SUPERYACHT AWNINGS, CANOPIES AND COVERS: WHAT'S AVAILABLE?
Last updated: 02/10/2019
Yacht owners, charter guests and crewmembers spend considerable amounts of time on the exterior decks of superyachts while travelling the world, and a key part of fitting out any vessel includes the addition of superyacht awnings, canopies and covers. These stylish and functional shade structures provide protection from the elements – especially important in common, sunny cruising grounds such as the Caribbean or Mediterranean – as well as increased privacy for those on board.
Wherever you may be on the deck – enjoying a drink on the bow, lounging on the sun decks or taking a dip in the pool or Jacuzzi – it’s important to offer the ability to shade these areas for the comfort and protection of the yacht’s guests, and its fixtures, furnishings and fittings from harmful UV rays. Without appropriate shading, certain finishings can be bleached or warped under the power of the sun.
There are a large number of businesses dedicated to the design and manufacture of innovative marine shade structures, and the type of products available are incredibly wide ranging – they all offer a slightly different style to shading, often with customisable features and benefits. Most, if not all, companies in this sector provide a specialist tailor-made service to work directly with shipyards, crew and management companies to provide bespoke solutions for any superyacht.
Available superyacht shade structures
Over the years superyacht awning, canopy and cover options have increased significantly and companies are now offering a vast array of premium, functional products to enhance the experience of superyacht owners and guests. Luxurious solutions to serve any superyacht need 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
Antonija Tokić of Argola Sails & Covers also noted that winter and summer covers, sprayhoods and cockpit and cabriolet covers are available, as are equipment-specific covers, such as Genoa socks and window protectors.
Almost all shade structures are highly customisable, and additional accessories that make the cruising experience all the more comfortable and enjoyable are available. Some of these options include adjustable lighting, heating and cooling systems, guttering, television mounts, electrical junction boxes and wheels for easy manoeuvrability.
Yacht sun shades: The inside track
The awnings, canopies and covers available today have been developed and fine-tuned over many seasons, using contemporary manufacturing techniques and cutting-edge technology to craft a perfect solution for superyacht owners and guests. Below you’ll be able to discover more about some of the modern-day solutions available to the superyacht industry.
Wind shade technology
Superyachts can travel at rapid speeds in open waters, enduring extreme heat and wind conditions simultaneously. Much of the equipment on board is designed specifically for these harsh conditions, and sun awnings and shades are no different.
Manufacturers utilise top-quality, marine-grade materials in these structures. These kinds of products are rigorously tested to ensure that they withstand poweful forces of nature, with many shade platforms tested in wind conditions exceeding 50MPH.
Heating and cooling technology
Despite superyachts famously escaping to exotic locations, where the sun beats down all day long and temperatures reach sizzling peaks, there are still many occasions when heating may be required for comfort on the deck – especially during the cooler evenings. Thanks to technological advancements, these heating systems can be easily and seamlessly integrated into many awnings and sunshades. .
Conversely, cooling systems can be incorporated into shade structures to ensure guests are kept at a comfortable temperature in excessive heat. These can include – but are not limited to – fans and ingenious design elements that funnel hot air away from, and cooler winds towards, selected targets.
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.
Tokić suggests that these items should be washed appropriately – taking care with each material and product as they may have differing washing conditions – dried, folded properly and stored in a dry place. A selection of Argola’s awnings are packaged with special bags designed for this very purpose, and the company can also store the awnings for clients.
“In that case,” Tokić told us, “complete control and repairs (where necessary) are included and this way we provide clients the assurance that everything will be done properly.”
To find out how to thoroughly clean and store awnings, canopies and covers for any occasion, please visit our superyacht awning, canopies and covers care and maintenance guide.
Retractable and rotational sun awnings
A growing number of specialist companies are able to provide motorised, retractable awnings, which can extend up to three or four metres out from the superstructure of the yacht – which is very useful for shading the large deck spaces found on today’s superyachts.
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 massively depending on the size of the yacht, the location and the company. Many companies also offer bespoke services which are individually priced, and as such accurate estimates are difficult – contacting a manufacturer directly is often the best way to find out prices.
However, less-custom options, such as a simple bimini top, can usually cost between just under £1,000 to over £3,000, whereas the full kit can cost upwards of £5,000. Depending on the product it can cost more, with a hydraulic bimini, framework and full kit costing more than £13,000.
How is the sector moving forwards?
Tokić revealed that technology is moving quickly, and that Argola and the wider sector is keeping apace.
“We have introduced 3D measuring and cutting technology in our production, which allows us to produce more in less time,” she said. “It takes less time to take production measurements, and you can store as many templates as you want on your computer – with physical templates it is impossible [as you need large storage spaces]. And one important thing is mobility: it is much easier to get to clients all over Europe.”