September 23, 2018

German Yacht Couture and Conrad Shipyard announce joint Explorer Project “THE TUG”, created by Naval Architect and Designer Frank Neubelt.

As one of the pioneers of explorer yachts, known for projects like M/Y LUNA which with an impressive length of 115 meters is still the 3rd largest yacht explorer yacht in the world today, in one of his most recent projects, internationally renowned German naval architect and designer Frank Neubelt set out to create “a real multi-purpose pocket (below 500GT) explorer yacht”.

“What we see in the market is seismic generational shift of yacht owners and in my opinion particularly the new generation has just begun to redefine yachting as we have know. On one hand you have the new generation who have been introduced to yachting at a much earlier age looking for new thrills and at the same time you have experienced yachtsmen and sailors looking to fulfill a life’s dream to explore the Seven Seas. The Med, the Caribbean, and blue-water yachting in general are a lot of fun, but as we see these two generations changing the “yachting lifestyle”, there is a growing demand to get nearer to the see and become one with nature.

 While the idea of seeing whales or even penguins in their natural habitat is very exciting, many “explorer yachts” on the market are merely designed for blue-water sailing and not for real ocean exploring. When I developed THE TUG, the goal was to create a tough, safe, reliable, and cost-effective mid-sized explorer yacht that could not only “talk the talk”, but “walk the walk”.

 Also, being a designer that is first and foremost a naval architect, from a naval architect perspective, THE TUG will definitely break certain misconceptions that I see on the market in regards to how an ocean worthy explorer vessel should be designed for maximum seaworthiness, comfort, and most importantly safety in most demanding weather conditions” – Frank Neubelt

Inspired by the strong appearance of commercial tugs, THE TUG also comes with a masculine and strong looking design, which is balanced out by elegant lines without sacrificing its character. Not only inspired by the design of commercial tugs but also by their production process, Frank partnered with Conrad Shipyard, known for their experience in developing and building turn-key commercial service vessels as well as luxury yachts. Through careful analysis comparing the production process and design of commercial vessels versus luxury yachts, THE TUG’s design was streamlined to optimize cost and production times.

 “Having studied the evolution of so-called explorer yachts for over two years, there is a general design trend inspired by oil rig supply vessels, that unnecessarily places the superstructure and living spaces too far forward. In my opinion it is a major misconception that this relates to optimal seaworthiness and best comfort at sea for passengers. On the contrary, in reality these oil rig supply vessels are designed to maximize the aft deck loading spaces at the behest of comfort of workers and crew. On these types of vessels, in these superstructures placed so far forward, crew and workers can experience sustained accelerated loads of up to 2G’s. With this philosophy in mind, THE TUG’s superstructure is placed near the longitudinal center of gravity, balancing practicality without compromising the “explorer look”. Additionally all living spaces are carefully placed within the superstructure to avoid uncomfortable acceleration effects, especially when steaming through heavy seas.” – Frank Neubelt

The tank tested canoe hull was developed by Frank via his recently established design hub and project agency German Yacht Couture ( and its affiliates iYacht and renowned hydrodynamic expert Richard Anzböck of FIDMAR, provides a strong double bottom protected by side shell tanks. With an especially strong wide keel, the hull allows for slight grounding in shallow waters on sand grid. Specifically innovated rudder-rings provide additional protection for the propellers. A unique feature is the ability for “bow beaching”, possible due to the tough hull and its special canoe shaped body.

THE TUG offers to two types of propulsion. The standard version comes with conventional diesel engines in combination with special water lubricated pitch propellers by PIENING. The upgraded version comes with SCHOTTEL diesel-electric drive propulsion in combination with EMS-Pods. Each option is designed to provide transatlantic range at 10 knots even when having to steam through heavy seas and a maximum cruising speed of 15 knots.

Every world explorer needs his or her toys; being the first multi-purpose explorer yacht of its kind, THE TUG is designed with an innovative modular construction system for tenders, toys, and storage. Depending on the “mood”, the aft deck can be modified in different ways, depending on the client’s needs and requirements.

The Cruiser Mood – This option offers an open aft deck for maximum tender storage, providing for enough space for toys or sailing yachts of up to 30 feet.

The Voyager Mood – This option, perfect for blue-water sailing, provides for an additional platform raised above the tenders, connected to the aft bridge deck. This extra space can be arranged in different ways, whether as a sun deck with a Jacuzzi to relax or as an exquisite party-zone to enjoy with family and friends.

The Explorer Mood – Finally, the same platform as in the Voyager Mood can be enlarged with enough space for a helicopter helipad. Under the helipad is enough space to house long-distance 20 feet containers to store an array of different toys, from tenders, ribs, to drones or even a jeep or submarine.

With more than enough space for all the toys explorers can long for, there are more than enough interior spaces for enjoyable world cruising. Entering the main deck from the aft, a spacious salon provides for dining area, a comfortable couch arrangement and a spacious galley separating the saloon with a cozy library or theater room further forward. The deck above is entirely reserved for the owner, providing a spectacular owner experience. In the aft of the owners deck provides for spacious exterior deck and an exquisite living loom. The spectacular owners cabin forward provides for impressive 180-degree views of the surroundings with access to an impressive private bow deck. The lower deck provides for four luxurious guest cabins for eight. On the bridge deck aft is space for an exquisite exterior deck, a cozy interior lounge, and the wheelhouse forward. Finally, forward the sun deck the exterior helm station provides for outstanding visibility, which will prove very valuable when navigating tropical reefs or narrow ice passages. The aft sun deck serves as the perfect place to enjoy not only the sun, but also most importantly the spectacular ocean views.

“I am particularly happy and proud to announce this exciting yacht concept in cooperation with my good friend and CEO, Mikołaj Król at Conrad Shipyard. Throughout my career I have always tried to match yacht projects with the right shipyard, throughout the years having had the opportunity to successfully work with some of the most premier shipyards in Germany, Russia, Turkey, Italy, etc. Speaking from personal experience, together having successfully created the world’s very first performance motorsailer LUNAR, Conrad Shipyard is one of my very favorite shipyards that I have worked with. My experience with Polish yacht building actually goes back to the 90s and it is quite impressive how far Conrad Shipyard has come and how they have earned the right to be considered as one of the most recommended luxury yacht builders in Northern Europe. A true testament to their work is their recently launched 40-meter motor yacht Viatoris, with a design by my friends at Reymond Langton and naval architecture by Diana Yacht Design. If you are looking for real Northern European quality at a reasonable price, I suggest you visit Conrad Shipyard and Viatoris at the Monaco Yacht Show.” – Frank Neubelt

Conrad Shipyard and GYC by Frank Neubelt Yacht Design are proud to jointly announce THE TUG, a marriage between German design & engineering and Polish quality & excellence.

We invite you to come visit us on board Viatoris at the Monaco Yacht Show stand QT11 or berth T03. For more information on THE TUG or to schedule an appointment with Frank Neubelt on board Viatoris, please contact:

German Yacht Couture by Frank Neubelt Yacht Design

M: +49 170 781 6335