Tatiana, at 263ft Bilgin Yachts’ graceful new flagship, is born of a long collaboration between a yacht enthusiast with the goal to build a small yacht fleet and an ambitious family-owned shipyard rooted on the western shores of the Bosphorus.
It doesn’t seem like so long ago that I went to Istanbul’s West Marina to take a look at 160ft Clarity, a modern classic
with bowsprit, faux stack and elegant hull lines. She was then the most recent launch from Bilgin, built with a steel hull but harking back to the romantic era of yachting. Yildirim Bilgen, Bilgin Yachts’ sales manager, was multitasking, a cell phone close at hand as he showed me around the boat and discussed an important expansion – new sheds under construction that Bilgin would use to commission much larger yachts. The metal work would take place about 33 miles away in Yalova, across the Sea of Marmara, and the interiors, furniture and metal fittings would be done in another of Bilgin’s facilities in Istanbul.
A few months later, Bilgin revealed something radically different from Clarity, a 263ft yacht concept with all
the bells and whistles and exterior design by Unique Yacht Design. By May 2016, Bilgin announced that the construction was underway with several of the steel blocks for the hull already completed. “Not only does this superyacht meet the exacting performance standards of the luxury industry but [it] sets the bar for Turkey’s growing high-end yacht sector,” the shipyard said at the time about its forward-looking project.
Bilgen, still multitasking, is at the wheel of his car when I catch up with him to go over the history of the new flagship, which is awaiting delivery in 2021. The yard’s relationship with the client goes back more than 15 years. Bilgin delivered the first Tatiana, a 110-footer in 2006, followed in 2011 by a 148ft yacht. Not too long after taking delivery of his second yacht, the owner expressed interest in discussing a larger project. Bilgen traveled to meet with the client and his team with naval architect Emrecan Özgün, founder of Unique Yacht Design. That meeting did not result in a new order, but it established a fruitful working relationship between Özgün and the shipyard. “We have been working with Bilgin Yachts since 2013,” says Özgün, whose passion for car design merged with his education in naval architecture and engineering to open doors in yacht design. He collaborated with Bilgin on 154ft Giaola-Lu, 156ft Nerissa (now Starburst III) and 156ft Lilium (now Snow 5). Meanwhile, conversations with the owner of Tatiana continued and by 2015, he was ready to discuss a brand new project.