We’re five months into 2023 and everyone from naval architects to shipyards are busy designing, engineering and building everything from leisure cruisers to vast superyachts. This means a steady stream of new vessels heading out onto the world’s oceans to be enjoyed by wealthy owners or those with a passion for ultimate luxury who prefer to charter.
The latest to take to the water is Norn, a 90m superyacht designed by Espen Oeino and built by Lürssen. It’s an upgrade for the owner, who previously had a 70m Lürssen, but wanted something more up to date with the latest in design and engineering.
The Norn is not short on cool tech either, with an outdoor cinema, a liftable pool floor with dance floor lighting and electronic anchoring to ensure the sea bed is protected when mooring in environmentally sensitive areas.
Just a few metres shorter is the new Feadship Project 710, which is yet to be formally named by its owner. Measuring 84m, the yacht represents the next generation of superyacht in both design and engineering terms. The styling is particularly stunning with its clean lines and dramatic profile, penned by the British design companies RWD and Monk.
Inside there is a signature atrium staircase, a wall that reveals a terrace view just above sea level and what the designers have called an Aqua Lounge with windows below sea level to relax and watch the fish swim around you.
When it comes to the engineering, Project 710 has a single level engine room that allows more space for guest accommodation. It’s a diesel hybrid vessel that has no rudder, instead using electric thrusters to steer. The engines will be able to run on HVO biodiesel, with Feadship claiming a huge 90% reduction in CO2 emissions over a conventional diesel-powered yacht of similar size.
If you prefer to use engineering for exploring, then the latest vessel from Damen Yachting, the SeaXplorer 58, will grab your attention. This 58m explorer yacht is certainly distinctive with a somewhat villainous look about it, as though it has been created for a Hollywood nemesis. It’s full name is slightly friendlier though, the Pink Shadow, and it has been created for its owner to explore any environment from the polar regions to the tropics.
It’s just one of a number of new vessels leaving shipyards this year that also includes the refit of a few well known yachts. One is the Maltese Falcon, named after the famous John Huston film of 1941. This 88m sailing yacht was built in 1990 and features an ingenious DynaRig three-mast square sail system. The yacht went in to the Lusben shipyard late last year after the owner decided it needed to be upgraded in terms of both luxury and environmental friendliness.
The Maltese Falcon will be used extensively as a charter vessel, but if you’re keen to experience luxury yachting by chartering, then what better vessel than Africa I. This 47m yacht was built by Benetti in 2010, but has just completed an extensive refit including a whole new interior. Africa I has a list of celebrity guests, including Cristiano Ronaldo who chartered her in 2019. The superyacht will be spending the European summer season in Greece and prices start from around R4m per week.
If that’s too steep, then how about just partying the weekend away on a superyacht at the Monaco Grand Prix later this month? The Ahoy Club is a yacht charter specialist that also happens to own the Lürssen Coral Ocean, which will be one of the largest yachts in the famous Monaco harbour during the famous race. Tickets start at €5,000 for the Saturday, but if you want to sip champagne and watch the Formula 1 action on the Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be looking at €12,000. That doesn’t include accommodation, which won’t be on the yacht. Still, you’ll be able to wave to your friends watching on the TV back home and that’s almost priceless.