The top 10 luxury yacht builders
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 04/10/2016
The design and build of a luxury yacht is a truly personal experience. Whether customising a design to be built on a proven platform, or striving to create a completely new concept altogether, superyacht owners will seek to work with a yacht builder that truly understands their vision, and can translate their dream design into a real vessel.
Yachting Pages presents the world’s top 10 luxury yacht builders and their shipyard facilities, from A to Z.
Top 10 yacht builders and shipyard facilities worldwide
Located in Vlissingen, Amels operates the largest superyacht shipyard in the Netherlands, and is known worldwide to be one of the top superyacht builders.
To date, Amels has delievered almost 60 superyachts and offers a full custom and Limited Editions range of superyachts, which includes six models ranging from 55 to 83m LOA. Built on a proven platform and delivered in half the time expected of standard construction superyachts, all 20+ Limited Edition projects have so far been delivered on or ahead of contract, with M/Y Here Comes The Sun (pictured) the most recent to emerge from the yard.
Blohm+Voss builds large custom motor and sailing yachts that are both beautiful and technically challenging. Their shipyard in Hamburg spans 421,000m2, and offers seven docks up to 351m in length and 59m in width, accommodating the build, refit and maintenance of luxury superyachts.
Blohm+Voss can currently lay claim to constructing the world’s second and third largest private superyachts - M/Y Eclipse (162.5m) and M/Y Dubai (162m), and has worked on the 119m superyacht Motor Yacht A (pictured), which is considered to be one of the finest yachts on the water.
Christensen is among the world’s leading composite fibreglass specialists, with a fleet made up of full and semi-customised superyachts ranging from 35 to 50 metres LOA. Their state-of-the-art shipyard facility in Vancouver, Washington covers almost 180,000sqm and includes a seven-acre marina.
Proving bigger isn’t necessarily better, Christensen offers capabilities to build yachts up to 50m in length, with 35 superyachts currently in its fleet, including 50m motor yachts Casino Royale and Silver Lining (pictured). The shipyard is also working to open what it brands to be the largest yacht facility in the Americas at Lake Tellic, Tennessee in coming years, which will facilitate superyacht builds from 50 to 70m LOA.
The home of full-custom superyachts, Feadship is one of the few shipyards worldwide that works to create completely custom yachts, and has worked with superyacht owners since the 19th century to create one-off luxury motor yachts that are truly unique.
Feadship currently has four shipyard facilities in the Netherlands, with expansion underway at their Amsterdam facility in Western Harbour to offer the ability to build motor yachts as long as 160m with a generous beam measurement. To date, there are over 250 Feadship yachts in navigation, including 79m M/Y Venus, 83.5m M/Y Savannah (pictured), 99m M/Y Madame Gu and 101.5m M/Y Symphony.
Part of Fincantieri, Fincantieri Yachts specialises in full custom luxury pleasure yachts over 70 metres, with no upper limit to the size or volume that they can produce. The builder currently has a range of concepts and projects ranging from 70m to over 160m, including the 134m M/Y Serene and 140m M/Y Ocean Victory.
Having manufactured some 7,000 vessels in its 200-year history, Fincantieri has a network oof 20 shipyards across four continents, three design centres and a research centre, making it one of the largest Western shipyards in the world.
Heesen Yachts is known as one of the world’s luxury yacht builders, specialising in custom superyachts in the 30 to 65m range, but with capabilities of building those of 80m and up.
With a focus on quality and innovation, Heesen has created many custom yachts with no two yachts the same. Founded in 1978, they were the first Dutch shipyard to employ aluminium for yacht hulls. In their 35 years, they have delivered nearly 170 yachts, with aluminium, steel, displacement, semi-displacement and revolutionary fast displacement yachts making up their fleet. Their most famous vessels include the 65m M/Y Galatica Star (pictured), 70m Galatica Super Nova and 55m Serenity.
Based in Germany, Lürssen is one of the world's leading shipyards for large luxury yacht building, with a focus on excellence in custom-built superyachts. A family owned shipyard for four generations, they can claim the accolade of building the world’s first motor yacht in 1886.
Responsible for building more than 13,000 vessels since 1875, Lürssen currently has five shipyard facilities in Northern Germany, with each specialising in a specific size of yacht ranging from 60m to 220m in length. Together these facilities offer 1,125,000m2 of space for new builds, as well as refit, repair and maintenance services.
Lürssen builds some of the largest luxury yachts in the world, including M/Y Azzam (pictured) the world’s current largest superyacht at 180m LOA, and a further five of the 10 largest yachts.
Oceanco specialises in building sophistocated custom yachts ranging from 80 to 140m in length. Offering a highly personal service to clients, Oceanco is positioned with state of the art yacht-building facilities in the Netherlands and with a design, sales and marketing office in Monaco.
The builder celebrated its first launch in 1992, and its portfolio now includes well-known superyachts, such as the 95m M/Y Indian Empress, 82m Alfa Nero, 88.5m Nirvana and 91.5m Equanimity (pictured).
The Perini Navi Group is made up of four independent companies that operate in five specific markets: Sailing yachts up to 60m, large sailing yachts more than 60m, racing sailing yachts, fast cruising sailing yachts and Picchiotti motor yachts.
To date the Group has launched 57 sailing yachts and three motor yachts. Their track record for innovative sailing yachts has seen them set the standard for excellence in the sector, with them launching more over 50m than any other builder. They are responsible for the iconic 88m three-masted schooner Maltese Falcon (pictured), which currently holds the title of the second largest sailing yacht in the world, and other award-winning sailing yachts, such as the 73m Grace E, 55m Galileo G and 50m Exuma.
Sunseeker International Ltd manufactures custom and semi-custom luxury performance yachts in carbon fibre and GRP composite materials from its base in Dorset, England.
Producing around 150 boats ranging from 15 to 47m LOA every year, and with more than 100 yachts over 30m now delivered, demand for the yard's larger models continues to grow, with notable Sunseeker yachts including the 40m 131 Yacht, Thumper and 47m 155 Yacht, Blush.
As Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft said, “A shipyard’s credibility in the eyes of a prospective owner no longer relies solely on the builder’s positive track record, but also on its ability to deliver value for money.” Those buying a new superyacht will therefore have many questions to ask themselves before settling on a suitable yacht builder and shipyard facility to carry out the build.