Mega-yacht Designers Bringing New Innovations

Mega-yacht builders and designers are embracing the beauty of breathtaking originality.

Amarcord is a 262-foot yacht being started on spec for delivery as soon as 2025. Courtesy Vripack

Special delivery: Sign up for the free Yachting email newsletter. Subscribe to Yachting magazine for $39 for 1 year and receive 3 bonus digital issues.

Mega-yacht design has always been a playground for some of the most fertile minds on the planet. Construction, in turn, routinely represents an evolution in engineering. All of that and more is on display right now around the world, with numerous projects that are nothing short of mind-bending.

In March, Royal Huisman in the Netherlands turned the Alustar aluminum hull on Project 406, which is on its way to becoming the largest sport-fisher yacht ever to ply the world’s waters. Building this 170-foot-long, six-deck machine would be enough for any shipyard to create headlines, but the Dutch builder—the same month it turned that hull—announced that it also had inked a deal to build the world’s largest sloop, the 280-foot Project 410.

“It is an extraordinary honor to be entrusted with a project of such scale, ambition and technical sophistication,” Peter Naeyé, the yard’s chief commercial officer, said of the sloop. “A true performance superyacht with supersized dimensions and full of technical innovations.”

Vripack Meteor
Meteor is a fast weekender with an interior layout intended for gathering with family and friends. Courtesy Vripack

What all of that might mean is anyone’s guess, as are the teaser details coming out of Italy about Amarcord. It’s a new project of the Palumbo Superyachts brand ISA Yachts in collaboration with design firm Nuvolari Lenard. Amarcord is a 262-foot yacht being started on spec for delivery as soon as 2025. Giuseppe Palumbo, director of Palumbo Superyachts, calls the project an opportunity for the yard and design team to work together on “interesting innovations in the stylistic field.”

Given that Nuvolari Lenard’s history includes designing the first superyacht infinity pool, aboard the Oceanco Alfa Nero in 2007, as well as the military-style exteriors on 2015’s CRN Atalante, it’s again anyone’s guess what we are all about to see next.

Quite a lot of innovation is also on display these days at shipyards that build smaller motoryachts. Outer Reef Yachts, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, just announced plans for its 650 Evo Motoryacht, which replaces the Cummins Zeus pod-drive system from previous models with Volvo Penta’s latest Electronic Vessel Control offering. This EVC system adds faster software downloads, improved diagnostics and features such as joystick docking, dynamic positioning and a glass cockpit.

Vripack Meteor
Van der Valk’s Meteor has an unusual stern design. A fold-down transom swim platform opens to an indoor outdoor space. Courtesy Vripack

“We look forward to what the future holds for our Trident series, and will steadily work toward enhancing the owner experience through partnerships like the one we have forged with Volvo Penta and Garmin,” said Outer Reef president Jeff Druek. “At the end of the day, due to our incorporation of these game-changing technological advancements, our owners have come to expect and enjoy high-performance cruising aboard their Outer Reef Yachts.”

High performance is also a keyword at Van der Valk in the Netherlands, which just dropped a concept design called Meteor. At 82 feet length overall, Meteor all but eliminates the traditional aft-deck design seen aboard most yachts and, instead, takes a sports-car approach to styling. When the transom drops down at anchor, the whole main-deck interior becomes part of the indoor-outdoor guest space.

Fellow Dutch firm Vripack is involved in the design of Van der Valk’s Meteor, which has a projected top speed above 40 knots, powered by triple Rolls-Royce MTUs with water jets. The majority of the superstructure is glass, including two slide-open sections of nearly 10 feet apiece.

Vripack Meteor
Van der Valk angled the double berths in the full-beam staterooms so owners and guests would have the best views outdoors. Courtesy Vripack

Would-be owners aren’t the only ones who think a concept like Meteor is cool. “Our skilled craftsmen are going to have a field day bringing this all to life for the first new Meteor owner,” the yard said in announcing the project.

Still want more? We’re salivating to see what’s about to come out of Tankoa Yachts, where the Italian builder has teamed with designer Philippe Briand on a 170-foot custom motoryacht for delivery in 2025. That project, according to Tankoa, includes “remarkable development of the interiors, designed and finely decorated down to the smallest detail.” What that might mean, in the hands of one of the world’s most award-winning designers, has the potential to be astounding.

Vripack Meteor
Meteor has two sliding roofs, each nearly 10 feet, for letting in fresh air and warm sunshine. Courtesy Vripack

In the powercat market, Denison Yachts just became the Americas dealer for the SilverCat line by Australia-based Silver Yachts. Hull No. 1 is already sold, with additional hulls available in lengths overall up to 118 feet. “We’re thrilled to bring the SilverCat to market as the new mega-cat with design innovations by world-renowned designer Espen Øino,” said Tony Smith, Denison brand manager for Silver Yachts.

We’re beyond thrilled too. A bounty of features, technology and amenities that have never existed are about to become reality. What a time to be able to play.

More Yachts