Superyacht awnings: A look at yacht shade structures
Last updated: 12/08/2016
With yacht owners, charter guests and crew spending so much of their time on the exterior decks of the superyacht as it travels the world, an important part of fitting out any yacht includes the addition of stylish and functional shade structures for protection from the elements, and increased privacy.
Whether standing on the bow, stern or sun decks of a superyacht, you may find swimming pools, hot tubs, sun loungers and outdoor furniture for relaxing, dining and entertaining. It’s therefore important to offer the ability to shade these areas for guest comfort, and to protect the yacht’s fixtures and fittings.
With a wealth of businesses dedicated to the design and manufacture of innovative marine shade structures, the type of products available are incredibly wide ranging, all of which offer a slightly different style to shading, often with customisable features and benefits. Most, if not all companies in this sector offer a specialist tailor-made service to work directly with shipyards, crew and management companies to provide the best solution for each individual yacht.
Available superyacht shade structures
The yacht awnings industry is very advanced in the yachting market, and offers a range of premium, luxurious products to suit all yachting needs. These include:
- Retractable awnings and canopies
- Shade sails, parasols and umbrellas
- Pavilions, cabanas and lounges
- Shade sculptures
- Marine t-tops and bimini tops
- Shade anchors
- Wind shades
- Heated covers
- Protective structure and furniture covers
With your selected shade structure, you will also be able to take advantage of the many available accessories that make the cruising experience all the more comfortable and enjoyable. Many businesses offer optional additions, including adjustable lighting, heating and cooling systems, plus gutters, television mounts, electrical junction boxes and wheels for easy manoeuvrability and storage aboard.
Yacht sun shades: The inside track
The shade structures and parasols of today have developed with advancements in manufacturing and technology, and below are some of the modern-day solutions that are currently available to the superyacht industry.
Wind shade technology
When out on the open water, superyachts can travel at high speeds, enduring extreme heat and wind conditions simultaneously. Much of the equipment on board is therefore designed specifically for such extremities, with sun awnings and shades being no different.
Only the finest marine grade materials are used to construct these structures. According to TUUCI, marine-grade shade equipment is rigorously tested to withstand incredible forces of nature, with many of shade platforms tested in wind conditions that exceed 50MPH.
Heating and cooling technology
Despite superyachts famously travelling to hot and exotic climates, there are still many occasions when heating may be required for comfort on the deck during the cooler evenings. With today’s technology, these heating systems can be built-in to many awnings and sunshades with many of the products coming with optional heating devices along with a remote controlled LED light.
The Multivalvola ® System canopy from Yachting Line is a forefront superyacht shade structure with a modern and versatile design to keep guests cool on deck. The particular frame of the umbrella enables a system coverage with fabric rings that allows the passing of the air, guaranteeing exceptional wind strength. The hot air that forms underneath the canopy is channelled out to guarantee cooler, more ventilated shade. The structure of the canopy has a high level of resistance and greater performance against wind currents.
Yacht awning storage and accessibility
As they may not be required all the time, any awnings created specifically for superyachts will be incredibly lightweight, easily detachable or retractable, and very strong.
Retractable and rotational sun awnings
Specialist companies can provide motorised, retractable awnings, which can extend up to three or four metres out from the superstructure of the yacht - useful for shading the large deck spaces found on today’s superyachts.
For flexible and storable shade, TUUCI’s Ocean Master Max Single Cantilever parasol boasts a polished and anodized marine-grade canopy structure that cantilevers from a sturdy, oval-shaped mast, inspired by sailing yachts. With the combined features of an ultra strong aluminum milled fulcrum and automatic telescoping mast, it is available in large square, rectangular or octagonal shapes, making it possible to cover large seating and bathing areas in shade.
With a more traditional marine design, The Monte Carlo Parasol from Morton Marine can easily be opened and closed. All functional elements are positioned centrally and can be adjusted to any height in order to meet your personal choice. Pivoting from its shade anchor or fixed position, this parasol will also rotate through 360°.
Delivering the first of their innovative products earlier this year, V-Technology Innovators BV has developed a different kind of 360-degree shade structure: The Rotating Sun Awning - easily installed over Jacuzzis and hot tubs on the deck for responsive shading and wind protection throughout the day. This fully retractable shell-like awning can come equipped with LED lighting, misting systems and more, and is controlled simply by tablet or smartphone. There are also options for fixed sun awnings to be installed over couches or sunbeds.
Wheels and anchors
For those superyacht shade structures and marine parasols that are not attached to the yacht’s superstructure itself, freestanding shade anchors and tuff wheels can be attached for easy and convenient placement and storage on board, offering great flexibility.
Prices: How much can you expect to pay?
Depending on whether you are purchasing a full shade structure, or a simple replacement part, costs can vary. A simple bimini top can usually cost in the region of just under £1,000, to over £3,000, where as the full kit can cost upwards of £5,000. However, depending on the product, it can cost more, with a hydraulic bimini, framework and full kit costing more than £13,000.