Setting sail: the superyacht trends to look out for this year
From extended excursions to embracing the Metaverse, the superyacht industry is emerging from troubled waters to bring a new wave in ocean lifestyle. We head to Monaco to navigate the most important trends for 2023
The superyacht industry hasn’t had an easy year, with multiple vessels linked to Russian oligarchs being sanctioned and urgent calls for greater sustainability among its challenges. But, proving yachts are as invincible as they are utterly glamorous, the tide is changing.
This year’s Monaco Yacht Show, themed “seducation” (education and seduction), showcased more than 100 superyachts including the stunning new 62 metre RIO designed and built by CRN.
Alberto Galassi, CEO of Italian ship builder Ferretti Group (which include CRN and Riva, among other yacht brands), revealed a major “boost” in client interest and says the company is set to end the year on a 50%-plus high. While many shipyards predict 2023 will be the most lucrative yet.
What’s next in the world of superyachts? Here, with the help of key industry experts, we reveal the top yacht trends being floated for the year to come.
In 2023, we’ll see iPad-controlled lighting and sound systems as standard. Cloud-based platforms will replace piles of paperwork when it comes to itinerary planners, navigational software and security systems. The metaverse is being embraced with yacht-specific NFTs, cryptocurrency and marketing campaigns devised using VR and AR to attract younger owners and offer something completely new.
Alberto Galassi, CEO of Italian shipbuilder Ferretti Group shares his view:
“This is something that cannot even compare with the pleasure of living, touching, owning, sharing and enjoying a real yacht. How can you own something that doesn’t exist? I’m an old dog, but even I am waking up to this technology and 3D parallel worlds are going to become our reality. We will use this technology to show the product off and reach potential owners earlier in their life.”
Covid-19 has made a huge impact on how yacht owners use their vessels, with longer periods of time now spent at sea and a greater desire for freedom and privacy. Alberto Galassi amplifies this sentiment in saying owners and potential owners have realised the value of a yacht as their own “private island”. People want office space with lightning-fast wifi, but also space to entertain and a master bedroom with acoustic privacy. Brand new yachts for next year will also feature fold-out sea terraces for ample sunbathing space.
On experiential travel Friso Visser, CCO of Heesen, says:
“Over the past four years, we’ve also seen an increase in interest for crossover yachts that can take owners and their guests further away from the Mediterranean and Caribbean shores to the adventurous waters of the Arctic Ocean or the Galapagos islands.
Experiential travel is a growing market so we have partnered with Winch design to create a yacht that has all of the luxury amenities you would expect from a Heesen yacht, combined with the power of an all-terrain yacht. Our newest concept, XV67, will offer the best of both worlds.”
Superyachts come with crews trained to anticipate every request, Michelin-star-worthy cuisine and panoramic ocean views. But now yacht owners are focusing on entertainment that includes sprawling beach clubs, live DJs and even magicians who can levitate furniture and perform card tricks. The yacht experience is also becoming more immersive, driven by the increased role of AI and virtual reality onboard. Superyachts like the latest CRN yacht, RIO, even feature extensive outdoor areas with spa pool zones and open-air cinema.
On the Forbes 400 this year, 10 billionaires listed are under the age of 40. The rise of wealthy young sports stars, actors and tech-savvy whizz kids has lowered the age of superyacht owners by 10 to 15 years over the past two decades. This is changing the face of yachting, with formal dining and stuffy dress codes out and consciously made cuisine, remote working spaces and city apartment style interiors very firmly in.
Charlotte Thomas, The Superyacht Life Foundation says:
“There’s no denying the cornerstone destinations in yachting are the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. But we are seeing more owners seek out harder to reach places, particularly across the Pacific, from French Polynesia down to Australasia, Indonesia and Philippines. Raja Ampat, in eastern Indonesia, is a paradise on earth with no hotels, towns or cities and its only accessible by boat.
While some are heading to Antarctica. Adventurous destinations tie into the new desire for a completely unique experience. No one can fly to Antarctica and spend a week on the ice, but you can go do it on a yacht.”
For wellness facilities worthy of 2023 we’re talking health clubs as impressive as many five-star hotel spas equipped with saunas, steam rooms, cryotherapy chambers, hammams, plus gym space, massage tables and calm rooms. Crews are expected to be multi-skilled: a deckhand who doubles up as a diving instructor or a steward who’s also a trained masseuse. Cooks onboard are expected to adapt to specific dietary requirements and more people are requesting noise and vibration reducers to create a bubble of zen onboard.
Standard one-size-fits-all interiors are being replaced with more of a focus on personal detail. Original artworks and sculptures onboard, custom-made hand-painted wallpapers and themed rooms make way for yachts being treated as homes not status symbols. Officina Italiana Design founders Mauro Micheli and Sergio Beretta, who are responsible for crafting the signature interior design of the world-famous Riva yachts, will be leading with a “less is more” approach. “We don’t like showy boats brimming with solutions inspired by pure formal virtuosity,” says Mauro. “We don’t indulge in gratuitous connotations just to make a splashy impact. We love classic, rigorous, clean design.”
Officina Italiana Design co-founder Sergio Beretta says:
“A major design trend we are focusing on for 2023 is the connection between exterior and interior spaces. They are no longer being used as two different places and need to feel that way.
People are staying on board for longer and want a comfortable private space, maybe less flashy, but with all the same quality. Art collections onboard are popular because art is so personal and emotive. It’s about bringing your personal life onboard and connecting. Owners are also more sensitive to the environment and nature and feel a responsibility to live on the boat in a sustainable way. There’s an upturn in new and recycled materials, such as nylon, still made in a very luxurious and elegant way.”
This year’s Monaco Yacht Show featured a new exhibition called The Sustainability Hub dedicated to showing how the industry is becoming more eco-friendly, such as electric and hydrogen-power solutions. While solar panels and wind turbines are great additions to power up boats without using fossil fuels. Everything from finding ways to build lighter yachts that use less fuel and recycled textiles are being explored. Yacht owners also are offering financial support to ocean conservation programmes.
Dilan Sarac, Marketing Manager at Superyacht Life Foundations says:
“For me the most exciting thing is to see the kind of community we are becoming. The new generation of super yacht owners are more adventurous in going to more remote places and so more exposed to nature and wildlife.
They now understand the urgency to do something about preserving the environment and participate in local ocean conservation projects and invest in scientific resources. Their yachting experience is much more purposeful.”