SYOG investigates big boys and their superyacht toys...
Deep, deep down
A submarine is the ultimate toy for serious underwater exploration. U-Boat Worx produces two ranges that are very popular with superyacht owners.
The C-Quester is robust, spacious, comfortable, air-conditioned and easy to handle. Customisable to match its mother ship, the luxury pack includes superior seats, iPod systems and wine coolers. With boat-like handling and unrivalled stability, it can descend to depths of 100-metres. Their three-person model is the most popular choice aboard superyachts; the latest C-Quester 3 was installed on Moonen’s 42m superyacht, Sofia. A special crane was fitted in the stern to both launch the submarine and act as a jetty.
If seeking greater depths, the C-Explorer can descend to 1,000-metres with as many as five passengers. The latest model is currently installed on a yacht engaged in exploratory research work in the Mediterranean. Pricing of the submersibles ranges from £1.2m to £1.8m for the base models, then customise at will.
Skimming the surface
Gliding across cobalt waters, shooting across deserted beaches and crossing shallow reefs without damaging the colourful coral beneath; these all are possible with hovercrafts like the HovPod.
Fun, easy to drive, safe and reliable, these amphibious vehicles will hover over any flat surface from water, ice and snow to sand, mud and grass. Popular with superyacht owners seeking something a little different for their guests, the ride sensation is akin to levitation. It is smooth and comfortable at speeds of up to 65kph (40mph) and produces no distracting wake or exhaust fumes. The driver can flit from surface to surface, from land to water and back again, performing 180° turns and 360° spins in an instant.
The HovPod will not damage surface-swimming marine life such as sea turtles or manatees. They can even fly over a bird’s egg without cracking it, as the weight whilst hovering is similar to that of a seagull standing on one leg.
Designed for saltwater use, they feature marine-grade stainless steel parts as standard with a durable, almost impossible to rip skirt material. The superyacht special is the HovPod SPX TCC+ 120hp Turbo model, with prices starting around the £17,000 mark. Season to taste with custom options, including military cooling systems, ballast control, customised colour schemes, and, if you’re hungry and handy with a rod, fish finders.
For a thrilling ride away from the theme park, it’s hard to beat a Seabreacher, the high-performance submersible watercraft from Innespace Productions. Designed to flip and twist, it can also sustain high-speed dives just beneath the surface before breaching skywards, launching the entire vessel and two passengers clear out of the water. Their first version resembled a dolphin, and a new super-high performance model has now joined the range with more aggressive-looking shark styling.
Innespace has also created a killer whale form, complete with pectoral fins, a large whale tail, a fully functioning blowhole and a panoramic bubble canopy. With its 260hp super-charged engine, the craft can speed along at over 88kph (55mph) on the surface and 40kph (25mph) below. Its thrust system mimics the tail articulation of a real aquatic animal, which allows for radical freestyle manoeuvres. Live video from a snorkel-mounted camera transmits to the LCD screens for the pilot and passenger, with appropriately wild and watery music emanating from the in-board iPod dock.
Come fly with me
Normally you need an aircraft carrier to keep a plane on a ship but Icon Aircraft plans to change all that with their new two-seater Icon A5. When USA regulations for small planes were changed in 2004 and the new Sport Pilot License was created, Icon’s Kirk Hawkins and Steen Strand decided to develop a new amphibious project. They have now created a fun recreational aircraft that is as easy to use as a Jet Ski.
Their two-seater plane is built of carbon fibre and epoxy composites and comes with an intuitive sports car styled cockpit. Light enough to crane aboard a superyacht, it has folding wings for easy stowage, can take off from land or water, and uses ordinary petrol as fuel. Icon is now manufacturing the components for its first production aircraft and already has over 900 orders – some from superyacht owners. Orders are now being accepted with a refundable £3,250 deposit.
Personal flying craft
The creative genius behind the Seabreacher submersible has masterminded a second new experience in aquatic flight: enter the Jetovator.
This new water sports accessory combines the acrobatic capabilities of an aircraft with the simplicity of riding a bike, quickly elevating a standard personal watercraft into a totally new three-dimensional riding experience. Simply attach the 12m (40ft) connecting hose and thrust adapter to the high-output Sea-Doo, Kawasaki or Yamaha of your choice to fly 9m (30ft) in the air and dive down 3m (10ft) below the water.
Attain flight speeds of 40kph (25mph) and perform aerial stunts like back flips. The suspension landing gear option even allows experienced Jetovator pilots to take off from, and land on docks or decks. This accessory is so easy to use that most guests can be flying comfortably within minutes. Calm and mild or wet and wild – create your own unforgettable ride to suit your skill and adrenalin levels.
Fun for one
On first impressions, this looks like a domestic fan without a stand, but take a Bladefish Seajet underwater and the real fun begins.
Charter guests don’t need to exert themselves using fins or trying to swim against currents – they can simply hold on tightly and let the Seajet whizz them effortlessly along past tropical fish and stunning coral creations.
One charge lasts up to two hours and this brilliant bit of kit has a top speed of 6.5kph (4mph). The top of the range Seajet 7000 Turbo model weighs less than 5kg, while the entry level Seajet 1000 is even lighter. Happily, both are buoyant so there is no risk of losing them underwater. Costing from £299.99 to £749.99 each, some well-stocked charter vessels have half a dozen aboard for group pleasure, too.
Superyachts usually need to be alongside in order for their prestige vehicles to hit the shore, unless they are amphibious creations that can be driven directly from the vessel à la James Bond. Amphibious vehicles are not a new concept – 007 has destroyed several and the UK’s Top Gear presenters have raced theirs across the English Channel – but designing one from the ground up is unusual.
The latest model from WaterCar is the Panther. Resembling a Jeep and with ample room for four adults to enjoy a fun ride on board, these are built to order starting from a base cost of around £82,000. The Panther’s Honda V6 3.7 litre engine ensures an impressive water speed of up to 70kph (44mph) and a top land speed of around 130kph (80mph), with transitions between modes taking just 10 seconds.
For super speed freaks seeking a real wow factor, upgrade to the Python. It achieves 0-60mph on land in a staggering 4.5 seconds and even on water nudges an impressive 60mph (almost 100kph).
Amphibian Jet Ski
New Zealander, Alan Gibbs once owned Senses, a spectacular superyacht which carried aboard the prototype Gibbs Aquada motor car. This became one of the era’s must-have superyacht toys.
The yacht toy scene is moving on apace and the company is keeping up admirably with the introduction of the revolutionary Quad Ski. This high-speed amphibian is the product of millions of research pounds and years of development work in the USA, New Zealand and the UK. It’s an entirely new form of transportation.
The Quad Ski can reach speeds of 72kph (45mph) on both land and water, and transitions between modes in fewer than five seconds. Equipped with a 175hp BMW engine and transmission, its wheels retract when entering the water and deploy when approaching land at the touch of a button. Weighing in at just 590kg, it is equipped with a 68-litre fuel tank and comes in a variety of colours. Currently available as a one-seater with a length of 3.2m (10.5ft), SYOG urges you to watch this space for details of a larger, two-person option.
A French company is making tracks into the superyacht toy market – quite literally. Iguana Yachts equips high-performance boats with tracks, giving them the ability to emerge from the water onto dry land independently.
Two rubber tracks and motorised hydraulic arms can be fitted to almost any type of tender. Controlled using a smart command, they can then be deployed in seconds, or quickly folded away into the sides of the boat without compromising the tender’s sleek lines. They can climb an 11° variable slope, even on unstable ground, and can reach 7kph (4mph). With a ground pressure barely greater than a pedestrian, the vessel’s weight is distributed evenly on its tracks.
No matter what the age of the kids on board (or the mental age of the adults…) there is a toy to suit everyone’s taste and level of engagement in the superyacht world.
SYOG challenges you and shouts from the decks, “Let the games begin!”