We regularly feature the latest superyachts on Gizmag because they offer a mixture of breathtaking design and cutting edge technology in a rarefied arena where price is seemingly no object. The resulting floating marvels often seem more like works of art than mere ocean-going transportation. An incredible 262 superyachts worth US$3.5 billion sold last year (including one that went for $300 million!) so it's no wonder that some of the world's wealthiest glitterati flocked to Istanbul earlier this month to take part in what is essentially the Oscars of the luxury boating scene - the World Superyacht Awards.
Both motor yachts and sail yachts were judged in a number of categories by a panel of experts composed almost entirely of superyacht owners. The judges consulted with several naval architects and yacht-building firms to arrive at the criteria for selecting winners among numerous vessel types. The motor yachts fall into two categories: Displacement, for those that displace their own weight in water at all times, and Semi-displacement (or Planing), for those built more lightly that displace less than their total weight in water while under way at higher speeds.
The awards ceremony was held at the opulent Çırağan Palace Kempinski hotel adjacent to Istanbul's busy Bosphorus waterway. Each winner left with a King Neptune statuette, custom-made by Baccarat, and no doubt, lots of smiles. Here are this year's major categories and winning vessels (plus lots of additional images in the photo gallery):
2012 MOTOR YACHT AWARDS
Motor Yacht of the Year
"Tango has taken the styling of large superyachts a step forward, combining this new and elegant appearance with supreme engineering and construction from Feadship, and a well-considered layout both on her exterior decks and in her distinguished yet comfortable interior that was created by Eidsgaard Design." – The Judging Panel
The judges were evidently so wowed with Feadship's prowess that they felt Tango (Hull #802) should win not only for best motor yacht but also for best displacement motor yacht in her size category. It's easy to see why. From the design phase onward, Tango continually pushed the existing superyacht envelope. Special computer fluid dynamics (CFD) programs were developed for the exhaustive model tests that, with the help of four powerful engines, allowed Tango's builders to endow her with speeds of up to 21 knots - an impressive feat.
Other special features include a spa deck (complete with gym, massage salon and contra-flow pool), a full-beam main lounge, private owner's deck and a sun deck with Jacuzzi. Retractable zero-speed Rolls Royce stabilizers help keep guests from getting queasy, even while at anchor, and when they tire of the sea, there's even an outdoor cinema. For shore excursions, Tango also sports a 30 ft (9.14m) tender built by EYOS Tenders, Compass Tenders and Edmiston to perfectly match her distinctive look. Eidsgaard designed the interior and exterior for that, as well.
DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHT 3000GT AND ABOVE
Currently owned by Yuri Scheffler, CEO of Moscow-based firm, Soyuzplodimport (makers of Stolichnaya and other brands of vodka), the US$330 million Serene was the only entry in this class. For the time being, she's listed as the ninth largest yacht in the world. Known simply as Hull #6154 when work began on her back in 2007, she's thought to be one of the most technically advanced superyachts ever constructed.
Serene sports not one but two helicopter landing pads (plus a hangar) and her seven decks offer 48,439 sq. feet (4,500 sqm) of covered space. Guests afraid of things that bite can swim in the on-board shark-free saltwater pool or go below to the "Nemo" room where a thick glass panel allows safe viewing of local sea creatures. To keep the ostentation going after sunset, turquoise-colored neon runners outline the ship creating a striking visage on the water. A 36 foot (11m) tender rounds out the package.
DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHT OF 1,300GT TO 2,999GT
See Motor Yacht of the Year description above.
JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD – INTERIOR DESIGN WITH THE WIDEST APPEAL
So many of Numptia's luxury appointments seem to have been custom-made that she might have been called the M/Y Bespoke. No doubt her unique hand-woven oriental carpets and architect-designed exterior furnishings, custom built by the shipyard, swayed the judges votes. Interior walls, ceilings and floors, adorned with gently curved whitewashed teak, look to be easy on the eyes.
Then there's the Spa deck, complete with sauna, Turkish bath, gym, massage area and hair salon. At the center of it all, access to all decks is provided by both a roomy circular staircase and a glass elevator. Up above, the flying bridge holds a small custom-made swimming pool and a "touch and go" helicopter pad for those in need of a quick getaway.
DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHT OF 500GT TO 1,299GT
While she was in the planning stage, Kaiser's owners, fans of German engineering and durability, requested that their new yacht reflect those interests. To make sure they got it right, the designers referenced World War I battleship interiors and uniforms to help set the palette of colors to be used. Her all-steel hull (#6482) is topped with an aluminum superstructure, the interior of which is decorated with a very Germanic combination of timbers, metal inlay panels, detailed marquetry and tile.
DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHT OF BELOW 500GT
Launched last summer, the four-deck Helix is the fifth vessel in Feadship's F45 Vantage custom yacht series, unique among vessels of similar size for its placement of the master and guest cabins on the main deck - a feature that provides excellent vistas from each room. Her nautically-themed interior features light fabric wall coverings with dark mahogany trim, all tinged with a sense of Art Deco. Helix is currently touring Asia with stops planned in Hong Kong, Hainan, Singapore and Jakarta.
THREE DECK SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS
"A clear winner in this class - Satori is an attractive sub 500GT yacht built to very high standards in all areas, from mechanical, through technical to her space planning and interior decoration." – The Judging Panel
A stylish vessel you might expect to see in a Bond flick, aluminum-hulled Satori (Hull #YN 15250) takes her name from the Buddhist word for enlightenment that refers to the act of seeing into one's true nature - perhaps something every superyacht ought to help its owners to achieve. Among the fastest in her size range, Satori's clean lines, curved windows and furnishings understate the expertise needed to pull it all together. Exotic materials liberally used throughout, such as hand chiseled glass, palladium leaf ceilings and LED-backlit onyx surfaces hint that Satori's owners "true nature" might just be one of subtle sophistication.
TWO DECK & OPEN SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS
M/Y Shooting Star:
"Her interior offers excellent exterior visibility and is particularly bright, especially when the deckhead of the main deck saloon is open to the sky. The yacht was also considered to be equitably divided between technical areas, crew spaces and living areas for the owner and his guests, to make a well-rounded performance craft with an attractive interior and high quality construction." – The Judging Panel
An extremely light carbon-fiber hull and two powerful jet drives (powered by dual 4,750hp engines) combine to make the stylish US$23.68 million AeroCruiser 38 II superyacht Shooting Star the fastest in her class. Almost as amazing is that she can come to a full stop from top speed in only three boat lengths. Scandinavian styling is evident throughout, right down to Bang and Olufsen iPod docks in every cabin. A large tender garage at the stern holds an 11.5 ft (3.5m) Williams Jet Tender. She appears to be aptly named.
RAISED PILOTHOUSE SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS
"A winner does not necessarily have to be a new, cutting-edge design as long as it is well-conceived and superbly built. Aurelia fulfilled that description. Her unusual paint scheme gives a clue to her owner’s love of automobile racing, while her name celebrates the very first Gran Turismo – the Lancia Aurelia. A highly detailed design from Bannenberg & Rowell carries this theme forward with custom design details from successive ages of motoring history." – The Judging Panel
Painted bright orange and blue as an homage to the Gulf Oil company's racing team colors, the all-aluminum Aurelia (Hull #10) is automotive-themed throughout. The tasteful decor of her guest cabins was inspired by race car designers Ugo Zagato (Aston Martin green), Nuccio Bertone (Lamborghini orange) and Battista "Pinin" Farina (Ferrari red). Two Seakeeper gyro stabilizers help keep Aurelia from rocking so guests can enjoy their drinks in the aft cockpit or on the large 700 sq. ft. (65 sqm) sun deck, even while at anchor.
2012 SAILING YACHT AWARDS
SAILING YACHT OF THE YEAR
Vertigo was chosen for her 'extremely stylish exterior lines, combined with the extremely high build quality and the solutions to the engineering questions which this complex design from Philippe Briand had posed. Vertigo provides the optimum balance between performance sailing and world cruising, with neither compromising the other.’ -The Judging Panel
After seven years and over 800,000 man-hours, Vertigo finally hit the water in February of last year. Built for European owners and their young family, the ketch-rigged aluminum alloy flybridge superyacht was designed for extended cruising - so much so that it even has a high-tech classroom aboard. Her modern interior - with plenty of oak, walnut, stainless steel and leather - reflects the owners' desire for an "urban-at-sea" motif which seems to mesh well with the sleek lines of her hull and massive sails.
SAILING YACHT IN 40M+ SIZE RANGE
See Sailing Yacht of the Year description above.
JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARD – A NOTABLE CONTRIBUTION TO THE TECHNICAL ADVANCEMENT OF SAILING SUPERYACHTS
With an interior inspired by the colonial-style Raffles Hotel in Singapore, ketch-rigged Hetairos is an interesting blend of old and new that pushes yacht construction into a new realm. Her super-light, high-tech cold-molded hull, reminiscent of those on pilot cutters from a bygone era, is made from prepreg carbon skins over a Corecell and Nomex core. Inside, her rich woodwork interior, painted white and stained dark, successfully creates the illusion of solid heft, but, in fact, is made from the lightest possible materials, including quality hardwood veneers layers atop carbon foam/fiber and honeycomb cores.
SAILING YACHT 30M – 40M SIZE RANGE
S/Y Antares III:
"Antares III provided everything that made cruising a pleasure for her owner, including good sailing performance, a calm, understated interior, an ability to manage the yacht with just three crew, and good inter-connectivity between helm station, cockpit and pilothouse." – The Judging Panel
Sloop-rigged superyacht Antares III, as it turns out, is deceptively high-tech. She's almost a third lighter than aluminum vessels in the same class due to the innovative use of composites in her hull (post-cure epoxy Eglass/Carbon/Kevlar with an outer impact-resistant Kevlar layer) and carbon fiber in her rigging, spars and high-aspect rudder. Hydraulic furlers allow safe operation and further weight-reduction with a crew of only three. Inside, walnut plank floors, and plush sofas make for an understated but comfortable living space. In all, not a bad way to get around!
More images of all the winners can be found in the photo gallery.