Perhaps the most appealing aspect of a superyacht is its ability to transport guests to remote, unchartered territories. Accessing some remote beaches, anchoring spots and icy regions can however prove difficult for most yachts built with more traditional cruising grounds in mind. As a result of this thirst for exploration and privacy, a new class of yachts has emerged: "explorers".
In recent years, explorers have been the subject of many discussions in the yachting industry. The concept of explorer yachts is however not a novelty to superyacht builders. "We do see a consistent number of clients over the years that are interested in exploring remote regions on their Feadships." said Tim Hamilton, Director of Feadship America, "Some of them have requested us to build them an explorer but more often they want a traditional looking yacht with explorer capabilities."
Some of the hype associated with the alleged rise of the market for explorer yachts could be associated with often misinterpreted design features. "A vertical bow is not something that we would assimilate with an explorer by itself." commented Michael Breman, sales director of Lurssen and president of the Superyacht Builders Association. "The demand for explorer yachts has always been there and Lurssen has built many of them. A good example of an explorer is Octopus which we delivered in 2003".
"To build to full ice class, more is required than just strengthening the hull and adding fuel tanks" according to Mr Hamilton, "Extreme conditions stress many elements of the yacht. For instance, water tanks, located in the hull, could freeze. Also, the hull needs to be shaped in order to be able to reverse out of packed ice and needs to account for added weight from ice on deck.".
The line between a yacht and a ship becomes blurry when the requirements include extreme conditions.
Tim Hamilton, Director of Feadship America
In essence, explorer yachts unlock new destinations but require specialized equipment which takes up limited space on board. This seems to explain why the majority of explorer yachts have a length of over 60 meters. Some shipyards have however taken on the bet of building explorers on a smaller scale.
Sanlorenzo, an Italian shipyard originally focused on building fast, planning yachts has recently launched the second hull of its 460EXP series. The model features a raised bow, five decks but also an endless swimming pool and a wide array of toys. Four additional 460EXP models have already been sold according to the shipyard.
Cantiere Delle Marche, another Italian shipyard established less than a decade ago, has seen great success with its Darwin Class consisting of 86ft, 102ft and 107ft models.
The ability of these yachts to cruise for long distances however doesn't seem to indicate a decline for more mainstream destinations. "The Med and the Caribbean remain the top destination areas for the majority of superyachts" explained Paris Baloumis, marketing director of Oceanco.
"However there are certainly the adventurous individuals who wish to go further afield. Several yachts in our fleet have been to the South Pacific, Maldives, Galapagos, Alaska, etc. In any case, whether owners have immediate plans to go to these places or not, they want to be capable of going there. For instance, our 2015 delivery [Infinity] is both PYC-compliant and ice class."
"We have seen a slight rise in explorer-styled yachts, but I think this is more a result of clients wanting to carry more toys with them. There are always clients wanting to explore remote locations and other that like to stick to the tried and true", added Mr Hamilton.
It therefore seems that shipyards in general are not seeing as much a massive uptick in the demand for explorer yachts as an increase in yacht concepts taking design features from explorers and carrying more and more toys on board.
These are nice boats, but it will be interesting to see if they will actually be built or not.
Michael Breman, Sales Director, Lurssen
A simple fad in yacht design or an actual change in mentality in the superyacht industry, the "explorer yacht" look will undoubtedly make a mark in the sector's history with the border between ships and yachts being constantly blurred by new project such as the new 116m Kleven.
Gulf Craft's production is continued at both its facilities in the UAE and the Maldives.Shipyard comments that it is taking all of the precautionary measures necessary in terms of physical distancing and hygiene requirements to ensure the safety of employees, visitors and contractors such as disinfection, tests and daily health checks. Mostly, the majority of administrative staff are working from home.Monaco Marine announced the temporary closure of their shipyards since March 19, 2020. This includes the shutdown of certain subcontractors and suppliers and closure of ports. In spite of this, the management teams will remain operational to answer clients’ concerns.
April 3, 2020
German design studio Beiderbeck Designs relieved the 65-meter explorer superyacht concept.The design studio was founded in the 1990s by its eponym Jörg Beiderbeck. In 2010 Immo Lüdeling and Tim Ulrich took over the studio as owner and the team now includes 8 designers, interior designers and engineers.The five-deck explorer concept is fully SOLAS certified and features a diesel-electric propulsion system. Key features include “outstanding sea-going, stability and manoeuvring characteristics.”Accommodation onboard has the owner's deck (the master cabin with a large saloon and bathroom), two lounges and a private terrace, six double guest cabins, a saloon large enough to accommodate 12 people and an alfresco lounge area also four single cabins and two twins on the main deck, gym, spa, galley and pantry. Crew accommodation comprises nine twin cabins for a staff of 18. The 65m explorer has a helipad and hangar, car garage and storage for three tenders.Other technical details include a 14-metre beam, draught of 4.2 metres and a top speed of 12.8 knots.
April 3, 2020
Turkish yard Mengi Yay shares an update on the 42.5m sailing yacht L'Aquila II, which is approaching to the end of hull construction.The builder says its production capabilities were reduced by 30% due to the safety measures because of COVID-19.Key features of L'Aquila II include a steel hull and aluminium superstructure with naval architecture and an exterior design by Ginton Naval Architects and interiors by BTA Design.Accommodation will be for up to 10 guests in five cabins, with a further three cabins sleeping up to six crew members.Technical characteristics include 911hp Yanmar engine with a maximum speed of 14.6 knots and a cruising speed of 13.5 knots. The sailing yacht will have a beam of nine metres and a four-metre draft.Her construction is set to take 24 months with the delivery planned for 2021.
April 2, 2020
Sixth Amels Limited Edition 242 hull has been recently launched at the Damen facility in Romania. This 74-metre Amels 242 with an exterior design by Tim Heywood will be delivered in autumn 2021.Currently listed as a yacht for sale, she can accomodate up to 12 guests across two main-deck VIP suites and three lower-deck suites. Her interior will be decorated to the custom design of the owner.Since the delivery of the first Amels 242 five years ago, the Amels 242 has quickly become the world’s most successful yacht in the 75-metre segment. The Amels 242 features an entire private 374 square-metre Owners Deck with spectacular forward-facing Stateroom; a large swimming pool; and the award-winning full beam midships wellness and relaxing spa area with a unique 19.5 square metre folding beach platform.
April 2, 2020
The Azimut/Benetti Group has announced some initiatives to distribute PPE to those in need. It comes after Princess Yachts and Sunseeker International had announced about their donations of PPE to workers fighting coronavirus a while ago.The Italian yard Azimut/Benetti Group is donating equipment to different social groups located near the company’s facilities in Piedmont, Liguria, Tuscany and Marche: hospitals, police officers and port authorities.The yard has organized a dedicated team that is working to procure, package and deliver the kits, which are usually used by the yard’s production employees.The group chairman Paolo Vitelli:“With this practical contribution we want to express our closeness with and gratitude with local areas that have welcomed us and helped the company to develop. Our ties with them are stronger than they have ever been.”
April 2, 2020