her decks’’ says Serafeim Papadopoulos, founder of Seara Maritime. British studio H2 Yacht Design was called in to reimagine the superstructure and soften her commercial look with an all-new wheelhouse, new sheerline, new main deck and new exterior decks. The main hull remains mostly unchanged apart from slightly increasing the height of the bulwarks and adding around 50 new windows. But to create a suitable sundeck area, the refit did away with the helipad, stern garage and the numerous pillars that supported them.

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The upper deck was rebuilt in aluminium and the original funnel arrangement in steel was remodelled in aluminium (for a weight saving of more than 4,850 pounds), while one of the biggest technical challenges was the installation of an elevator that serves all decks. “The other obstacle we had to overcome concerned the fact that this was built as a proper work boat – and that meant low ceiling heights, numerous beams and columns and a rabbit warren of dark corridors," Jonny Horsfield, founder of H2 Yacht Design, told BOAT International

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A new and much brighter interior is the work of Greek design studio Karageorgiou with light wood panelling and a subtle nautical theme with pops of deep blue. As AKULA she could accommodate 10 guests in five cabins; OMNIA boasts seven cabins and can sleep 16 guests and house 20 crew. The owner's suite spans nearly the entire width of the main deck with forward views through more than a dozen windows. A king-size bed and horseshoe-shaped sofa completed the space, while other amenities on board include a massage room, Hammam, sauna, and cigar humidor with contemporary art from the owner's personal collection scattered throughout. Three Deutz 600hp diesel-electric engines connected to a single screw propeller give OMNIA a cruising speed of 11 knots, while her fuel capacity is sufficient to provide a range of 6,500 nautical miles. More than 90 per cent of all machinery and systems on board were replaced or upgraded during her time ashore including new generators, navigation equipment, piping and air conditioning. OMNIA also benefits from four new zero-speed stabilisers and a new hydraulic side ladder/passarelle

The rebuild work even earned OMNIA a nomination in the Best Refit category at the 2023 World Superyacht Awards.

Source: Owen Bellwood