Last year, BOAT revealed that a record number of explorer vessels were under construction and this year's Explorer Yacht Summit will once again shine a light on this booming industry. On 9 November, topics such as sourcing the right crew for expeditions and the rise of the pocket explorer will all be on the agenda at the Yacht Club de Monaco.
As the event draws nearer, BOAT International spotlights a selection of this year's most exciting explorer projects...
Delivered in July, Freire’s flagship Renaissance is not only the largest private yacht built in Spain but one of the largest superyachts constructed globally. Designed inside and out by Bannenberg & Rowell, she's Freire’s second fully-fledged superyacht after the 73.6-metre Naia. Amenities across her seven decks include a lower deck spa complex, a double-height dining saloon, a private owner's deck, a commercially certified helipad and a locker of the latest water toys and nautical gadgets. Renaissance is now available for charter with Burgess.
The existence of Project Icecap has been known since 2018, but the 6,500GT yacht was tugged back into the spotlight when she embarked on her 2022 sea trials in Peene-Werft, Germany. Moran Yacht & Ship revealed that Project Icecap is powered by a diesel-electric propulsion system and features “state-of-the-art energy saving, power storage, heating and cooling systems", while initial imagery hinted at amenities such as a large open aft deck with tender cradles that can also function as a helipad. Once delivered, it will rank in the top 30 Lürssen yachts by size.
Akula is Italian shipyard Rossinavi’s first-ever explorer yacht. Delivered in September, she sports a vivid scarlet hull courtesy of Gian Paolo Nari. The 1,215GT, ice-classed vessel is designed with global expedition in mind and fitted with diesel-electric propulsion for “optimised fuel consumption and low impact on the environment”, according to the yard. Her stowing capacity is impressive, able to store a pair of custom-built nine-metre tenders, various diving equipment, and two six-metre containers that can act as transportable science labs.
Builder: Damen Yachting
Handed over this August, Pink Shadow is the first 58-metre iteration of Damen Yachting’s SeaXplorer line. The owner intends to use the yacht for "globetrotting exploration", facilitated by an ice-class hull and 30 days of autonomy. Eco-focused features like large waste tanks will ensure she can cruise in sensitive environments without leaving an impact. The yacht’s olive-green hull was crafted by Azure Yacht Design, working in collaboration with British studio Design Unlimited on the interior. Interestingly, the model also has a number of contributions from design partner EYOS Expeditions.
Para Bellum’s delivery in July secured a long line of milestones for the Italian shipyard, including its largest-ever new-build to be delivered in Greece and the first superyacht sale between EKKA Yachts and Sanlorenzo. Belonging to Sanlorenzo's Francesco Paszkowski-designed series, this particular model converts the aft space into a sun lounge with swimming pool – a configuration never seen on a 500EXP model before.
Builder: Cantiere delle Marche
Maverick is the first vessel in a trio of Flexplorer 146 yachts. Design highlights include an infinity pool which can also be used for storage and a 22-millimetre "ice-belt" on her hull for safe navigation in high-latitude regions. On deck, collapsible bulwarks transform the entire aft deck into a vast outdoor beach club, spanning a staggering 135 square metres. Once delivered, she will undergo her maiden voyage to the Mediterranean, with the eventual goal of crossing the Northwest Passage.
Benetti went beyond its comfort zone with the B.Yond series, a line of smaller, steel-hulled units designed for longer-range cruising. The project was given the green light in 2019, and the risk paid off; before the first hull was even delivered, Benetti had sold a further eight. Nine is the second unit, delivered to her owners in July. The 430GT yacht features an exterior design by the late Stefano Righini and is the most customised B.Yond 37 so far, according to the broker who oversaw the build. Her standout features include a covered balcony area on the aft of the bridge deck, transformed into a spa with a sauna, steam bath and cold room.
The Oceanic 143 is the Italian shipbuilder's flagship explorer. Balancing speed and distance, she can travel over 6,000 nautical miles at 8.5 knots, with an estimated top speed of 23 knots. Her twin-stepped hull has also been designed to reduce friction and improve stability in rough seas. Rome-based designer Michela Reverberi has handled the yacht’s interior, which features an owner’s suite that spans the entire upper deck. Delivered in September, she made her debut at this year's Cannes Yachting Festival.
Launched in May 2023, Project Ocean is the first in the fleet of autonomous Arksen 85 explorers. Her hull and superstructure (courtesy of naval architect Humphrey’s Yacht Design) is constructed from recycled aluminium which can be reused at the end of the vessel’s life. Even the interiors feature a range of recycled and sustainably focused materials, with soft furnishing made from recycled plastic bottles. Once delivered, a large portion of Project Ocean's sea time will be dedicated to the Arksen Foundation for research and conservation work.
La La Land
Toeing the line between an explorer and a classic navetta, La La Land is the latest explorer from the Italian shipyard. Her decks are, uniquely, composed "almost entirely of glass" and all cater to a sea-faring, leisure-loving owner. Amenities include an owner's apartment equipped with bow terrace, private swimming pool and 30-square-metre sunbed area and an 18-square-metre pool that sits laterally across the main deck. Exteriors are by Zuccon International Project with interiors owed to Pawson.
Kasif made quite the splash as the first yacht to emerge from Bilgin's new Antalya facility in August. Built for a repeat client, she marks the eighth collaboration between Bilgin Yachts and Emrecan Özgün of Unique Yacht Design, and follows on from work on Tatiana, red-hulled Leona and the Bilgin 163 Eternal Spark. Her interiors are owed to Milanese design studio Hot Lab, who described Kasif as a "mature yacht" with a "masculine elegance".
Heeus is a compact explorer turned successful charter vessel after her delivery earlier this year. Onboard highlights include a 92-square-metre sundeck arranged with a Jacuzzi, barbecue and cinema screen and a beach club made complete with Hammam and steam shower. A 25-square-metre tender garage is also on hand for nautical gadgets and accessories.