The Heroic Explorer

Kleven’s 107 metre ice-class expedition ship Ulysses is the most complete exploration superyacht currently on the market, arguably even afloat until the owners next and larger yacht is delivered.

In June 2016, MY Ulysses, was handed over by the Norwegian commercial shipyard that built her to Graeme Hart her billionaire owner from New Zealand. Yet even before the ink was dry on the first page of the yachts log book came news that she was for sale for US$195 million and that a second and even larger yacht was being built to replace her. Cleary Mr. Hart enjoys building yachts as much as he does sailing in them.

He also likes to build them big. Measuring 107m, with a full 18m beam and spread over seven decks, the 6,000gt, MY Ulysses is amongst the 30 largest yachts in the world and as such everything is, quite simply, supersized. 

In the main salon, a sculpture of glass bubbles in various shades of blue and mirror finish somehow encapsulates the lightness of the interior and how each individual element is part of a larger whole.

Forward on the main deck is the most fantastic wine tasting room we’ve ever seen afloat to date. Display cases displaying rare vintages arc around an oval tasting counter lit from above by a Swarovski chandelier, while behind a high-top table and stools provide the perfect place to savour your tincture while drinking in the panoramic views through sole-to-ceiling glazing.

Below the Bridge Deck, the owners’ family enjoy a full deck to themselves. Accessed from the starboard lobby and via a private bar area, the deck’s forward section is devoted to an almost full beam office and salon area.

The interior décor, as throughout the rest of the yacht, comprises of a palette of muted neutral tones, the clean contemporary lines of flat panel joinery, but highlighted and accented with enriching details. In the owner’s suite gold is used to provide a heightened sense of luxury, with gold plated fixtures in the en-suites and textured golden insets in the cabin’s headliner recesses.

In terms of guest facilities, the pièce de résistance, putting aside the toys, tenders, the sheer volume of space, spa area, cinema, and the fully compliant helideck, must be the Pool Deck. The forward section is devoted to accommodation with no less than eight cabins of various sizes, arrangements, and décor, but each exuding its own individual charm and appeal.

As for the larger yacht Mr. Hart has under construction at the same yard as built his first, we know little. What we do know is she is due for completion in 2018. Sporting a dark blue hull the new Ulysses will be almost 10 metres longer than her predecessor. Kyle Dick of New Zealand-based Oscar Mike Naval Architects styled the exterior lines and British designers RWD worked on her interior spaces.


  • LOA: 107.4m
  • LWL: 93m
  • Beam: 18m
  • Draught (full load): 5.1m
  • Tonnage: 5937 GT
  • Displacement (light): 5964
  • Flag: Cayman Islands
  • Guest Accommodations: 30 in 15 suites (max 36)
  • Crew Accommodations: for 40 max
  • Engines: 2x CAT 3516, 2230 EKW
    4x CAT C18 550 EKW
  • Total power: 6660 EKW (690 V 60Hz)
  • Control System: Rolls Royce
  • Propulsion: RR Azipulls 2x 2,200Kw
  • Propellers: Fixed Pitch 2,800mm dia
  • Max speed: 16.4 knots
  • Cruising speed 14.5 knots
  • Economical speed: 12 knots
  • Range: 8,500nM @ 12 knots
  • Fuel Capacity: 470,000 Litres
  • Water Capacity: 309,000 Litres
  • Naval Architect: Oscar Mike Naval Arch
  • Exterior Design: Marin Teknikk
  • Interior Design: H2 Yacht Design
  • Construction: Steel hull and s/structure
  • Class: Det Norske Veritas, +1A1 Passenger Ship,
    E0, COMF-C(3)V(1), Clean Ice – C
  • Builder: Kleven Verft AS, Norway

By: Frances & Michael Howorth, Photos: Thierry Ameller