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Exploring design trends

More green, more exploration for experiencing nature, with glass and possibly hydrofoils: These are themes that builders and designers nearly unanimously see as major current superyacht trends.

Marine Construction Management (MCM), based in Newport, Rhode Island, has been managing newbuilds for 30 years, including a number of DNV GL-classed yachts. Peter Wilson, one of the two founding partners, recently predicted that along with advances in construction, efficiency, communications, security and lower emissions, the whole superyacht lifestyle will be even more about sharing adventures with family and friends, with a focus on the health and well-being of those on board – and the environment in which they cruise. Wilson expects to see more explorer-style vessels venturing further afield with owners, their friends and charterers while witnessing or participating in “citizen science and ocean research”.

Worked-up yacht designs

Nigel Ingram, MCM’s other founding partner, believes it is only a matter of time before hydrofoils are incorporated in superyachts. This view is shared by designer Clifford Denn – he has noticed the popularity of foils on smaller yachts and believes younger generation owners will demand them on superyachts soon. Denn was part of the team that designed the 75-metre Eco (now Zeus) at Blohm+Voss 30 years ago – itself sporting a hydrofoil aft of its waterjets, so they are not entirely new.

One industry trend is clear and that is that shipyards and designers are teaming up to present worked-up yacht designs that are ready to start building without losing a year on initial design. Clifford Denn’s 83-metre Maximus, developed by the Dutch yard Heesen, was well-received at the Monaco Yacht Show 2017. Claydon Reeves and March & White presented Linea with Fincantieri, while Winch Design teamed up with both Wally and Nobiskrug to show an 83-metre explorer.

Bannenberg & Rowell and builder Kusch Yachts’ 118-metre Project Blazon looks set to wow at MYS 2018 – they last collaborated on Le Grand Bleu. Dickie Bannenberg states: “We attempt to bring the outside in, to capture the marine and beach life – hence the merging of these spaces that are no longer deemed outside or inside. The spine of the boat is the core, the focal point through which the wide, open-plan stairwell links all decks and binds together the crew stairs, pantries and engine casings.” Concentrating these key vertical elements leaves more space for the living areas, giving the designers greater freedom to deconstruct what have traditionally been the cosy, inward-looking spaces: the salons.

“In this case we’ve lowered the aft main deck area to get it closer to the water level. It becomes the saddle between the raised pool aft, with the spa beneath, and the interior going forward.” This creates the conservatory lounge, an exterior space divided by steps running full beam. It connects to the elevated forward section and is surrounded by sliding glass walls, a transparent envelope that controls temperature and humidity. “Lowering the floor is akin to raising the ceiling, affording the space a sense of scale and grandeur with four-metre ceiling heights,” describes Bannenberg. Aft of the sliding glass walls, the port and starboard side decks fold out into expansive stairwells leading to the water as well as the beach toy store beneath. Looming high above this space is the superstructure’s underbody, a sunken observation salon hung beneath the wide coamings of the upper deck. It opens upwards internally into the main salon and dining room on the owner’s deck. This elevated position provides the dining and lounging spaces with panoramic views and opens up to wide side and aft decks.

Design project Blazon
Project Blazon, developed by Bannenberg & Rowell and Kusch Yachts, introduces a new vertical concept interlinking all levels of the vessel.

Youthful spirit

Designed as Passenger Yacht Unrestricted Engaged in Trade (PY-U), in compliance with REG Yacht Code Part B, Project Blazon has a 6,000-mile range at 16 knots and accommodates two owners in a 310-square-metre suite, 30 guests and 44 crew. Likely to appeal to the younger buyer, Project Blazon bridges the gap between exploring and yachting; she might spend her summers in the Mediterranean and winters going further afield, similar to the 83.5-metre hybrid Feadship Savannah, which is selectively chartered through Edmiston at a million euros per week when her owner is not aboard.

Design project Blazon
Bringing the outside in and being closer to the water and to nature are design concepts reflecting a growing environmental awareness among younger buyers.

A greener mindset

Even suppliers of fine linen and china to superyachts, such as Glancy Fawcett, have noticed buyers asking where the products are sourced and whether they come from sustainable sources. More customers are eco-friendly and eco-conscious. The Prince Albert II Foundation’s Monte Carlo Gala fundraising dinners have done their share to pressure owners to go greener. When the Espen Øino-designed 183-metre REV, a yacht with a 21,120mile range currently being built for the Norwegian owner Kjell Inge Røkke, is launched in 2020, expect to see younger owners vying to beat the boats of their peers in eco-friendliness rather than sheer size. REV’s hull – designed to DNV GL SILENT-R notation and complying to DNV GL Ice PC6 class notation – contains accommodation of high enough quality to attract those who might otherwise charter a superyacht. These guest “explorers” will be able to assist, witness or publicize the valuable expedition research work being done to save the oceans.

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