Highly-Secretive Icecap, Lurssen’s $350 Million Superyacht Explorer, Is Out on Sea Trials

Project Icecap (now Shackleton) is seen for the first time in physical form in July 2022 7 photos
Photo: YouTube / InselVideo
Project Icecap, shown in renders in 2018Project Icecap, shown in renders in 2018Project Icecap, shown in renders in 2018Project Icecap is out of dry dock at the Peene-Werft shipyard in GermanyProject Icecap is out of dry dock at the Peene-Werft shipyard in GermanyProject Icecap is out of dry dock at the Peene-Werft shipyard in Germany
You would think that the bigger the secret, the harder it is to keep under wraps, but that clearly doesn’t apply to luxury shipyard Lurssen and any of their many, record-breaking projects. Project Icecap, which is on track to becoming one of the largest and most expensive superyachts in the world, is a good example in this sense.
Project Icecap is one of the industry’s best kept secrets. Sold to Canadian billionaire John Carter Risley in 2018, it was only seen for the first time in physical form in the summer of 2022, when it was taken out of the dry dock for construction to enter the final stage. This week, Project Icecap – now going by Shackleton – has made another appearance, as it headed out to sea trials.

Icecap has been under construction at the Peene-Werft shipyard in Wolgast, Germany, which is one of Lurssen’s many naval divisions. Boat International reports that it was spotted leaving the dock, heading out for the first round of sea trials. This is the first time that a better look at the completed hull was possible, offering a good appreciation of the mighty inverted bow and the open aft deck that will be home to a helipad, a multitude of cranes and an open-air garage.

The exterior design is by Norwegian studio Salt Ship Design, and it’s visually impressive – something between a warship and a luxury superyacht, a commanding and competent silhouette. The ice-class hull is steel, while the superstructure is aluminum.

Offering a generous volume of 6,500 GT spread across five decks and a total length of 107 meters (351 feet), it will feature hybrid diesel-electric propulsion. Power will come from three Wärtsilä engines, with the ship using large battery banks for hotel functions, and employing energy-saving, greener heating and cooling solutions.

Icecap is a superyacht explorer, so it combines the finest features of both types of vessels, from the luxury amenities to the extended range and the ability to haul a large assortment of toys and exploring gear. Superyacht explorers are the latest “toy” for the world’s richest, but in the case of Risley, founder of Clearwater Seafoods and avid fisherman, it’s more of a necessity than a whim.

Accommodation would be for 20 guests in 10 split cabins, but the interiors have not been revealed to the press. The owner is an experienced seafarer who previously said that he wanted a much bigger boat for enhanced range and decreased carbon footprint, so he planned to use it extensively. If that checks out, Icecap will remain in private ownership for a while, which means certain specifics will not be disclosed.

Upon delivery, Icecap (Shackleton) will become one of the top 50 vessels in the world by size. At an estimated price of $350 million, it will also be in fine company with the world’s most expensive.

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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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