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Flexplorer by Hydro Tech

“I had been thinking about this boat for a few years,” says Sergio Cutolo of Hydro Tec when we ask him about the Flexplorer. “After designing so many pure explorers, I felt the need to create something more evolved so when the Cantiere delle Marche came to me with a client that wanted something similar, I decided the time had come to do it”. 

The Flexplorer is the evolution of a project created by Hydro Tec more than a few years ago for an owner that wanted a very unusual support vessel. Now Sergio Cutolo and Vasco Buonpensiere have re-used it as the springboard for the design of what is most definitely the coolest explorer on the market today. The Flexplorer has all the trademarks of its ilk: robustness, superb seakeeping, a plumb bow, a strong masculine appeal. All the conventional explorer boxes ticked, in other words. And yet it is still brings more to mix. Just for starters, is its asymmetry.  

“To increase the volumes I went for an asymmetric saloon similar to the one I did in 2003 aboard  Chameleon B, a 42-metre Proteksan Turquoise ,” explains Cutolo. “The saloon is wide-body on the starboard side but not on the port side because there is a walkway outside”.  This design device has resulted in more useable communal areas.  The sofas have been moved to the wide-body area and this means that anyone coming in and wanting to move forward has a sort of free corridor in front of them and so won’t have to walk through a group of people.  

Another signature of this yacht is the flexibility referenced in its name. The aft bulwarks that protect the cockpit fully open down and once the tender has been launched, turn the area into an incredible 115 sqm sea-skimming lounge. At the request of the individual client, it can also be given a large hideaway pool – although this involves sacrificing the gym beneath the cockpit.  At eight metres in length, the tender is quite a bulky presence aboard.

A recent survey indicated that tenders are left in the water for 80% a yacht is used so launching something that big was still a problem. But one brilliantly solved with a naval-derived A-Frame davit which tucks away into a special compartment in the sole.   But because of its shape and structure, it is makes launching and retrieving the tender extremely safe and also prevents the hull heeling when the tender is being moved.

Another distinctive feature of the Flexplorer is the huge attention lavished on stowage for water toys, the freestanding furnishings from the cockpit and, of course, provisions.  Having enough room for food and garbage is essential for long passage-making and to avoid having to constantly call into port. This is also something that has become very sought after by owners in recent years. The explorer world is changing. Or more correctly, explorer owners are changing. 

“Right now, explorers are the link between the sailing world and the motor one,” explain Cutolo. “The desire to explore the world and visit areas that you can’t get to by land is seeing more and more owners choosing this particular type of boat and many of them are sailor. And because the number of potential owners is on the increase, the explorer identity itself is undergoing a real revolution”.  

Just has happened in the off-roader world, exploration and adventure vessels no longer spell minimalist discomfort.  

“Once upon a time if you wanted to go into the desert, you had to go in a jeep. Jeeps are indestructible but not exactly comfortable,” says Cutolo. “Today you can do the same trip in a very comfortable off-roader with air conditioning and better suspension. The same thing is happening in the nautical world now too. Owners want to explore the world but they want to do so aboard comfortable, welcoming craft with lots of big, useable spaces”.

Craft just like the Flexplorer which, thanks to its versatile talents, will be as happily as home in rough seas in the world’s remotest places as the placid waters of the Caribbean.  The first 40-metre example is already in build and should launch in 2020. 

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