French Millionaire Helped Create His Own Self-Sufficient Luxury Explorer

Yersin is a remarkably green explorer yacht that's also highly luxurious 29 photos
Photo: Fraser Yachts
Many people dream of exploring the world with the help of a reliable, rugged and also comfortable travel companion. This French millionaire turned his dream into reality, in the form of a spectacular explorer yacht that’s not only incredibly powerful and luxurious, but also one of the cleanest vessels in the world.
If I were to describe a lavish pool deck with a sushi bar and generous sun pads waiting by the pool, a glorious spa that seems right out of a five-star resort, and a huge cinema room, you’d probably picture one of the typical superyachts that celebrities like to charter on vacation. Yet, we’re talking about a rugged expedition vessel with the superpowers of an icebreaker. And these extravagant luxuries are just the cherry on top.

This is Yersin. Like most expedition vessels, it was named after a famous explorer, Alexandre Yersin, who was also one of the greatest bacteriologists. It was built nearly a decade ago, in 2015, by Piriou, a French shipyard that specializes in oceanographic and navy vessels. However, this was no typical research explorer. It was the personal project of a French millionaire who wanted to embark on daring adventures, but do so as comfortably as possible.

Francois Fiat was bold enough to dream and to create a vessel that breaks the norm. Is it a superyacht disguised as an expedition ship, or the other way around? Fiat actively participated in the creation process, together with designer Pierre Jacques Kubis. As a result, Yersin turned out to be a modern explorer fitted with impressive technology, that was also inspired by the glamorous passenger ships of the 1930s.

Photo: Fraser Yachts
Let’s look at some of the features that make Yersin ready to adventure to the most remote places on Earth. A mammoth 251-footer (77 meters) Yersin promises a monster range of 12,000 nautical miles (over 22,000 km). Its hull can handle ice that’s up to 40-cm-thick (15 inches) and extreme temperatures, in both warm and cold climates.

In order to cover such great distances, vessels like Yersin need to be self-sufficient, meaning that they don’t depend on shore infrastructure and supplies. One of the essential factors for this is food storage autonomy. And Yersin is covered – it claims to be able to store enough food for up to 50 days, for 42 passengers.

This would be more than enough, since the French ship was designed to accommodate 18 guests at most, across eight cabins. In addition to that, it also has enough room onboard for the typical amenities of expedition vessels, including a research laboratory, a conference room, and a hospital.

So far, it sounds nothing like a superyacht. However, these “official” amenities are seamlessly integrated within a highly-luxurious layout. The spa alone is impressive: unfolding over 30 square meters (322 square feet), it comes with a massage room, a gym, a sauna, and a hairdressing room. The cinema is almost the same size, fitted with elegant seating, surround sound, and 4K projection. In addition to the generous video library, there’s also a classic one onboard, packed with hundreds of books.

Photo: Fraser Yachts
From his French colonial-style stateroom, the owner has access to a private deck. A luminotherapy shower, a teppanyaki galley, and gourmet meals served al-fresco are just some of the extravagant perks of traveling onboard Yersin. The ultimate luxury is to be able to enjoy all of these sophisticated pleasures after a full day of exploring some remote, wild location, in the company of your family and friends.

The same mix of luxury and adventure is reflected in the yacht’s toy selection. These include a powerful 37-foot (11 meters) Wajer Osprey 37 with jet propulsion and a chart plotter navigation system, two Zodiac Hurricane RIBs, and a Munson landing craft.

Instead of the typical helicopter, this explorer is compatible with a Cessna 206 amphibious seaplane, but it’s not included in the standard equipment. Of course, there’s also a state-of-the-art onboard dive center, complete with the latest diving gear.

But Yersin is not the only impressive expedition vessel around with superyacht-like amenities. What makes it truly unique is that, on top of all that, it was also designed to be remarkably green. Its millionaire owner wanted this ship to protect nature as much as possible, while exploring it.

Photo: Fraser Yachts
As a result, Piriou built a vessel that is 95% recyclable, mostly thanks to the non-wood, resin decks. Its underwater hull was also coated with a non-biocide, antifouling solution, instead of conventional hull paint.

As it travels, this clean explorer leaves no waste behind, and doesn’t fill the air with emissions. It claims to operate with “extremely low” fuel consumption, and its Caterpillar engines are fitted with filters that reduce soot particles, NOx and SOx emissions almost completely.

Like most modern vessels, it prevents anchoring impact on the maritime environment by using Dynamic Positioning instead. When it comes to the onboard water, its water treatment system is rated as 60% cleaner than the international requirements, and the vessel is able to store black and grey water for up to ten days, until it’s properly disposed of.

Yersin is perhaps the only one of its kind, that can literally cruise anywhere in the world, without impacting the environment, and without compromising on comfort. It’s also a friendly and flexible vessel, I’d say. That’s because it welcomes charter guests as warmly as it does scientific researchers.

Photo: Fraser Yachts
Back in 2017, for example, it traveled around the world for three years, as part of the prestigious Exploration de Monaco expedition. Three years later, it made its way into the Arctic Circle for the first time – that was a private journey and a dream come true for its visionary owner.

In spite of this, the French millionaire is willing to part with his magnificent toy that has come so far. The almost ten-year-old Yersin has been on the market for a few years now, asking for a whopping $63 million. It will be interesting to see whether its next owner is a travel operator or another bold millionaire.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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