Enigma has stood out from the crowd for 25 years, a remarkable achievement and a credit to her owner and designers
Yard Blohm+Voss Year 1991 LOA 74.5m Designer Martin Francis
Why is she so special? Celebrating her 25th birthday this year, Enigma is a yacht that has created conversations and divided opinions more so than almost any other. Launched as Eco, and almost unanimously celebrated today, back in the early 1990s her convex windows and sheer sides were a hot topic in the yachting industry. Espen Øino, who was project manager and working for Martin Francis at the time, says: “It was a very interesting project to work on, pretty extreme at the time, and I still think she’s pretty extreme today. She was a unique project for a unique client. He knew he wanted something really special and he did what he had to do to get it! He said, ‘I don’t go to port very often, because I cruise when I’m on my yachts. I cruise, I cruise, I cruise. But when I do go into port, I want my presence to be felt through my boat!’ She’s got a really timeless design, it’s hard to tell that she was designed in 1988 because she’s still so unique, and that’s kind of cool.”
The yacht used a propulsion system that at the time had only taken off in commercial shipping. “We had the two diesel engines, the gas turbines and the waterjet,” explains Øino. “The owner insisted on using waterjets, which at that time was new to yachting, even though it had been used on fast ferries. He was really keen on using those, so he was very involved in that respect. Also unique was that it had an amphibious seaplane on board. Even today there are not many yachts that have had that.”
Adding to the already-long list of innovations, she was built in high-tensile steel (rather than aluminium) to get the right mix of weight saving and strength, and the superstructure was built in glassfibre, which was also unique for the time.
Where is she now? Cruising privately.