New widebody yachts add a new dimension to life on board – Robb Report
It’s no secret that size matters in the yacht world, but for a forward-looking generation of builders, it’s what’s inside that matters. Maximizing interior space has become the go-to approach for many brands, with the Ferretti Yachts 1000, Princess X95, Benetti Oasis, Wally WHY200, Sanlorenzo SX112 and Azimut Grande Trideck, all launched over the past year, joining many larger custom superyachts in a quest to increase usable interior space.
“The layout of the X95 offers 40% more interior space than a traditional motor yacht,” explains Richard Dart, senior designer at Princess. “You can fit a 95-foot boat into most marinas, and when you increase the interior by 40%, that attracts customers who could live on board, especially in today’s climate. “
How to keep the profile slim – or at least not bloated – is the trick. “That was the hard part,” says Dart. “As we increased the volume, we worked with the aesthetics of the X95, using features like a horizontal deck line that runs from bow to stern, to reduce the feeling of height. “
“The upper deck has a nice shape and the use of glass gives it a clean look,” says Daniele Mazzon, chief designer of Pininfarina yachts, who worked closely with Princess on the exterior of the X95. “The goal was to have two large decks, with a flybridge and a saloon that one would find on a larger superyacht, with a fluid profile.”
But adding more space doesn’t just mean expanding existing areas; builders are also looking to create new designs. Hence the expansive full beam lounge on the SX112 and the multi-level beach club on the Ferretti 1000. the X95.
But not everyone is a fan of the full-bodied new generation. “The design is not very happy, in my opinion,” says veteran Italian yacht designer Tommaso Spadolini. “It appeals to customers who want space but aren’t as performance-conscious. The same has happened in the auto industry, ”he adds, and it’s clear he didn’t intend the comparison to be a compliment. Designer Philippe Briand agrees that “there is a risk in pushing the limits”, as the trade-offs for a larger (albeit more beautiful) interior include reduced seaworthiness and ride comfort.
“This trend will continue,” says Bart Bouwhuis, co-creative director of the Dutch design firm Vripack, because “with the young owners, the definition of what a yacht should be has changed”. The goal now, he says, is not to travel between destinations but to have new experiences. “They want to drop anchor for a week, snorkel and dive with their kids. It’s a house at sea.
Princess’s Dart says the high-volume approach will apply to the brand’s new X80, while Ferretti Group COO Stefano de Vivo says the 1000 will be followed by smaller models, though Bouwhuis believes space-maximizing interiors will be more common on large superyachts attempting to remain below 500 gross tonnes of interior volume, in which case the vessel is regulated more like a vessel.
A ripple effect of the new design approach is an evolving aesthetic consideration. “If the concept is strong and the exterior matches the interior design, then it will express its own beauty,” Briand says. “At least to its owner.”