A superyacht is broadly defined as a commercially operated luxury yacht over 24 meters long and with a professional crew. They may be owned by wealthy individuals for private use or operated by charter businesses, which can charge over $150,000 per week. Now, technological advances and a global rise in the number of billionaires are driving new developments in the superyachting industry. Here are some of the biggest trends.
1. Size matters
In a trend that has continued over the past two decades, the average size of superyachts is still growing. So much so, in fact, that the term ‘megayacht’ has arisen to differentiate yachts that are approximately over 60 meters long with those that are, say, merely 55. These impressive vessels feature spas, gyms and even cinemas and casinos.
Private yachts generally carry a large, professional crew to cater to the owner’s every need. Commercial yachts, however, may not carry more than 12 passengers. If the yacht has more than 12 guests, it is considered a passenger vessel and must therefore comply with the SOLAS Convention.
Despite the general trend towards larger yachts, five out of the world’s ten largest yachts were built before 2010. At 180 meters in length, the Azzam, which was built in 2013, is the world’s largest yacht.
2. Built to explore
Azzam is soon to lose its top spot though. In 2017, Norwegian billionaire Kjell Inge Røkke placed an order for a high-tech megayacht named REV Ocean. At 183 meters, this expedition-style megayacht is scheduled for delivery in 2020. More than just a luxury vessel, REV Ocean will conduct important research into the marine ecosystem with the aim to “make the ocean healthy again.”
As can be seen in the cruise sector, the superyacht market is trending toward expedition craft capable of reaching far-flung destinations. REV Ocean is a prime example of an expedition superyacht, which are more robust than conventional luxury yachts and capable of exploring the corners of the globe. Explorer yachts are built to handle extreme weather conditions and are more maneuverable than a typical superyacht.
3.It’s not easy being green
Superyachts have a huge impact on the environment. But growing environmental awareness and stricter regulations (especially where Arctic expeditions are concerned) are driving demand for more eco-friendly concepts. From little changes such as environmentally friendly teak alternatives for decks, to large-scale efficiency improvements such as hybrid propulsion, yachting is going green. The Black Pearl, for example, utilizes cutting-edge green technology such as waste heat recovery systems, hybrid propulsion, and software-controlled sails.
4. Innovation inside
Inside vessels, manufacturers compete with one another to develop unique features that impress buyers and entertain guests. Swimming pools and billiard rooms have long been standard; modern superyachts are now kitted out with extravagant features such as snow rooms, indoor gardens, and even tenders that replicate the yacht’s design. While on-board cinemas are not uncommon, an impressive two-deck private IMAX theater was recently installed on the Lady S. Other vessels may use Bluetooth localization to automatically adjust music, lights, and other systems to the owner’s preferences when they board the yacht.
5. Stay in balance
Whether the people on board are playing pool or carrying out marine research with sensitive equipment, it is vital to keep superyachts steady—both when docked and underway. Superyachts are fitted with state-of-the-art fin stabilizers to protect the comfort and safety of passengers and crew. Stabilizers ensure the comfort of guests and crew while protecting the expensive gadgets on board. To reduce drag when sailing, retractable stabilizers may be employed, complete with innovative control systems that improve efficiency.
From September 25–28, 2019, the picturesque Port Hercules hosts the Monaco Yacht Show, the world’s most prestigious exhibition of high-end yachts. Over 125 one-off superyachts will be on show, alongside 580 exhibiting companies and partners. SKF Marine will be among the exhibitors at the Deutsche Yachten stand. Visit Quai Albert 1er, stand AL6 to find out more about fixed and retractable zero-speed fin stabilizers.
For more information, visit www.monacoyachtshow.com