A distinguished panel of designers and yacht industry professionals gathered in London in late November to debate and dissect the finalists for the 11th annual BOAT International Design and Innovation Awards. The competition drew 151 superyacht entries spread among 12 categories and representing 68 different new yachts and tenders.
The competition encompasses all aspects of superyachts from interior and exterior design to naval architecture, and to specialist categories such as best tender design, innovation, environmental operation and lifestyle feature design.
“The entries represent the breadth of the market and from year to year the quality just goes from strength to strength,” said co-chair of the panel Marilyn Mower, who is editor-at-large for BOAT International. “It’s a showcase of the recent development of the superyacht industry in microcosm.”
The categories that drew the greatest numbers of entries were those for the design and styling of the largest custom motor yachts and the category for Best New Series, which is typically composed of smaller production and semi-custom yachts.
“We had entries from the 24-metre YXT24 Evolution to as large as 136-metre Flying Fox. That’s a lot of room for creativity,” Mower said. “Fresh thinking in the structural use of glass, interior layouts for various modern lifestyles and luxury features such as large pools, elaborate spas, an IMAX theater and multi-story atriums really captured the judges’ attention.”
“We were very pleased with the excellent response to the Innovation of the Year category. The entries, which ran the gamut from electronics, advanced hybrid propulsion, a unique stability system for sailing yachts, and a radical approach to glass engineering, prove that technical innovation is alive and well in the yachting world,” said co-chair Cecile Gauert, executive editor for BOAT’s US edition. “We also had a record number of entries in the tender categories and were grateful for the guidance of our tender sub-committee, which includes a professional superyacht captain.” Enclosed “limousine” tenders, many of which are custom designed to reflect the look of the mothership, have their own category separate from the open or sport boat tenders.
Joining the judging panel this year were noted yacht interior designers Donald Starkey of the UK and Alexandre Thiriat of France. Returning judges include lighting design specialist Sally Storey (UK), automotive design icons Steffen Kohl (Germany) and Fabrizio Giuagiaro (Italy), furniture designer Tim Gosling (UK), naval architects James Roy and Merfyn Owen (UK), interior designer Cristina de Basto (US), Design Centre Managing Director Claire German (UK), luxury accessories and furniture retailer Sabrina Monteleone-Oeino (Monaco), superyacht captain and project manager Robert Corcoran (US) and maritime advisor and lawyer John Leonida (UK).
The winners of the 2020 BOAT International Design and Innovation Awards will be revealed on 2 February in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, at the opening night of the Superyacht Design Festival.
Editor’s Note: Competing yachts must have been delivered between 30 October 2018 and 24 October 2019 and measure 24m and longer. Tenders must be launched in the same period and be in service to an existing yacht.