A vessel built to function as a naval warship cannot be more different than a luxury superyacht, especially in terms of design, functionality, and amenities. Yet, there are some mad but extremely talented people in the yacht-building industry who have pulled off the seemingly impossible task of converting a naval vessel into a stunning superyacht. The craziest example of such an incredibly difficult conversion is Motoryacht Yas, one of the biggest luxury superyachts in the world. The pleasure vessel’s dolphin-inspired exterior is so unique that it instantly becomes an attention magnate wherever it goes. However, you’ll be surprised to know that Yas was originally delivered in 1978 as a naval frigate named HNLMS Piet Hein.
Named after Dutch naval hero Piet Pieterszoon Hein, the naval frigate was in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy from 1981 to 1998. After being decommissioned in 1998, the vessel was sold to the United Arab Emirates Navy, where it was renamed Al Emirat and remained with the UAE military for another decade. After she was released from naval duty for good, the vessel was acquired by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The decision was made to convert the naval frigate into a private yacht under the codename Swift 141.
The task of transforming the warship into a beautiful luxury vessel was given to French designer Jacques Pierrejean of Pierrejean Design Studio, who had proposed a dolphin-inspired shape for the design. The most notable thing about the design is the extensive use of glass on the superstructure, which gives Yas is unique look.
Launched in 2011, YAS was built by Abu Dhabi´s ADM Shipyards. With an overall length of 141 meters, Yas is one of the largest superyachts in the world. The vessel is built with a steel hull and composite superstructure, with teak decks. While there are no pictures of the interior of the vessel, Greenline Yacht Interiors released digital renderings when it was tasked with converting the interior more than a decade ago.
The expansive glass design floods the interior with natural light, giving it a very unique look. The interior outfitting utilizes technologically advanced standards and manufacturing methods and materials, according to Boat International.
Yas has enough space on the inside to comfortably accommodate a maximum of 60 guests, along with supporting a crew of 56. In terms of amenities, the stunning superyacht features an automatic stern platform, an outdoor pool and spa, a helipad, a highly sophisticated audio-visual entertainment system, a big garage for water toys and tenders, and a door made of carbon fiber that functions as a boarding or swim platform.
The vessel is powered by a pair of modern MTU diesel engines that churn out a combined 21,000 hp and can propel the ship to a maximum speed of 26 knots. Streamlined Yas has a cruising speed of 20 knots. After completing a round of the Baltic Sea in the summer of 2019, Yas made a visit to Lürssen in Hamburg for a refit. There was even a small fire that broke out onboard during the refit, which was quickly brought under control. After the refit was complete, Yas was redelivered in 2021.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan – the billionaire owner of superyacht Yas
Sheikh Hamdan is the 4th son of the late Emir of Abu Dhabi and the founder of UAE. Born in 1963, the Emirati royal and politician previously served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. He is a member of Abu Dhabi’s House of Nahyan, which owns around 6% of oil reserves around the world along with investments in some of the most prominent international companies. His net worth is estimated to worth $1 billion. In addition to Yas, Sheikh Hamdan also is the owner of Azzam, the world’s largest yacht.