1. Structural Glass
Through the development of chemically treated and laminated glass, more builders are utilizing it’s enhanced structural effects in substitution of actual steel, aluminum or fiberglass structures. This allows for much larger expanses in viewing ports, windows and wall systems throughout the vessel, thereby allowing more natural light into the yacht. Good examples of this include Feadship’s SAVANNAH, VANISH and JOY, wherein the builder uses glass in substitution of metal structure.
2. V-Kool-type Treatments for Glass
This is a clear film applied to all exterior window glass, which blocks about 65% of all heat and 99% of the sun’s damaging UV rays on the yacht’s interior. There are cases in which this treatment allows yacht builders to lower the size requirements for power sources, due to lower demands in air-conditioning. Note that Popular Science magazine named this treatment a Top 100 Invention of the Millennium.
3. Use of Light
The focus of light in every detail is now standard in new construction. Use of light comes in all forms, from typical reading and overhead lighting, to sheet LED lighting for use under translucent stones, such as bar-tops, stairs and dance floors. With LED lighting as a standard, it creates no significant heat and allows for less demand on power sources. Light, along with surface textures, now can be programed for changing colors, as well as creating imagery in large areas, such as a hull or superstructure. A great example of this is Oceanco’s Moonstone Project.
In the quest to better integrate interiors and exteriors, the use of balconies, whether fixed or mechanically folding, is very popular. Balconies now can be found flanking interior dining areas, lounge/entertainment spaces, weather-deck suites and off master cabins. For example, Italian builder Benetti incorporates balconies into the designs of most models.
5. Axe, Straight and Inverted Bows
Many new superyachts in production today feature an axe, straight or inverted bow. The advantage of these different bow types is maximum length at water line, which achieves the highest fuel efficiency and hull speeds. These bows have less water spray at entry, hence less spray back onto vessel. There also is less pitching motion and less slamming, thereby creating a superior ride. Because these designs place more “hull-bow-mass” forward, the wave energy is absorbed forward, which decreases the uncomfortable motion that causes seasickness. Amels new motor yacht MADAME KATE and the builder’s “Sea Axe” line are ideal examples of these bows.
Though exterior Jacuzzis are essential for the superyacht life, a cool, refreshing pool is now becoming a regular deck facet. Most yachts follow the “heat,” hence the summer season in the Med and the winter in the Caribbean. And when there’s heat, there are warm seas — sometimes close to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. A cool pool with a cooling-conditioner is the new norm. The pool size is completely dependent on the size of yacht, which determines the level where the pool is located. This is a weight-and-balance issue and naval architects must sign off on “size, volume and location.” Great examples of pool applications are found in Oceanco and Icon yachts, specifically the aft swimming pools.
7. Beach Club/Internal Tender Docking
When a superyacht beach club meets an internal berth where a tender is lowered, it’s pure magic. This feature allows owners and guests to get on the tender “inside” out of the weather. The tender then pulls out of the yacht, headed for its desired destination. When tender is not in berth, it becomes a protected seawater pool and beach club depending on the entry point. CRN’s J’ADE is an excellent example of this.
8. Simple Hybrid Technology
Simple hybrid technology is tried-and-true conventional main engines with conventional shaft/propeller running gear. Add an “in-line” electric motor to each gearbox, battery banks for storage and voila! Mode one is a conventional engine drive; mode two is electric, powered by generators only — which allows for double the range cruising speeds of six to nine knots, depending on hull design. This also allows for very low sound/vibration ranges. Mode three is electric powered by battery banks solely. This will last for multiple hours in a whisper-quiet, no-vibration environment. Columbus Yachts has created an exceptional example of this in the DIVINE.
9. Less Tonnage, More Covered Exterior Space
More owners and designers are maximizing interior space within their respective tonnage requirements and goals. More importantly, they are maximizing the use of covered exterior spaces, which typically will not count for volume, but are used more by owner and guests. Once again, as yachts follow the “heat,” those on board tend to spend their time outside rather than inside. Therefore, large covered areas that protect against or filter sunlight are in huge demand. Designers and builders are striving to accommodate these features so much so that they are featured not only in custom builds, but also in semi-production and production lines. Heesen’s new PROJECT ALIDA is an exceptional example of maximized outdoor spaces.
10. Dedicated “Wellbeing” Areas
The “wellbeing” area has become essential in the superyacht lifestyle. Depending on the size of the superyacht, this area could be one room or even a whole level. Amenities may include a gymnasium, salon for hair and makeup, massage therapy room and inner-sanctum spa, often completed with Jacuzzi, steam bath and/or hamam. The yacht is designed to allow natural light into this space and access to the exterior. Lürssen’s luxury yacht SOLANDGE has an exceptional wellbeing area on board; as does Tankoa’s luxury motor yacht SUERTE.