After last year's virtual prize-giving, the 2022 Design & Innovation Awards welcomed the return of the in-person awards ceremony in Milan, held as part of the Superyacht Design Festival. Each of this year's entries represented the spirit and determination of the shipyards, naval architects and designers to persevere and continue to make deliveries in the face of everchanging covid regulations and supply-chain chaos. An independent panel of judges had the difficult task of selecting winners from a large pool of worthy finalists. Here are the winners of the 2022 Boat International Design & Innovation Awards...
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 24m to 39.9m - Koju
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m - Al Waab
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 60m and above - Viva
Outstanding Exterior Design, Sailing Yachts - Taniwha
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below - Al Waab
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 500GT and Above - Synthesis
Judges’ Commendation: Bliss's staircase
Best Interior Design, Sailing Yachts: Audrey the First
Best Naval Architecture, Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts: Stefania
Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts: Al Waab
Best Naval Architecture, Sailing Yachts: Perseverance 1
Best New Series: Motopanfilo 37M
Eco Award: Perseverance 1, Reduction in power consumption
Outstanding Lifestyle Feature: wallywhy200, Master cabin
Innovation of the Year Winner: 90 Ocean, X-TEND
Tender of the Year: T/T Viva - Limo
Lifetime Achievement Award: Gerard Dijkstra
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 24m to 39.9m
Benetti’s newest entry in its semi-custom range hit all the right notes with the Design and Innovation Awards judges. Although the builder calls the model’s design ethos classical and “rooted in the 1960s”, our panel found the exterior profile styling freshly effortless. They also appreciated the clever use of the sundeck hardtop to house a nearly flush and therefore hidden and intimate crow’s nest. The long horizontal lines are broken with simple, repeating 45-degree cuts for contrast. The design maximises the strengths of a displacement yacht and the volume is well used in an appealing exterior deck arrangement, with plentiful exterior seating and lots of dining options. She is built with a teak deck and composite hull and superstructure.Read More/Koju: On board the first Benetti Motopanfilo 37M
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m
With the client setting a limit on gross tonnes rather than length, the designers could be assured of sufficient room for harmony and balance – two elements that define Al Waab’s profile. The bridge is more like a raised pilothouse than another full deck, a feature that helps to enhance the length-to-height ratio. Glass railings and a spare number of lines contribute to an exterior that’s clean and contemporary. This full-custom project was designed as a weekend retreat the owner can anchor near shore to entertain with an emphasis on indoor/outdoor living areas, including an attractive outdoor kitchen. Side deck overheads are dark and aft deck overheads have wood inlays, an element the judges felt enhanced homogeneous design and met the owner’s brief to temper any potential overabundance of natural light.
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 60m and Above
Viva’s clean lines and lean profile are the result of several years of design, revision and redesign. While not all the Design and Innovation Awards judges were completely on board with the proliferation of chromed stanchions, they were in agreement that the sleek lines of the hull and superstructure are undeniably crisp and purposeful. There is nothing hesitant in the profile, and it stood out among the other entries in this category as original and immediately recognisable. The layout of the 94 metre’s exterior living spaces, from covered and open-air dining for 18 to two pools, an elaborate alfresco gym and cosy main deck seating fronting an aft deck bar, is deftly handled. The design team and owners have created a magnificent environment for large-scale onboard entertainment.
Outstanding Exterior Design, Sailing Yachts
As Southern Wind’s latest 105, Taniwha is so highly customised inside and out that she has led to a new species, the 105GT. Built for a customer who wanted to push the performance quotient to the limit, the builder and designers rethought design, layout and construction, shaving 5.7 tonnes from the weight of her sisterships. The deckhouse has been retooled with sports-car styling and a glass coachroof and matching crew hatch. The cockpit is wider and shallower, and its seating areas appear to float above the deck, providing ample opportunity for atmospheric night-time LED lighting. The rolled teak caprail on the coaming is a noteworthy feature made with veneer over a cored composite, which is perfectly executed to look like the adjoining deck’s thick hardwood planking.Read More/Taniwha: Southern Wind's new 35m regatta-ready sailing superyacht
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below
Interior designer Vripack
Naval architect Vripack
Builder Alia Yachts
On this, the longest entry to stay below 500GT among this year’s entries, the design team made the most of the interior spaces afforded by full walkarounds to create an unconventional main deck layout. The judges appreciated the harmonious alignment of the interior functions with the window features on this full-custom project. An ergonomic layout supports crew movement, while locating the galley and crew mess on the main deck frees room for six guest cabins below without impinging on crew or service areas. The judges also applauded the split-level owners’ suite for adding an element of elegant drama. Bamboo slats on the saloon overhead reduce glare from huge windows by day without having to resort to shades. The designers also cleverly hid indirect sources for ambient lighting instead of relying on downlights.Read More/Al Waab: How Alia Yachts delivered a 55m titan in two years
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 500GT and Above
The owner greatly modified the standard arrangement of this Amels 242 large series yacht, a development that was met with widespread approval from the Design and Innovation Awards judges. With room settings that can be configured in different ways, the emphasis is on a more casual lifestyle that allows Synthesis’s owner to host large groups of friends and family. Eliminating the main deck dining saloon was key to providing flow and a better guest experience for those accommodated on the main and lower decks. The owner’s area breaks the mould with a forward-facing retreat that includes a private spa pool and sundeck. Modern joinery styles and surfaces, the backlit onyx staircase and bright colours all complement the contemporary artwork aboard this 74-metre Amels.
Judges’ Commendation: Bliss’s Staircase
Designer: Remi Tessier
An owner’s request for wide hallways was transferred onto the design of this remarkable central staircase – and the end result is grand and beautiful without relying on bling. Clear glass balustrades and a simple, exquisite unbroken wooden handrail accentuate the spaciousness of this floating spiral. Everything is reflected to great effect in the high-gloss staircase surround, making this a stunning central talking point on the 94.7-metre Feadship.
Best Interior Design, Sailing Yachts
Audrey the First
This highly customised Nautor’s Swan flagship took the top spot for personalisation and, as one judge described it, “pure execution of detail”. Customising furniture on a production sailing yacht involves risk, but it paid off handsomely here. The design and build team created a modernised classic sailing yacht interior with a more cosy feel than usually found on modern performance cruisers. The saloon, with its two large hull-side windows, is a stand-out feature. The adaptable seating can be turned into day beds or regular-depth seating for lounging or dining. The use of a simplified fielded panelling style, a muted palette, leather and contemporary textiles unifies the look. An owner-requested wine bar that transitions from guest to crew space is another smart feature that earned extra points for layout innovation.
Best Naval Architecture, Semi-displacement Or Planing Motor Yachts
The field for this category largely used tried-and-tested formulas, and the highest scores came from yachts designed to perform at 20 to 24 knots in a tight group separated by just 3.5 points. The top finisher is similar to a previous design that had been evaluated highly in the past, and the evolution that resulted in Stefania was thorough and well documented. Small changes created for this 41-metre version by the design and build team paid dividends when balancing the goals of speed, long range, restricted draught, comfort and efficiency. The addition of the naval architect’s aft foil Hull Vane development and curved stabiliser fins further enhanced comfort and efficiency. When visiting her soon after launch, BOAT International described her as “forty-one metres of golden hull, glinting in the summer sunshine – a vision of optimism.”Read More/Stefania: On board Dynamiq's new 41m golden superyacht
Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts
Naval architect Vripack
Builder Alia Yachts
The candidates for this award were diverse, ranging from 36 metres to 80 metres. Fortunately, a complex scoring matrix reduces performance to a numbers analysis, although our panel also considers innovation, completeness and coherence of the presentation, as well as the naval architect’s thoroughness of development and the balance of volume, length and fuel efficiency relative to each yacht’s mission. In the end, the top three yachts scored within eight points of each other. Although a tricky puzzle to solve, Al Waab pulled ahead as a solid, smart design that’s slightly more efficient than its fellow nominees. Further tipping the balance in her favour was the holistic element of her naval architecture, exterior styling and interior arrangement, which our judges appreciated.
Best Naval Architecture, Sailing Yachts
The naval architecture subcommittee found the contenders for this category to be a very strong group, with impressive innovation, technical achievements and sailing ability. All entries were similar-sized sloops, and all have their performance characteristics aligned with their mission. On final analysis, Perseverance 1 ticked the boxes for best performance in light air thanks to her advanced construction materials and methods, carbon-fibre spars and standing rigging. She scored extra points for a rig geometry that enables quick sail adaptation to match environmental conditions, thus allowing her to sail for long periods. The hull, lifting keel and rudder were devised via CFD analysis for a balanced helm and manual steering. Given her passage-maker mission, high bulwarks and deep cockpits provide extra safety for guests and crew.
Best New Series
Citing that this model ticks all the boxes, the Design and Innovation Awards judges found the layout, styling, proportions and clever outdoor living spaces of this new offering from Benetti as the entry most likely to succeed in the marketplace. The yacht certainly came up against stiff competition this year, with an original entry list including an impressive 16 boats. However, after narrowing the list down to nine finalists, the panel singled out the looks, lifestyle and price point of the Motopanfilo, which is the first of a new line replacing the Benetti Classic series. One judge summed up the 37M neatly by saying, “It’s very easy to see why this yacht hits the sweet spot.” Benetti describes the yacht as “an elegant design that evokes memories of the best nautical traditions”.
Perseverance 1 - Reduction in Power Consumption
Builder Baltic Yachts
Naval architect Dykstra Naval Architects
Exterior stylist Dykstra Naval Architects
Interior designer deVosdeVries design
It may seem that a sailing yacht entering the Eco category has an advantage, but the owner of the winning yacht went far beyond simply using sails. With his encouragement, the build team hit upon six methods of energy saving. One of the most interesting fuel-saving ideas lays in the elimination of individual seawater cooling pumps, replacing them with a shared central unit and using a frequency converter to control its speed and limit the flow of seawater to demand. Along with a zero-emission electric propulsion motor, waste heat recovery, auto controls on lights and AC zones, two small Tier III-compliant variable speed gensets and the free-wheeling propeller-charging batteries when sailing, Perseverance 1 has documented 70 litres per day diesel savings while operating in owner mode.
Outstanding Lifestyle Feature
wallywhy200 - Master cabin
While the judges were divided on the wallywhy200’s exterior, they were unanimous on the appeal of its main suite, calling it a star in its class. The area, located forward on the main deck, also scored points for innovation. The model is engineered around this feature, unlocking extra interior volume on this deck by relocating all the anchor operations to the deck below and putting nothing but glass between the guest and the outdoors. It has created a sensational and unprecedented 37-square-metre owner’s suite with 270-degree views at the bow. Moreover, it is unconstrained by side decks, giving it unsurpassed privacy and a sensation of floating out over the water. While a handful of much larger yachts have featured observation areas at the bow, this elevates the onboard suite experience of a modest-size yacht to a new level.Read More/On board the spaceship-style wallywhy200 superyacht from Wally
Innovation of the Year
90 Ocean - X-Tend (Stern)
Developer Sunseeker International
Naval architect Sunseeker International
Proving that a yacht does not have to be large to sport innovations, this year’s winner is one of the smallest yachts to enter – but this innovation helps it punch well above its weight. Sunseeker’s design and engineering team rethought the vessel’s entire aft area, creating a transformer of a stern door that morphs into beach club seating, toy stowage and a main deck extension at the push of a button. Creating lounge seating above the swim platform eliminates the need to carry and stow chaises. Opening in another direction, it solves the problem of toy access and storage without a space-intensive lazarette. But perhaps its neatest function is adding extra space to the main deck when raised in its upper position. This fresh thinking helps a yacht with an LOA of just 27.1 metres live large.
Tender of the Year
T/T Viva - Limo
Naval architect Farr Yacht Design
Exterior stylist RWD
Interior designer RWD
"Pure aesthetics” is how one judge described the limo tender designed for 94-metre Viva, but that’s only half the equation. Its 14-metre LOA and 4.1-metre beam make it the size of craft usually carried on a support vessel, but smart engineering and a patented folding bimini allows this deep V hull to slide into the garage with centimetres to spare. At first glance it looks like a sport tender, but the T-top, sunpads and low-profile seating for 12 belie a luxury interior with appointments to match the mothership. Hidden drinks stowage, leather sofas, four curved TV screens, teak and aluminium planked sole, concealed RGBW lighting, full-length windows, sliding-glass doors and large skylights make this 41-knot tender unique in its class. Access is available bow, stern, and sides, and the integrated rub/spray rails are a brilliant touch.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Gerard Dijkstra is a man of contradictions. He’s a single-handed sailor who built a thriving naval architecture team. A luxury yacht designer who built 150 workboats. And he’s just as happy drawing rigs for clippers as designing an advanced unstayed rotating mast for a superyacht.
Dijkstra parlayed the skills of a charter boat captain, around-the-world race navigator and mathematician into a career culminating in one of the world’s most successful yacht design firms. His five-decades-long career has included an incredible range of new builds from Athena to Hetairos, Stad Amsterdam to Maltese Falcon, and the 53 Bestevaer series sailboats to Black Pearl. His role in the revival of J Class yachts cannot be overstated, with refits of Endeavour, Velsheda and Shamrock, plus new builds in Hanuman and Rainbow.
He’s a stickler for solving complex engineering problems through innovation and research. Yet from experience he also understands how a boat behaves under challenging conditions. His career also includes navigating Flyer to her Whitbread victory and Windrose to her transatlantic monohull record, and for significant projects from his first superyacht refit, Adix, in 1991, to the launch of Perseverance 1 in 2021. A deserving winner indeed of the Lifetime Achievement Award.