Aurelia is the very first 40m Flexplorer and looks set to be a milestone in yacht design history. The result of some extremely productive brainstorming between a group of people well able to look beyond the conventions of yachting and yacht design, she is a seductive mix of innovation and character that will most certainly turn heads wherever she ventures. (Here all the posts about Cantiere delle Marche)
How Flexplorer was born
But let’s start at the beginning. The Flexplorer began life as an evolution of the classic explorer. However, as its moniker suggests, it also brings an unprecedented flexibility to the concept.
The aft bulwarks, for instance, can be lowered completely to add extra space to a cockpit that can go up to 115 sqm. The same cockpit can stow an 8.5m tender retrieved using a carbon-fibre A-Frame crane which tucks away neatly into its own compartment when not in use. This unique piece of kit makes for extremely safe launching and retrieval due to its shape and structure, also preventing the hull from tipping as well as putting the tender down an area sheltered by the yacht itself.
Ample storage space on Flexplorer
Another of the Flexplorer’s huge pluses is its stowage space. The sub-lower deck tunnel runs from the engine room to the crew quarters, offering enough room to stow everything required on long-haul voyages.
And we really do mean long-haul: twin Cats unleash at a total of 1492kW, which at the design stage, were mooted to offer just over 5,000 nm before draining her tanks. “But during her sea trials, we realised that at 10 knots she had a range of up to 8,000 nm,” explains Vasco Buonpensiere, skipper of Cantiere delle Marche, proudly. “That’s a near-record for a craft of these dimensions – owner and guests can stay out at sea for over a month without having to refuel or provision”. The model’s robustness, superb seakeeping, plumb bow and masculine stance aside, what really surprises is its astonishingly comfortable and unique interiors.
Aurelia is a genuinely masterful departure created by Buonpensiere, the Cantiere delle Marche, Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec, who did the naval engineering and exteriors, and Francesco Paszkowski and Margherita Casprini who crafted the interiors, and, of course, Aurelia’s owner.
“After so many thoroughbred explorers, I really felt the need to produce something more evolved. When this owner asked Cantiere delle Marche for a new boat, I realised the time had come,” Sergio Cutolo told us.
The owner for his part already had Galego, a CdM Darwin Class 102, but after sailing her far and wide, realised he wanted a yacht that delivered on other priorities.
“As you sail aboard your boat, you gradually realise what you want from your next one,” he explained. “The thing I felt I needed most was a tender of at least 7.5m. But at the same time, I didn’t want to sacrifice the interior spaces.
So when I saw the Flexplorer design, I realised it was my perfect boat”. However, there is more to Aurelia than that. The owner also decided to go against the current trends in interior design.
A truly unconventional décor
«I don’t like houses, or boats, kitted out with designer furniture you see in magazines because they reveal nothing about the people that live aboard,” he explained.
Aurelia’s industrial-look interiors are about as surprising as you are likely to see aboard. Brushed oak planks in different widths on the floor give the yacht the feel of an edgy New York loft.
Even the cabling has been cleverly boxed in metal tubes ending in stylish switches. The Flexplorer has oodles of communal space too including a large main saloon with dining area in addition to four guest cabins with the master located forward on the main.
An amazing Upper Deck onboard Flexplorer
But the heart of life aboard is most definitely the upper deck which has another lounge with a home theatre area and an al fresco dining area.
Rather than a sun deck proper, there is a small private section for the owner with sofas and a Jacuzzi.
However, one of the most dazzling design choices aboard is the iron stairs with leather-trimmed steps that links the various decks and has not one but two wine cellars lining its well, creating the feeling of a wall of wine bottles.
There are actually two separate cellars, accessible from both the main and upper deck, which contain 44 bottles apiece resting on rotating racks. An ingenious touch that has perhaps unintentionally become something of an artwork in its own right.
Then, of course, there are the many, many details that combine to create Aurelia’s unique wow factor. Take the lamp in the lounge on the upper deck – once just an old landing strip light picked up by Francesco Paszkowski in Florence flea market.
The futon-style cushions beneath the windows designed to guarantee “relaxation with a view” are another case in point. But, naturally, they are upholstered in ultra-luxe Ralph Lauren fabric rather than the rather more spartan traditional cotton… Because the time has most definitely come for us to stop thinking of Explorers as rather rustic, unstylish offerings…. Because the Flexplorer has arrived.