The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2019

Converted yachts: Dream

Length: 106.5m

Original builder: Halic Shipyard

Refit yard: Olympic Yacht Services

Refit naval architect: Olympic Yacht Services

Refit exterior design: Studio Vafiadis/Olympic Yacht Services

Refit interior design: Ciarmoli Queda Studio

This ambitious project, which converted an aging 93-metre cruise ship into a 106.5-metre dream yacht for an owner with world cruising in mind, presented a significant challenge to the owner’s team, who acted as the builders, the project managers and also as naval architects and engineers. But as the Judges discovered from the documentation and the reports of colleagues who had visited the yacht, the task was completed in a highly successful manner.

At the outset, the hull was stripped to bare steel, the complete superstructure and surplus metal works were removed, and the interior gutted and sandblasted. The 320 tonnes of steel that was removed was replaced with 550 tonnes of new fabrications, including the new superstructure and 112 electrically-operated sliding windows each weighing 500kg. New stabilisers and other heavy engine room equipment were installed before the vessel was faired, painted and relaunched. Following her launch, new pipework was installed, she was rewired, and her new interior, all floating on rubber mounts to minimise noise transmission, was inserted. All these works were compliant with SOLAS 36 Passenger requirements.

The Judges concluded that this was an extraordinary conversion that not only changed the whole exterior profile of the vessel, improving it beyond recognition, but also gave her a completely new interior, which has a refreshingly understated and modern appearance that abounds in luxury. This, they felt, was a conversion for which the owner should be justifiably proud.

Rebuilt yachts: Haida 1929

Length: 71.1m

Original builder: Krupp Germaniawerft

Refit yardPendennis

Refit naval architect: Cox & Stevens

Refit exterior design: Cox & Stevens

Refit interior design: Adam Lay

Of the yachts entered for this class, the standout winner was Haida 1929, a motor yacht that was designed by the American naval architects Cox & Stevens for Max C. Fleischmann, a Santa Barbara businessman. This yacht, one of several of the same name owned by Fleischmann, was launched in 1929 in Kiel by her builders Krupp Germaniawerft. Since then she has sailed under many flags and names, perhaps the most recognisable being Rosenkavalier and the most recent being Doña Amelia.

She was in bad repair in 2017 when purchased by her new owner and was taken to Pendennis Shipyard for refitting, a task that he correctly anticipated would reveal hidden issues. The whole ethos of the work was of respect for the integrity of this historic yacht, a decision that was admired by the Judges, who were aware that while an ill-conceived rebuild would have destroyed this classic vessel, one that did not upgrade her interiors to meet modern standards of comfort might be money wasted. During the very detailed and well executed 17-month refit, 110-tonnes of steel and 90% of the pipework were replaced, the whole interior was tastefully reworked to the design of Adam Lay to create interiors evocative of her era, while a Hammam spa, massage room, and hairdressing room were added.

Early external features, such as stairways, were reinstated and her previous dip-pool was replaced with a larger swimming pool. Perhaps most notably, her original engines – built by Krupp in 1928 and probably the oldest marine diesels in their original installation – were rebuilt to their original specification rather than replaced, despite the inconvenience of having to stop them and restart them in reverse to go astern. The Judges considered this an eminently worthy rebuild that saved a historic yacht.

Refitted Yachts: G2

Length: 39m

Original builder: Vitters

Refit yard: Pendennis

Refit naval architect: Tripp Design

Refit exterior design: Tripp Design

Refit interior design: Nauta Design

Of the yachts in the highly competitive Refit category, the Vitters-built 38.2-metre sloop G2 was selected by the Judges as the winner. Built from advanced composites to a design by Bill Tripp and launched in 2009, the original owner’s requirement was for a fast yacht suited to long range cruising. Her new owners had a clear vision of their needs which, with a circumnavigation in mind, were similar in scope to the original but their personal interior taste called for enhanced interior light and clean modern design.

On deck, the aft cuddy was surplus to their needs and was removed to create a flush open deck, to which sunbathing cushions were added, while 40% of the old teak was replaced, the caulking changed to grey, and the main cockpit extended to permit a larger guest dining area. To lighten the interior, two large new skylights were cut into the deckhead of the main saloon, while 11 larger portlights were fitted to the guest cabins, where the original, and now dated, honey-toned wood was replaced by a lighter, contemporary style created by Nauta Design.

At the same time, the owners' cabin was increased in size and its layout modified, a complex task which necessitated moving some structural bulkheads. Additionally, the yacht was made as maintenance-free as possible for her upcoming circumnavigation by servicing, upgrading or replacing all machinery and systems, and bringing forward the 10-year Class Special Survey. Navigation and communication equipment was also replaced while the hull, mast and deck structures were repainted. The Judges considered that the extent, quality and outcome of the 11-month refit was exemplary – and well worthy of a Neptune.

Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts 33m to 39.9m: Brigadoon

Length: 36.3m

Builder: Moonen Yachts

Naval architect: René van der Velden/Diana Yacht Design

Exterior design: René van der Velden

Interior design: Nauta Design/Studio Indigo

This class was contended by five yachts built by some of the world’s most distinguished yards – a fact that certainly put pressure on the judging panel. The first detailed examination of the entries seemed to focus the Judges' spotlight on four yachts, but after more discussion, a secret ballot revealed the Judges' preference to be Brigadoon, built by Moonen Shipyards.

The owner, in his statement submitted as part of the Judges’ Dossier, said he was seeking a yacht with a ‘classic timeless look, embracing quality and reliability’, and the Judges who had visited the yacht confirmed that he had received exactly this. These Judges also praised the sense of brightness and external views from an interior that was sophisticated, comfortable and welcoming. They also showed special admiration for the pleasant crew quarters, a highly practical galley, large laundry for a yacht of this size, and the spacious layout of the engine room.

Another plus was that her Fast Displacement Hull Form only requires moderately sized 1,417kW diesels to take her to a top speed of 16.5-knots, but at the same time, these deliver an enviable range of 5,000nm at 10-knots. In the Judges’ view, this is a well-constructed, attractive and sophisticated yacht that deserved to win her class.

Displacement Motor Yachts Between 300GT and 499GT - 30m to 47.9m:Viatoris

Length: 40m

Builder: Conrad Shipyard

Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design

Exterior design: Reymond Langton Design

Interior design: Conrad Shipyard

This class was made up of five very significant yachts with overall lengths falling between 40m and 47.9m, all of which were most enviable in their appearance and quality of construction. After hearing the views of Judges who had visited individual yachts, attention was turned to the detail of their general arrangement plans, traffic flow, and other technical issues.

A yacht that seemed to attract praise in all these areas was Viatoris, a 40-metre built in Poland by Conrad Shipyard, with naval architecture by Diana Yacht Design and exterior design by Reymond Langton. Following the secret ballot, this yacht was subsequently confirmed as the winner. The Judges had predominantly admired her lines, which were considered to be both timeless and elegant, while her interior layout was praised for its ideal distribution of the yacht’s volume between guest, crew, public and technical spaces.

Viatoris is not a yacht for those who yearn for speed as, powered by a pair of economical Caterpillar 500kW diesels, she has a cruising speed of 12-knots, but the benefits she reaps from this are a huge range of 11,100 nautical miles at her economical delivery speed of 8-knots and, aided by excellent sound insulation, also a supremely quiet interior. The Judges also noted that her four ideally positioned fold-down balconies and adjacent sliding doors create a very airy interior, while her abundance of large windows and portlights provide excellent intimacy with the surrounding scenery and seascapes. The owner requested a yacht in which he could ‘feel at home and not like a guest in a hotel’ and the Judges felt that this long range ocean traveller has successfully provided this – and more.

Displacement Motor Yachts Between 500GT and 1,999GT:Spectre

Length: 69.3m

Builder: Benetti

Naval architect: Mulder Design

Exterior design: Giorgio M. Cassetta

Interior design: Benetti

This was yet another class in which all the competitors are superb vessels, but a winner had to be chosen, and after long deliberation, the Judges homed in on the 69-metre Benetti, Spectre.

Built for an experienced yacht owner with very specific requirements, this was never going to be a ‘standard’ yacht, but in the Judges’ view, Benetti met all of his requests in admirable fashion. Perhaps the most complicated demand for Benetti to solve was the requirement for a top speed of 21-knots, around 5-knots faster than previous builds of this size. This was accomplished by naval architects Mulder Design, who created an easily driven fast displacement hull while reducing hull weight by some 133-tonnes over a similar hull, maintaining structural integrity in critical areas with carbon-fibre reinforcement.

At the same time, engine power was also increased, but Spectre still has an excellent economical cruising range of 6,500nm. The Judges also admired the yacht’s exterior styling by Giorgio Cassetta, whose flowing lines belie her interior volume which, at 1,790GT, is the largest in this class. Also admired was the layout of the yacht, which incorporates a wide range of desirable facilities, including a well-proportioned master cabin with panoramic views forward, a large VIP cabin and a gym with direct access to the water over a fold-down platform. On the technical side, the yacht boasts a large tank deck technical area housing ancillary equipment that would otherwise clutter the engine room, an excellent laundry and a spacious crew mess area. All this added up to the Judges’ view that in Spectre, Benetti has created a highly sophisticated yacht, and this made her a decisive winner.

Displacement Motor Yachts 2000GT and Above:DAR

Length: 90m

Builder: Oceanco

Naval architect: Azure/Oceanco

Exterior design: Luiz de Basto

Interior design: Nuvolari Lenard

This largest and most luxurious class, in which six yachts contended for the title, provided the Judges with their most difficult decision of this event. This spread of views was also reflected in the secret ballot that realised a narrow victory for the 90-metre DAR, built by Oceanco.

Many aspects of this yacht were particularly admired. The first to draw the Judges' attention were her sculptural lines and elegantly shark-like, ‘organic’ exterior styling created by Luiz de Basto of the Florida-based design company De Basto Designs. The Judges felt that one of the most spectacular highlights of this spontaneous and original design is the delightful deck area at the bridge deck aft, where a waterfall cascades into a large swimming pool and the huge umbrellas that shade the casual seating fold into compartments concealed within the curve of the bulwark. The interior also impressed the Judges, the majority of whom visited the yacht in person. Bright and fresh in its palette, it contains visual themes from nature, such as blossom and sea life, all cleverly combined with pale timbers, rich fabrics and luxurious leathers, thus providing an elegant sense of calm and harmony.

Almost 400-square-metres of darkened glass panels form part of her superstructure, allowing dramatic views from the interior while ensuring privacy when viewed from the exterior. The Judges appreciated the complexity of installing the completely flush panels, each 1.8-metres wide and up to 3.0-metres in height, to the superstructure in a way that they are resistant to the inevitable movement of the yacht in a seaway. DAR, they considered, is a great yacht and a deserving winner.

Judges' Commendation: Elandess

This magnificent vessel, built by Abeking & Rasmussen, drew the admiration of the Judges for its extremely attractive exterior design, superb deck facilities, its semi-submerged ‘Neptune Lounge’ and a general arrangement plan incorporating a wide range of amenities that were perfectly tailored to the requirements of the owners’ family.

Judges' Commendation: White Rabbit

White Rabbit, built in Western Australia by Echo Yachts, was admired for her timeless exterior lines which provide an elegant profile, and the huge volume of her interiors, as well as her diesel-electric propulsion package in which three generators located in each outrigger hull drive a pair of electric motors and variable-pitch propellers in the central hull.

Voyager's Award: Rosehearty

Length: 56m

Owner: Joey Kaempfer

Builder: Perini Navi

Three entries were received for the Voyager’s Award: Beluga and Silentworld, which cruised remote islands in the Coral Sea off the Queensland coast of Australia, and the voyage of Rosehearty, which crossed the Drake Passage at the southern tip of South America to Antarctica. The Judges considered all of them adventurous – well beyond the bounds of everyday cruising. After much discussion and a secret ballot it became clear that the Judges favoured the Antarctic cruise that was undertaken by the 56-metre Perini Navi Rosehearty.

This formed one element of a wide-ranging cruise from the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal to the Galapagos, Tahiti and Fiji, before returning to Chile to sail south through the Patagonian ‘Canals’ and across the Drake Passage to King George Island, just off the coast of Antarctica. Throughout this initial period the owners and charter parties came and went, making it ineligible for the competition that calls for a single group to be aboard for the duration. The cruise considered by the Judges started when the owner’s party flew into King George Island, just off the Antarctic mainland. From here the first passage was southwest to Deception Island, a volcanic cone emerging from the sea, whose flooded crater can be entered through a narrow passage descriptively named the Devil’s Bellows. A relatively serene anchorage gives access to abundant sea life, thermally warmed beaches and amazing scenery. Onwards, their path took them to Trinity Island, Melchior Islands, Port Lockroy, Palmer Station – a US scientific base on Anvers Island – and, dodging storms, back to Port Lockroy. Then it was a sail to Paradise Bay on the Antarctic mainland before the final leg took Rosehearty south-west along the coast to cross the Antarctic Circle, followed by a stormy crossing of the Drake Passage to Cape Horn and Puerto Williams. A voyage of a lifetime!

The Legacy Award: His Highness the Aga Khan

Discovering the beauty of the north-eastern coast of Sardinia in the late 1950s, His Highness the Aga Khan had a vision of creating an exclusive destination for elite tourism, while preserving the natural heritage. The Costa Smeralda Consortium was established in 1962 to promote sustainable development of the area and in 1967 His Highness founded the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with Andrè Ardoin, Giuseppe Kerry Mentasti and Luigi Vietti as a non-profit-making sporting association for fellow sailing enthusiasts.

From its inception, the Club has aimed to organise international regattas, and in 1980 two important world championships were created: the Maxi Yacht World Championship and the Swan World Cup. In addition to a busy sporting calendar, the YCCS also promotes activities relating to the YCCS Sailing School and the One Ocean Foundation, created in March 2018 from an environmental sustainability project launched in 2017 to mark the Club’s 50th anniversary. In 1981 the YCCS laid down the first Italian challenge for America’s Cup. Just two years later the 12-Metre Azzurra came a triumphant third in the qualifying regattas for the finals in Newport. Thanks to her success, the first 12-metre Class World Championship was held in Porto Cervo in 1984. That same year, the Royal Perth Yacht Club chose the YCCS to act as Challenger of Record for the 1987 edition of the America’s Cup. Motor yachts have also been a longstanding passion for His Highness. In 1992, the 67-metre motor yacht Destriero crossed the Atlantic in 58 hours at an average speed of 98.323km/h. This spectacular adventure won Destriero not only the Columbus Atlantic Trophy, the prize instituted by the New York Yacht Club and the YCCS for the fastest return Atlantic crossing, but also the Virgin Atlantic Challenge for the fastest crossing awarded by former record holder Sir Richard Branson.

In 2014, His Highness took delivery of 50-metre Alamshar, the only all-gas-turbine-powered yacht in the world. As well as his many successes in the yachting world, His Highness has been deeply engaged with the work of the Aga Khan Development Network. As the 49th hereditary Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, from the age of 20, he has dedicated his efforts to improving living conditions and opportunities for the most vulnerable populations in developing countries.

Sailing Yacht of the Year:Black Pearl

Length: 106.7m

Builder: Oceanco

Naval architect: Dykstra Naval Architects/Oceanco

Exterior design: Ken Freivokh/Nuvolari Lenard

Interior design: Gerard P Villate/Nuvolari Lenard/Ken Freivokh Design

The title of Sailing Yacht of the Year is awarded to the yacht that is considered by the Judges to be the most notable of the two class winners in this year’s sailing yacht categories. These winners were the 42.24-metre sloop Vijonara, built in Falmouth, UK by Pendennis Yachts and Black Pearl, the 106.7-metre, three-masted, Dynarig schooner built by Oceanco in Alblasserdam, the Netherlands.

Selecting the winner is not a matter of merely choosing the yacht that won its class by the greatest margin, as the Judges are required to consider how each of these vessels might have advanced the design, construction and appearance of future generations of sailing yachts, whilst also taking into consideration all the other elements that led to their selection as class winners. During discussions, it was clear that although the Judges admired Vijonara as a beautiful and well-built yacht, she could not be given the same credit as Black Pearl for her technological advances, so it was Black Pearl that was selected as the Sailing Yacht of the Year. Perhaps the most notable aspect of this vessel was her capacity to provide all the space, facilities and luxury of a modern motor yacht, yet have the low fuel consumption and, hence, reduced environmental impact of a sailing yacht. The fact that Black Pearl, a yacht of 2,550 tonnes displacement, might cross the Atlantic without using any diesel fuel was central to the Judges’ reasoning. As such, she provides an example to current and future owners of large yachts that it is possible to own such a vessel and, at the same time, also be environmentally responsible. This, the Judges felt, is a message worth broadcasting.

Read more

World Superyacht Awards 2025
World Superyacht Awards 2024
World Superyacht Awards 2025
World Superyacht Awards 2025

Sponsored listings