Fit for Duty

The high-speed, shallow-draft Maiora 35 Exuma is a ‘special project’ tailored for her American owner’s family lifestyle.

It is no coincidence that Italian brand Maiora chose to name its latest 115-foot (35-meter) fiberglass model after the Exumas, the string of islands in the Bahamas famous for their sapphire-blue waters and aquatic pigs. These cays are favorites of American yachtsmen, and the owner of the first Maiora 35 Exuma, Lady Nina, is a repeat customer from the United States.

Maiora was a pioneer of fiberglass construction in the 1970s. Today, the brand is part of Fipa Group and in force with a new product range. Lady Nina is what Maiora calls a “special project” insofar as the yacht is customized to the owner’s family-oriented needs, and draws on the experience of sister company AB Yachts in the field of water-jet propulsion.

Water jets offer various advantages over conventional inline drive shafts and propellers, from higher speed and faster acceleration to better maneuverability, and less noise and vibration. The owner of Lady Nina also wanted water jets for another reason specific to cruising the Bahamas: their shallow-water capability.

The owner’s suite on the main deck forward

With a draft of just 4½ feet (1.3 meters), Lady Nina is powered by two steerable MJP water jets and a central booster jet coupled to three 1,925-horsepower Caterpillar C32 Acert engines. The combination provides a feisty top speed of 35 knots.

“What’s most interesting about the propulsion setup is that three engines are actually more efficient than two, and offer a very wide range of cruising speeds,” says Giacomo Benelli of Fipa Group. “Lady Nina can cruise comfortably anywhere from 30 knots right down to an economical speed of 10 knots for a range of about 1,600 nautical miles.”

Lady Nina has one garage under the terraced transom for the crew tender and another side-loading garage for the guest tender

Fipa Group has its own centro stile, or style center, which was responsible for both the exterior and interior design. The snub-nose bow is unconventional, but in profile the yacht looks sleek, balanced and assertive on the water.

The owner chose contrasting wenge and oak for the joinery, a wafer-thin slate for some of the surfaces, and glossy pietro gray marble in the bathrooms. Combined with freestanding furniture by designer names such as Maxalto and B&B Italia, the overall ambience is stylishly Italian, but also warm and welcoming.

Note the broad use of glazing in the owner’s suite

Not immediately obvious is the asymmetric layout on the main deck, which is wide-body to starboard with a passageway to port for side-docking at the owner’s private berth. There is a dining table on the open aft deck, but—unusually—not in the main salon, which is principally a place for relaxation and watching TV, or for enjoying a morning coffee while gazing out the full-height windows. On one side of the sliding doors aft is a temperature-controlled wine rack; on the other is a custom-built tequila fridge.

The social center of the yacht is on the enclosed flybridge, which puts the “sky” back into “sky lounge” thanks to a sliding moonroof for dining under the stars and up-down windows for natural ventilation.

“The whole boat is designed around the flybridge,” Benelli says. “The owner wanted the dining table here because he’s an owner-operator and specified an open wheelhouse so he could still be in touch with friends and family when he’s driving the boat. Thanks to the electric up-down windscreen, he can even be in contact with guests on the open deck in front of the helm station.”

A side deck to port is for docking in a private berth in Miami.

The flybridge is accessed internally by a novel split staircase. One branch arrives from the guest area on the main deck, and the other from the galley and crew quarters. Uniquely on a yacht of this size, there is a second wheelhouse for the captain’s use on the main deck forward with direct access from the crew quarters.

Another surprise on this 115-foot yacht is that Lady Nina has not one, but two tender garages: one under the terraced staircase in the transom for the crew tender, Seabobs and scuba gear, and a side-loading garage for the guest tender.

Lady Nina is a yacht designed around an owner who loves the open-air life on board with his family in the Bahamas, and who enjoys driving his own boat—qualities that are just as relevant in the Mediterranean as in the Caribbean. She is totally fit for her purpose. 

The interior dining table has been shifted from the main salon to the fly deck under a moonroof for dining under the stars. 

Lady Nina

LOA: 115ft. 1in. (35.1m)
BEAM: 25ft. 7in. (7.8m)
DRAFT (full load): 4ft. 5in. (1.35m)
SPEED (max./cruise): 35/30 knots
BUILDER:Maiora/Fipa Group

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This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.


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