The 74-metre Amels superyacht Ilona, launched in 2004, is on the water again for the summer after a successful eight-month refit at the Amels yard. The yacht’s owner wanted a major redesign to accommodate some new ideas into the yacht.

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“He wanted to have a large swimming pool and a helipad big enough to take his Agusta 109 Grand New helicopter,” says owner’s representative David McQueen. The work involved an extensive reworking of her interior and superstructure. The existing below-deck helicopter hangar was removed to make way for the swimming pool with a movable floor, enabling the pool to be replaced by additional deck space. “With a variable-depth floor, the ten-metre by three-metre pool can be filled with 40,000 litres of sea water, which is then purified through a filtration system,” says McQueen. “The water can be heated to up to 6 degrees higher than the original sea temperature in just one hour.”

Aside from the engineering task, there was also the challenge of making these significant alterations without ruining Ilona’s sleek profile, drawn by Redman Whiteley Dixon. “Adding the additional superstructure to accommodate the helipad would have affected the lines of the yacht, so we extended the owner’s deck and the bridge deck by two metres in order to bring the aesthetic appearance back into balance. We also used metallic grey paint to reduce the visual impact of the helideck, and the overall result is that the yacht, despite all the changes, looks every bit as streamlined and well-proportioned as before,” says Justin Redman.

The refit went ahead as planned, with all tasks completed and the yacht delivered on schedule for her relaunch. “Amels have done a wonderful job with Ilona. The boss is very happy, and any work we need doing in the future, for sure we’ll be coming back to Amels again,” says Captain Kenan Seginer.

“The refit was a big project that needed completing in a short time, but we finished it as promised. We enjoyed the engineering challenge of modifying the superstructure such that it could handle the maximum take-off weight of the helicopter, of 3,200kg. It is a great credit to everyone who worked on the refit that it all came together so smoothly,” says Rob Luijendijk, Amels managing director. The yacht will be entirely for private use.