Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes with custom explorer Project Capella
By Georgia Tindale

Under construction for experienced yacht owners, Project Capella sports a Grade A round bilge, full-displacement steel hull topped with an aluminium superstructure. Project Capella’s distinctive steel hull is worth a special mention, as this has been constructed entirely in-house by Van der Valk in order to fit the client’s specific requirements.

Onboard comfort is at the fore of Project Capella’s design, and not only for her guests. Alongside her four guest staterooms (comprising one generous owner’s cabin, two twins and one VIP stateroom), the 23.56-metre vessel also houses two cabins for her two-person crew to ensure maximum privacy and comfort on board.

To get the heart of what what makes Project Capella so distinctive, we speak to veteran Dutch superyacht designer Guido de Groot, who was entrusted with both the exterior and interior design of the vessel.

What were the main materials you used for the interior and what kind of atmosphere were you trying to create on board?

We used a lot of light materials on board, meaning that it is very airy and fresh-looking, however, we also included some darker accents, including walnut.

In addition, we also integrated some wooden strips into the flat panels of the walls so that they are not completely flat. We also have some areas which have been designed to make the boat more ‘home-like’, such as the bookshelves and niches which can be used to house works of art. This is all very rustic in style and not too busy: there is always something happening in the design but it is not overwhelming.

What was important to the owners of Project Capella for the design, and how involved were they in the process?

They are heavily involved with the design throughout. They had seen previous Van der Valk boats which I had designed – and some were even at the shipyard to show them – so it was easier for them to visualise what they wanted. The kitchen can be described as the hotspot of entertainment on board the yacht, and the rest of the boat is designed around it.

The great thing about working with these owners is that they operate themselves (owner-operators), and so they have a lot of experience. You notice in everything that these people know exactly what they want because they know every situation on a yacht inside out.

Working together with the customer on a vessel that is so carefully thought out and planned – down to the smallest detail – which is designed to be used all year round – and ultimately will be used this way, is fantastic.

What was the most interesting part of Project Capella to design?

I like how well the boat is laid out. There is nothing you miss on board, which is impressive for a boat of this size. Everything fits really well together, and there were no unpleasant surprises during construction that any element of didn’t fit with everything else. We designed the layout first and then designed the exterior around it.

Finally, describe the interior design in three words

Calm, homely and galley-focused!