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Behind the build: How to create a super-fast 59+ knot yacht

3 May 2022• Written by Laura Nicholls for AB Yachts

With a top speed of more than 59 knots, AB Yachts’ latest 30.5-metre design is one of the fastest luxury yachts on the market. 60 knots is around 110kmph, and at this speed, it is important to feel secure and stable on the water. That’s why, alongside her high-speed credentials, the AB 100 also offers passengers a safe and comfortable experience from start to finish.

To achieve this combination of speed and safety, AB Yachts utilised advanced construction technologies, lightweight materials, and waterjet propulsion. As this exclusive inside video shows, a huge amount of craftsmanship went into creating the sport-fly cruiser. Here the Italian builder unpacks its impressive three-step process for building an AB 100.

Step one: The design

AB Yachts intended for the AB 100 to be for owners who want to get from A to B quicker and more efficiently. The result is a yacht that can travel from downtown Miami to Cat Cays in the Bahamas in 45 minutes, or from New York City to The Hamptons in less than two hours. These high-speed journeys are further enhanced by premium levels of comfort made possible by the yacht’s Seakeeper gyro stabiliser and Humphree trim system – key elements of the design.

The AB 100 has been created for destinations with shallow waters – such as Florida and the Bahamas – in mind. The yacht’s shallow draft of 1.3 metres (4ft 3in) means that beaches and bays that would not be accessible by most superyachts can still be enjoyed.

Another key element of the design is the beam of 6.8 metres (22ft 3in). With this amount of space, the designers have a number of interior layouts available that can be easily tailored to suit individual owner preferences.

For example, the owner of the first unit has opted for a configuration that includes a 4-cabin layout: three guest cabins and a full-beam master stateroom on the lower deck aft. As with all AB Yachts, the interior design and decor have been customised to the owner’s personal taste.


Other features within the layout include large windows throughout and a sliding door that once completely open, disappears and connects the aft cockpit to the main saloon to form a large indoor-outdoor area.

The open-air cockpit, foredeck and flydeck are spacious enough to mimic a much larger motor yacht. This feeling of space continues to the stern where the fully-equipped beach area can house a 4.2 metre (14ft) tender, two Seabobs, paddleboards and diving equipment.

Step two: The construction

To run at high speeds, the AB 100 needed to be strong and reliable. Therefore, the shipyard chose a composite of glass and carbon fibre for the construction. These materials were put together with a sandwich vacuum technique that is further reinforced with carbon fibre – a technique derived from the aerospace industry. The result is a safe, solid and stable hull that is stronger than a traditional hull built using the lamination technique.

As proven by test driver Justin Ratcliffe in AB Yachts’ latest video, the AB 100 sails smoothly and tracks true with barely any vibration or noise felt or heard. 

Another achievement made by the yard’s construction team is the complex engineering of the yacht’s aft platform. At the touch of a button, the swimming platform can lift to a height great enough for the yacht’s tender to slip in underneath. The high-tech system makes it easy to launch and retrieve the tender, regardless of whether it is an owner or a crew member operating the system.

Step three: The propulsion

As a leader in the field of waterjet propulsion, AB Yachts consistently challenges what is possible in terms of speed and comfort. As a result, the AB 100 is the fastest yacht the yard has produced to date. When selected in a Superfast version, she is fitted with three MTU engines of 2,600 hp each coupled to two steerable MJP waterjets and a central booster jet. Controlled at the wheelhouse by a single joystick with intuitive touch control, the yacht’s propulsion package and systems achieve a smooth ride with outstanding manoeuvrability.

The key to the AB 100’s high performance is the waterjet propulsion system. Typically, moving at high speeds requires a lot of fuel, but this system needs about 25 litres (6.5 gallons) of fuel per nautical mile at cruising speed, which is 20% less than a similar yacht with conventional propulsion.

To see the AB 100 up close and learn more about her design, construction and propulsion, watch the full-length video here.

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