The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2017

Sailing Yacht of the Year: Sybaris

The choice of Sailing Yacht of the Year was between two very different yachts – My Song, the extremely fast yet at the same time elegant racer/cruiser that has already demonstrated its winning abilities in competition, and Sybaris, an ultra-large yacht designed to cruise the extremities of the world in comfort. It was a difficult decision, but when the ballot was counted it was Sybaris that came out on top, being a ground-breaking world class sailing yacht.

Sybaris not only impressed the judges with its sailing ability – particularly in light airs when many yachts of this size resort to mechanical power – but also in the yacht’s supreme comfort and optimum division of internal volume that entirely suits the owner’s needs. Some technical innovations have already been mentioned, but there are more in that the sail plan, rig and underwater appendages were subjected to extensive CFD testing, which allowed detailed optimisation of rig, hull shape and appendages. Beautiful, capable, comfortable, and technically advanced this is a yacht that was considered supreme for its purpose.

Sailing Yachts 30m to 39.9m: My Song

Six yachts entered this class, all of which were suitable for either superyacht racing or blue water cruising. The judges were therefore faced with a difficult choice in selecting a victor, but after lengthy discussion and careful consideration the secret ballot revealed the winner to be the 39.62 metre, My Song built by Baltic Yachts. Packed with cutting-edge design and technology this yacht was conceived by Nauta, who drew both her eye-catching exterior and her interior, while naval architecture and structural engineering was tackled by Reichel Pugh assisted by Gurit.

In view of this legendary team, the judges were unsurprised that this yacht performs so well on the race track, regularly reaching 20+ knots and boasting a top-speed in excess of 30-knots in optimum conditions. But perhaps more surprising to the judges was that she is also a comfortable, feature-filled cruising yacht with excellent facilities for on-deck and below-deck dining and relaxing, as well as three well-sized ensuite guest cabins, and an admirable crew area for six in the stern.

Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts 30m to 33.9m: Botti

The judges commented that this was a diverse class comprised of ultra high-speed two-deck sports boats, as well as raised pilot house and three-deck vessels, thus increasing the difficulty of comparing individual yachts. Additionally, three of the yachts were of the same basic design that inevitably required the judges to consider the individual style of interior decoration in more detail than usual. The yacht that came to the fore following the usual secret-ballot vote was Botti, a 32.6 metre raised pilot house design, built from advanced composites by Monte Carlo Yachts.

Her elegant exterior design permits a large bimini-covered sundeck with dining and lounging and a second dining area on the main deck aft, while the design makes use of the foredeck as a further lounging space and cinema. A sizeable bathing platform adds to the appeal. Inside, the judges admired the clean, practical lines and subdued decorative scheme. The technical spaces were considered well-constructed, especially the engine room that houses twin MTU diesels and practical gyro-stabilisers that afford low speed stability.

Judges’ Commendation: Kohuba

The judges felt that Kohuba demonstrated Princess Yacht’s commitment to delivering a vessel of custom-built standards in a semi-custom series, and felt that this yard deserved praise for its high quality design and build process.

Judges’ Commendation: Spectre

This stylish yacht’s top speed of over 50-knots wowed the panel, as did Spectre's superb finish. To pack so much power into a solid yet lightweight platform is difficult, and the judges commended them for this achievement.

Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts 40m to 49.9m: Amore Mio

This class tested the judges’ analytical skills and every yacht was treated to detailed scrutiny and discussion. Following this, the secret ballot proved the 45 metre Heesen Amore Mio to be their favourite. The judges admired the versatility of this vessel, which offers an unusual blend of 30-knot performance and a 2,750 nautical mile range at its 12-knot cruising speed.

Her owners’ requested a ‘summer house on the sea’ and the judges felt this to be well met, with spacious open decks offering admirable dining and lounging areas on two levels aft, while the foredeck offers additional sun-lounging and seating. With so much space devoted to outside areas, the interior layout had to make intelligent use of every available square metre, and the judges felt that this was achieved without compromising either the guest or crew quarters. The technical aspects of the yacht were also praised, particularly the build quality, the gyro-stabilisers that provide low speed and ‘at anchor’ stability, and the possibility to deploy life preservers at the push of a button.

Displacement Motor Yachts Below 500 GT - 30m to 42.9m: X

Explorer yachts are often given this name by virtue of their styling, rather than their suitability for long range expeditions in all climates. But the judges found X to be a true explorer – a rugged yacht with a good range that carries the tenders and equipment required for the owner and his family to cross the largest oceans and explore the world in comfort and safety.

This well constructed, steel and aluminium vessel is powered by twin 970kW Caterpillar diesels that provide a 15.5 knot top speed, while her 14 knot cruising speed provides the 4,000 nautical mile range necessary for her trans-ocean role. While the main deck aft is devoted to tenders and PWCs, the remaining two decks provide the usual facilities for open air living in a mild climate while in adverse weather, large saloon windows allow guests to view the scenery in comfort. The judges also admired the crew areas that provide accommodation for up to eight as well as ample storage and laundry facilities. This, they believe, is a well-conceived explorer.

Displacement Motor Yachts Below 500GT 43m and Above: La Passion

This class, which contains the largest vessels of the sub-500 gross ton displacement yachts, is always hotly contested and the judges spent a good deal of time examining all aspects of each entrant before completing their secret-ballot sheets. The results showed La Passion, the first vessel to be launched from the Turkish-based SARP Yachts, to be the narrow winner. This is not only a particularly noteworthy achievement for a new yard, but one that rewarded their dedication to ‘getting everything right’ before exhibiting their product.

In the judges’ view, La Passion has steered a well-considered course through the minefield of decisions that lie in the route to a successful yacht. The judges admired almost every aspect of this well-considered vessel, from the world-roaming seaworthiness and efficiency of the hull, to the quality of construction of its steel hull and GRP superstructure and the clean simplicity of its appearance. The layout of the deck areas, and the elegantly modern interior design were also strong points. This new yard has announced its arrival in grand style.

Judges’ Commendation: Domani

The fifth yacht to be built by Benetti for this knowledgeable owner, Domani is an excellent example of good craftsmanship and the yard’s ability to satisfy the owner’s exact wishes. The judges considered her to be worthy of a Commendation.

Displacement Motor Yachts Between 500GT and 1,499GT: Joy

It was not easy for the judges to select a winner in this class, but the combination of dynamic looks, forward-thinking design and excellence of construction eventually focused their attention on Joy. This yacht’s exterior styling, incorporating many scalloped surfaces and spacious decks, could not have been easy to construct, while the huge expanses of glass would also have tested the builder. But both elements have added to the appeal of this strikingly modern yacht.

The Judges were particularly impressed with the manner in which all three aft decks could be enclosed with full-height sliding glass panels, thus increasing the interior volume in times of inclement weather. The judges also felt that the interior designer, responding to the owner’s request for a home rather than hotel, created an enviable blend of comfortable modernism and striking design. Technical innovation – in the form of an active noise attenuation system for the gearboxes that keeps internal noise levels much lower than usual when underway - was also praised by the judges.

Displacement Motor Yachts 3,000 GT and Above: Dilbar

The rules of the event dictate that should only one yacht be entered in a class, this class is amalgamated with the most appropriate alternative. Dilbar, being the only vessel to qualify for the ‘Displacement Yachts of above 3,000 GT’ class, was therefore placed in the class below. But when it came to judging, the judges decided that it was impossible to fairly decide a winner for this class when Dilbar was seven times larger in terms of Gross Tonnage (a measure of internal volume) than Cloudbreak, the next largest yacht.

A similar situation had occurred in the past when it was decided that a Neptune would only be awarded if the lone yacht was truly worthy of an award, and this precedent was followed. Ten judges had visited Dilbar and they were all sure that not only was she worthy of a Neptune, but she was also the most spectacular yacht they had ever seen. Put to a vote, it was unanimously decided that this award should be presented to Dilbar.

Judges' Special Award for Outstanding video - Latitude

Very little quietens a room full of superyacht owners who are debating the merits of superyacht design and construction, and the debate sometimes reaches fever pitch. There was one thing, however, that managed to still them utterly – the remarkable footage of last year’s Voyagers Award winner, Anil Thadani’s latest cruise around the frozen wastes of the Svalbard Archipelago. By employing drones and ensuring that his crew was well stocked with video experts, Anil has managed to produce an absolutely stunning video of his adventure – including being stalked by polar bears, to coming within touching distance of whales and even hula-hooping on ice floes. This is one owner who is not shy to shout about the wonderful world we have to cruise and he demonstrates this in his videos, while offering inspiration and encouragement to any yacht owner who’s ever thought… “what if…”. For his outstanding achievements in the field of video and for making his footage freely available, the judges felt Anil, Shelton Dupreez (an up and coming film maker) and the rest of the crew deserved a special award.

To view The Highest Latitude: An Arctic Svalbard Expedition, please click here.

Legacy Award - Alex Dreyfoos

Alex Dreyfoos has been a yacht owner throughout his life, first owning a Rybovich sport-fisherman in 1963, followed by a Burger and a 43.6 metre Feadship. So that his wife Renate could share his ambitions for far-ranging exploration, he investigated a variety of hull-forms that might reduce her suffering from motion sickness and he discovered the SWATH (small waterplane area twin hull) concept and he approached Abeking & Rasmussen, who were not only builders of superb yachts but were also experts in commercial SWATH vessels. Tests confirmed the benefits of this design, and he commissioned A&R to build his current 40.8 metre SWATH superyacht, Silver Cloud. This vessel, in which the owners have enjoyed many adventurous cruises, has proved most successful.

Dreyfoos, an MIT and Harvard graduate has earned an Oscar for his technical contribution to the world of motion pictures, holds many patents for innovations in electronics and photography. He is also an arts philanthropist, a scuba diver, an exceptional photographer, and has aided oceanic research by carrying scientific equipment aboard Silver Cloud.

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