Design & Innovation Awards winner 2024

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The winners of the BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards 2024 revealed

28 January 2024 • Written by Hannah Rankine

The winners of the BOAT Design & Innovation Awards have been revealed in a glamorous ceremony attended by the industry's most celebrated designers, naval architects and shipyards. Held in the alpine town of Kitzbühel, Austria, during the Superyacht Design Festival, the awards acknowledge everything from styling and naval architecture to the innovative and eco-friendly attributes of today's more impressive superyachts. Meet the winners of this year's awards as decided by an independent panel of judges...

Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 24m to 39.9m: Bolide 80
Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 40m to 59.9m: Pink Shadow
Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 60m and above: Leona
Outstanding Exterior Design - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa
Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 39.9m and below: Maiora 35 Exuma
Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 40m and above: Ace
Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts, 500GT and above: Entourage
Best Interior Design - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa
Best Naval Architecture - Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts: Oceanic 143
Best Naval Architecture - Displacement Motor Yachts: Ace and Milele
Best Naval Architecture - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa
Best New Series: Conrad C144S
Eco Award: Sarissa
Outstanding Lifestyle Feature: InFYnito 90
Innovation of the Year: Sarissa
Tender of the Year: 1010
Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Mulder

Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 24m to 39.9m: Bolide 80

LOA: 24.9m
Exterior designer: Victory Design-Brunello Acampora
Naval architect: Victory Design-Brunello Acampora
Builder: Victory Design

First-time entrant Bolide 80 by Victory Design garnered the most votes, leading the second-place finisher, the Sanlorenzo SX100, by 12 points. The judges appreciated the boat's all-carbon harmonious lines, perfectly in keeping with its mission as a boat capable of reaching 70 knots, and those on the panel with an automotive design background particularly appreciated the nods to great car design. They also noted the consistency between the interior, where the visible carbon structure is used to great effect, and the outside, a unity that demonstrated a holistic approach to the design of what is meant to be a limited series for connoisseurs. Despite it being the smallest boat in a field that included what judges acknowledged as other innovative and harmonious designs, it managed to make the biggest statement.

Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 40m to 59.9m: Pink Shadow

LOA: 58m
Exterior designer: Azure Yacht Design
Naval architect: Damen Yachting
Builder: Damen Yachting

This eye-catching new entry in Damen Yachting’s SeaXplorer series differs from previous launches by its longer hull and dark green colour. On board Pink Shadow, the judges particularly appreciated the treatment of the open beach club area and the versatility of the aft section of the main deck, which serves equally well as a fun place to entertain as a garage to haul tenders and toys while underway. They remarked on the clever use of louvres and the expansive acreage at water level. It did not meet unanimous approval in terms of its “beauty”, but it edged out other contenders with its deck layout, the fact that it makes a strong and lasting statement and for being a very well-done example of the “SUV yacht”, multifunctional and fun. The bold choices the owners, designers and shipyard made earned this unconventional yacht its place at the top.

Outstanding Exterior Design - Motor Yachts, 60m and above: Leona

LOA: 80m
Exterior designer: Unique Yacht Design
Naval architect: Unique Yacht Design
Builder: Bilgin Yachts

This was one of the most hotly debated categories this year. Not unlike the winner in the 40- to 59.9-metre category, Leona (a sistership to 2022 BDA finalist Tatiana) makes a bold statement with her red hull and elongated profile and not unlike Pink Shadow, it was this strong design statement that secured her a first-place win as the judges deemed her memorable among designs that “played it safe”, from her stunning beach club to the larger owner’s deck at the top.

The judges also remarked that her clean, linear design belies her size effectively while her relatively narrow beam still yields generous decks and interior volume. She placed ahead of the Amels Entourage, which came in as a close second.

Outstanding Exterior Design - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa

LOA: 59.7m
Exterior designer: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design
Naval architect: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design
Builder: Royal Huisman

In a field of strong nominees, the level of development and detail on board Sarissa, which is based on a performance cruising boat profile, won the judges over. They remarked on the “stunning coachroof” perfectly sleek and integrated; the “very clean” design made possible by the hidden captive winches and hardware; the “lovely shapes”; and the design and execution level of the exterior furniture in the very livable cockpit, which several judges said they had never seen to date on a sailing yacht. The design perfectly reflects the brief of the experienced owners who wished for a modern-looking yacht with easy water access, comfort, shade, infinite water views, a Jacuzzi and a climbing wall, along with performance. From bow to stern, no detail has been overlooked.

Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 39.9m and below: Maiora 35 Exuma

LOA: 35.2m
Interior designer: NEXT Yacht Group
Naval architect: NEXT Yacht Group
Builder: NEXT Yacht Group

The judges used words such as “peaceful” and “organic” to describe the Maiora 35 Exuma. Those comments echo the owner’s brief exactly. Attracted to the asymmetrical platform for its volume and versatility, the owner asked the yard to design the interior in-house, capitalising on “gentle forms of nature”, and create an indoor-outdoor vibe in harmony with the sea. He requested natural and recycled materials as much as possible. Floor-to-ceiling glazed surfaces blur the boundaries on the main deck, and the upper deck saloon obliterates them with an opening moonroof and drop-down glass panels port and starboard, turning the space into a flying bridge. An undulating overhead treatment in the saloon cleverly envelops LED strip lighting. A unique layout puts both the owner’s cabin and the wheelhouse on the main deck, allowing four guest cabins below.

Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 40m and above: Ace

LOA: 44.3m
Interior designer: M2atelier
Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design
Builder: Conrad Shipyard

Ace is a yacht that lives larger than her length and tonnage would indicate thanks to some design tricks based on simplicity and mirrored window mullions. To this canvas, the designer applied interesting geometric details and a pleasing colour palette. A less is more approach does not mean minimalist but rather relies on a concerted effort by the designers to deconstruct the “formal and institutional dress code of nautical design at odds with a comfortable, relaxed, contemporary lifestyle”. Most furniture is free-standing for a fluid, informal concept. The look relies on a few carefully picked materials, with light wood (oak inside, teak outside), marble, grey leather, light coloured fabric and dark metal taking the lead. Light is used consciously to lend depth, create volume and shape perceptions of the spaces.

Best Interior Design - Motor Yachts, 500GT and above: Entourage

LOA: 60m
Interior designer: Burdifilek
Naval architect: Damen Yachting
Builder: Amels

A very elegant and different design is what several judges termed Entourage's interior, which is particularly intriguing in that it appears in a series yacht. And all the more impressive because it is a commercial space designer’s first yacht. Rather than splashing concepts on a blank canvas, the designer took time to thoroughly study how yacht interiors need to function. The storyline developed around a highly customised envelope with a global vision, tranquility and elegance, and inviting relaxation while taking the owner’s art collection into account. Focusing on ergonomics and seaworthiness, but with a certain delicateness, brings lightness to the interior. Interest is supplied by carefully selected textures combining stone with leather and glass, plus the tones of grey, pinks and blue. Also of note is how the yacht transforms, shifting from day to night, evoking a different feeling altogether.

Judges’ Commendation: Virtuosity

LOA: 56.5m
Interior designer: Lissoni & Partners
Naval architect: Sanlorenzo
Builder: Sanlorenzo

Describing the curvaceous staircase on board Virtuosity as “breathtaking”, a “masterpiece” and “pure sex”, the judges were captivated by its beautiful architecture, noting its thinness of construction and unique use of Corian and steel for the materials. The main structure is in stainless steel, which was hidden under the composite material and then painted. It is a flexible structure, which was tested off the boat before it was installed and secured with hidden stiffeners and fastenings. Architect Piero Lissoni, who designed this feature for the custom yacht, declined to disclose the solutions to the motion conundrum and how exactly they handled the flex. Whatever its secrets, the judges felt this magnificent architectural piece was fully deserving of a commendation.

Best Interior Design - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa

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LOA: 59.7m
Interior designer: Liaigre
Naval architect: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design
Builder: Royal Huisman

In Greek, sarissa means a long, sharp spear. Its innovation in the third century BCE facilitated Alexander the Great’s empire, thus it is synonymous with technology, speed, strength and excellence. This Sarissa is all those things in a very private family boat destined for long passages and time at anchor. The interior is relaxed, homelike, fresh in chic simplicity and intelligent in the use of space. Vertical portlights drove the interior arrangement and led to the development of custom furniture that would not obscure the views, nor are features such as chainplates, sloping hull sides or the keel trunk hidden. The colour palette is simple with clear light oak, white lacquer and accenting leather. The unpredictability of the layout is a key feature. All cabins are unique, corridors gently curve, stairs are off centreline, the owner’s suite flows to a private beach club and the cinema hosts cosy elevated reading nooks.

Best Naval Architecture - Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts: Oceanic 143

LOA: 43.5m
Naval architect: Giovanni Senatire-Canados and Arrabito Naval Architects
Builder: Cantieri di Ostia - Canados

The words semi-displacement and long-range explorer rarely co-exist in any brief, yet that was the challenge posed by the Oceanic 143's owner who also insisted on a long, open aft deck. With Canados’ in-house engineers assisted by Arrabito Naval Architects and the Italian National Institute for Naval Architecture Studies and Testing, CFD design was followed by three weeks of tank testing for the hull with various bulb shapes. A shorter wave-piercing type proved the best at boosting efficiency under 15 knots, especially with the centreline engine switched off. The next issue became draught control, and this was addressed via semi-tunnels for all three propellers with hull bottom strakes and a partial keel directing water flow. The hull flattens as it moves aft, two massive steps keeping it from digging too deep as it achieves planing speed at 17 knots and tops out near 26 knots. For stability at anchor, the boat relies on a large gyrostabiliser.

Best Naval Architecture - Displacement Motor Yachts: Ace

LOA: 44.3m
Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design
Builder: Conrad Shipyard

After submitting all entries to calculations, the naval architecture sub-committee discovered two yachts with identical top scores. Subsequent analysis could not find a hair’s breadth of difference in their efficiency for their missions or the smartness of their solutions, resulting in a tie between Ace and Milele. Ace, an owner’s first custom yacht, began with a proven hull platform for yachts of 30 to 40 metres that was stretched and then modified with a straight bow for increasing volume, lengthening the waterline and reducing resistance through the speed range. CFD testing showed that the yacht could be powered to her designed hull speed with just a pair of 500kW engines. In fact, this and a conscious look at weight reduction gives 497GT Ace a top speed of 13 knots and an impressive range beyond 4,000 nautical miles at 10 knots. Interestingly, the naval architects also took the ease of construction for the yard and ease of maintenance for the crew into consideration.

Best Naval Architecture - Displacement Motor Yachts: Milele

LOA: 45.2m
Naval architect: Van Oossanen Naval Architects
Builder: Royal Hakvoort Shipyard

Milele's brief was a little unusual for both the naval architect and Royal Hakvoort Shipyard: a submersible-toting yacht of less than 500GT with explorer-type capabilities and range but faster speeds than a typical displacement yacht – in this case, a request for 25 knots. After comparing various hull shapes, the solution to the combination of high and low speeds was the Fast Displacement Hull Form with a Hull Vane by Van Oossanen, but with a twist. To compensate for the yacht’s weight – she also carries a large tender in addition to the hefty sub – and to reduce pitching motion and noise for this round-bilge yacht, the hull vane is made of carbon fibre, a first for the product, which shaved two tonnes off the total figure. Hybrid propulsion brings efficiency to the package while a dynamic positioning system that uses electric motors and dry-stack exhaust achieves the brief’s important point of having cruising access to protected areas.

Best Naval Architecture - Sailing Yachts: Sarissa

LOA: 59.7m
Naval architect: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design
Builder: Royal Huisman

The four finalists for this category prove that sailing yachts continue to get more efficient and performance-oriented each year. After the naval architecture subcommittee crunched the numbers – evaluating the yachts on 35 points – the two top candidates were a hair’s breadth apart, although their mission statements were somewhat different. While Nilaya had the more complex brief and an innovative construction approach, the final result is that Sarissa presents the best all-around sailing ability, range, comfort quotient and stability. Both naval architects availed themselves of high-end CFD and FEA research. However, managing the much larger weights and loads of Sarissa, especially with multiple hull and deck openings, the in-boom furling of the world’s largest flat-top mainsail built in 3Di RAW and the innovation of massive fully retractable forward-facing propulsion drives, won the day.

Best New Series: Conrad C144S

LOA: 44.3m
Builder: Conrad Shipyard
Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design
Exterior designer: Reymond Langton Design

This Polish builder increased its lineup with a 44.3-metre steel displacement model that is the big sister to the 40-metre Viatoris line that debuted in 2019. Using the same team of exterior designers and naval architects, this concept generated two additional clients before the first hull even launched. The straight bow modernises the look but the smart list of features and a desirable five-stateroom general arrangement is the builder’s trump card. The interior can be customised to the client's taste, of course, and the builder puts a lot of detail into standard items. An efficient hull allows relatively small engines to achieve displacement speed and deliver transatlantic range. A transverse tender garage holds a seven-metre tender and plenty of toys, while two al fresco dining options, an infinity pool, a dedicated beach club and a bridge deck cinema take care of onboard entertainment.

Eco Award: Sarissa

LOA: 59.7m
Builder: Royal Huisman
Naval architect: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design

Sarissa presents a multi-faceted approach to cruising with minimal environmental impact, from wind-driven propulsion, hydrogenerators and waste heat recovery to black and grey water treatment and trash management. Most of her power and propulsion needs are met with just one variable-speed genset and a 380kWh battery bank that can deliver four to eight hours of stored energy. Batteries charge via the propellers underway or when freewheeling during sailing. All rigging and spars and the mainsheet are airfoil sections, reducing drag. A Piranha Biological Marine Sanitation Device produces effluent cleaner than MARPOL standards and assures all cleaning and bathroom products are 100 per cent biodegradable and non-toxic. To minimise the waste produced, the galley is equipped with a food digester that uses biological enzymes to break down and digest up to 10 kilograms of food waste daily, a compactor for plastics and cardboard and a glass crusher for bottles and jars.

Judges’ Commendation: Nyumba

LOA: 29.6m
Builder: Southern Wind Shipyard
Naval architect: Farr Yacht Design

Southern Wind’s first hybrid system is a smartly integrated solution that meets Tier III requirements on board Nyumba. In diesel-electric mode, fuel consumption is reduced and there are 40 per cent fewer emissions, and the zero-emission silent operation mode is ideal for manoeuvring in tight quarters. It is heavier than the conventional setup and its propeller is large, which mandated modifications in the naval architecture and hull design to compensate. In sailing mode, the controllable-pitch propeller becomes a hydro-generator, automatically striking a balance between drag and loss of efficiency and maximum power generation. The comprehensive BAE HybriGen system, a first on a yacht of this size, is packed with redundancies, and the maintenance requires only one point of contact, its manufacturer.

Outstanding Lifestyle Feature: InFYnito 90

LOA: 27m
Lifestyle feature: All-season terrace
Builder: Ferretti Yachts
Naval architect: Ferretti Yachts
Exterior designer: Filippo Salvetti

What Ferretti Yachts calls the infinity terrace on one of its newest semi-production models, the InFYnito 90, captured the attention of the judges above attractive but more conventional lifestyle spaces, such as beach clubs. One remarked, “Always when you go on a boat, it’s about what emotion you remember… This is a space you’d remember and wouldn’t want to leave." The foredeck area of yachts has received attention before but has never been handled in quite this way. The roof has built-in louvres that protect from sun and spray. Massive sunpads conceal the deck hardware. For extra interest, a sliding window opens to link the adjacent interior dining space to the outside environment. From the inside, this terrace provides uninterrupted forward views.

Judges’ Commendation: Pink Shadow

LOA: 58m
Lifestyle feature: Beach garden
Builder: Damen Yachting
Naval architect: Damen Yachting
Interior designer: Design Unlimited

The lifestyle feature award garnered several great entries and this beach garden on board Pink Shadow was lauded by many. The original treatment of this space owes a lot to the abundance of square metres, but it was also exceedingly well conceived and realised. The space is multi-use – it’s also the tender garage thanks to side folding bulwarks – yet it does not feel like a compromise. The centre bar is fun and a true indoor-outdoor space, protected by electrically controlled louvres but connected to the lower hydraulic beach platform. The big pool aft, which blends well with the exterior finish, has a glass insert for views, and a dayhead is within easy reach. There is no teak on board, an owner’s decision; instead, the attractively designed and hard-wearing flooring is from Bolidt.

Innovation of the Year: Sarissa

LOA: 59.7m
On board: Forward-facing, retractable electric propulsion
Developer: Royal Huisman
Naval architect: Malcolm McKeon Yacht Design

Royal Huisman boldly chose to install the first Hydrosta forward-facing retractable electric azipod propulsion for reasons of redundancy, efficiency and improved performance under sail on board Sarissa. Opening bomb-bay doors allows the propulsion legs to swing down from inside the hull, and the doors re-close to create a smooth underwater profile. These 500kW units rotate through 90 degrees, replacing the need for a stern thruster, which saves weight and noise. Being electric drives and located along with their battery stack forward under machinery and watersports stowage, the system removes noise from the guest areas, plus the yacht can be away from a dock or mooring without starting an engine. The pulling, fixed-pitch propellers linked to permanent magnet motors act like underwater turbines, charging the batteries and providing carbon-free power to the ship’s systems, reducing demand on the Volvo gensets.

Judges’ Commendation: Sobe Sunset

LOA: 30m
On board: Efficiency gained by a computerised central data collection and control system
Developer: Atlantic Marine Electric
Naval architect: David Richards

Sobe Sunset was gutted and rebuilt as an eco-friendly (and potentially zero-emission) yacht for Bahamas cruising and as a floating showpiece for myriad systems innovations and electronic control system improvements that are the invention of one creative engineer named Cyril Silberman. The fresh thought process and the operation of the system — based on hybrid propulsion; two safe, water-cooled lithium iron phosphate battery banks of 250kW each; and a single software program linking 30 Linux-based computers via resilient networks — demonstrates innovation at its genius core. The computers, which collect over 40,000 parameters around the vessel, communicate with the systems contained in one amazingly clean engine room, which is insulated from outside air and cooled by the computer-managed, custom-designed air con system.

Tender of the Year: 1010

LOA: 11m
Builder: Tenderworks
Naval architect: AllSeas Design
Exterior designer: Espen Øino International

This category presented many options in size, style and mission. As many entries as possible were visited personally by the tender subcommittee to gain extra insight. Of the seven finalists, the subcommittee recommended two for scrutiny by the full panel. The group chose the 11-metre from Tenderworks as the top boat for its ability to multitask and its outstanding aesthetics. It looks like a limousine capable of comfortably carrying 14 of the most V of VIPs at up to 43 knots, until the roof slides away, the side windows drop and it morphs into an open. It scored high marks for practicality with easy boarding and a low profile for easy garage stowage. The step-down deck sole provides standing headroom and the seat backs cleverly fold down so that it can carry luggage or supplies without the risk of damaging the leather.

Judges’ Commendation: Limousine Tender

LOA: 13m
Builder: Cockwells
Naval architect: Wolstenholme Yacht Design
Exterior designer: Cockwells

This nearly 13-metre tender has both exterior and interior automated lounge seating, unusually arranged more like a private jet, as the owners wanted it. The large tender has room for guests and cargo; there is luggage storage in the bow. The semi-displacement hull is capable of long trips carrying 12 passengers in comfort at up to 32 knots. Our judges, and the captains among them particularly, appreciated the diverse boarding options, secure steps and unconventional seating (including possibly a first on a tender: automated recliners overlooking the swim platform). It is even equipped with a generator, which is activated by the custom-designed control system that monitors power requirements and controls everything from lights to the gyrostabiliser. The judges felt this technically complex tender was deserving of this special commendation.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Frank Mulder

Company: Mulder Design
Nationality: Dutch

As is true of many top naval architects, Frank Mulder’s career began in a shipyard, in this case, Amels, as assistant yard manager. Two years later, he was lured away by Damen Yachting as head of high-speed ship design. Brashly, at age 28, he opened his firm to specialising in high-speed commercial and navy projects. Fast boats got him noticed, but his proximity to the Heesen shipyard in Oss brought him his first yacht in 1981. He had already drawn six yachts for Heesen, including the well-received Tropic C (now Sea Axis), when he received a call from MTU’s sales director, advising him he would be called by an American named John Staluppi who had bought three engines and needed an architect to design a yacht around them.

“He asked me if I could design a yacht that would go 50 knots. I decided theoretically, yes. But if it turned out to be impossible, he would just owe me a design fee. If we calculated it was possible, he would agree to build the boat,” Mulder recalls.

From that conversation, the all-aluminium, record-breaking 40.2-metre Octopussy was born, followed by a string of eight more iconic yachts for Staluppi, including Moonraker – his first yacht designed on a computer in 1991 – World Is Not Enough and, most recently, the Benetti Spectre.

With 1,000 of the company’s designs launched, Mulder’s career is unparalleled. Many of the large boats were built in fibreglass at production yards, including Gulf Craft, Moonen, Cheoy Lee and Vicem. But there were also custom projects, such as Blue Sky for Codecasa, Blowzy at Heesen, and 200 commercial ships.

In 2022, Frank Mulder stepped down, leaving the helm of Mulder Design to his son, Bas, who graduated from the same naval architecture school as Frank and is now leading the family business into the future.

BOAT International would like to thank the judges of the 2024 awards and our event partners for all their support. For more information about the Design & Innovation Awards, contact the events team.

More about this yacht

Damen Yachting   58.3 m •  2023
Amels   60 m •  2023

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