The two and a half year refit conversion of FPV Norna into Explorer superyacht Enigma XK from a British government-owned Fisheries Protection Vessel designed for service in the roughest of North Atlantic waters, into a comfortable and capable expedition yacht was extremely well done by the La Rochelle-based Atlantic Refit Center.
Norna was built – and built tough – in 1988. From then until she was decommissioned in 2010, the 72 metre Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) vessel patrolled the freezing waters of the North Atlantic for illegal fishing.
The fact that a 71 metre ship was able to manoeuvre out of the way of a fishing boat is testament not only to the skill of her captain, but also to the solid handling of Norna herself. This capability is part of what attracted her current owner, who used the all-steel Norna as the basis for the luxurious but seaworthy explorer yacht Enigma XK.
The refit included the redesign of the exterior profil by adding an Owner’s suite forward, an helideck aft and a glass saloon in the middle, keeping the shape of the bridge deck and redesign of new accomodations for 12 guests on main deck, upperdeck and bridge deck.
To the rear of the upper saloon the funnels have been incorporated into the new design. A promenade on the bridge deck above will act as a roof that joins them into one shaded seating area, open aft, leading to a spa pool, then the long sweep of the extended aft deck and helicopter pad. The look is both industrial and luxurious.
Below, on the main deck aft, two big davits will be replaced with cranes to launch the two tenders, and the space will also accommodate two 4×4 vehicles. The decking here, as elsewhere is Bolidt Future Teak, a resin imitation teak used for environmental reasons – as is the low-consumption LED lighting used throughout the boat.
The interior of the main deck, where guest accommodation and the dining saloon are located, was arguably the most challenging aspect of the conversion. The central stairs could not be changed because, they are almost the spine of the boat.
The dining saloon did not need alteration, but the spaces of some other guest cabins and the gym/spa needed to be redesigned. To do so they had to work around load-bearing pillars – and add some in the dining saloon to carry the weight of the ‘diamond’ above.
Another difficult proposition was adding air-conditioning – not necessary in Norna’s past in the North Atlantic, but vital in Enigma XK’s future.
This vessel was built with slightly smaller spaces between the decks. Usually you have at least three metres between the two steel decks; here you have only two metres 50 centimetres.’ The solution? ‘We squeezed the space. Spaces over the deckhead are full. Where usually you have one big pipe, we have split it into two or four small pipes.’
Source: Atlantic Refit Center, Boat International