Perseus^3, is Perini Navi’s second new generation 60 metre, construction number 56 of the blue water megasailer fleet created by this Italian firm.
This new 60 metre series sports several innovative solutions mainly in the hull’s lines, rig and on board technology: the rig is made up of a single mast so it can be rigged as sloop or cutter accordingly. The boom is in carbon and twin helm stations are ideally situated to port and starboard to enhance visibility. Franco Romani directed project design work with his in house team of naval architects and with Ron Holland. Perseus^3 has clearly been optimised for racing events and represents from a technical standpoint a great step forward for the group’s 60 metre series: with a significant progression of aluminium hulls rating less than 500 GRT as per Perini Navi’s plans following the successful 56 metre series of 10 yachts built in the course of the preceding decade. This new series is capable of performing a lot better than any other preceding Perini fly-bridge model, as Seahawk had amply demonstrated at the time with her ketch rig, which was the first of the series taking part in the Bucket Regattas, but Perseus^3 is decidedly way ahead.
Basically her sloop rig with a 75.80 metre carbon mast is among the highest three ever built in the world. Future Fibres contributed to making the mast which was completed at Perini group’s La Spezia shipyard. A special weight saving technique was deployed in building the mast with an extraordinary result. The weight was successfully knocked down to 16.40 tons without giving anything away while obtaining a considerable external surface which aesthetically speaking clearly stands out. Future Fibres commented as follows: “We’ve managed to deliver a mast sporting a perfect external surface with a perfect Clearcote finish in polished carbon without any fillers which can in fact add up to as much as three percent extra weight to the mast”.
The gear installed to monitor the extent of the loads on the rig is an all new Rig Load Monitoring System which delivers data to a display to constantly monitor loads in the more sensitive areas of the mast and spars where loads get heavier as the yacht is sailing. The 23.40 metre boom has also been optimised in terms of weight reduction but with accrued resistance to stress factors which translate into greater all round performance thanks to much dedicated work which was invested into the group’s R&D section. Carbon fibres were also exploited in the making of lateral stays while forestays and backstays contain a mix of Carbon, PBO and Kevlar. The sails to match this towering mast are also as impressive in number and size. The main is all of 808 square metres, there’s a jib, a stay sail, a blade, two multi-purpose sails (MPS), a code zero, a headsail, a spinnaker which combined together add up to 10,000 square metres which is 30 % more than a same 60 metre hull with a ketch rig.
Doyle sailmakers produced all the sails, the A2 spinnaker is the world’s largest to have been made in a single piece with a stunning 2,602 square metres. To have a better idea of the size involved this sail alone is larger than all of Maltese Falcon’s 15 sails put together. Perini Navi built 88 metre Maltese Falcon in 2005. Perseus^3 is also equipped with a special Carbon spinnaker boom to be deployed when using the spinnaker which is a novelty for a Perini Navi.
Doyle reportedly declared there was no suitable material on the market with which to produce the desired sets of sails. In fact both the code zero and the asymmetric cut sails required more R&D work in order to develop new materials. In fact the materials available on the market fell short of the specs required and Doyle developed its own new innovative material made up of polyester and Dyneema to have a lighter but more resistant material which would not tear easily and yet be soft enough for easier handling. Later Doyle described this project as having been: “ the most singular and demanding we have ever come across”.
To handle the enormous size of the sails and the loads involved Perini built a new generation of fast captive winches powered by hefty electric motors featuring variable speeds capable of handling up to 30 ton loads. These were installed to handle headsails with a working speed ranging between 40 to 110 metres per minute. The variable speed electric engines linked to the new captive winches which are run by Perini Navi’s own Automated Sail Handling System really speed up the furling gear and greatly reduce the time needed to go about and gybe by more than 75% in comparison to the times needed by the preceding generation of captive winches.
Perseus^3 in addition to twin wheels (port and starboard) sports two rudder blades as well which are controlled by an innovative Perini built system which can disengage one of them according to sailing angle, wind strength and sea conditions. The results obtained are certainly encouraging when we think that during the first set of trials with a mere 8 knots of apparent wind at a sailing angle of 40° Perseus^3 was cruising silently at 9 knots thereby demonstrating she’s fast like a thoroughbred, with a remarkable pedigree and great potential. Her owner who’d previously owned a Perini 50 Perseus, now Silencio while sailing around the world with his family thoroughly enjoyed cruising and also raced in the Hamilton Island Race Week events. They also chartered the yacht out and all of this will continue with Perseus^3, but naturally at other speeds. The permanent crew is made up of a captain and several high level expert seamen with plenty of experience in racing events as well as ocean crossings which are reassuring assets considering the size of the rig and sails involved. The interior layout has been designed by Perini’s in house design team to host charter parties as well which translates into five cabins, of which one with convertible beds from single to double and the other way round for a total of 12 guests. The owner’s suite runs full beam across and can be divided up by a removable bulkhead.
The stern offers a bathing platform as well as a swimming pool on deck forward of the mast set across offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy both the sea and deck pool. There’s plenty of room in which to store things also via a lateral opening to port which crew can use to board and disembark, which can also be deployed to house water toys and tenders of course. Two 6.20 metre tenders lodge on deck forward of the pool in encased slots which close flush with the deck. The carbon built tenders built by Constellation Tender on Roger Martin and Robbie Doyle design are capable of reaching 60 knots. One of them sports a hybrid propulsion system. Between the two encased tender slots there’s a pop up hydraulic davit crane which also enters into its slot closed over by a “flush” hatch on deck.
Bruce Brakenhoff from Perini Navi USA tells: “When we got down to plan and detail his second Perini Navi, the owner commented with the following words: ‘I like to cruise along with my family, I like to have a boat which carries charter parties successfully, and I like to compete in the Bucket Regattas. Therefore I want a boat which can deliver all my requests with the fewest possible compromises’. When we began to fill in that blank sheet of paper, not only with intelligent engineering systems and the necessary modifications to be brought to the stays in order to best exploit a sloop rig, we met up at the yard with Ron Holland and the owner and spontaneously asked ourselves: ‘What else can we do to make this boat go even faster?’. Well Ron had just delivered a yacht with double helms and rudder blades and the solution had been successful so he suggested that Perseus^3 have the same system. The owner thought it was a great idea”.
Perseus^3 is a very fast yacht but at the same time it can double as an ideal charter boat, because of the amazing layout, an unbelievable owner’s suite, a gigantic fly-bridge and a pool equipped with a wave simulation system in which you swim against the water jets. The pool water can also be heated thanks to a water recycling system inside tanks installed below the pool which heat the water up accordingly and when needed the tanks are emptied to double as immense lockers for the gigantic spinnaker and MPS. The engine room hosts a pair of MTU diesels for a total 1,440 KW (1,958 hp) and three Northern Lights generator sets for a total 270 KW which charge an ample set of lithium batteries which allow to run the yacht on batteries alone for half a day at a time to further enjoy, the sea, silence and pure sailing while cruising.The keel blade can vary draught from 12.30 metres to a mere 4.30 metres which means that Perseus^3 can cruise the Bahamas naturally, but cannot cross the Panama Canal because the mast is just too high to slip by under the bridge.
A third yacht of the series is currently being built and will be due for delivery in 2016 while a fourth hull has been commenced in Turkey and has been scheduled for delivery in 2017.
Text by Roberto Franzoni – Photos by G. Sargentini
For further information: Perini Navi Group
The sea trial was pubblished in Superyacht 47 -- Autumn 2015