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Mapping the epic journeys of the 2021 Voyager's Award nominees

14 July 2021• Written by Olivia Michel

While the World Superyacht Awards celebrate the most exceptional yachts to hit the water, there is one honour that stands out from the rest. The Voyager's Award is handed to the yacht that has undertaken an adventure of a lifetime and this year there are three frontrunners eyeing the prize: Ocean Dreamwalker III, Odyssea and V6.

From Antarctic expeditions to year-long circumnavigations, the winner of the Voyager's Award goes to the most inspiring journey of the year. With 2020 proving especially difficult for travel, owners and crew have had to think outside of the box in order to fulfil their plans successfully and safely, and all did so by heading to remote, off-the-beaten-track destinations. Here are the three Voyager’s Award nominees and their incredible journeys...

Ocean Dreamwalker III in Alaska

The owner of Sanlorenzo superyacht Ocean Dreamwalker III had visited the US state of Alaska before, but wanted to experience it in true adventurer style on board the 47.2 metre explorer. Throughout the cruise, wildlife spotting and iceberg observations were a key focus as the yacht explored the rugged landscapes and icy waters of Alaska’s southern archipelagos over eight days.

The trip began in Ketchikan, with stops to take in the awe-inspiring nature at Anan Bay, Wrangell, Petersburg, Steamboat Bay Anchorage in Frederick Sound, Tracy’s Arm, Glacier Bay Nature Reserve and Juneau before concluding in Baranof Warm Springs. 

“The whole place is just spectacular,” said the owner. “Being on the boat enabled us to go into really remote regions in the National Parks – we were in wild-animal world."

Highlights included visits to the Bear and Wildlife Observatory in Anan Bay, watching bears fishing for wild salmon, as well as waking up to the sight of whales and dolphins splashing around the yacht. Guests also played on the scenic golf courses in Wrangell, went for a dip in natural hot springs on shore and enjoyed drinking whiskey served over fresh-cut glacier ice.

Odyssea in French Polynesia

The intended cruising plan for Odyssea was quite different from the adventure that her Floridian-based owners ended up having on board the 46.7 metre superyacht. The South Pacific cruise for the Heesen superyacht was meant to begin in French Polynesia before continuing to Fiji and onto New Zealand for the 2021 America’s Cup, and heading home via Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Plans went awry as the pandemic took hold, however. But the silver lining was that, while isolating in the Polynesian islands, the guests and crew on board Odyssea were able to enjoy unrushed time exploring with not a soul around to disturb them.

Odyssea began her cruise around the pristine Society and Tuamotu islands chains, with days spent diving, fishing and kiteboarding. She then moved to the unpopulated atoll of Tahanea, about 300 miles east of Tahiti, to wait out the storm. “The atoll is stunning, with nothing on land except for white sands, grass and palm trees,” described the owner.

“Standout memories are the clean, clear and very warm water and healthy, thriving reefs […] we had everything we needed from a beautiful and safe anchorage,” he recounted. Daily activities including swimming with sharks, spearfishing and harvesting coconuts from the surrounding islands so that the chef could prepare fresh, delicious meals.

After having to fly home to Miami for a brief spell, the owners then re-joined the yacht as she cruised the coasts of Mexico. “We dived, fished and kite boarded our way through the Sea of Cortez, but this time we weren’t alone. The abundance of sea life was breath-taking – sea lions, fish, eels, jumping rays, dolphins and turtles,” described Odyssea’s owner.

There was one final stop in The Bahamas, where the owners spotted tiger sharks and swam in crystal clear waters, before embarking on the short trip back home.

V6 in Northern Europe

The 48.53 motor yacht V6 was bought by her first-time owner just as the pandemic began. After noncommittally looking around the market, “the need to find an escape pod to get away from the crowded European virus hot spots took on a new urgency,” said her owner. After purchasing the Flyghtship superyacht and getting her Polar Code certified, he embarked on a cruise that would begin in the Canary Islands before venturing into the more deserted realms of northern Europe.

Cold weather cruising was a significant highlight and of course a challenge for this owner’s first adventure on board. The first leg after the Med included a cruise of the UK’s coastlines, beginning in the Scilly Isles, which the owner describes as “probably one of the more underrated yachting destinations.”

V6 then cruised the Irish Sea with visits in Dublin and the islet of Strangford Lough, before moving on to explore the lochs and islands of Scotland. Highlights included sightings of basking sharks, visits to a local distillery in Tobermory, kite boarding in Tiree and taking in views of Ben Nevis mountain.

V6 then sailed further north and reached the cool waters of Norway and Svalbard. This section of the journey was filled with wildlife spotting, with sightings of polar bears, walruses, whales, puffins and eagles, guided by a professional team led by Jason Roberts, who has worked on some of David Attenborough’s nature documentaries. 

“We literally had Norway to ourselves, which I believe was a truly unique experience and one I am very grateful to have enjoyed,” said V6’s owner, adding: “[this] is what yachting is really all about, to go and see places that only those privileged enough to own a boat can go see.”

To find out which of these incredible superyacht cruises will win the Voyager’s Award, make sure to book your tickets for the World Superyacht Awards taking place in Monaco on September 5, 2021.

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