Graeme Hart's $78m superyacht embarks on sea trial

Megayacht Ulysses pictured while under construction in 2014.
Marin Teknikk

Megayacht Ulysses pictured while under construction in 2014.

Billionaire Graeme Hart's luxury superyacht Ulysses is heading out on the open seas.

The $78 million, 107-metre vessel has left the German port of Bremerhaven to embark on sea trials, SuperYacht World magazine has reported.

The trial is generally the last phase of construction and is designed to test a vessel's performance and seaworthiness.

Aucklander Hart is New Zealand's richest person with a fortune that estimates at $10.4 billion NZD.

Ulysses is the first private superyacht built by Norwegian shipmakers Kleven Verft​.The company is better known for its oil and fishing-industry vessels.

She was launched in the Norwegian port of Ulsteinvik in August 2015 and has been in Germany for the past six months undergoing outfitting.

The National Business Review estimates Graeme Hart is worth about $9 billion.

The National Business Review estimates Graeme Hart is worth about $9 billion.

She has been furnished with multiple tenders - additional vessels used by passengers for leisure activities, like waterskiing - and a 21-metre chase yacht, which requires two specially-designed cranes to lift onto the foredeck.

Hart has previously told Norway's business paper Dagens Næringsliv​ that the build was an "exciting" project.

"I'm very pleased with Kleven and the work that has been done here so far."

He said the yacht was "very robust and seaworthy", especially suitable for longer expeditions in rough waters, "but also luxury".

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Ulysses is longer than a rugby field and just 11 metres shorter than the Royal New Zealand Navy's two frigates.

She can accommodate 60 guests over seven decks and is equipped with a helipad, helicopter hangar, swimming pool and hot tub.

The yacht's exterior lines were designed by Norwegian naval architecture firm Marin Teknikk and she features interiors by London company H2 Yacht Design.

The magazine Boat International said that Kleven and Teknikk had collaborated on a number of projects.

"We have worked with Marin Teknikk for many years, developing numerous offshore vessels together, and the collaboration between us always works well," Kleven chief executive Ståle Rasmussen said.

"This vessel is a good example of our ability to develop and build specialised vessels and prototypes."​

Svein Rune Gjerde, chief executive of Marin Teknikk, told Dagens Næringsliv that Hart approached his company to design something different.

"This has been a different and interesting project for our design team. The knowledge underpinning the development of this vessel is much the same as it is for our successful offshore vessels, but new regulations and specifications have made this an exciting and challenging project."

Ulysses is reportedly the world's fourth-biggest explorer yacht but will be dwarfed by another of Hart's yachts when it is launched in July this year.

The 116-metre expedition superyacht, currently referred to as Hull 370, is also being constructed by Kleven Verft.

Marine industry website GCaptain said the new yacht has been designed by Norwegian naval architecture firm Marin Teknikk​ in co-operation with Kyle Dick of New Zealand-based Oscar Mike Naval Architects.

"The vessel is to be equipped with a helicopter deck and hangar for helicopter," Marin Teknikk said.

"There will be arranged space for and deployment procedures for five large boats that can be carried on for different excursions. In addition, there will be a hangar for several smaller boats and equipment for water sports."

The vessel will accommodate 66 people and will be powered by diesel electric propulsion systems.

Hart previously owned another ship called Ulysses, a 57.6-metre Trinity, which has now been renamed Grand Rusalina and is registered in the Cayman Islands.

He also owns the luxury 77-metre Weta, which is moored in Whangarei.

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