Blue-sky superyacht concepts range from pure fantasy to easily buildable. Here are our 10 favorites in the last year.
To stand out from the crowd, more and more superyacht buyers—many new to the market—are challenging designers to break molds, go extreme, and think way outside of the traditional box. And they’re doing it with head-spinning bow designs, huge windows, and much larger interior and exterior spaces.
They’re also trading traditional monohulls for big-volume catamarans and trimarans, taking inspiration from oddball places—an aircraft carrier or 1930s Hollywood-style automobile—and, at the same time, future-proofing them with new propulsion systems, including hydrogen fuel cells, solar power, and advanced battery power.
These 10 concepts, from a range of designers and studios, show that the future of superyacht design has never been more exciting—if at times a little bizarre.
Not all superyachts need to look like multi-tiered wedding cakes. That’s according to Dutch studio Sinot Yacht, which has just penned conceptual renderings for a sleek, almost-minimalist cruiser called Aware. Yes, the 262-footer does have the look of some super-stylish European river boat from the likes of Viking or Uniworld. But the aim here is to optimize the spaces experienced owners tend to use the most. Like the owner’s suite on the main deck, which in Aware spans the full beam and totals over 860 square feet. Then there’s the super-size beach club with its twin fold-out terraces, gym, bar, cinema, 36-foot-long pool, and glass-sided dining area. As for power, Sinot envisions a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system good for a 21 mph max, and a 4,000 nautical mile range at 14 mph.
Icon Yachts, ‘Mission’
Ice-breaking, globe-trotting expedition yachts are nothing new for Holland’s Icon Yachts. Its rugged, 224-foot, converted ice-breaker Ragnar literally wrote the rule-book on building high-latitude-friendly luxury superyachts. But Icon’s concept for a brand-new, ultimate explorer it’s calling Mission adds Indiana Jones–levels of off-the-grid exploration. Designed by Dutch explorer-yacht specialist Bernd Weel, Mission is all towering, ice-crushing bow, trademark geometric hull sides, and endless space for all that adventure-seeking gear. Here we’re talking six tenders of all sizes, a three-person submersible, an Airbus H130 helicopter, and space midships for a multitude of shipping containers for when you want to become the next Jacques Cousteau. As for range, Icon would target over 6,000 nautical miles.
Andy Waugh Yacht Design, ‘Decadence’
Flick through the pages of any automotive history book and you’ll notice that 1930s design is dominated by the outrageous, teardrop-fendered creations of the French duo of Figoni et Falaschi. Their designs look to be the inspiration behind London-based designer Andy Waugh’s jaw-dropping concept for a 264-foot catamaran he quite aptly calls Decadence. Featuring a central hull flanked by four teardrop-like pods, the concept evolves the idea of so-called SWATH catamaran hull design used in a number of oil-platform support, research vessels, and even some superyachts. Providing immense stability through reduced roll and pitch, the design makes perfect sense for a superyacht. One drawback: the yacht’s massive, marina-unfriendly 98-foot beam. Though that becomes a positive when you consider Decadence‘s vast owner’s suite measures 66 feet wide and almost 100 feet long.
When the Dutch superyacht maestros at Oceanco release a blue-sky design, the concept is likely just a few steps away from reality. Fresh from delivering the 410-foot Koru, the world’s largest sailing yacht, to new owner Jeff Bezos, and the 357-foot Seven Seas to Steven Spielberg, Oceanco has unveiled Aeolus, a concept for a highly sustainable 430-foot gigayacht. Drawn by former Rolls-Royce head of design Giles Taylor, this curvaceous, quad-deck world cruiser looks to the future by incorporating Oceanco’s Energy Transition Platform (ETP) philosophy. The propulsion could start with diesel-electric power, with battery banks charged by twin MTU V16 diesel generators. Then, as technologies advance, it could more to more advanced fuel types such as methanol or other, even wilder technologies like nuclear power.
Anthony Glasson, ‘Star Trek’
Designed to boldly go across oceans, this concept for a massive 275-foot trimaran is said to have been inspired by Hong Kong–based designer Anthony Glasson’s love of the TV show “Star Trek”—especially the Starship Enterprise. Viewed bow-on, you can see why: The slender, wave-piercing bow, the twin side hulls, and rounded glass upper observation deck have USS Enterprise written all over it. But the trimaran form definitely adds to its function, with the wide beam creating an expansive “courtyard” that’s part enclosed and part open, housing a hot tub—one of three aboard—a gym, a bar, sunpads galore and even a helipad-turned-dancefloor. Glasson envisions the trimaran to be built of lightweight aluminum, with a 5,000-nautical-mile range. Captain Kirk would be impressed.
Jozeph Forakis, ‘Pegasus’
Until now, arguably the ultimate stealth boat was the one in the 1997 James Bond romp Tomorrow Never Dies, owned by tyrannical media mogul Elliot Carver. That would change if the 289-foot concept Pegasus, from the computer screen of N.Y.C.-born and now Milan-based designer Jozeph Forakis, gets a production go-ahead. It features a superstructure comprising three over-lapping “wings” with metallic surfaces designed to reflect the sky and the clouds, rendering the superyacht near-invisible. The “wings” also do double duty as solar panels generating energy that would be used to convert sea water to hydrogen. Fuel cells would then turn the hydrogen into electricity that would be then stored in banks of lithium-ion batteries, making Pegasus essentially emissions-free with a virtually infinite cruising range.
Why fly through the water when you can fly on top? That’s the thinking behind Rome-based Lazzarini Design’s radical 243-foot hydrofoiling superyacht concept named Plectrum. Massive foils deploy from the sides of the yacht’s rounded carbon-fiber hull, while a trio of 5,000 hp engines would elevate the yacht out of the water and punch it to a top speed of over 80 mph. It’s a similar concept used in the latest America’s Cup AC75 foiling monohull sailboats, along with a crop of electric powerboats and surfboards. Applying the technology to a 243-foot superyacht is what’s new and possibly technically impossible, at least for now. Other stand-out features of this bright-orange flyer include a helicopter garage beneath the mile-long foredeck and a garage for your supercar at the stern.
When it comes to next-generation superyacht design, it seems glass is fast becoming the new steel. Take the collaboration between the design team at Holland’s Phantom Studios and Athens-based superyacht builder Golden Yachts. The 213-foot concept they’re calling Vesper features five levels of floor-to-ceiling structural glass, a glass floor in the yacht’s upper deck lounge, and a glass-sided swimming pool. Connecting the beach club to the pool is a huge, high-lifting hatch that’s, what else, all glass. Now head to the owner’s “suite”—it’s more like a two-level penthouse in a Miami skyscraper—and it features floor-to-very-high-ceiling glass that floods the space with light. To catch some real rays, the full-deck suite features not one, but two outdoor terraces.
Think of this as a 301-foot dayboat with the emphasis on outdoor, alfresco, lounge-in-the-sun, Mediterranean living. From the drawing board of Miami-based designer Luiz de Basto, Project MED features uninterrupted, bow-to-stern open teak decks topped with a huge upper superstructure supported by just four columns. And to ensure the superstructure doesn’t dominate the superyacht’s sleek lines, de Basto covered it in reflective glass so that it almost disappears from view by mirroring its surroundings. The designer says his inspiration came from the idea of “Agora,” named after the squares in Ancient Greek villages where everyone congregated. Aboard Project MED, that could be on the main deck, around the oversized pool at the stern, or on the vast open foredeck.
There are superyachts designed to look like military warships. Some even are shaped to look like navy submarines. But here’s a first; a superyacht inspired by the lines of an aircraft carrier. The 459-foot UAE One is from the fertile mind of Milan-based designer Enzo Manca who created the concept for an unnamed United Arab Emirates sheikh looking to create an official UAE flagship. Without a doubt, the design highlight is the yacht’s runway-like main deck. It features not one, but three helipads, a conning tower-like, four-level structure on the starboard side, a geometric-shaped pool and a huge circular “conversation pit” right on the bow, complete with cozy sofas and a firepit. Accommodations over nine decks include five “super suites”, eight master cabins, 14 mini apartments, and 35 cabins for the crew of 65.