SYOG investigates where we have been and where we are going.
In a fast-paced, dynamic and cutting-edge industry, predicting the future is always going to be a challenge; one perhaps best left to the headscarf-toting clairvoyants and their crystal balls. Yet just over the horizon there are tell-tale signs of change; the sun setting on one era and rising on the next generation of superyacht owners, architects, builders and crew.
The next generation of desires
When Feadship unveiled their annual Future Concept yacht, Feadship Royale, at the Monaco Yacht Show 2013, she was a vision of sleek glass elegance but, most importantly, epitomised the dreams and demands of the next generation of owners. They described her as “Majestic and modest; glamorous yet practically minded,” hallmarks of the modern Dutch royal family to whom the design pays homage. She is environmentally aware, a yacht designed for a green future.
It is a theme being seen across the industry; a blending of beautiful naval architecture with exceptional performance and cutting-edge technology, with a deeply green ethos. There is a definite move from the ostentatious to the comfortable, where usability and functionality are intertwined with luxury. ‘Transoceanic capabilities’, ‘seaworthiness’, and ‘long range’ are phrases we’re seeing time and again, and a return to the timelessness of sailing with true sailor’s yachts emerging.
It is perhaps telling that classic, robust vessels which invoke a sense of adventure and desire to explore still ply the great oceans. Yachts such as the 80m Bart Roberts, the 1963 ice-class vessel which was remodelled to superyacht classifications in 2002, still runs as one of the world’s largest charter yachts, exemplifying the timeless and growing trend in expedition-style yachts. Yet, differently to the classics, new builds are showing a fluid blend of aesthetic and luxury with unparalleled ocean-going capabilities.
Paul Allen’s famed Octopus, by naval architects Lürssen, set a precedent for exploration yachts with her submarine and state-of-the-art scuba diving facilities discovering unchartered depths of the oceans in the far corners of the world. Newcomers Cosmo Explorer have just launched their new 50m ice-class superyacht COSMO 50, a stunning and robust luxury vessel which can traverse even the most difficult of seas. Her interior was designed by Cristiano Gatto Design Team to an impeccable standard while an elongated upper deck allows for a plethora of tenders and toys perfect for exploring unchartered waters and hard-to-reach destinations.
People are starting to see how they can explore other avenues of their wealth, and yachts provide the perfect platform from which to do so. More than just the ultimate accessory, superyachts are becoming a portal to escape the normalities of everyday and distractions of working life. They need to have no limitations on where they can travel and to offer an unstuffy escape within the highest levels of luxury.
The reason for this stark change in yacht design seems to come from a multitude of directions and influences; from the changing demographics of the next generation of superyacht owners who are increasingly younger, high net-worth individuals (HNWIs) looking for a “statement of their success”, to the rise of young new-thinkers in the design world. Meanwhile, environmental concern is opening the gates to creativity and pushing the boundaries of technological innovation.