Ken Freivokh, Designer of the World’s Largest Sailing Yacht, Talks to DRW®

By Dellvin Roshon Williams, Founder at DRW®

Nothing says unrivaled aquatic primacy like Dutch shipbuilding. From the golden age of the 1600s to the extraordinary hydraulic feats of the 20th century, the Dutch have always been at the forefront of international business and maritime trade. Holland’s dominance of today’s superyacht industry, then, is no exception; Oceancos exceptionally innovative design standard is no surprise.

Contracted in 2010 to handle design and styling, Ken Freivokh and the owner came up with a 96m (315ft). By 2011, the concept had been extended to 100m (328ft). Nuvolari Lenard signed on to the project in 2012; and Dykstra Naval Architects‘ involvement was natural, given their involvement in the design of the DynaRig system, a highly efficient wind propulsion technology for which the Maltese Falcon is known.

Result: Black Pearl, a $200 million,106.7m (350ft) three-masted sailing yacht: the largest in the world and one of the most exciting, well-anticipated reveals of the year. Ken Freivokh talks to DRW® about the importance of such a forward-thinking collaboration.

“Black Pearl is a natural follow-up to the concept initially developed for the Maltese Falcon, which previously was the largest privately owned sailing yacht in the world,” Freivokh says. “The Maltese Falcon was the first to assess a DynaRig sailing system, which uses rotating masts and an array of furling sails for total control of the sail area, in full safety.”

“Black Pearl is one of the largest and most ecological sailing yachts in the world. She can cross the Atlantic without burning even a liter of fossil fuel. This is thanks in part to her DynaRig sailing system and innovative propulsion system that harvests kinetic energy under sail.” – Ocenco 

“Black Pearl,” he continues, “is the largest proper sailing yacht in the world, capable of leaving her mooring totally under sail and, with her energy recovery systems and management, with the smallest carbon footprint of any large sailing yacht.”

An international cadre of designers, engineers, naval architects, builders, and project managers has successfully produced what is now a modern sailing marvel. The Black Pearl boats a three 70-meter (230ft) DynaRig sailing system subdivided into smaller lesser-loaded sails that can be set at the push of a button. All told, 2,900 meters of the sail can be completely set in 7 minutes.

With a steel hull and aluminum superstructure and a 15.3m (50ft) beam, the Black Pearl is owned by Russian natural gas titan, Oleg Burlakov. The vessel accommodates twelve people in six cabins, eighteen crew members in nine, and can reach top speeds of 17.5km (20mph).

A single-level engine room and hybrid propulsion installation and generation are only part of her remarkably unique identity, though. “The Black Pearl is a yacht born out of technological research,” Freivokh says. “It is a massive step forward in sailing technology, in addition to being a particularly beautiful, handsome yacht.”

When asked what inspired the overall concept, Freivokh noted that the inspiration was to take the Maltese Falcon, as a sailing concept, further but more sustainably. Traveling the world’s oceans with minimum carbon resources and radically innovative energy generating and management technology, is, in his words, “a significant achievement, and a pointer to a future generation of sailing yachts.”

This, of course, is not the first occasion in which Oceanco and the Freivokh studio have collaborated. Ken Freivokh Design also worked closely with Oceanco on the exterior and interior design development of the 107m motor yacht, Stiletto. The firm is also working on a 141m (462.5ft) four-expert schooner sailing yacht, all in wood composite, currently being built in Turkey.

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