Interiors unveiled: Unprecedented transformation of Oceanco superyacht H3

"A revolutionary yacht that has undergone a complete transformation which is practically unprecedented in its scale and nature," is how Oceanco describes H3. Justin Ratcliffe talk to her owner's representative and the shipyard's project engineering manager about one of the most ambitious rebuilds ever undertaken.

At what point does a refit become a rebuild? There is no hard and fast rule, but a safe bet is that when you start removing superstructure and replacing major systems, you're talking rebuild. In the case of H3, there is virtually nothing left of the original yacht except her hull, and even that has been extended and modified. This is a rebuild that challenges the entire industry to reconsider the potential of an existing superyacht to evolve and take on new shapes.

The original yacht was launched by Oceanco as Al Mirqab in 2000. Designed by Richard Hein, one of the shipyard's original investors, at 95-metres she was the largest Oceanco until 110-metre Jubilee (now Kaos) came along 17 years later. Powered by triple, military-spec MTU 20V 1163 TB93 diesel engines for a massive 30,000 combined horsepower, she hit 30 knots during sea trails. When the yacht became available in 2018 and was acquired by her current owners, the stage was set for Hein, founder and CEO of The A Group in Monaco, to be reunited with both the yacht and the shipyard that built her.

Something Different

Rebuilding was not originally envisaged. However, an initial survey revealed that the engines and generators were showing their age, the result of many hours on the clock, and would need to be replaced. That led to a discussion about bringing the yacht into IMO Tier III compliance – the first hint that something more than a major refit was being considered. The second was when UK-based studio Reymond Langton Design was engaged to create new concepts for the exterior as well as the interior design.

"When it comes to refits, people in the beginning have a certain intent and that is modified as the project develops," says Hein, as the outfitting of H3 continues at Oceanco following her floodlit presentation last January. "We wanted to do something different and so we sat down to show that you could take a very high-tech yacht from 20 years ago and make her IMO Tier III compliant under today's regulations. We also wanted to give her a completely new look; not just a cosmetic facelift and a new lick of paint. Once that decision had been taken, things started moving very quickly. The yacht was completely re-engineered and redesigned to Oceanco standards, as with any new construction, and she now carries a full 2023 certificate."

Various new build shipyards in northern Europe were approached, but were dissuaded as the scale of the redesign became apparent and the extent of the likely disruption to their production schedules emerged. Their reaction was unsurprising. Attempts are made to keep so-called 'emergent work' to a minimum during refits. But like the proverbial onion, the extent of work only becomes apparent as the layers are peeled away and the danger is that the expanding work list will eat away at the icing on the yard's cake in terms of profit.

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