Is extreme the new normal? photo 1

Is extreme the new normal?

Above 80 metres yacht design is changing. To an extent, it is even polarizing. In 1991 Eco* was launched and set in motion a wave of radicalism that is now gathering pace to such an extent that when a design is launched and people say “it will never get built”, it is a catalyst for construction. But there are important caveats.

* Sold twice by Edmiston, eco became enigma and is now called ZEUS.

There are three reasons why the new radical movement has grown so quickly.

The most impor tant, as always, is a new generation of owners that started with Russian oligarchs and grew to embrace U.S. tech billionaires with a number of the European elite joining the movement. These owners are from a totally dif ferent generation and mindset to yachting’s traditionalists.

Driven by new experiences, new ideas and making a statement, the centre of their world is a culture where radical design is an everyday expectation. At the same time, a new generation of designers has emerged, eager to provoke the question “why not?”.

Designers and owners have been enabled. Today we have the technology to build yachts that were impossible even five years ago. Owners have embraced the concept of custom construction to its fullest extent. Much of this is driven by a dramatic revolution in automotive design and the anarchic architecture of hotels, homes and offices. Technology has become the centre of this new design universe.

The yacht market is consolidating. Shipyards are reflecting contemporary society with the strong getting stronger. Order books at Feadship, Lürssen, Amels, Oceanco and Benetti have never been more full. As competition increases, shipyards need to increase and consolidate market share and brand recognition is paramount.

Ultra radical yachts are being built by Feadship and Oceanco because their reputation brings the confidence that these concepts wi ll be completed and have investment status – something that has escaped yachts for almost a decade. Lürssen is unquestionably the king of ‘big’ but the Dutch duo are world leaders in innovation.


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