Superyacht Heavyweights Donate Expertise to new mercy ship

Gerard Dykstra, a Dutch naval architect, known for his iconic sailing yacht designs is to donate his time and talent, to create a humanitarian “mother ship” for the US & Fiji based charity Sea Mercy.

He has teamed up with the Dutch shipyard Vitters and in doing so combines the talent of two of the Superyacht industry’s most prestigious companies.

The Sea Bridge One project has taken the designer and builders “off piste” – away from their usual luxury brief and into a totally different scope of requirements. Sea Bridge One has a different brief altogether.

Sea Mercy need a vessel for their remote island program; a transport support barge, a floating hospital, an educational research and training vessel, a disaster response and recovery vessel, an economic development delivery platform, or a combination of some or all the above.

The brief for both companies is normally high-end luxury combined with performance but this project required a different mind set.

The idea for the new ship formed in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, a category 5 storm that devastated Fiji in 2016. Sea Mercy, operating with private cruising vessels, provided emergency relief to thousands of people in many communities in the immediate aftermath and up to 5 months after. Due solely to the generous volunteer efforts of cruising vessels in the area, Sea Mercy the charity’s existing vessel, was able to restore essential services such as clean drinking water and solar power, and bring medical supplies and building materials to these remote and often ignored areas.

Sea Mercy will go where others cannot. Cruising sailors can access areas where local Governments have neither resources nor vessels to access. Importantly, many of these communities live within atolls with narrow or shallow entries, and without major harbours or jetties for land access. Limitations arose with sailors’ lack of capacity to ship large amounts of heavy supplies across seas, often upwind and loaded to the max. Multiple journeys were taxing vessels and crews alike. The idea for a sustainable, shallow, strong mother ship was born.

Sea Mercy volunteer and superyacht veteran Patrick Whetter approached Dykstra and Hamming and the benevolent agreement was struck.

Richard Hackett, Sea Mercy President, has celebrated the collaboration and looks forward with great anticipation to the expansion of Sea Mercy’s capacity.

“Although our volunteer yacht owners have incredible hearts, there is only so much you can ask of them and their vessels. They are and always will be the heart and soul of Sea Mercy. Our goal with Sea Bridge One is not to replace them, but to further empower and encourage their participation within all our programs.”

Plans have now been drawn and shipyards are soon to be shortlisted. Sea Mercy is now in the final fund raising stage to finance the construction of this very special and much needed vessel.