The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2019

The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2019

The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2019 were announced at a glittering ceremony held at historic Old Billingsgate in London on 18 May 2019. Click through or use the links below to see all the winners.

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 30m to 32.9m: RJ

Length: 31.6m

Builder: Arcadia Yachts

Naval architect: Arcadia Yachts

Exterior design: Arcadia Yachts

Interior design: Hot Lab

All six yachts in this class were of a similar size, and while this made comparison easier for the Judges, the high quality of the entries still made choosing a winner difficult. It soon became apparent that their focus was concentrated upon RJ, an Arcadia 105, that not only impressed them as being very well built but also displayed contemporary good looks while satisfying many of today’s ‘must have’ trends.

Particularly admired was the connectivity with the marine environment through an abundance of large windows, many of which open to provide a cooling breeze without the need to run air conditioning. The combination of sliding doors that open to fold-down balconies on either side of the main saloon with the room’s fully-glazed aft portion makes this whole area open and airy, while offering wide views spanning almost 300-degrees. Forward, there is an observation lounge that once again provides panoramic views forward over the yacht’s bows and through the glazed bulwarks, while the glass deckhead, overlaid by solar panels, adds both light and power. The aft deck, set out as a lounge, and the extensive sun deck were also praised for their design and functionality as social areas.

The Judges are highly aware of a yacht’s environmental impact and took note of RJ’s abundance of solar panels that can feed between 4kW and 4.5kW into the yacht’s power system, as well as her modestly-sized engines that reduce emissions and provide long range, albeit at the expense of high speed. The secret ballot revealed her to be a clear winner.

Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts 40m and Above:Utopia IV

Length: 63m

Builder: Rossinavi

Naval architect: Arrabito Naval Architects

Exterior design: Enrico Gobbi – Team For Design

Interior design: Enrico Gobbi – Team For Design

This class contained an enviable selection of six large and fast semi-displacement vessels, some of them very fast indeed. All featured MTU main engines of roughly comparable power, with half the class favouring twin engine installations, while one entry opted for triple units, and the two largest and fastest yachts squeezed in four engines. Needless to say, the Judges scrutinised the power, performance and economy figures very closely, but every other aspect was also examined, from exterior styling to the general arrangement plans, mechanical installation, and the quality of construction for the hull, deck areas and interior furniture. When the secret ballot was counted it became clear that one yacht had almost unanimously attracted the Judges’ interest.

This was the 63-metre, Utopia IV from Rossinavi. She was, by a small margin, the fastest yacht in the class thanks to her four MTUs that deliver a total of 7,756kW to four Kamewa waterjets, but despite their immaculate installation and accessibility, this was by no means the determining factor in the Judges’ eyes while making their decision. They were also impressed by her sleek and modern lines, her understated interior design and the well-conceived general arrangement plan in which almost every facility found on a displacement yacht of this size – from superb beach club to large tender garage, spacious deck areas and excellent crew quarters – was incorporated. If owners of displacement yachts are tempted to commission such a thrilling vessel, they should be aware that at her 33-knot top speed she consumes just over 2,000-litres of fuel per hour.

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.

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