The biggest superyachts grab most of the attention these days, mainly because of their extravagance, luxury and cost, but it’s the medium-sized vessels that occupy many of the harbours and marinas around the world. We’re still not talking small boats though, these can be up to 80m with master suites, crew cabins and space for water toys, with many easily fitting into the superyacht category.
We recently had the chance to take a look at some of the latest models in Southampton, England at the British Motor Yacht Show, a gathering of the latest vessels from Azimut, Fairline, Princess, Sunseeker and many others. While the weather was good, this was all in the marina with no trips into the English Channel, but that was fine because it was a chance to see what’s new and what the trends are.
This wasn’t your normal boat show either, this was a chance for potential owners to get private viewings of the vessels they are interested in buying. It was a relatively low key affair, with just a hint of envy as we overheard conversations about order times, interior design elements and crew options. The luxury yacht industry continues to enjoy a boom period.
Having said it wasn’t about superyachts, we started with a tour of the largest vessel in the marina, the Sunseeker 88 with a price tag of £6,936,889 or in current rand terms, R169,633,486, plus VAT. It’s design is modern and athletic, with plenty of space for entertaining on the decks or inside. The cabins are luxuriously appointed with walk-in wardrobes, en-suite bathrooms and the latest in entertainment systems. The same was true of the Sunseeker 76
We’ve looked around the Princess X80 before when it was launched, but grabbed the chance to take another wander around this impressive triple-deck vessel that starts at £5,135,000. With five staterooms, a Sky Lounge and the latest in propulsion and luxurious materials, it’s an impressive and very elegant vessel, reflecting the modern era of yacht design.
The Aquila 44 was one of the only catamaran designs in the marina, featuring a typical twin hull with three cabins and a really nice layout that will is perfectly suited to a cruise along the southern coast of Africa. Azimut is another brand we have talked about before, but this was our first opportunity to climb on aboard and take a look around.
It wasn’t all about big yachts though. Sunseeker had its Axopar day-boat and tender range on display and Brabus, a name more familiar to performance Mercedes-Benz models, had its dark and sinister boats on show. Chris Craft was a new one to us and as the industry adapts its propulsion systems to be more environmentally friendly, there were displays for electric yachts, including solar-electric concepts from Alva Yachts.
When it comes to trends, it was clear that many owners are seeking interiors that are more reflective of their lifestyle. This means home decor and comforts, from space to materials and entertainment. The textures are more homely — gone are the days of marble and dark wood. Instead the interiors are light and earthy, with interiors that feature more natural light, especially below deck. There are moves towards sustainability too, with many of the yachts featuring alternatives to teak, recycled materials and less extravagance, if that’s possible in a multi-million dollar yacht.
It was a day to experience how the other half live, something my family particularly enjoyed as they’ve never been on luxury yachts before. Maybe it’s given the kids something to aspire too, although one of them did ask whether we can just get one on long-term test. Wouldn’t that be nice.