BY Anna Cummins on 2 Feb 2023

Hong Kong-based design studio M51 Concepts has created superyacht inspired by the great wooden ships of Chinese explorer Zheng He.

Explorer Motor Yacht M/Y (He) is described as a 78-metre “modern junk”, inspired by He’s historic vessels that were over 100m in length, according to legend. (Modern scholars argue that Zhen He’s treasures ships were more likely a more modest — yet still impressive — 70m).

He takes its distinctive bow and stern lines from the early Ming dynasty ships and Chinese junks. The superstructure design has echoes of temple architecture, which give the yacht a unique look and subtle design cues from traditional Chinese design throughout the vessel which makes He stand out among explorer yachts.

The yacht offers accommodation for up to 12 guests in eight cabins consisting of an owner’s suite, four VIP cabins and three twin cabins.

The upper deck serves as an entertainment deck with outdoor dining/seating for 32 hot pot diners for large family occasions and a mah-jong/karaoke bar for inside entertainment. The partially enclosed sun deck with a glass ceiling gives the impression of a “dragon’s back” with the scale appearance of the overhead windows, which gives guests a perfect space to take in the views or soak in the hot tub.

The interior design of the M51 Concepts-designed vessel has a modern Chinese minimalist feel with abundant wood and luxurious monotone fabrics.

The main deck has port and starboard tender bays at midship which can be used to for tenders/jet skis and outside seating with toys unloaded. These external tender bays are separated by a glass-enclosed walkway which connects the forward main deck accommodation and galley to the aft dining, bar, and lounge area.

This open space gives the appearance of a ‘dragon’s gate’ according to feng shui, with the tenders unloaded. (A dragon’s gate is an architectural design feature to allow for a portal that allows dragons to flow through structures by leaving an empty hole through a building).

There are also large port and Starboard tender garages with hull doors for all the toys. The forward deck incorporates a touch-and-go helipad, but the yacht could also be constructed with an alternative configuration with a helicopter hanger aft sacrificing the main deck aft lounge for even more toy storage.

Technical specifications:
Length overall: 78m (256ft)
Beam: 13.8m (45ft)
Draught: 3.8m (12’4”)
Range: 6000+ nm
Hull: Steel
Superstructure: Aluminium
Exterior Design: M51 Concepts
Interior Design: M51 Concepts