Trends in superyachting

With the 29th Monaco Yacht Show this September, we highlight the latest trends in the superyacht market in collaboration with The Superyacht Life Foundation.

The foundation works to share the positive aspects of the superyacht community to a wider audience, championing the positive people, places and projects surrounding the superyachting good life.

From 25 to 28 September at the Monaco Yacht Show, you’ll meet the trend setters of a market represented by the 125 jaw-dropping superyachts on display.



Sustainability has become a hot topic in the yachting world, with many superyachts developing innovative solutions to help reduce their environmental footprint. Savannah, an 84m Feadship, was billed as the first hybrid superyacht with a single engine, three generators and a combined total of approximately one megawatt-worth of batteries. Black Pearl, the 107m sailing yacht from Oceanco, meanwhile, uses special shaft generators which create free electricity by allowing the propellers to turn when the yacht is under sail. Fuel cells are also gaining momentum, with Italian shipyard VSY developing a concept powered by hydrogen fuel technology, together with renowned designer Espen Oeino, Siemens and Lloyds Register.

The industry-at-large is following suit. Many superyacht builders provide financial support to Blue Marine Foundation, an NGO on a mission to put 30% of the world’s oceans under protection by 2030. Their famous London to Monaco cycle ride, a 1100km trans-European marathon effort, has raised over one million pounds since 2016, with industry professionals coming together to raise money for ocean conservation.

There are far more initiatives besides. Many superyacht crew have united under the Clear Ocean Pact, a shared commitment to reducing single-use plastics on board yachts. Brokerage firms, meanwhile, are partnering with conservationists in an effort to help combat ocean pollution. At marinas and yacht clubs, floating rubbish bins are being installed to help clear plastic debris.

Leaders from the industry have also banded together to establish Water Revolution Foundation, a non-profit on a mission to drive sustainability even further within the industry through collaboration and innovation. First up on this newly-founded non-profit’s agenda is to develop a database of sustainable solutions for the industry, to encourage a culture of ‘open-source sustainability’ where collaboration is prioritised over competition. They’ve also promised a revolutionary software tool that can measure the environmental impact of various yacht design concepts.

Superyachts have a very different operational profile to other marine vessels, averaging only around 300 hours per year. They rarely sail at maximum speed, cruising at only 20% of their capacity on average. Statistics show that less than 0.3% of the world’s marine vessel CO2 emissions come from the thousands of superyachts afloat today. Nevertheless, the superyacht industry continues to minimise its impact on the environment and the world’s oceans – after all, it is these very oceans that inspire people to go sailing in the first place.



Superyacht owners are increasingly concerned about the environmental health of the oceans. Many regularly collect data for environmental organisations. To help facilitate this, the International Seakeepers Society connects owners with scientists, allowing them to use yachts as platforms for marine research. Archimedes is one of the many participating yachts, recently being used for a shark research expedition near Antigua.
Then there’s REV. Nearing completion, the 183m yacht will be the largest in the world, with ambitions to match its colossal size. The Norwegian owner, Kjell Inge Røkke, will use REV to carry out scientific research all over the world, uncovering new truths about our oceans and helping to preserve them in the process. In research mode, REV will be able to carry 60 scientists and 30 crew members, allowing for ground-breaking research on climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution.
Alongside ocean research, owners and crew often participate in disaster relief, providing humanitarian aid to those in need. As incongruous as it might seem to see a yacht anchored up in such an environment, the size, capacity, speed and range of these vessels can make them ideal first responders. YachtAid Global, a non-profit organisation set up in 2006, works with yachts to help deliver and coordinate disaster relief and development aid to coastal communities worldwide.
The Bertarelli Foundation, meanwhile, provides significant funding for marine reserves. The foundation was set up by Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli, who own Vava II. To date, the foundation has supported the creation of more than 2,000,000 km2 of marine protected areas.



Visit a superyacht designer or builder and you’ll see evidence of the forward-thinking innovations that set the industry apart. From exhausts to engines, the design, manufacturing and engineering required on modern superyachts is uniquely complex. Many innovations come courtesy of the vision of a single owner who is prepared to pay the price of investing in the future well before the wider market.

Then there is the incredible attention to detail. Intricate and unique joinery and carpentry, metalwork, marquetry, paintwork and countless other disciplines give superyachts an unrivalled degree of sophistication. Craftsmanship is kept alive in these fields that might otherwise be relegated to history. Thousands of highly skilled men and women are employed at superyacht yards around the world, many of them from families that have worked there for generations. The same applies to the many specialised marine equipment supply companies that depend on the superyacht industry for their existence. One estimate by the International Superyacht Society put the number of people employed by a 65-metre new build at 350 – and that’s just direct employment.

A SYBAss study conducted by the renowned Delft University of Technology in 2010 developed a distinctive Compensated Gross Tonnage (CGT) factor for superyachts. This economic indicator measures the amount of work that goes into the construction of a vessel. The findings showed that a superyacht can deliver 30-40 times the monetary value of a passenger ship or freighter.



The appeal of visiting the far corners of the earth from the comfort of a superyacht has proven alluring for many. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the number of explorer superyachts. This particular breed of superyacht is designed to travel long distances in extreme conditions. Think reinforced hulls (sometimes ice-class), more crew quarters, ecological waste units, and the ability to travel far at sustained speeds.
Antarctica, Raja Ampat, Papua New Guinea and the Arctic are some of the new superyacht hotspots providing adventure and unique experiences, from visiting penguin colonies in Antarctica to diving in unchartered territory. Many of these yachts carry submarines and helicopters to ensure the adventures continue under the sea and off the boat.

Most explorer yachts are kitted out with all the high-level amenities normally associated with a superyacht – so that after a day’s heli-skiing, iceberg hiking or diving – guests can return to the spa for a massage, or warm up with a hot chocolate and a movie. For superyacht owners with a go-anywhere mindset, an explorer yacht is the best way to experience the most undiscovered parts of the world in comfort.


Photo: © The Superyacht Times