These days, superyachts are evolving faster than the times, their engineering at the forefront of innovation, and their designs setting trends. Blink and it’s all changed. And it seems the rollercoaster is only getting faster. Why, though, after so many years of classic, stately elegance are yachts suddenly making a U-turn in their design? The answer, it seems, all comes down to a change in owner demographics. With the rise of the tech industry, millionaires are getting younger, and the average age of a yacht owner is now around 40.
A 40-year old with a young family, still very much in the middle of their career, and with a drive to see and do more, has different requirements to the superyacht owners of yesteryear, who in turn were happy entertaining guests in Monaco’s Port Hercules. The result is a very different type of superyacht emerging onto the high seas. And as technical advances keep up with these demands, we are seeing greener, bigger and more homely vessels. Here we take a look at the biggest trends in superyacht design in 2019;
The Mediterranean’s well-loved cruising grounds are no longer enough for the new breed of superyacht owner and their family. Far-flung destinations are now on the horizon, from the Galapagos to the Polar Regions. Explorer yachts capable of being self-sufficient, long-range, and equipped with helicopters, helipads, submarines, and large tenders are now an emerging trend. Paul Allen was a pioneer when he built Octopus in 2003 – for now the world’s largest explorer yacht at 126 metres. But fast-forward to 2019 and we await the launch of Fincantieri’s REV Ocean, the largest yacht in the world.
Explorer yachts are bold and beautiful, pushing boundaries with their long-range capabilities whilst simultaneously showering owners and guests in the luxury of a classic superyacht. Gone are the rugged appearances of trawler-style expedition boats, and in their place sleek, ice-class superyachts are emerging. When the owner of Cloudbreak can step off his helicopter after a morning of heli-skiing remote snowy peaks and watch his Go-Pro footage in an attached sky lounge cinema room, we know expedition yachts are here to stay.
This new breed of adventurous yacht owner wants to explore the world, see wildlife, and venture to off-the-beaten-path destinations. It comes as little surprise perhaps that they want to leave as little impact on the environment as possible. Superyachts and eco-friendliness might be a contradiction in terms, but huge strides are being made to minimise carbon emissions. It’s a win-win situation for owners: the development of technologies which will increase fuel efficiency in turn reduce noise and vibration on board. Which is why hybrid technology is certainly a growing trend, along with the use of sustainable and recycled material.
Heesen’s M/Y Home, delivered in 2017, is a prime example of the new trend. Constructed of lightweight aluminium, and with hybrid engines, her whole essence is one of fuel efficiency and comfort. Despite coming in under 500GT, the 50 metre yacht has a transatlantic range of 3,750 nautical miles and is almost silent on board when cruising in electric mode. REV Ocean is taking things one step further and is not just eco-friendly in her construction, but has been built for ocean research. She has state-of-the-art laboratories, room for 60 scientists and guests and 30 crew members, and can even scoop up and dispose of ocean waste.
A Home From Home
When it comes to interior design the biggest trends in superyachts focus on one theme: a home from home. Owners and charterers are looking for comfort, in surroundings that are more reminiscent of their land-based houses. Sleek, liveable, open-plan spaces are booming, with plenty of deck space for enjoying the fresh sea air. By opening up the interiors, and focusing on functionality, even smaller yachts are maximising their space and moving away from the classic, compartmentalised designs. Yachts are starting to look more like penthouses, with huge windows and wide open spaces. Even the galleys, once out of sight, are now grand showpieces, allowing the chef and his guests to interact. Take 83 metre Here Comes the Sun by Amels as a prime example. Her huge bridge deck kitchen opens onto the aft deck creating an al fresco restaurant for up to 24 guests.
We’re seeing more offices, cinema spaces, huge master cabins and spas being incorporated into designs. Mid-century style, with its curvaceous, low-key and somewhat nostalgic lines are challenging the art deco look, and we’re finding wood floors replacing carpets, statement rugs and even characterful wood in place of the classic polished mahogany.
Bringing the Outside In
When it comes to exterior styling, the most notable features of 2019 have to be the growing popularity of the plumb bow, as well as floor to ceiling windows. A huge amount of technology is going into creating vast panes of glass which allow light to flood the interiors and ultimately blur the lines between inside and outside. A step further than that however, is the increasing popularity of underwater windows. When Harrison Eidsgaard designed the magnificent 74.5 metre Elandess last year they did so with a plumb bow, and a staggering Neptune Room. Abeking & Rasmussen used innovative 10cm thick glass to create this underwater Eden where guests can feel truly at one with the ocean.