La Sultana Yacht: A Unique, Extraordinary, and Remarkable History
The adventure began in 1962, on the Black Sea shores, in the largest shipyard, Varna in Bulgaria. Built for the Russian fleet, Aji-Petri is the fifth of a serie of 12 ships. The “Sister Ships” are intended for transporting freight and passengers between the ports of Odessa, Yalta, Sebastopol, Istanbul, between the Azov and Crimea Seas.
Aji-Petri carried on board 102 passengers in cabins, 110 on the deck and 46 crew members. Her small draught of 3 m and sleek hull design made her an ideal method of transportation at the time. It might always have been so…
In 1970, amidst global political tension, the “Sister Ships” became very particular vessels. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union gradually removed its passenger fleet from the Black Sea in order to use it for strategic purposes for various ministries.
Aji-Petri was sent to the North Atlantic to be used as a radio relay for the International Telecommunication Union, and unofficially, to eavesdrop for the benefit of her country. During the Soviet space exploration age, the “Sister Ships’” involvement was such that a series of stamps was printed to glorify them. They became part of the heroic saga of an entire nation.When the Soviet Union fell, Aji-Petri was transferred to a Bulgarian shipping company and resumed her initial duties between Yalta and Istanbul.
(1962 - Refit 2015)
M/Y La Sultana, 65,40 meters, will be re-launched in July 2015 after a seven-year total reconversion and a metamorphosis requiring over one million two hundred thousand hours of labour.
In 2007, La Sultana Group, attracted by her elegant silhouette, design, strength and exceptional history, acquired the yacht La Sultana, thus renamed, and started a new project: to rebuild her into a ship that embodies the ideal of travel in an exceptional décor.
The stake for this reconversion was to preserve the authenticity and elegance of her glorious past, reconfigure the interior and exterior spaces, while integrating the most modern and advanced technology. La Sultana Yacht took the time needed and had an unlimited budget at her disposal.
This ambitious restoration was led by a team of naval construction and navigation professionals under the leadership of the French naval architecture company Orion Naval Engineering and the supervision of the RINA classification office and the flag authorities. A project that was both thorough and colossal.
Main Technical Upgrades
- The aluminum superstructure was
rebuilt according to its original shape and entirely re-riveted, giving it the
firmly classic silhouette of a “Gentleman Yacht”. After doing ultrasonic thickness measurements of the entire hull and structure under the supervision of RINA, close to 25% of shell plates and 80%
of deck plates have been replaced, as well as a number of frames and beams.
- For a perfect blend of tradition and modernity, the
masts were returned to their original location and all the decks were redone in
- The bow was raised to form a shielded area, thus
creating an upper space with a helicopter hoisting aera, and a leisure space with sea water jacuzzi and loungers.
- A side hydraulic door was installed on the starboard side of the ship near the bow, adding a swimming platform and a direct access to the sea – a technical feat sure to please nautical sports
- To improve stability, La Sultana was also fitted with an improved underwater profile with a streamlined massive keel weighing 90 tons.
- With her classic line and unique vintage style, La Sultana also belongs to the category of modern yachts, thanks to her brand new main engine and the refit of modern navigational equipment. A new diesel Mitsubishi engine and reducing gear was installed to keep the same rotation speed of the shaft line and preserve the original propeller. Cruise speed is approximately 11 knots, with a maximum of about 13 knots.
- The engine room was fitted with four generators providing between 90 kW and 180 kW each used depending on the needs. In addition to those, an extra emergency generator was fitted.
 Source: Norman Polmar, The Naval Institute Guide to the Soviet Navy, US Naval Institute Press, 1991.