Superyacht Society Design Awards Winners

Heesen-Galactica-Star-Jeff3Since its founding in 1989, the International Superyacht Society has focused on furthering the large-yacht industry, particularly through communication, education, and supporting best business practices. Part of this includes celebrating what the International Superyacht Society considers the best of the best. Each year, the organization holds a Design Awards gala, where yachts, their builders, and designers are nominated in a variety of categories. Both power and sail projects, measuring 78 feet (24 meters) and larger, are included. Last evening, awards were handed out to a number of notable yachts, culled from an initial list of hundreds of potential nominees.

This year’s International Superyacht Society Design Awards winners are:

BEST POWER 24m to 40m: Quaranta, built by Curvelle, styling and design by Mauro Giamboi, interior design by Alex Isaac, naval architecture by Incat Crowther

BEST POWER 40m to 65m: Como, built by Feadship, design, styling, and naval architecture by Dubois Naval Architects, interior by Redman Whiteley Dixon

BEST POWER 65m+: Galactica Star (above), built by Heesen Yachts, design by Omega Architects, naval architecture by Van Oossanen Naval Architects, interior design by Bannenberg & Rowell

BEST SAIL 24m to 40: Inukshuk, built by Baltic Yachts, design and naval architecture by Frers Naval Architecture & Engineering, interior design by Adam Lay Studio

BEST SAIL 40m+: Mondango 3, built by Alloy Yachts, design and naval architecture by Dubois Naval Architects, interior design and styling by Reymond Langton Design

BEST REFIT: Dream, originally built by Abeking & Rasmussen and refitted by Jones Boatyard and Dynamic Yacht Management, design and styling by Donald Starkey, naval architecture by Abeking & Rasmussen and Donald Starkey, interior design by Bannenberg & Rowell

BEST INTERIOR: Como (below), with interior design by Redman Whiteley Dixon


Further awards are given to Distinguished Crew and leaders within the industry in terms of business, innovation, and environmental mindedness. Those winners are:

Distinguished Crew: Capt. Russell Pugh and the crew of Arctic P; the yacht set a Guinness World Record for the most southernly navigation. On January 27 of this year, Arctic P reached 78°43•0336´S 163°42•1317´W. This is the farthest south that any vessel of any kind has ever recorded. (The position was confirmed by Guinness officials via photos of nav instruments in the wheelhouse.) EYOS Expeditions worked with the crew of Artic P to make the trip  to the Bay of Whales in the Ross Sea of Antarctica possible, a voyage that the owners had dreamed of taking aboard the expedition yacht. On a related note, the owners flew Capt. Pugh to the International Superyacht Society gala in Fort Lauderdale from his home in Australia to accept the award.

Leadership Award: Tom and Henk de Vries of Feadship. The de Vries family has run the Royal de Vries shipyard in The Netherlands from its inception more than 100 years ago. Tom and Henk de Vries have been at the helm of the yard since the late 1980s.

Business Person of the Year: John Percival. The late John Percival, who died earlier this year, was passionate about teaching proper navigation skills and welcoming new blood into the industry. He established Hoylake Sailing School and John Percival Marine Associates in the UK in 1996. Percival oversaw training in many marine sectors, ranging from workboats and naval ships to superyachts.

Fabien Cousteau Blue Award: International SeaKeepers Society. The International SeaKeepers Society was recognized particularly for its Drifters program and its Vessels of Discovery program. Both have enabled the organization, focused on preserving the oceans’ health, to provide even more data to the scientific community about various issues affecting the water and sealife.



U-Boat Worx HP Sport Sub 2: New Model

U Boat Worx HP Sport Sub 2The latest personal submarine to be targeted to the megayacht market is ready for production for its first buyers. It’s the U-Boat Worx HP Sport Sub 2, and it’s decidedly different in design.

From the candy apple red paint to the overall styling, the HP Sport Sub 2 doesn’t resemble any of U-Boat Worx’s previous models. The two-seater sub doesn’t resemble other companies’ subs, either. U-Boat Worx wanted a more modern, sleeker appearance to set it apart. It’s also lower in height compared to the company’s previous models, standing about 4’5” (1.36 meters) tall. That, with a weight of 4,850 pounds (2,200 kilograms), means the HP Sport Sub suits a variety of tender garages and their current launching systems. U-Boat Worx even claims the sub can be towed behind a car (though we can’t see a yacht owner having it transported up and down the coast that way).

The HP Sport Sub 2 is rated to a depth of 330 feet (100 meters) and can remain submerged up to six hours. The “HP” portion of the name stands for High Performance. U-Boat Worx has outfitted the HP Sport Sub 2 with six thrusters for better maneuverability, even at the surface. Underwater speed is reportedly 2 knots, and surface speed is 3 knots. If you upgrade the thrusters to more powerful options, the underwater speed increases 1 knot and surface speed increases by 2 knots.

Even with the differences, the HP Sport Sub 2 is still classed to DNV-GL standards. Another thing that has not changed compared to prior U-Boat Worx models: the access hatch. It’s positioned high enough above the waterline that you and your guests can enter and exit the sub while remaining dry.

Price: €1 million ($1.274 million at press time). Delivery starts in the fall of 2015.

The Big Blue: A Family’s Megayacht Adventures


The 138-foot (42-meter) expedition yacht The Big Blue has been taking her owners on the adventure of a lifetime for the past year. The Mayers—dad Tony, mom Delisa, and their three children—have been cruising all over the South Pacific. It’s the fulfillment of a long-time dream of theirs, and the education of a lifetime as well.


The long-time dream was to travel the world… but The Big Blue wasn’t in the initial plan. Tony and Delisa Mayer first thought about living abroad. But, based on feedback from friends who’d done it, they decided they wouldn’t really become immersed in the various cultures the way they wanted to. Next, they considered chartering a yacht. But, the itineraries of the yachts they liked didn’t fully match their desires. One day, Delisa practically dared Tony to buy a yacht instead. That led to the yearlong search culminating in 2012 in the purchase of Imbros, a 2010 build from Troy Marine.


A 15-month refit at Derecktor Florida turned Imbros into The Big Blue. The Mayers had the yard add a helipad for stowage, not just touch-and-go operations. With Tony being a helicopter pilot, and family flights around various countries in their plans, this was a must. They also added an Opacmare Transformer swim step, modeled above by the family dog, Levi, who accompanied them onboard. The Big Blue was also redesigned completely inside. Among the changes: creating a classroom for the kids. A tutor has been teaching an international homeschooling curriculum. That’s been supplemented by four to five field trips—attended by the full family—each week.


The Mayers planned The Big Blue’s journey with their captain, Gareth Sheppard, while the refit was ongoing. It was largely modeled after the circumnavigations undertaken by the residential cruise ship The World. Sheppard’s experience in the region, plus additional online research he and the Mayers did, complemented this. Why did they choose the South Pacific? “This was an area that was hard to get to, and we knew that we wouldn’t ever have an opportunity any other way to spend an extensive amount of time in this region,” Delisa explains.


The first stop in the region: Tahiti. Shoreside trips, plus plenty of swimming and diving were the orders of the day for two weeks. (Everyone in the Mayer family is a certified diver.) The Mayers wanted to visit as many countries as possible, so an average of two weeks was allotted for each location. The Cook Islands were supposed to be next on the list, but a cyclone changed that. Instead, The Big Blue changed course for New Zealand. The Mayers and The Big Blue spent far more time there than expected—two months—due to the stormy season.


It was a happy accident. Why? Some of the family’s fondest memories are from their time in New Zealand. The children attended school with native Maoris one day, learning a lot about their culture. (This was something the children did in several countries, too.) The whole family learned about the geology of the country and what makes the land formations special. The Mayers also dove in shark cages off Stewart Island and were mesmerized by Great Whites. Overall, they had such a positive experience that they filmed a video with the New Zealand tourist board to help get word out to the yachting community about the opportunities.


From Fiji to the Tuamotus, and from Palau to French Moorea, The Big Blue has provided abundant learning opportunities for everyone aboard. Local guides were invited aboard as much as possible for more in-depth information. Dive trips let the family get up close to stingrays, Humphead wrasses, lots of other fish and scallops, and more. Better yet, The Big Blue’s journeys brought the Mayers in touch with various villagers. “They invited us into their homes and their lives and later on into their hearts,” Delisa explains. It didn’t matter that neither side spoke the same language; the kindness was the ultimate communication.


The Big Blue crew has grown close to the Mayer family, too. Sheppard showed the kids how to navigate. The boson taught them how to fish. The chef instructed them on how to clean and cook fish, among other things. The engineer showed them how the watermakers process seawater for drinking. One of the deckhands even taught knot tying.

Lessons of a lifetime, from so many different perspectives.

Columbus Liberty 32m in Build

Columbus-Liberty-32m-render-2A fourth megayacht has begun construction at Italy-based Columbus Yachts. She’s the Columbus Liberty 32m, a 105-footer.

While Columbus Yachts considers her a fast trawler, and the first of a new range of such, the Columbus Liberty 32m doesn’t bear any resemblance to what that characterization calls to mind. Rather, her look, from Marco Casali Too Design, is thoroughly that of a modern motoryacht, with sporty and stylish elements alike. Regardless, the Columbus Liberty 32m does pledge the performance of a fast trawler. Employing hybrid propulsion incorporating MTU diesels and the Siemens EcoProp system, the megayacht should see top speeds exceeding 20 knots and long-range advantages at 12 knots. (The specific range at the latter speed hasn’t been revealed.

While “Liberty” is partly meant to imply flexibility in cruising, it also means the ability to customize the interior. The Columbus Liberty 32m has a deep draft, 12’5” (3.8 meters), and a healthy beam of 24’6” (7.5 meters). Columbus Yachts has a variety of suggested general arrangements. Some have the galley just forward of the saloon, with full-height windows to each side. American buyers surely would prefer that over another layout, where the galley is below decks. Further layouts feature sunpads and seating areas at the bow, or alternately a tender garage beneath the deck there. Three or four guest staterooms can go below decks, with the master stateroom either forward on the main deck or aft below. If you opt for a main-deck cabin, the wheelhouse is configured in a raised-pilothouse design.


Another idea: The Columbus Liberty 32m can feature a beach club with a bar and dining spot, a spa, or a gym. Up top, the flying bridge can be shaded or fully open, with relaxation areas arranged as you see fit. One thing we’d like to see preserved no matter who commissions future builds is the pool on the main aft deck.

The Columbus Liberty range will include models from 82 to 125 feet (25 to 38 meters, respectively). If you’ll be attending this week’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Columbus Yachts will be exhibiting inside the Yacht Builders tent and will have further details on hand.

Megayacht News Onboard: Feadship’s Como

Feadship-Como-1What happens when someone experienced in yacht racing, construction, and ownership commissions a custom yacht? In the case of Como, you get an incredibly detailed, and inventive, project. Her owner, Neville Crichton, a New Zealand native, had a clear vision that pushed the teams at Dubois Naval Architects and Feadship to challenges neither had tackled before.


While the striking profile of Como turns your head, it’s the oversize panes of glass on the 151’6” (46.22-meter) megayacht that deserve the most attention. The ones here line the main-deck master suite. They’re more than 23 feet (7 meters) wide and further mounted atop, not inset into, the aluminum superstructure. Feadship extensively researched structural glass with the build of Venus and applied much of that knowledge. Note, too, glass insets outboard, in the high structural sides.


Here’s the view from inside the full-beam (29’6”, or 9 meters) master suite on Como. You can better appreciate the visual advantages of the large glass panes, particularly the outer ones. Crichton also worked closely with Redman Whiteley Dixon to create a contemporary decor highlighted mostly by greys and whites. Even the photography showcased is black and white.


From the marble soles to the reflective surfaces, Crichton was personally involved in every decision. That includes the rake of the superstructure windows, best noticeable here to starboard. The circular seating area in the foreground can revolve on an air-fed platform to take advantage of the changing views.


Just as the main-deck windows on Como are quite big, so, too, are the below-deck ports. In fact, the size that Crichton wanted well exceeded what Lloyd’s permitted when the classification society was first approached. Feadship’s in-house team tested panes to prove to Lloyd’s that the ones for Como would indeed be structurally sound. And, Crichton got the effect he wanted: Guests can lay in bed and enjoy the views.


Many megayacht owners and guests essentially live outside. Crichton is no different. The flying bridge is the primary relaxation space aboard Como. It’s mostly shaded, with an extendable awning for extra protection. Another nice touch: raising windows rimming both sides. They keep the bar and seating areas from getting wind-blown.


From the biggest details—like the big windows—to the smallest ones, Como is as personalized a project as can be. Furthermore, she’s a reminder to us all, yacht-watchers and media alike, to keep things in proper perspective. In a market where mega-size megayachts tend to get the most attention, Como seems small. But, when you take the average of the sizes of megayachts on the water, she’s actually quite normal. Henk de Vries, a Feadship director, put it best at the launch, likening her to “exceptionally well-honed objects on a more human scale.”

EXTRA PHOTOS: see a 12-photo gallery of Como on the Megayacht News app, available in the App Store and Google Play