SYOG opens a portal of adventure and shout-out-loud excitement.
The majestic ocean liners of the 20th century set a precedent for modern superyachts - their decadence, timeless class and opulent décor having inspired designers and naval architects to this very day. Yet, while ten courses of the finest gourmet cuisine were served in sumptuous dining saloons, and cabins that were veritable palaces, the on-board entertainment of shuffleboard, quoits (ring toss), squash and backgammon might have left a little to be desired.
Today, both on-board and in the seas and skies around, the hum and whistle of all manner of outdoor activities fill the air, showing one of the greatest developments in the yachting industry over the decades; outdoor entertainment.
Even since the golden 80s and 90s when swim platforms were en vogue and Jet Skis the latest fad, the opportunities for outdoor pursuits have exploded with all manner of fun, feisty and fantasy-like activities now possible. From wildlife-watching to flying cars, glacier hiking to personal submersibles, or kite-surfing to wearable technology, the options are limitless.
Impeccable luxury, sumptuous finesse and the elite of high quality service are paramount to a successful yacht cruise or charter with these magnificent ships providing the escape from the confines of daily life so dreamed of by their owners and guests.
Yet superyachts offer so very much more than fine dining and cocktails by the Jacuzzi. These great platforms of adventure open the door to a world of excitement, a portal to activity, inspiration and shout-out-loud excitement.
In 2014, Myanmar found itself on many a list of charter cruising destinations, with several yachts now plying the southern region of the country around the Mergui Archipelago. It is a clear and refreshing move to new and adventurous cruising grounds when a country so recently out of civil unrest is now luring would-be explorers to discover the secrets of this South East Asian paradise.
And far flung cruising grounds are creeping their ways on to many a charter list, from the wildlife haven of the Galapagos Islands, to the frosty glaciers of Alaska. Perhaps we have come full circle in today following in the footsteps of the leather-booted intrepid explorers of yesteryear who once traversed the roads (and seas) less travelled. From the rainforests of South America to the coral atolls of French Polynesia or the great craggy fjords of New Zealand, each offers unrivalled travel opportunities, and superyachts are the perfect platform from which to explore, discover and enjoy.
Once there, adventurous pursuits can take so many forms when launched from a superyacht, take to the skies in a helicopter and soar over deserted beaches and azure waters, zipping and dipping before landing on isolated headlands with staggering sunset panoramas. Climb in a tender and explore hidden tropical coves or frigid glacial icebergs.
Cast your rod for a spot of deep sea fishing and see what creations the chef can conjure with your success. Watch wildlife from your deck, from rock penguins of the isolated Southern Atlantic islands to the seals and orcas of Canada’s rocky coastline. Hike the polar tundras, kayak the tropical mangroves, or horse-ride the deserted beaches of Mozambique, the options are truly endless.
Prepare to dive state-of-the-art submersible
In March 2012, movie director James Cameron made an historic mission to the bottom of the Mariana Trench - the world’s deepest point. He was the first man to make this journey, alone in a small yet state-of-the-art submersible that jetted him a staggering 11km under the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
He, and others like him, are inspirations for would-be explorers and adventurists, and their achievements and discoveries of the great deep unknown have fuelled a growing trend in venturing below the waves. Indeed, with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic services due to start this year, it is a sobering thought that more people have been to space than have visited the bottom of the ocean - and how very little we know of life under the surface.
Motion Code Blue have designed the first ever submersible concept yacht, the 115m Migaloo submarine-superyacht hybrid, whose entire ethos challenges the way in which we look at yachts of the future. Sleek, elegant and the epitome of sublime comfort and luxury - complete with beach terraces on each hull, a helipad, swimming pool and two-level owner’s suite - she can transform from an ocean-going yacht to an explorer of the denizens of the deep in the blink of an eye.
While Migaloo might be a few years off production, new ranges of personal luxury submersibles provide the ultimate experience for exploring the deep blue seas, their compact styles having been designed with this utmost of comfort - with even a champagne cooler for the non-pilots.
Companies such as US Submarines offer a range of luxury subs from the 25m Discovery 1000 to the 65m Phoenix 1000. With a passenger compartment composed of transparent acrylic plastic, a luxury interior finish and climate control air conditioning, they can dive to 300 metres and beyond in total comfort and safety. Triton Subs also boast an impressive range, their two-person Triton 36,000/3 reaching up to 36,000 feet in two hours – the deepest diving multi-passenger sub in the world.
U.S.-based DeepFlight, founded by world-renowned ocean engineer Graham Hawkes are taking things to a new (subaquatic) level and redefining personal submersibles with their hydrobatic craft. They represent a new class of ultra-light submersibles which they have designed on the same principles as aircraft to fly through the water. They explained:
"Our patented winged design enables Hydrobatic Craft to travel through the water with unprecedented speed, range and agility, transforming the two-dimensional elevator experience of conventional submersible dives into an exhilarating flight through blue space. Dive with great white sharks, fly through underwater canyons and explore uncharted shipwrecks - all from the comfort and safety of your submersible, launched right from your yacht or shore base.
Also moving away from the classic submersible designs are some radical subs that would bring a tear of joy to James Bond’s eye. The sQuba by Rinspeed modelled on Bond’s 1977 Lotus Elite is open-topped, stylishly sleek and breathtakingly high-tech. Its tank of compressed air and lithium-ion batteries release no carbon emissions, its advanced laser technology allows for cruise control and the mother-of-pearl inlay is just sumptuous. It can dive to depths of ten metres, reach 75mph on land and 3.2 knots underwater, making this one of the most enviable vehicles on the planet - a subaquatic amphibious sports car.
Jacques Cousteau’s scuba legacy has been a long and powerful one, and superyachts are the ideal platform from which to explore the world beneath the seas. Cruising to some of the planet’s most pristine reefs and coming face-to-face with the kaleidoscopic, weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit them can now be an even more close-encounter thanks to closed circuit rebreathers (CCR).
By absorbing the carbon dioxide of a diver’s exhaled breath, these systems allow for the recycling of unused exhaled oxygen instead of discharging it into the water as bubbles. The benefits are numerous; deeper dives, reduced decompression times, perfect buoyancy control and a lack of bubbles means silent diving and true interactions with the marine wildlife.
U.K.-based AP Diving are pioneers in rebreather apparatus, with a three-model range catering to deep tech divers, caving, expedition divers or more lightweight all-rounder sets; ideal for all dive profiles. Likewise, Poseidon are at the forefront of CCR development and their MKVI is one of the greatest breakthroughs in diving technology this decade, as they explain, "It may be the longest and quietest dive you will ever experience we will not be quiet about its existence.
"It represents a giant leap in shifting the diving experience towards the sea of tranquility - allowing us to be an integrated part of the element our ancestors left 440 million years ago.” The Poseidon se7en is a fully customisable, next generation rebreather, enabling you to get closer to marine life, with no bubbles and silent exploring. With four times longer dive time.
From submarines to scuba rebreathers, staggering feats of technology are being developed to tantalise and lure the adventurous to the bottoms of the seas, but stripping it all back to the utmost in simplicity can hold wonderful appeal. The freedom of freediving is gaining huge ground recreationally, with courses such as the ones offered by the British Freediving Association and AIDA International providing opportunities to those wanting to improve their breath-hold times and underwater techniques.
Long, streamlined fins provide extra power and manoeuvrability underwater yet monofins such as those developed by Italian-based Lunocet allow for true dolphin-like grace and elegance.
“The Lunocet was born of a need for speed… underwater speed. It was born of a need for freedom underwater; to shed the constraints of drag and to augment poor human swimming ability underwater. The Lunocet is a device which models the millions of years of evolution in the dolphin tail by replicating the geometry, scale, and morphology dynamics of what is called the lunate tail propulsor. The Lunocet uses road cycling or triathlon shoes for both power and comfort,” explains Ted Ciaomillo, the brains behind the Lunocet.
Surf and turf amphibious vehicles
As it flies across the surface of the glittering blue sea in a flash of futuristic, high energy suaveness, it is truly a sight to behold. Meet Supercraft, the world’s first cutting-edge hovercraft combined with luxury, high-performance supercar technology from Chicago-based Mercier-Jones.
Its design is inspired by elements of the Bugatti Veyron, Maserati Gran Turismo and Audi R8, and its seats wouldn’t look out of place in a Formula 1 race car. Reaching top speeds of 80mph on land, and 40mph on water it can traverse most terrains, from land to sand, ice to rivers and seas to lakes, while a low profile body, aggressive front end and powerful side thrust ports make this a truly modern hovercraft design. Marine features, such as side decks and an open cockpit, blend with the automotive inspiration to embody the versatility and function of the Supercraft.
Amphibious vehicles are the ultimate in versatility and cross-terrain travel, and a new breed of superfast amphibious machines built for speed are emerging into the recreational luxury market. The Hydra Spyder, built by CAMI (Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International), has a Corvette 6.0 litre V-8 engine producing over 125mph on land and water speeds of a whopping 46 knots - fast enough to pull a water-skier.
Add to this the simply sublime Limousine Tender 33 by Nouvoyage, and it is easy to see how amphibious vehicles are the trend of the future. They describe it as “a brilliantly designed craft that is at once artisanal, supremely functional and altogether enviable,” a place to savour oysters and champagne as you seamlessly transition from the glittering waves of the harbour (at no less than 28 knots) to the twinkling lights of land (up to an impressive 85mph).
Earth, wind, fire and water
Superyachts embody the great outdoors, and while jet skis, windsurfers, kayaks and sailing catamarans are tried and trusted superyacht favourites, there is a whole new range of toys bursting onto the scene.
There are Flyboard jetpacks and JetLev Flyers ready to launch you 12 metres into the air before you come splashing down into the sea; there are Blobs; great floating inflatable sacks perfect for propelling your nearest and dearest through the air, and there are Jetsurfs; fast, light, powered surfboards with a carbon hull and engine designed by MotoGP engineers. With the creative imaginations of designers and technicians running wild in childlike excitement, the range is delightfully endless and the future is looking a whole lot of fun.
Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) are a global phenomenon, this eco-friendly pursuit allowing serene gliding across pond-like waters or more action-packed surfing of great barrel waves. An off-shoot of surfing, SUP originated in Hawaii and in the 2013 Outdoor Foundation's Outdoor Participation Report it was listed as the most popular outdoor activity among first-time participants. It requires balance and patience, improves core strength and reflects the bohemian ethos of the surfing world.
Kite-surfing is seeing a similar boom, and the skies of windswept beaches the world over are abuzz with multi-coloured kites and their air-borne riders. Founded in 1972, Flexifoil are one of the top kitesurfing and boarding manufacturers, their extensive range of gear being the first choice of Richard and Sam Branson who, in 2012, accomplished three world records as they soared across the English Channel.
“[We] are the main sponsor of five-time kitesurfing world champion, Aaron Hadlow,” says Flexifoil. “Aaron spends many hours innovating with the Flexifoil research and development team. With Aaron's enormous experience, many of the products you see on the water today have a great degree of input from the man who achieved five consecutive world titles.”
Harnessing the power of the wind and waves has been taken to a totally new dimension by the Parajet Skyrunner, the world’s first flying car. They describe it as an adventure-filled mix of all-terrain buggy with thoroughbred aviation technology aimed at those who seek the ultimate adrenaline experience.
And with its aggressive design and sporty looks it is certainly a next generation flying machine. By using paraglider wing technology it provides highly responsive control for safe and turbulent-free flight, while on the ground the SkyRunner engine's 125PS (92kW) power and 200Nm torque output rivals that of a traditional 1.6 litre petrol engine, and has the highest power density of any similar production engine.
Thanks to the lightweight chassis the SkyRunner accelerates to 62mph in just 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 115mph. And in answer to the question on most people’s lips who are pondering taking to the skies in their cars, in the unlikely event of engine or wing failure the SkyRunner simply floats softly to the ground on its paraglider, or a ballistic reserve chute can be deployed.
The Google Eyeglass has taken the world by storm, its futuristic design giving the wearer almost robotic powers at the blink of an eye. And wearable technology is here to stay, with great leaps in the sports and fitness arenas providing a plethora of new uses and applications for the energetic. From app-compatible heart monitors to GPS, activity trackers and smartwatch functions, wearable technology spans running, fitness and even winter sports with devices such as Runtastic’s helmet with integrated bluetooth enabling wireless communication between the helmet and a smartphone and music streaming on the slopes.
Recon Instruments’ advanced wearable computers are also packed with features, their slim line, lightweight SNOW2 winter sport goggles and polarised JET sunglasses able to compute speed, distance and elevation, as well as having GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi connectivity, temperature sensors, phone and text message connectivity and even an embedded HD camera, all in front of your very eyes.