5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

The Transformation: If you have young children or grandkids, you should be familiar with transformers. The toy, usually a little car or airplane, consists of parts that slide, twist, or fold out to create an animal, a superhero, or an alien invader. More and more yachts are being built with parts that slide, twist, and fold out, too, and yachting is being transformed in the process. Sliding doors between salon and aft deck have been nearly standard for years, and convertible tops or moon roofs now open up huge portions of the upper deck at the touch of a button. The whole indoor/outdoor equation has been taken to a new level by balconies and folding bulwarks. Several recent yachts, from the super customs to a couple of production models well under 100 feet, now feature one or more balconies that fold out of the hull side to bring the great outdoors into the master suite, and sometimes the VIP stateroom as well. Still others install sliding glass doors in the sides of the deckhouse and fit fold-down panels into the bulwarks, expanding the usable beam by about 50 percent and totally changing the character of the salon and dining room. Interior arrangements are also subject to transformation. A number of larger yachts have a master stateroom on deck for the owner¿s normal use, but also include a second large stateroom, a VIP cabin on steroids if you will, for the owner¿s use when the occasion warrants. This second stateroom is either on the pilothouse deck, for a better view at anchor, or below deck, close to amidships, for more comfort at sea. The second stateroom is often fitted with folding bulkheads or other partitions. This allows part of the space to double as a gym, library, or media room for all the guests when not in use by the owner.

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

In Retrospect: Maybe it's simply nostalgia, or maybe it's a deeper yearning for something familiar, comforting and reassuring, but old is new again. Perini Navi resurrected the Picchiotti brand for its retro-styled Vitruvius motoryacht, Codecasa has released renderings of a new Vintage series, and Dutch sailyacht builders such as Royal Huisman and Vitters are busy with windjammers of every size and description. The Royal Huisman project will be 283 feet. Turkish yards, from Cyrus to Vicem, are building classic motoryachts, and Burger Boats will launch the fantail motoryacht Sycara(above) this summer into the waters of Lake Michigan. The retro movement is not just on the superyacht scale, either. Genmar's WindsorCraft offers a number of models in the under-50-foot category, and the Trumpy 63 Showtime that has graced these pages is the model for a new yacht series to be built under the Trumpy name by Vicem.

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

Leading Indicators: Previously, the foredeck was a place of utilitarian function. Bitts, cleats, fairleads, and anchor windlasses dominated the area. If there were any amenities at all, they were usually limited to a spartan area for the crew to get away for a clandestine smoke. Now the bow is home to everything from private owner verandas to contoured cockpits complete with dining facilities. At least one superyacht, the Lurssenbuilt Linda Lou, has a promenade deck built into the bulwarks of her raised bow, wrapping entirely around the foredeck. There are three tables and settees at the bow and aft corners. Smaller yachts don't have the bulwark height for such extravagances, but many have done as much as possible with the space available. Sunpads abound, many fitted with folding bimini tops and more than a few with whirlpool spas as well. Integral settees and dining areas, with large removable umbrellas, become favored locales for alfresco dining, or when large informal parties require more room than can be provided topside and aft.

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

Turn Up the Volume: While there are still plenty of low, sleek yachts out there, there's no denying that some are exhibiting a significant growth in the volumetric dimension with no growth at all in length. The old wedding cake formula, with each deck becoming shorter, both at the bow and stern, as we went to the next higher tier, is no longer valid. Deckhouses are extended to the transom on both the main and upper decks. They are pulled nearly to the bow as well, hidden behind bow plating that has been brought another deck higher to hide the added bulk. With that extra length on the lower decks, another deck or two topside no longer looks so out of place, so up we go. Of course, stability becomes a concern with so much extra volume and height, so the hulls are widened to compensate. This adds not only stability but also more volume both above and below deck in the process. That extra volume is quickly put to use for more guest accommodations as well as crew and service areas. Many owners cherish the enhanced interior volume, but it comes at a price. The initial price goes up, and so do the operating costs. Extra accommodations mean extra crew, of course, but the other costs are not so obvious until you start cruising. With volume comes weight, and with beam comes additional propulsive resistance, both of which mean more horsepower and fuel for a yacht of a givenlength. If your broker says a certain 90-foot yacht "lives like a 120-footer," be aware it may eat like a 120-footer, too.

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

The Death of Tradition: Old ways die hard, and nowhere is that more true than in the marine industry, but times are changing. It's premature to announce the death of traditional design, but we are certainly seeing the birth and growth of the non-traditional in a number of areas. Most obvious, perhaps, is hull form. The monohull with a raked, flared stem and a transom stern still rules, but the challengers are many. At least one superyacht has been built with a proa configuration, similar to a Pacific Island canoe, and another with an updated trimaran layout derived from modern warship technology, with a super-slender main hull and two narrow outside hulls. Bows and profiles now come in a number of flavors. The graceful raked, flared bow is still the most popular, but both plumb and reverse bows, with and without flare, and with an equally diverse range of superstructures, have made appearances recently. Some bring to mind warships of the Great White Fleet, circa 1890.

5 Yacht Design Innovations Coming to a Dock Near You

The Death of Tradition(cont'd): And speaking of the Great White Fleet, the new white seems to be anything but white. From pastels such as seafoam green and azure blue to the stronger mahogany reds and canary yellows, hulls and superstructures alike are moving away from white. Most daring are the polychromatic coatings, which change their hue depending on the weather, the sun and your vantage point. They are loved by a select few owners, but are hated by builders and crew alike because of the difficulty of applying and maintaining the specialized coating. Designers have taken the non-traditional to heart in yacht engineering as well. From gyroscopic and zero-speed stabilizers, to proprietary electrical systems, to innovative propulsion equipment, exciting developments seem to emerge at every turn. While perhaps not as glamorous as the exterior developments, this trend will yield improvements in efficiency, dependability, and comfort that will benefit yacht owners well into the future.