Yachting was meant to be a short-term plan for Capt. Ryan Taylor, who helms the new 39.45-meter Baltic Yachts S/Y Perseverance 1, which was named “Sailing Yacht of the Year” during the 2022 World Superyacht Awards. The lifelong sailor intended to try out a short stint working on boats to scratch his sailing itch. “I originally planned to join the industry for one or two years for the sole point of sailing,” says Capt. Taylor. “More than 10 years have passed, and the passion continues!”
Taylor hails from Auckland, New Zealand, and is currently based in Palma. He was introduced to sailing at a young age, later learning on Optimists, P Class, and Laser sailing dinghies. When he was older, Taylor had friends working on boats in the Mediterranean who suggested he come out and train as crew. He started out working on Swan 80s, as well as a few larger yachts. As his career progressed, he was recommended to the captain of a new build happening at Baltic Yachts — the 33-meter S/Y WINWIN, which was delivered in 2014. “I was hired as the mate/engineer. I then jumped into the ‘captain’s seat’ on WINWIN and never looked back and spent just over seven years on board,” says the captain.
He was approached by a contact at Baltic Yachts to hop on board the new build of Perseverance 1 when the project began. As Taylor completed the build of WINWIN at Baltic Yachts, he was well-rehearsed in the way Baltic operates, which was an asset to the Perseverance 1 project. The owner of Perseverance 1 was stepping up by nearly 20 meters LOA from a Dykstra 60. The hands-on owner is an experienced yachtsmen who had a very clear brief for Perseverance 1, as Capt. Taylor attests. “The brief was to upscale the previous Dykstra 60 to a more modern, lightweight, high-performance superyacht, with an in-depth focus on attention to energy consumption on board.”
There was also a focus on being as eco-friendly as possible. Perseverance 1 has a diesel-electric propulsion system and well-integrated technology that takes her batteries to fully charged in just 4.5 hours and permits eight to nine hours of silent running at anchor. “We have been able to efficiently regenerate power over an average of 20 to 25 kilowatts in about 16 to 20 knots of wind while still managing 12 to 14 knots of boat speed,” says Capt. Taylor.
The yacht also has a seawater cooling system that utilizes only one controllable variable speed pump — as opposed to each piece of equipment using its own pump — which has resulted in considerable energy savings. “The owner was very keen to minimize the yacht’s footprint in the operational conditions as well,” says Erik Wassen of Dykstra Naval Architects, the designers of Perseverance 1. To achieve this, sensors are implemented in the control equipment to set interior temperature based on occupation of the owner and guest cabins. If the cabin is not in use, the temperature threshold is modified to minimize energy demand.
Perseverance 1’s double deckhouse design helps define the divide between guest and crew areas. Guest cabins are set forward on the yacht, while the crew areas extend aft to the crew deckhouse. “The crew quarters are a little different to most in the fact that we have a great NavStation in the aft doghouse,” says Capt. Taylor. “We have a great view out, similar to the main salon, and you can monitor what’s going on outside. Very handy when sailing in all types of weather and also monitoring guest activities. Also with the hybrid electric system, it is a real benefit with all power at hand whenever you need it.”
As far as scratching Capt. Taylor’s sailing itch, the 39.45-meter sails like a dream. The hull was optimized to minimize drag and is equipped with high-aspect rudder and lifting keel. She performs well in light air, owing in part to her carbon fiber spars and advanced construction materials. With an oversized rig and sail inventory that’s able to make the most out of any wind speed above eight knots, Perseverance 1 is very efficient when under sail. “The other philosophy for the design that was originally requested was that she could easily sail at full power in 10 knots with little effort,” says Capt. Taylor.
Her sailing attributes were recognized during the Boat International Design Awards where she won the award for Best Naval Architecture in sailing yachts. She scored points for a rig geometry that allows for quick sail adaption to match environmental conditions, enabling her to sail for long periods.
As for the success of Perseverance 1 and her multiple award wins, Capt. Taylor credits his team. “I think like any great project, you are only as good as the team that you have behind you,” he says. “I have to say a special mention about the core crew that have been on board with me from when Perseverance 1 was launched. Anna Hewinson (stew), Daniel Green (engineer), and Jocelyn Tysoe (mate) have been awesome! The core crew mixed with the shipyard team from Baltic Yachts — led by Tommy Johansson — and it was a great combination.”
This article originally ran in the October 2022 issue of Dockwalk.