Dominator Ilumen: Space and light illuminate semi-custom stunner

The Dominator Ilumen promises huge range, a voluminous interior and genuine keel-up customisation. We take it for a spin

Alberto Mancini is a man in high demand at the moment, and be it revitalising the Fairline range or penning the latest Mangusta rocket ship, it seems the Italian designer can do no wrong.

The Ilumen concept from Dominator proved a challenge, however. The brief was to create a boat with the space, panache and master suite of a far larger craft on a boat whose hull length dips below that crucial 24m threshold. With a length limit in place the only way to go is up, hence the Ilumen’s towering height and the need for some slick aesthetic trickery to lower the profile.

Glass is liberally employed to soften the upright topsides, an obvious benefit being the amount of natural light that is allowed to pour into the main deck. The more you look the more you see, like the way the line of the pilothouse sinks amidships and then springs up in the opposite direction like a breaching dolphin to create the support for the hardtop.

It isn’t a classically beautiful yacht but it is brave in the extreme and has no trouble turning heads, even in the superyacht haven of Port Hercule where we performed the sea trial.


The Ilumen is striking rather than classically beautiful but the pay-off is a huge interior

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The quest for internal volume shapes the way the boat looks and the master suite was of primary concern for the Texan owner. A hotelier, with a couple of properties in the Med, the yacht will be used as a residence during European visits so the owner’s cabin is an important space.

It’s a jaw-dropper — located forward on the main deck and flanked by full-length windows, it’s as private as it is quiet. With the engineroom almost a boat length away there is no chance of being disturbed by the noise of machinery.

The remarkable use of glazing continues with a large skylight directly over the island berth; a window that will be filled with stars in the right conditions. With the bathroom running across the cabin aft of the bed, the forward end tapers to a set of steps, which, via a pair of sliding doors, lead directly out to the foredeck, effectively giving the owner a private terrace for sun soaked morning coffees and secluded sundowners.


The spectacular master suite on the main deck is bursting with natural light

There is crew access via the side decks for mooring and anchoring duties but being able to get on deck straight from bed is a particularly lavish feature.

Hot stuff

Hull number one Kalliente (meaning hot in Spanish) has four guest cabins (excluding the master on the main deck) and the crew space below deck but Dominator is a fully-fledged custom builder so the layout is extremely flexible. Even in the world of custom yachts Dominator is particularly open to personalisation and allows customers to start with a blank piece of paper and design their own boat from top to toe through its Bespoke service.

The layout here is well balanced with sleeping space for eight guests without any of the cabins feeling compromised and enough room aft for a tender garage large enough to hold a Williams Sportjet 400, a jet-ski and a couple of Seabobs.

Two identical double staterooms sit forward of the machinery space with a further two twin cabins between them and the crew mess. All four cabins have their own ensuite bathrooms and are served natural light by the low-level windows that streak across each topside.


The guest accommodation looks and feels as special as the rest of the living quarters

Mancini was also responsible for the interior design in this instance and its clean, warm décor is designed to ape that of the owner’s  residence. Clean doesn’t mean plain though, there are glossy veneers and smoked glass teamed with high-end materials like backlit onyx and top-quality leather.

A central staircase leads up to the main deck and connects to the short run of steps leading to the half deck, where the pilothouse is positioned. This helm station is businesslike and most likely to be used by the skipper on night passages where all of the Dominator Ilumen’s systems can be easily monitored. It’s a dark space with a shallow, steeply raked set of screens so most of the daytime helming is likely to be done from the flybridge deck.

Like the master cabin, the flybridge is another area that belies the 24m LWL. It stretches down two-thirds of the boat’s length and includes a bar, lounging area, dinette and hot tub without feeling overloaded. We had around 15 people milling about up here during sea trials and it never felt crowded.

The optional hot tub is an extravagance that not everyone will want but it has been neatly incorporated. It connects to the dinette and sunpads so that it feels part of the design rather than simply plonked where it fits.


The flybridge feels huge and has a good mix of seating and lounging areas

Despite its futuristic exterior the Ilumen has the well-proven combination of twin MAN V8 1,200hp engines running through V drives for a top speed just shy of 20 knots. Top speed shouldn’t be of primary focus though, it’s the boats range that is most impressive and its ability to soak up long distances with ease and do in such a refined manner.

As standard it has a 9,000-litre fuel tank but this can be boosted by up to 4,500 litres and combined with a hybrid drive system for a staggering range at 10 knots of 3,000nm. We were unable to verify consumption data during our test but Dominator’s factory figures indicate a measly 50lph thirst at 10 knots (for both engines) and a 1,000nm range at 12 knots with a 10% reserve.


Progress aboard the Ilumen is quiet and refined

It is not a boat designed for driving pleasure but it is fabulously quiet, barely topping 60 dB(A) at full speed and it soaked up the limited number of lumps and bumps that we could find in the calm conditions of our test very comfortably.

This serene progress is down to a focus on sound deadening and insulation with 13 layers used in the sandwich construction to ensure machinery noise does not infiltrate the interior.

The magic of Mancini

The Seakeeper stabiliser has its work cut out on such a tall boat that weighs in at around 90 tonnes loaded but does an admirable job of keeping roll to a minimum.


We tested two versions of the Dominator Ilumen with different engine set-ups

Maybe it should come as no surprise that dynamics take second billing to space, as that is effectively what the brief demanded. Space, light, volume and a master cabin to knock your socks and shoes off all prioritised and the rest of the boat draped around it. It’s a compromise that many will be happy to make, especially given that most Ilumens will be crewed.

Domintator Ilumen saloon

“I wanted a smaller yacht to enable me to be able to reach parts of the Med that larger craft can’t,” says the owner of Kalliente, “but it needed to have the space of a 150ft yacht and the same feeling of quality.” With these desires in mind it looks as if Alberto Mancini has once again worked his magic to great effect.



The Dominator Ilumen is the only yacht in its class with a tender garage large enough to fit both a tender and a jet-ski

LOA: 77ft 9in (27.35m)
Beam: 21ft 6in (6.58m)
Draught: 5ft 7in (1.75m)
Propulsion: Twin shaft with V-Drive
Twin MAN V8 1200hp
Displacement (light): 80 tonnes
Displacement (loaded): 95 tonnes
Water capacity: 2,200 litres
Fuel capacity:
12,500 litres
Certification: ISO CE Cat A for 24 people
Exterior design: Alberto Mancini
Interior design: Luca Catino
Naval architecture & engineering: Andrea Agrusta, NavalHEAD & Dominator Yachts
Builder: Dominator Ilumen AG
Top speed:
19.3 knots @ 1/3 load
Consumption figures (provided by the manufacturer)

Consumption: 50l/h @ 9 knots
90l/h @ 11 knots
117 l/h @ 12 knots
Range: 2,000nm @ 9 knots
1,500nm @ 10 knots
1,200nm @ 11 knots
1,000nm @ 12 knots

Noise: 49dB @ 11.5 knots (owner’s suite)

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