The new Viator Explorer 54 DS and 42 DS are both aluminium-hulled, practical high latitude cruisers with hybrid propulsion

Instead of a pilot house, these rugged semi-custom lift keel aluminium yachts have a full deck saloon, along with a number of interesting features including hybrid propulsion. The prototype Viator Explorer 42 DS, designed by Berckemeyer Yacht Design, has been afloat for around 18 months, while the Viator Explorer 54 DS, designed by iYacht in Hamburg, is a new model scheduled to launch in July 2023.

Both offer a practical take on what it involves to create a yacht suitable for high latitudes, yet are also designed to be comfortable in the tropics. The low cockpit sole is intended to help provide a greater sense of security at sea and protection from the elements. A long extension of the aft end of the deck saloon roof creates excellent shelter in the forward part of the cockpit in inclement conditions. A downside, however, is that there’s no accommodation under the cockpit – only machinery space and stowage.

For go-anywhere cruising, there’s hull plating in way of the keel and bow areas of 12mm, with 6mm used for the rest of the hull below the waterline on the 54DS. Topsides are 5mm thick and the deck and coachroof 4mm. Yet, despite the go-anywhere nature of these designs, they are not intended to be slow vessels. Carbon spars with rod rigging are standard, while a 28° spreader angle allows a square-top mainsail to be carried without running backstays.

Both designs are set up for key sail handling to be carried out from the cockpit, via self tailing winches on a pedestal ahead of the helm stations. Built-in spools for the stern anchor rode and a 100m shoreline are fitted in the bench seats at the transom.

A fully watertight door seals the pilothouse from the cockpit when conditions dictate. On the smaller boat this area is only two steps down from the cockpit and has a big galley to starboard, plus saloon seating and table to port. A key feature is the big navigation and watch-keeping station at the forward end of the saloon, while sleeping accommodation is in two Pullman-style bunks in the passageway ahead of the galley, plus an owner’s cabin forward.

The 54 has the two cabins ahead of the main bulkhead, with a spacious en-suite double in the bow and a smaller Pullman-style cabin to port of the passageway leading forward. A large forepeak area is given over to more stowage and an optional workshop area. There is also another double cabin aft below the cockpit.

The hybrid concept means range under power can be as great as that for a diesel powered yacht, yet the battery bank can be a modest size. This arrangement also gives the advantages of the instant torque of electric motors when manoeuvring, and of generating power for both domestic systems and propulsion while sailing.

This boat is powered by twin 10kW Bellmarine motors, although later models will have 15kW units. A 10kW diesel generator provides power to keep motoring during extended calm weather.

Viator Explorer 42 DS specifications

LOA: 12.85m 41ft 2in
LWL: 12.4m 40ft 7in
Beam: 4.10m 13ft 6in
Draught: 1.10m-2.80m 3ft 7in-9ft 2in
Displacement: 11,600kg 25,600lb
Ballast: 3,300kg 7,280lb
Price: €550,000 ex VAT

Viator Explorer 54 DS specifications:

LOA: 17.77m
Hull: 16.50m
LWL: 15.67m
Beam: 5.12m
Draught: 1.55-3.20m
Displacement: 17200kg
Price: €1,300,000 ex VAT

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