The superyacht sector has taken a shine to something long a hallmark of the automotive sector: concept design. Concept creations let designers be designers, freeing their imaginations to dictate what goes where, and why. Coincidentally or not, superyacht concepts rose dramatically during the global recession. Even with new-build orders back on the rise, proposals continue to hit our office’s inboxes on a regular basis. To view the pages of MegayachtNews.com, though, you wouldn’t know it.
The majority of superyacht concepts we receive not only don’t make it to the pages of this website, they never will. To be clear, we wholeheartedly support putting forth fun, even fantastical ideas. However, there’s a big difference between pushing limits and pushing past the realm of possibility. We’ve also heard too many stories of owners falling in love with designs, only to learn they can’t possibly be engineered.
Rather than rail against concepts, I’d like to share how we evaluate them—and how you can and should do the same.
#Luxury #Travellers will see this and think “Cool which is my towel!”. An #AYSS #superyacht agent will look at this and wonder how this is classified on a Certificate of Registry | Making miracles happen every day | #MoreThanAgents pic.twitter.com/PuV5SieWlZ
— AYSS (@AyssInfo) December 13, 2017
1. Studio experience. Has the designer seen any previous superyacht projects come to fruition? If not, it’s a risk we’d rather not take. But, we encourage the designer to seek the advice and/or assistance of a proven engineering studio or shipyard. Some do it on their own, like Henry Ward did with his Time concept.
2. Shipyard experience. Sometimes superyacht concepts come from brand-new builders. If the design is an entirely in-house creation, again, it’s a risk we’d rather avoid. The few who partner with proven naval architects, though, get a second look. While it doesn’t guarantee build quality, it does lend a sense of comfort. We then contact that naval architect to find out more, and decide from there whether to produce an article.
Practical standards. Sometimes it’s obvious that superyacht concepts just can’t, or won’t, be built. Such as, when a “toy” meant to stay onboard is nearly as long as the yacht herself. Or, when the designer goes into thorough detail on the decor yet fails to take into account piping and wiring runs, or mention classification society standards. Overall, having a healthy dose of skepticism for grandiose claims comes in handy. When the gold-clad History Supreme grabbed headlines in 2011, we suspected it was a publicity grab. We were right.
Sadly, many more publicity grabs have followed, and will continue to follow. Do yourselves a favor: Don’t let your heart overrule your head. Design should never be driven by how many media mentions they can get.
Ultimately, if something seems intriguing, ask questions. Maybe the designer has done his or her homework. Maybe not. Better to find ahead of time than after handing over cold, hard cash. It has happened too many times in the two decades I have covered this industry. It doesn’t do anyone any good.