2014 World Superyacht Awards: everything you need to know
by Risa Merl
The ninth annual World Superyacht Awards took place on 3 May, 2014, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a city rich in maritime heritage. The World Superyacht Awards are the most coveted trophies in yachting – dubbed the ‘Oscars of the superyacht world – and the gala evening is the premier event in the superyacht industry. The event combined an awards show, recognising the top yachts delivered in the previous year, with an exquisite dinner and a full social programme including behind-the-scenes yard tours with leading Dutch shipyards.
The Neptunes: Over the past eight years, the image of the coveted Neptune trophy has become synonymous with excellence in superyacht build and design. The concept was simple: the god of the sea in Roman mythology should be centre stage in an event that will reflect the beauty and power of the sea. These prestigious awards are now displayed on magnificent vessels all over the globe, a badge of distinction proudly worn by their owners.
Judges’ Commendation prizes: Designed for Baccarat by David Tisdale, the Excellence trophy block is a spiral of light. Symbolising modernity and dynamism, the trophy will add enchantment to a memorable moment, its majestic silhouette glorifying the savoir-faire of Baccarat’s elite craftsmen. Founded in Lorraine, by permission of King Louis XV, the world’s most famous Crystalworks has, over the ages, become a symbol of superb craftsmanship and French art de vivre. Each timeless work of art takes us on an exciting journey through light and creativity. For 250 years Baccarat has been the icon of exquisite moments of celebration and has created truly unforgettable experiences.
Nine years ago, when we established the World Superyacht Awards, one of our main ambitions was that the whole process should be completely fair and transparent, not only in the nomination and short listing of the competing yachts, but also in its judging. From the outset, we believed that it should be yacht owners who determined the winning yachts – not yacht builders, designers or other partisan individuals or groups. Furthermore, we believed that as many of the competing yachts should be visited by at least one, and hopefully more, jury members. The jury that we assembled for this year’s event comprises 20 current and former yacht owners and two independent specialists who could give advice on technical and other issues. This fact alone sets these awards on a uniquely fair path.
Astonishingly, in these difficult financial times, a total of 62 yachts – all of them over 30m LOA and all delivered between the 1 January and the 31 December 2013 – were shortlisted for the nine yacht categories. Once the Finalists have been determined, the next task is to find their locations and availability for the Judges to visit. Of course, many of the yachts had already been seen by the judges, who are constantly on the lookout for new yachts at shows such as Monaco, Miami or Fort Lauderdale and, equally, in some quiet anchorage that they might visit while cruising their own yachts. Some nominees are already cruising in more remote places so, in fulfillment of our ambitious aim that every finalist should be visited by at least one judge, these hardworking volunteers fan out all over the globe.
While such inspections are in progress, our administrative team is kept busy assembling massive (12cm-thick) judges’ dossiers containing statements from the owner, designer and builder of every finalist yacht, as well as a one page specification and equipment list, the yacht’s general arrangement plans and a memory stick containing a selection of exterior and interior photographs. For sailing yachts, a polar diagram from which the yacht’s performance at various points of sail in a variety of wind conditions can be read is also included. Judges receive their dossiers three weeks in advance of the meeting, so that this mass of detailed data can be properly absorbed. This year the Judges’ Meeting was kindly hosted by the magnificent Kitzbühel Country Club in Austria’s foremost ski resort.
At this Judges’ Meeting itself, yachts are considered individually, class by class. Initially, pictures and other data from each yacht are screened, and the judges who had visited the vessel in question give a brief summary of any points that are not readily apparent from the visual material. Following this, an in-depth round-table discussion is conducted and, in cases where there is no obvious consensus, each judge is asked to fill out their marking sheet. Points are awarded under the headings of exterior design; interior design; the general arrangement of both the exterior and interior; machinery and technical spaces and the overall quality of the build, with judges being asked to consider several other aspects, such as originality of ideas and practicality of design, under each of these headings. Let us not pretend that this is an easy task. Judges are quick to acknowledge that every finalist is a magnificent vessel in its own right, and that merely being singled out as a worthy yacht for them to consider is an accolade for its owner, designers and builder. They are, also, all too aware that in many cases they must make very difficult choices between vessels that are often hard to compare. This and other difficulties are resolved and this year’s winners were decided, thanks to an interested, intelligent, well informed and – most importantly – an unbiased jury, who discussed and debated until the right answer became clear. Boat International would like to thank all of the judges for their interest and dedication – without them, the World Superyacht Awards would not exist.
Thank you to our sponsors
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the sponsors and partners who have helped to make the ninth annual World Superyacht Awards such a spectacular event. Special thanks go to Gold Sponsor Embraer Executive Jets, and to our esteemed Event Partners from The Netherlands: Amels, Feadship, Heesen, Holland Jachtbouw and Royal Huisman. Their generous support and enthusiasm has made bringing the awards to the beautiful city of Amsterdam a reality. Thank you!
Our gratitude is extended to our Silver Sponsors; yacht builders Dream Ship Victory, Hodgdon and Esen Yacht, as well as luxury jeweller Gassan. Thank you to our Award Sponsors Clyde & Co, Alloy Yachts, Tansu, Admiral Tecnomar and Baccarat, who have provided the crystal Judges’ Commendation prizes. Many thanks to our Contributing Sponsors Holland Yachting Group, Spyker and Wajer & Wajer. Our appreciation goes to Royal Delft who have gifted a beautiful commemorative plate to each of the finalist yacht owners and to Sabrina Monte-Carlo, for furnishing the After Party so wonderfully.