While luxury travel and hospitality worldwide ground to a halt with the onset of the pandemic, superyachts surged to the forefront. Sales for the boats increased by 46 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same period before, according to data from Boat International – fueled by strong demand from the well-heeled looking for a private slice of paradise on their luxe superyachts. Even the second richest man on Earth has gotten in on the action with a £423 million (S$780 million) megayacht.
Superyachts are the stuff of dreams, which is also why concept superyachts haven’t slowed down either. Like other concept vehicles, these imaginary superyachts are a showcase of what is as well as what’s yet to be. Anything from cutting-edge luxury, like infinity pools, helipads and spa centres, to advanced propulsion systems and futuristic silhouettes.
One such designer is Monaco-based artist George Lucia, who famously unveiled the 140-metre-long Dare to Dream in 2017. Part superyacht, part aircraft-carrier, the concept could’ve potentially carried a 100m zeppelin on its deck (ostensibly, for a traveler who loved the air as much as the sea).
“Each and every concept has a pragmatic and an artistic side. Because I have extensive knowledge of yachts, every concept is designed to be as buildable as possible. Nevertheless, I am very aware that some features may be too early for currently available technology,” he says.
His latest concept is a little more subtle, though no less outlandish. The B0nd Girl is an homage to none other than the famous British spy himself, who recently carried out his final onscreen mission (at least being played by Daniel Craig). It’s svelte, sharp and stealthy by design, with a distinctly-angular profile flanked by two outrigger hulls (that house crew and extra machinery). Guests retire to the main hull within, which is decked out with all the glitz and glam you’d expect from a Bond-esque construction, sans missile launchers.
Though he’d like to see the B0nd Girl constructed in reality, it isn’t a necessary part of the artistic process. “I also see it as an art concept – therefore as art, it doesn’t need to be built to fulfill its purpose. Its purpose, like all of my other concepts, is to fascinate.”
That said, he also believes that concepts have the power to push the envelope for superyachts. “The advancements can only be done by pushing the technological limits little by little with each and every project,” he says. The most important direction for superyachts, he feels, is a push toward green energy. After all, yachting isn’t known as the most eco-friendly pastime.
Here’s some other superyacht concepts that are looking to do just that, and more.
Self-sufficiency isn’t at the top of most yachters’ wishlists, but this German design studio is looking to change that. The VY.01 encourages its owners to find harmony with the ocean by way of an on-board, fully-functional greenhouse and vegetable garden. Desalination plants, powered by rooftop solar panels, provide the necessary hydration for produce to flourish; the construction and propulsion of the VY.01 are similarly kept ecofriendly by working with conscious steel and aluminum manufacturers from Norway and Germany for the former, while relying on a quiet hydrogen fuel cell system and all-electric engine to glide through the ocean free of emissions and vibrations.
Pure by Dutch-based Feadship looks like your usual ultra-luxe superyacht at first glance, with clean design contours and the requisite amenities like swimming pools, sundecks and more. But its specifically designed to be future-proof, incorporating a hybrid propulsion system that’s devised to be retrofitted as technologies progressively become available in the following decades. Another futurist idea: its fully-virtual control centre within the belly of the ship, freeing up the bow for a front-facing stateroom with unrivalled views of the sea beyond.
The Rome-based design team has come up with some pretty nifty stuff – including a yacht that’s modelled after a swan and a shark – so the 69m Shape concept shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. The most notable feature about its design is a massive void directly in the centre of the yacht, which acts as a sun lounge for the owner. From there, you can get a glimpse of the glass-bottomed infinity pool above; the yacht is designed to fit 12 guests in total. In line with ecofriendly sensibilities, Shape will be equipped with a clean hydrogen-based propulsion system, while also charging all onboard systems with solar panels on its sundeck.