The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2017

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Motor Yacht of the Year: Dilbar

The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2017 were announced at a glittering ceremony held at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence in May 2017. Click through to see all the winners.

This year, nine motor yachts – the winners of each of the motor yacht classes – competed for the coveted title of Motor Yacht of the Year. When deciding this award, the difficulty of comparing such diverse yachts is always a hard task for the judges, but they are always aware that they are seeking the ‘very best of the best’ – a vessel that is truly extraordinary by any measure. As such, it was clear that Dilbar had to take the title.

Not only is she arguably the most complex and challenging yacht ever to be built, but she is also the largest ever built in terms of gross tonnage. All aspects of her design and construction were, in the unanimous view of those judges who had visited her, quite superb. The quality of construction of her interior, which uses rare materials and striking surface finishes in abundance, is truly spectacular, as is the indoor swimming pool with a capacity of 180 cubic metres, the largest ever installed on a yacht. This yacht is a worthy winner.

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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.

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Voyager's Award: Glaze

There were three entries in this year’s Voyager’s Award and as the judges considered them all to be of high merit, the task of selecting a winner was not easy. But a winner had to be selected and the judges homed in upon a particularly well-planned cruise by the 49 metre Glaze, which is currently engaged on a circumnavigation with the owners and their young family. The element of this cruise submitted to the jury was in North West Australia, between Wyndham and Broome, where they visited the remote, spectacular and extremely rugged coastline known as The Kimberleys.

This adventure-packed cruise explored the region’s many inlets and rivers, mostly poorly or totally uncharted, and included many sightings of crocodiles and sharks, as well as experiences such as dipping their yacht’s bows in waterfalls tumbling down the vertical red cliffs, whirlpools, tidal rapids, and visits to Aboriginal cave art, and even the well-preserved remains of a DC3 aircraft downed in WWII. This voyage will surely be an inspiration to all who follow.

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Refitted yachts: Aquila

This year’s event saw eight yachts enter the Refit Class. The judges noted that while all had been subjected to worthy ‘end of season’ maintenance, repair and improvement, they were seeking a winner from among those who had either completed visionary upgrades, or whose endeavours had resulted in significant improvements.

The entry that stood out from the crowd was that carried out to the 85 metre Aquila, formerly Cakewalk, whose owners chose to refit an existing yacht to suit their anticipated use and decorative taste, rather than wait five years for a new-build to be delivered. At the same time the yacht’s five-year survey and significant technical upgrades were also undertaken. This extensive work, undertaken by Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, England, with interior design and decoration by RWD and Susan Young Interiors over a twelve month period was, in the judges opinion carried out to exemplary standards, with the result fully meeting the owners brief. Today, unrecognisable from her former self, Aquila is the pride of her new owners.

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Rebuilt Yachts: Legend

Legend, one of the three yachts entered for this year’s Rebuilt category stood out from the others. When an owner’s objective is to create a world-roaming expedition yacht with Lloyds A1 Ice Class, and Polar classification, an ex-Russian tug is a pretty good starting point, despite the vessel being 34 years old. This vessel had already been converted into a superyacht but the new owner’s additional requirement for full SOLAS and MCA 13-36 passenger status meant that only the hull, which was extended by 3.6 metres with a remodelled stern to incorporate a bathing platform and 16-person swimming pool, and her main engines could remain intact.

The superstructure was modified to soften her lines but perhaps the most difficult aspects of the rebuild, which was carried out by ICON Yachts, was the installation of a fully classified helipad with refuelling facilities while bringing her into SOLAS compliance. In the view of the judges, this was a highly successful rebuild that readied her for operations in high-latitudes, where she has already cruised.

Judges’ Commendation: RH3

This top-to-toe rethinking of a proven explorer into a comfortable, intimate family yacht that will soon embark on a circumnavigation brought RH3 a worthy commendation from the judges.

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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.

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Sailing Yachts 40m and Above: Sybaris

Both yachts that qualified for this class were of extraordinary size, with one measuring 70 metres LOA and the second a massive 86 metres. The task of deciding the winner had been made easier by the large number of judges that had visited each yacht, but both yachts had impressed them and both yachts performed well under sail, so the decision was still a difficult one. But when the ballot sheets were counted it was the 70 metre Perini Navi Sybaris that triumphed.

Her owner’s chosen designers working with the builder’s own talented in-house teams provided an impressive interpretation of the owner’s request for elegant low-profiled styling, uninterrupted internal volumes, and wide views of the water, and these elements impressed the judges. Realising a sailing yacht of this size called for technical innovation and the judges complemented the builder for the high performance electric winches and furlers that were crucial to this vessel’s sailing ability, while eco-friendly variable-speed generators that keep generator revolutions to a minimum in times of low demand added to the yacht’s appeal.

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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.

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Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts 34m to 39.9m: Gipsy

The appearance of a yacht is always an important factor and the judges were drawn to Gipsy, a three-deck 35 metre aluminium-built yacht, for her clean ‘no nonsense’ exterior lines, together with the highly practical optimisation of her exterior spaces. They also felt that her top speed of 20 knots and 2,000 nautical mile range at a cruising speed of 11-knots further added to this appeal.

A more detailed examination of the yacht revealed a high volume, thoughtfully laid-out interior that positions the dining area forward on the main deck and the owner’s cabin aft of the bridge, and one that also provides good access between the crew and guest areas on the lower deck to aid the servicing of the cabins. A stylishly modern style of interior decoration perfectly complements her exterior lines, particularly the highly functional main saloon that incorporates a movie theatre. The judges considered that this compact but extremely well designed yacht, which completely meets the needs of her experienced owner, is a worthy winner in this class.

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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.

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