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Scuttlebutt Photos: Athena

Worlds Largest

At a length of 90 meters (295 feet), weighing in at an incredible 982 tons displacement and having a sail area of 2,474 square metres, Athena represents by all accounts the largest privately commissioned sailing yacht to have been built, certainly the largest one to be built in aluminum. Combining the volume and luxury of a large motor yacht with the exhilaration of sailing, Athena’s hull speed under power or sail of over 19 knots will match any of the world's fast cruising superyachts.

Athena emerged into the light of day in early June, piggy backed from her temporary home on pairs of remote controlled hydraulic wheel sets. She will continue her short journey as she is driven onto a 100m transportation pontoon that is locked to the quay side in front of the yard by a special docking station. After passing several bridges the floating parade will continue across Holland’s inland sea, the IJsselmeer for a dry dock launching in Amsterdam.

Before her departure, Athena will receive a 225-ton molten injection of lead ballast, critically placed in her keel according to the real weight obtained prior to her transportation. Besides easing the load on the wheel sets, this final weight calculation will precisely locate the centre of gravity whereby meeting Naval Architect, Gerard Dijkstra’s ballast and trim requirements.

Once in Amsterdam and weather permitting, her three 60m Rondal masts with associated rigging will be immediately stepped, bringing a sense of proportion to complete the visual profile of the yacht. Following sea trials in July and August, Athena is due for delivery in September 2004.

Story and photo credit: Royal Huisman Shipyard /

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