Laurentia’s Story Is the Modern Fairytale of a Millionaire’s Bespoke Luxury Toy

The story behind some of the most impressive superyachts in operation can be even more fascinating than the vessels themselves. A twist of fate brought the nearly-done Laurentia to a new owner who turned it into the glamorous, highly-popular charter yacht it is today.
Laurentia was nominated for the World Superyacht Awards in 2018 27 photos
Photo: Burgess Yachts
We know it takes a long time to build a superyacht from scratch for someone. Still, it can sometimes take even longer to find a suitable model. The representatives of Laurentia's owner had been searching for more than two years when they finally came across a particular Heesen yacht at the 2016 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. That one wasn't for sale but led to further discussions with the yard until the perfect model became available.

It's not rare in this industry for customers to choose nearly-completed builds initially intended for someone else. But in this case, the new owner (reportedly a Mexican millionaire) wanted a complete makeover of the interior, and he wanted it in time for the summer season. In other words, the shipyard had to make some considerable changes in just a few months. And it all went down smoothly, without the owner making a single visit to the yard.

This is how Laurentia became infamous for having been completed over Whatsapp messages. Typically, customers who pay hundreds of millions for a bespoke toy are regularly on-site to keep an eye on things. But Laurentia's owner took an unconventional route, even though he was just as involved and enthusiastic as any other yacht owner.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
Project Alida (the second hull in Heesen's 55-meter series) became Laurentia after just two months of redesign and four months for the actual construction work in 2017. And it paid off. The new yacht was nominated at the prestigious World Superyacht Awards in 2018 for its interior design, proving that the complex transformation was smart.

The initial version seemed incompatible with the new owner's belief that yachts should feel more like homes. That translated to an informal, relaxed, and friendly interior style. A Miami-based studio named Radyca was in charge of the style transformation. Despite being a newcomer on the market at the time, it did a great job.

Project Alida got new fabrics, different finishings, new furniture, and fresh floors. All of the staterooms were redesigned, and the complex changes included a relocation of the spa pool on the sun deck so that it would make room for an oversized sunbed area, and a tapas bar. The original build was also modernized with an outdoor cinema on the main deck aft and gym equipment for the generous beach club on the lower deck.

The customization requested by the new owner gave Laurentia the cool and comfortable look that ensured its success in the luxury charter market. It became available for charter as soon as 2018 and has been a popular choice ever since for those willing to pay no less than $400,000 for one week on board.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
But it's not all about the fabulous amenities and the friendly look. The Heesen name implies outstanding performance as well. Like all the units in the brand's 55-meter series, Laurentia benefitted from the acclaimed FDHF (Fast Displacement Hull Form) concept developed by Van Oossanen. Compared to yachts with a conventional full-displacement hull, the FDHF designs can handle greater speeds without putting too much pressure on the engines.

The FDHF has proven to be highly efficient, not just for superyachts, and has become increasingly popular over the years. Thanks to the Omega Architects' design, and flawless naval architecture by Van Oossanen, Laurentia emerged as a highly-responsive vessel capable of long-distance cruising in ultimate comfort.

According to the builder, Laurentia successfully went beyond the contractual speed during sea trials, easily hitting 16.6 knots (19 mph/30.7 kph). The large rudders, the high-pitch propellers, and the advanced steering unit were the main features that made the 180.5 feet beast easy to maneuver even in windy conditions. Plus, at 13 knots (14.9 mph/24 kph), it can cruise for 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km), which means that Laurentia can easily cross the Atlantic.

Today, this Heesen superyacht is just as inviting for its owner and charter customers. It can accommodate up to 12 guests, with an experienced 12-people crew attending to their needs. Whether they're in the mood for relaxing in the spa pool, dining in the open air, exercising, or watching a movie outdoors, Laurentia has it all.

Photo: Burgess Yachts
From the amazing sun deck unfolding over 102 square meters (1,097 square feet) down to the huge beach club, this elegant superyacht is destined for a closer connection to the outdoors (it was designed explicitly for uninterrupted views throughout).

It may be hard to believe that everything was put together in just a few months, without actual visits from the customer, but this is one of the miracles of modern yacht building – even bespoke floating mansions worth $50 million can be obtained in no time.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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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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