Extreme makeover: Circular thinking and the rebuild of Istros

The rebuild of the 42-metre Feadship Istros is an extraordinary achievement on multiple levels. This classic beauty from 1954 has been restored to her former glory while being upgraded to the premium quality standards of a far larger Feadship. She was also transformed into one of the most eco-friendly superyachts in the global fleet and is a testimony to her owner’s dedication to past, present and future.

The Istros project revolved around a love of our shared maritime heritage and was a superb opportunity for everyone involved at Feadship to reconnect with their roots. Like the owner and the dedicated captain of Istros, Tristan Le Brun, it was a source of great pride to resurrect a yacht with a rich history that was in poor condition despite still winning prizes as late as 2001.

Holistic thinking

Istros had fallen into such a level of disrepair in the intervening years that the original steel superstructure had to be replaced with a brand-new one in aluminium. This decision was part of a holistic approach to naval architecture and design, with a focus on increasing stability. The original engines weighed 38 tonnes, 15% of the total displacement: replacing them with sustainable power sources meant adapting the superstructure and adding lead ballast. The new Istros is lighter than she was in 1954 and even more stable.

It may have also been easier to build a new hull as well for Istros but, in a fine example of circular thinking, the original hull was instead meticulously restored. Six and a half decades on and with its fair share of bends and buckles, the hull’s shape meant the craftsmen could not rely on drawings alone for the rebuild. A hands-on approach was required to get the most accurate possible measurements with every figure triple checked and no margin for error. Istros is a textbook case of how to use modern techniques without letting them dictate the course of a rebuild, deploying 3D modelling and engineering tools together with well-seasoned professional skills.

Marriage of equals

The marriage of the original hull and new superstructure was a magical moment as they fitted beautifully in terms of size and the way the latter followed the original lines. The yacht has the visual ambience of the 1950s while offering every conceivable luxury on offer in the 2020s.

Everything was done to make Istros a truly eco-friendly yacht across the board, ranging from fuel savings to power consumption. She has been fitted with the first Lloyd’s-approved microturbine, which serves in silence as the main generator alongside a 600V battery bank. The water treatment system allows the crew to wash the boat with minimal soap while Istros also features the very latest sewage treatment facilities, premium air conditioning with heat recovery, and state-of-the-art thermal insulation.

Sound of silence

Step aboard Istros and you instantly feel like you’re on a yacht from the 1950s. Spend time living there and it’s like being on a new Feadship. This rule applies to the technology and engineering too as can be seen in the paperless bridge with ECDIS system and the IPTV with fast internet and no satellite dishes. Exceptionally quiet, the yacht’s electrical zero speed stabilisers are highly effective both at sea and anchor.

The extreme makeover philosophy also applied to the boat’s classification as Istros was converted to Lloyds register and commercial standards of 2020. This again entailed significant amounts of work, including moving watertight bulkheads, reinforcing the structure, closing off the decks with a steel deck in-beneath the teak, upgrading the fire insulation and much more besides.

Shared experiences

Last but not least, the most radical visual change is perhaps the light and contemporary interior, designed to make the most of the limited space. Family-oriented and child-friendly, it blends the contemporary with the classic in a warm, Scandinavian style that meets the owner’s wish for Istros to be ideal for chartering, giving a new generation of yachting fans the chance to experience the unique classic Feadship vibe in absolute comfort.

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