Trends in superyacht naval architecture
Last updated: 24/10/2017
Just as fashion changes over time, trends in superyacht design also evolve and develop to fit with the latest travel trends, available technologies and shifting requests of the superyacht set.
Yachting Pages looks into the most recent trends in yacht design and naval architecture that are influencing the appearance of the superyacht market today, with the help of Dutch naval architects, Studio Delta.
Explorer and expedition yachts
Menno van Dijk, founder of Studio Delta Naval Architects shared that, over the last decade, the studio has seen an increase in the amount of projects for explorer and expedition yachts: Those that allow the range and capability of long-term self-support for exploring in harsh climates and difficult waterways, often including polar waters.
He said, “In the past decennium, we have seen among our clients an interesting increase in the amount of yachts that are being built to enjoy and explore the environment and distant places. This shows that owners are taking an increasing interest in their surroundings and the ocean in general.”
Explorer yachts allow for exploration of these far-flung destinations while also offering the comfortable and sophisticated accommodation that superyacht owners and their guests have come to expect. These innovative and stylish vessels allow for fantastic freedom and flexibility to move about on board while travelling the waterways that the world has to offer.
Menno continued, “For the purpose of exploring, yachts are being built from 24m LOA and going up the scale to the upper range of superyachts – there seems to be no size bracket for this type of yachting. The styling of these yachts are typically in the classic trawler design, with Portugese bridges and rugged appearances, but, more often, we are now also seeing the modern-styled yacht being designed and used for exploring.”
The expedition or explorer yacht allows navigation of difficult ice-ridden landscapes both safely and efficiently, without compromising on performance. Yet, as with the classic motor yacht, they come fully equipped with amenities, such as lavish accommodation, luxury spas, swimming pools and electronics.
Menno added, “For Arctic exploring, Ice Class is advisable, with allowances for tender vessels and aircraft to have larger flexibility.”
Recent examples of notable explorer and expedition yachts include Kleven's gargantuan 107m Ulysses.
With the increasing desire of yacht owners and charter guests to travel far and wide to those lesser-explored places comes an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of these vessels. Industry legislation is also of course cracking down on the emissions produced by these impressive vessels.
Yachting and the environment are seen as an oxymoron, considering the amount of fuel that it requires to run a large motor yacht, and the construction materials and methods that are used to create them. Yet, the industry is seeing a rising awareness of eco-friendly designs, tools and technologies, which are in turn providing long-range cruising capabilities with the benefits of increased fuel efficiency and reduced noise and vibration aboard.
Menno said, “The increasing interests of the superyacht industry, and the new generation of owner is also reflected in the on-going development of hybrid energy management to improve impact and efficiency.”
In recent years, we have seen yachts designed to deliver the luxurious features and facilities that the superyacht owner expects, while attempting to reduce environmental impact. There are therefore now more sustainable and recycled materials available to yacht builders, and many are working to apply hybrid yacht propulsion systems to power their designs.
Menno continued, “There has also been an increase in the installation of waste management systems aboard, which is a response to changing client requests as well as increased legislation, and the large-scale support of environmental lobbying groups, such as the Blue Marine Foundation.”
Recent offerings to the ‘eco-friendly’ superyacht sector include Piriou’s 77m world explorer Yersin, Arcadia’s 26m Arcadia 85, Wider Yachts’ 45m Genesi and Heesen Yachts' 50m Project Nova (now M/Y HOME), to name but a few.