Ashish Gupta, the young Mumbai-based architect behind the 150m Maharaja gigayacht project, insists on calling it yacht architecture rather than yacht design. And a glance at the renderings is sufficient to see what he means. With a 25m beam, a 15m infinity pool, an 18m wide beach lounge and a 30m putting green, the dimensions may be wholly conceptual but not entirely impossible.
Land-based architect Gupta, who heads a firm called Beyond Design, has some previous experience as a yacht designer (a 40m wooden yacht in India and a 90m interior in addition to some tenders) and recycled the information he gleaned from these projects into the Maharaja: "Basically the design is based on desires of the owners of these previous yachts features such as the breakfast island, the corporate level for business meetings and open deck spaces." But he was quick to realise that a 150m gigayacht required some professional technical back-up. "We received a phone call from this young Indian architect and he came to visit us for a couple of days here in the office in Holland", explains Willem Stolk of the marine design and engineering consultancy Stolk Marimecs in Vollenhoverweg, just across the street from Royal Huisman. "I liked the guy, he was a hardworking youngster with some good ideas and we ended up sharing a stand in Monaco."
After some initial displacement and stability calculations, Stolk signed a letter of intent to further research the technicalities and a preliminary report is pending. Although Stolk believes the basic concept is sound, there are some major issues with having such large open decks combined with the low freeboard in terms of longitudinal strength and damage stability. The hull form has also been revisited as the wave piercer configuration would have meant drastically reducing the size and value of the yacht. Stolk now sees it as being a conventional monohull, albeit with a reverse bow. At this size, steel would be the only viable building material with wood cladding over the bow section, although this could also be faux painted as in the case of Anastasia's transom. "I believe the project is do-able," concludes Willem Stolk, "and the final product would look very similar to the original renderings."