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Best Of The Best Part IV: Water

The Big Idea: Making Sustainability Sexy

Sustainability and the luxury world are not always easy bedfellows. And the disconnect between the two is particularly obvious within the marine realm, where many owners preach eco-everything until it comes to the rare woods and exotic stones that differentiate their vessels. “Everyone talks about the greater good,” says veteran yacht designer Greg Marshall. “But the difference is these people have money to buy whatever they want — and their yacht is a statement of the pinnacle of their lives.”

Probably the most striking example these days is teak, which is limited due to sanctions on Myanmar, where the best trees are found. “Burmese teak is more beautiful on decks than any other wood — plus it stays cool in the sun and feels good on the feet,” says Tankoa CEO Vincenzo Poerio. “Owners see it as the epitome of classic luxury.”

Synthetic teak is available, but though sustainable, performance isn’t there yet — it can be much hotter underfoot than real teak, for example. These new synthetics are better for smaller boats, says Poerio, or in areas like the beach club, where spills can’t stain the material. More sustainable woods such as cork and yellow cedar are utilised but don’t yet have the same status.

Marshall used a sustainable decking material made from smashed granite on his design Big Fish, which has cruised 450,000 miles in 12 years. The decking, which feels like walking on sand, has been resealed twice in that period. If it had been made from teak, it would have had to have been replaced two or three times. “It’s sustain- able and performs well, but our market doesn’t want it,” he says. “They want teak.”

The good news is that composite teak — teak waste fibres infused with resin — has the same visual appeal and performance
as the harvested wood. It provides the sustainability that is not attainable with the real thing. Marshall believes it will be more widely used in years to come.

Westport’s Sylvia Bolton has also seen engineered woods migrating into yacht interiors. They have the same look as wood planks but offer greater longevity. “They’re developed for high-end hospitality, which have stringent rules against flammability, making them ideal for yachts,” says Bolton.

The designers are witnessing the slow-but-gradual adoption of sustainable materials, but the battle has much to
do with market perception. Marshall is looking at mushroom-based leathers that he describes as “excellent,” while Poerio has witnessed advances in faux marble that could potentially compete with natural Carrara, so long as it’s given a chance to take hold with clients.

“We need to change the idea that luxury means only natural wood or marble,” says Poerio. “Once the quality is there and scales of efficiency drive the costs down, it will be a matter of marketing.”

Charter Yacht: Victorious

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Delivered just ahead of the Monaco Yacht Show in 2021, Victorious is fine-tuned to the tastes of its car- enthusiast owner. And it’s these personalised features that make the 279-footer so unusual — and attractive — for the charter market.

The gentleman’s club-style room on the sundeck is born from the owner’s desire to eschew a traditional open deck in favour of an enclosed snug (don’t panic, there’s an open aft deck, too). It’s a year- round, climate-controlled hub that’s as well-suited for exploring Nordic fjords as for adventuring in tropical climates. An open fireplace is flanked by a pair of grand mahogany speakers. The humidor, glass- fronted wine cellar and open-air terrace with built-in heaters add to the Gaucho aesthetic.

The largest build to come out of Turkey is also the most family friendly. Twelve guest suites include a full-beam VIP and an aft-facing owner’s suite with a Jacuzzi and a private terrace. All are named after F1 racetracks. A stateroom on the bridge deck is set up as a hospital room.
On the main deck, the owner has substituted the traditional salon with a kids’ playroom. For evenings of live music, the observation lounge has a baby grand piano, while the beach club, with its drop-down doors, pool, hammam and beauty salon, adds a luxurious finishing touch.

The boat has exceptional range, making it a legitimate world cruiser, that lets you sail the globe in luxury. Organised by Burgess, Victorious
is one of the most exciting charter yachts to emerge in years.

Superyacht: CRN Rio

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When CRN launched the 203-foot Rio in January, all eyes fell on the dedicated owner’s deck, which has the 775-square-foot private suite of our dreams. As owner areas go, it’s a head-turning design enhanced by the simple-but-functional vision of Italian studio Pulina Interiors. White, light and clean decor is paired with views that stretch across the private foredeck (with a spa pool and sun loungers) for precious alone time. The deck also features an office, a generous dressing room and his-and-hers bathrooms, with an interconnecting shower and bath for end-of-day soaks.

While it’s only proper that the owner should enjoy the best suite on board, the design team realised that special treatment for guests was also an option. Two full-beam VIP suites — one forward on the main deck (with its own grand dressing room), the other located amidships on the lower deck — are what edged Rio onto the winner’s podium. The immaculate sky lounge, which serves as a private salon for the owners but opens for soirées including all 12 guests onboard, sealed the deal. Rio will have a top end of 15 knots and a 4,500-nautical-mile range at 12 knots.

A consistent attention to detail runs throughout, with an elevator that serves the four decks, a sundeck pool, a gym plus a beach club with a chromotherapy shower and a hammam. Even the selection of toys — including a chase boat, a tender, E-Surfs, Lift Foils and inflatables — excels. Rio’s secret is ensuring that each area has a standout feature setting it apart from the conventional, much- repeated standards of superyacht design.

Gigayacht: Lürssen AHPO

GUILLAUME PLISSON

Beyond its colourful spa and multiple- level owner’s decks, this 378-footer from Lürssen has an interesting backstory. The Jamaican owner, who previously built the 283-foot Quattroelle with Lürssen, asked the same design firm, Nuvolari Lenard, to outdo itself with Ahpo. Three semi-circular windows in its profile are the only design cues Ahpo shares with Quattroelle. Otherwise, the boat is an entirely new creation, with sleek, proportionate lines that mask the internal volumes and a mast slightly reminiscent of an exhaust stack of a ’60s ocean liner.

The interior, however, is anything but a ship. The owner wanted a multilevel apartment for himself and his family, so the design team created a “family suite,” consisting of three staterooms and a palatial main suite with sea terraces on both sides. Up a staircase is the owner’s private salon, offering panoramic views.

The interior is a tapestry of whites, pale-coloured woods, stone and omnipresent curves, including the ceilings. The mix of natural illumination and classic-but-slightly- out-there design makes for a fun but elegant celebration of the good life. That’s most apparent in the spa, with a round, ceramic-tiled pool in the centre of the lower level and relaxing seating all around. The hammam is Arabic- influenced, with tiles on the wall, a central white fountain and twinkling LED stars above.

Ahpo has a lot of glass throughout, not only for the exterior doors and windows but also in a corridor where the owner wanted guests to be able to see operations in the engine room without disturbing the engineer. Details, both large and small, are what distinguish Ahpo from its gigayacht peers.

Beach Club: Bilgin Tatiana

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The beach club aboard the 263-foot Tatiana caught our attention the moment the yacht hit the water. Designed for an owner who despises design clichés, the sweeping two-level beach club is a formula for how to achieve spectacular waterside living with a sense of style.

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Conceived primarily by Unique Yacht Design, the club’s lower-level centrepiece is a 30-foot-long freshwater pool that offers far-reaching views out to sea. The pool is joined by a wet bar forward with glass columns, Carrara marble and a backlit blue-agate floor that bring on the Gatsby vibe. There is also a steam room, a shower and a dedicated massage room with its own side terrace for an overwater treatment. At anchor, with the transom door and two side terraces unfolded, the club measures 1,520 square feet.

Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is the dramatic stairway linking the main salon. Macassar wood and white Carrara-marble stairs are coupled with teak strips and backlit panels. On the upper level, a second cocktail bar is joined to a spa pool, with clear windows in the floor that dapple the beach club below in diffused light.

Motor Yacht: wallywhy200

Gilles Martin-Raget

The wallywhy200 is a rule-breaker starting with its name. While “why” stands for “Wally hybrid yacht,” the hybrid isn’t about diesel-electric propulsion but rather a mixed motor-yacht- trawler design that combines a relatively modest length overall — 88 feet, 8 inches — with a broad beam of just over 25 feet that delivers 199 gross tonnes. That’s not weight, but interior volume equaling 20,000 cubic feet, or about the interior size of a 165-foot superyacht.

Those dimensions provide a clue about Wally’s high-volume design philosophy. But instead of subdividing the yacht into as many compartments as possible, Wally founder Luca Bassani went big with individual spaces like the teak-covered aft cockpit, the main-deck salon and the glass-encased central stairway that is both structural support and architectural detail. That staircase, the link between the main-deck and below-deck salons, is probably the most unconventional detail in a boat that’s determined to rewrite the rules for wide-body design.

There are other notable features, such as the main suite forward, with windows that run all the way around the bow, offering 270-degree views. Or the angular, carbon-fibre hard top that encloses the upper helm and social area, which are divided by a glass door. Or the stern, which measures 25 feet, 2 inches and has foldout sides that deliver an additional 8 feet at anchor. The area is a water lover’s playground.

Bassani, often years ahead of the rest of yacht design, likens the wallywhy200 to a Porsche Cayenne. “Nobody did a luxury, sporty SUV before that,” he says. “But a few years later, they were everywhere.” All we can say is: why not?

Weekend Cruiser: Lamborghini Tecnomar

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Boat builders that have joined forces with high-profile automakers to establish a name on the water have generally failed. One that seems to be bucking that trend is the around £2.8 million Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63. First and foremost, it’s not just a Raging Bull badge attached to a hull: as one would expect from the name, it’s a stylish, very fast weekend cruiser infused with Lamborghini DNA, along with nods to some of the automaker’s latest supercars.

The 63-footer’s sleek styling is heavily influenced by Lamborghini’s 220 mph limited-edition Sián FKP 37 hybrid hypercar — even down to its Verde Gea paintwork. The twin leather helm seats are like those of a Huracán Evo, while the instrument panel and steering wheel are lookalike versions of the Aventador’s. The hexagonal shapes above and below decks — and even on the 63’s profile — are unmistakably Lamborghini. Items like stern lights, which

you won’t find on any other boat, the milled rope stanchions recalling the shape of Lambo exhaust pipes and even the door handle on the fridge, shaped like a Lamborghini’s, add an authenticity to the design. Perhaps the coolest feature is the automotive-style helm station, which comes complete with a “Corsa” or “Race” mode setting like the supercar’s dash. With a pair of MAN V-12 diesels, each packing 2,000 hp, the 63 can hit a top speed of close to 70 mph.

Of course, it’s a boat, and Tecnomar did a good job integrating the open bow and stern areas with the rest of the vessel, incorporating spacious lounges and sunbeds for enjoyment at anchor. The second 63 is destined for the US this summer, while hull number one reportedly was delivered to Irish martial-arts champ Conor McGregor. Raging Aquatic Bull indeed.

Electric Boat: Vita Lion

Vita Lion Electric Boat  Courtesy

Most of the electric boats on the market these days are 20-something-foot models, some designed for slow cruising, others with a peppy top end but limited range. The Vita Lion shows the potential for electric boats — now. With a length of nearly 35 feet, a top speed of 40.2 mph and a 58-minute charge time, this is a real day cruiser that just happens to have electric power. Its Vita V4 proprietary operating system generates 590 hp, with a cool touchscreen interface at the helm.

As with all EVs, acceleration is instantaneous. The open layout, with the double sunbed aft and an open stern with steps down to the water, is easy to love, and the cockpit has four single seats and a bench that’s reconfigurable into a U-shaped dining area with a removable table. It can comfortably accommodate up to eight people on board. There’s also a forward cabin that can be outfitted with a berth and head, while the foredeck has Esthec synthetic teak for slip resistance and sustainability (see p. 73) as well as an electric anchor at the bow.

Priced at around £1.2 million, the boat was introduced last year at the Monaco Yacht Show, but the first production model is being built at Hodgdon Yachts in Maine for completion later this summer. The Lion leads the way for electric vessels that want to be boats, not toys.

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