At 28m and built in aluminium for a serial boater, the first LeVen model is a lesson in combining seakeeping, speed and comfort. Built in the Netherlands at the Van der Valk shipyard, the Bahamas-ready yacht (with a shallow draft of just 1.3m) is the first known private yacht to implement Voith’s linear jet propulsion system, not to mention Dutch design studio Vripack’s innovative slide hull.
Enjoyment on the water is the premise of the design. Spending much of his time in the Exumas exploring the many islands and entertaining friends and family, was central to the owner’s requirements.
The slide hull (which has been in development at Vripack for the past 13 years) is another key feature of the design, providing plenty of speed from limited power, explains Peter Bouma, Vripack’s senior naval architect. “It delivers speed and comfort even in rough seas, and in fact becomes more comfortable the faster the boat travels. The Owner specifically requested for the boat to be Exumas-ready, and the underwater body is what makes it to beneficial for this area.”
LeVen will deliver speeds in excess of 27 knots provided by a Voith linear jet propulsion system. Akin to a water jet but located under the boat, the Voith linear jet creates a minimal wash of water and is virtually noiseless. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Bouma, “the propeller capabilities of a water jet with the noise characteristics of a conventional propeller underneath the boat.” And when combined with the slide hull, the advantages are two-fold; heaving over the waves, rather than contouring them like conventional boats, onboard comfort is fully optimised. Durable enough to allow the owner to gently beach the boat while venturing ashore, LeVen delivers on all fronts, and yet sails without drama.
Design-wise, LeVen benefits from an aft-leaning exterior and multiple levels, including terraces (each with a dedicated function) and a single level sundeck. Vast interior spaces set within the yacht’s compact 28m are achieved with 3m ceiling heights, a dramatic use of glass and an open-plan layout. “It’s very roomy, and no matter where you are on board there is always a clear line of sight,” says Vripack designer Joost Mertens. “When combined with the volume in the slide hull, it’s a full-functional concept.”