Plenty of design concepts purport to target the upcoming generation of yacht buyers and charterers. Simultaneously, many of these same designs tout diesel-electric propulsion as the future. However, most concepts still follow conventional layouts. And, as much as diesel-electric is growing in yachting, it’s not advanced technology. Oceanco has a new initiative, Oceanco NXT, to combat what it considers stagnation in yachting. By drawing on the expertise of designers and technicians from multiple industries, Oceanco NXT intends not only to address this generation’s evolving needs, but to do so in a sustainable way.
In terms of sustainability, zero environmental impact is the ultimate goal. But, fossil fuel isn’t the only definition under Oceanco NXT. Sustainability extends to the owners’ experience onboard. It could be, for instance, more relaxation and entertainment space similar to Bravo Eugenia, the 358-footer (109-meter) whose single-tier engine room makes them possible. She has 1,076 square feet (100 square meters) more, in fact, compared to similar-length yachts. The engine room has a smaller footprint because of the hull shape and lengthened waterline, together making her more efficient.
One of Oceanco’s primary partners in Oceanco NXT is Lateral Naval Architects. Not surprisingly, Lateral is behind the LIFE design approach that Bravo Eugenia employs—namely, Lengthened waterline, Innovative layout, Fuel-efficient hull, and Ecologically conscious technology. Furthermore, Lateral has been researching additional technical and design advancements that yachting can embrace. James Roy (below), the studio’s managing director, believes hydrogen-based propulsion is more than promising. But, “the storage and supply infrastructure systems need more work,” he points out. Therefore, “We see the key stepping stone between today’s fossil-fuel propulsion and the target of hydrogen propulsion being an electric hybrid model, rather than diesel electric.” To use an analogy, “Think of it as the ‘VHS-versus-Betamax’ moment in yacht propulsion,” he explains.
Roy agrees with Oceanco’s assertion that sustainability is in every contributor’s hands. “By returning to the fundamental questions of what an owner wants and need, we can be far more sustainable,” he explains. He therefore sees all the parties weighing important questions. “How many lounging areas or cabins does a particular superyacht really need? How will the owner want to live onboard? And how will this impact the technical requirements?”
Giles Taylor (below), global vice president of design for FAW Group, is lending his livability vision to Oceanco NXT. The formers design director for Rolls-Royce, he’s leading Chinese-owned FAW Group’s concentration on luxury consumers. With superyachts, Taylor believes owners are likely to become younger. Plus, he foresees buyers making less distinction between leisure and work time. “They don’t want to cram into multiple lounges and cabins,” he adds. “They want to celebrate form and open space, with a more intimate experience shared among fewer close friends.”
Taylor continues, “The challenge designers face is to imagine yachts as ocean-borne spaces that will attract environmentally aware millennials who believe that the ocean serves as a mirror to their green principles and an inspiration to be part of a future that is more in tune with a sustainable human-nature existence.” Above all, Taylor says, “a yacht’s design should speak to you like a beautifully designed car or a transportive piece of music.”
Tommy Kleerekoper, founding parter and director at the Dutch design firm TANK, takes the concept further. Traditionally, yachting has emphasized the materials and opulence onboard. “The new generation shrugs their shoulders at this approach and prefers a ‘lighter’ way of life, where status lies less in physical products but instead is found in access to things,” Kleerekoper says, especially freedom in its many definitions. Therefore, through Oceanco NXT, TANK sees spaces being multifunctional.
“Dedicated spaces are mostly empty—and hopelessly boring,” Kleerekoper asserts. “A beautiful dining room might provide a great meal, but if you dine in the space we have in mind, anything could happen; your fabulous dinner might end up in the pool or dancing around the bar.” In the end, “we would like to see the yacht as being part of its surroundings, not just in them, and the interior should always connect to this,” he adds.
The last piece of the Oceanco NXT puzzle is Oceanco Co-Maker Unlimited, a group of 13 subcontractors which strive for efficiency and innovation.
“We fundamentally believe that the best way to set new benchmarks is to work with the very best collaborators from a wide array of industries,” Marcel Onkenhout, CEO of Oceanco, concludes.
FAW Group faw.com
Lateral Naval Architects lateral.engineering