Gresham Yacht Design introduces Thor Explore

The designer of OceanXplorer uses that experience to develop the new 100m expedition concept

author icon By Ryan Swift | 11 March 2021

Gresham Yacht Design of the UK, which developed the interior layouts and exterior design for the recently launched 87-metre OceanXplorer, has used that experience to develop an expedition superyacht concept called Thor Explore. OceanXplorer is a converted survey vessel that was originally built in 2010 and designed for severe weather conditions.

“We took everything we learned on OceanXplorer and put it into superyacht language,” Steve Gresham told Asia-Pacific Boating. “It is the next level of what is possible (in an expedition superyacht).”

Thor Explore is a 100-metre exploration vessel with enormous internal volume and space for a wide array of tenders and storage. A key design feature are the enormous windows in the main decks, an element on OceanXplorer that Gresham worked on extensively.

Gresham described working on OceanXplorer as a “steep learning curve”, that was both intense and a lot of fun.

In the central area of Thor Explore, there is a sunken seating area that “floats” between the decks on a glass structure. The main focal point is a futuristic skylight that sits directly above. Special lighting design brings the space to life.

The glass floor in the central area can turned opaque with a switch, thus separating the two floors if privacy is desired.

There is a beach club accessed by a circular corridor that has a floor-to-ceiling, cylindrical aquarium.

The tender hangar is a large, futuristic space that offers an owner space for a 12.5-metre custom tender, hydrofoil speedboat, submarine and a host of kite and wind surfing equipment, diving equipment, surf boards and Jetskis.

There is a fully certified (CAP 437) helideck that includes a hangar for the safe stowage of the aircraft when underway.

The hull is Ice Class, with a large internal volume to allow for the technology and hardware that a buyer interested in ocean exploration might want, with accommodation for up to 36 passengers.

In an interview with Asia-Pacific Boating, Gresham pointed to the number of younger owners buying superyachts who are more interested in what the yacht can do, rather than just how it looks. He noted also that ocean exploration was a topic of growing interest among wealthy philanthropists that are also superyacht owners.

“What’s really cool is that all these guys know each other, and hopefully, they’ll start sharing their resources on projects.”

OceanXplorer was commissioned by Ray Dalio, who also owns the Alucia, which became known for its role in providing support for the BBC’s Blue Planet II series. Dalio has made clear his intention to use OceanXplorer as much for raising public awareness of the ocean as for pure research.