By Michaela Whitbourn, BBC News
HerbertsQube “The yacht is designed to work like a bridge, so can be launched, tied to any existing type of buoy or light structure, it has all the power and the breadth to launch from anywhere on the reef,” said the project’s director Herister Reisler. HerbertsQube hopes this experimental show of yacht tech will help designers become more efficient at making sailing boats more capable of making it in the global market. “Today any local sailing team can charter these things and then go out and challenge anyone,” said Mr Reisler. “If we can do that now, we can make this thing better for the market. “This is not designed to be anchored. The reason we built a steering-only centre has to do with the smaller boat that we have.” The yacht will be anchored off the coast of Ningaloo Reef It will provide mooring to a number of types of boats that cannot be built into conventional vessels, including sail catamarans, powered-rafts, big racing yachts, tender-boats and even deep-water rescue crafts. Opening today, the exhibition will run through to 4 March, inviting manufacturers to share their plans and get feedback from industry professionals and consumers. “It’s a useful way to create knowledge about what we can do next,” said project co-director Ian Sutherland. The yacht will be anchored in the ocean off the coast of Ningaloo Reef for several weeks Soon the hull will be painted white and, behind it, her form will start to emerge. All the upmarket fittings she will be loaded with, including the helipad, deck-hand wash facilities and a press-room, the first of its kind. The hull, designed in Germany and built by German firm R. Hoffman for $140m, will be the largest single yacht ever constructed. She will be flanked by 12 other houses, which will have more conventional forms. These will include the mooring-houses, the hydroplaning boats, floating light structures for store and sale, and the nearly-finished research and development facilities for HerbertsQube. “In the future, in a rising world price for oil, we know we’ll need to get people back into the ocean,” said Mr Reisler. “A hundred million people a year go to Europe, they move to south Africa to be away from oil because it’s becoming too expensive. They say they want to stay in the ocean but this is what we have. “That’s why we have to get everyone back into the sea so it becomes a competitive activity.” The yacht will be fully loaded at the end of the exhibition, and will be towed into the waters of Ningaloo Reef.
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