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The winners of the World Superyacht Awards 2023

20 May 2023

The winners of the 2023 World Superyacht Awards have now been revealed. From the newly crowned Motor Yacht of the Year to the prestigious Voyager's Award, scroll down to find out which yachts scooped this year's coveted Neptunes...

Motor Yacht of the Year - Kenshō
Sailing Yacht of the Year - Alea
Rebuilt Yachts - Marala
Refitted Yachts - Athos
Sailing Yachts, 30m to 49.9m - Sørvind
Sailing Yachts, 50m and above - Alea
Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts, 30m to 34.9m - Blue Jeans
Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts, 35m to 41.9m - Rush
Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts, 42m and above - Callisto
Displacement Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 30m to 39.9m - Unknown
Displacement Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 40m to 44.9m - Acala
Displacement Motor Yachts 499GT and below, 45m and above - Ocean Z
Displacement Motor Yachts, 500GT to 1,499GT - Come Together
Displacement Motor Yachts, 1,500GT and above - Kenshō
Voyager’s Award - V6
Legacy Award - Rahmi M.Koç
Judges' Special Award - Shinkai
Judges' Special Award - Coral Ocean
Judges' Special Award - Nebula 

MOTOR YACHT OF THE YEAR: KENSHŌ

Length 74.85m
Builder Admiral - The Italian Sea Group S.p.A
Naval architect The Italian Sea Group S.p.A/Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture
Exterior designers Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture/archineers.berlin
Interior designer Jouin Manku

In selecting the winner of the coveted Motor Yacht of the Year award, our judges were faced with the unenviable task of choosing a single yacht from among the eight individual winners of the Semi-Displacement and Displacement Motor Yacht classes. Making this choice is not just a matter of choosing the largest yacht, nor the yacht that won its class by the greatest margin, as the judges are also required to consider how each of these vessels might have advanced the design, construction and appearance of future generations of yachts. After lengthy debate, the secret ballot revealed Kenshō – Japanese for “seeing one’s true nature” - to be the winner by a healthy margin, and while many factors influenced this decision, it was her owner-driven attributes that tipped the scales. In his bid to create a vessel that stood out from the crowd, the owner visited around 100 of the world’s landmark yachts, listing attributes that he particularly admired. High deckheads, calming room volumes, minimal side decks, and no main saloon were high on the resulting list presented to his designers, Netherlands-based Azure, and Germany-based archineers.berlin, who took on responsibility for naval architecture and exterior design. Parisian design studio Jouin Manku, meanwhile, created her stunning interior from a palette of soft natural tones in leather, teak, metal and glass. Added to her more visual attributes, Kenshō’s diesel-electric propulsion system with twin Veth azimuth drives, driven by Danfoss electric motors that draw their exact power needs from five variable-speed generators, was the icing on the cake for this splendid yacht, which certainly stands out from the crowd while reflecting the “true nature” of her owner.

SAILING YACHT OF THE YEAR: ALEA

Length 56m
Builder Vitters  
Naval architect Germán Mani Frers
Exterior designer Germán Mani Frers
Interior designer m2atelier

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 class winners in two sailing yacht categories. 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 all the other elements that led to their being chosen as class winners. Both yachts were conceived as fast cruisers and, as both their owners invested a great deal of thought and experience into their designs, choosing the winner was a difficult task for the judges. Following lengthy discussion they decided that the Frers-designed 56-metre Alea, built to impeccable standards by Vitters, should receive this prestigious award. As is usual, their decision was based on a wide-ranging study encompassing all aspects of this yacht in relation to her owner’s specific requests. In Alea’s case, her owner wished to circumnavigate the world in speed and comfort, and to fulfil this ambition Frers created a powerful, sleek hull form with a distinctive reverse bow to increase waterline length and speed, that would sail with comfortably low angles of heel. Other important needs were for safely uncluttered decks, 360-degree views in the communal living areas and a sizeable beach club, all of which were admirably incorporated into Alea’s sleek and attractive profile. The judges particularly admired the manner in which the floor of the deck saloon and the adjoining cockpit are on the same level, set just over a metre below deck level to lower the profile of the deckhouse, while also offering the cockpit significant protection from wind and weather.

REBUILT YACHTS: MARALA

Length 58.8m
Original builder Camper & Nicholsons
Shipyard Pendennis
Naval architect Charles E Nicholson
Exterior designer Charles E Nicholson
Interior designer Muza Lab

First, a word of explanation about this class: all yachts are entered into the Refit/Rebuild category, and the jury, having reviewed the photographs and read the statements submitted with each entry, decide whether the degree of work justifies it as a refit or a rebuild. If a meaningful amount of metal has been replaced, along with significant renewal of the interior and in technical areas, this generally leads to the yacht being placed in the Rebuild class. Of the yachts having undergone such extensive work, the jury unanimously decided that the standout winner was Marala, a classic motor yacht built by Camper & Nicholsons in 1931 and which has had just four owners during her 92-year lifespan. She had been rebuilt over two and a half years at Pendennis Shipyard in Falmouth, where the emphasis was on stripping back the additions made during her lifetime to reinvigorate her original spirit. The owner’s cabin is a nod to his admiration for the liner Normandie, while others pay homage to the Palace of Savoy and Japanese-influenced art deco, while another adds a sophisticated salute to the vessel’s days in military service. To quote her interior designers: “We knew we already had a diamond – it has been a case of polishing it to reveal its brilliance.” The rebuild saw the replacement of more than 100 tonnes of steel, predominantly in the hull, which was left unfaired to provide an authentic appearance. Stability was improved, all services including HVAC, piping, ducting and cabling were replaced, main engines and auxiliary generators were fully rebuilt and her emergency generator was replaced with a battery system. The judges felt that a yachting treasure had been saved by a meticulous period-conscious rebuild and this made her a worthy winner.

REFITTED YACHTS: ATHOS

Length 63.25m
Original builder Holland Jachtbouw
Shipyard Huisfit
Naval architect Hoek Design Naval Architects
Exterior designer Hoek Design Naval Architects
Interior designers Hoek Design Naval Architects

As mentioned on the previous page, for this class, all yachts are entered into the Refit/Rebuild category, and having reviewed the photographs and read the statements submitted with each entry, the jury decides whether the degree of work justifies it being a refit or a rebuild. In general terms, if the work is commensurate with a five- to 10-year refit, without significant metal being cut, the yacht is usually judged in the Refit category. Among the many interesting entries, it was the 63.25-metre schooner Athos that caught the judges’ eyes. In choosing the ideal yacht for a world cruise, her owner had been drawn by the yacht’s elegant lines, the excellent “close to the water” sailing experience that she provides, and the fact that she had originally been designed with all the necessary attributes for a circumnavigation. This led to the owner taking the extraordinary step of chartering the vessel for a year in order to “get the feel of her” before committing to purchase, a time in which he defined the necessary works to fully customise her for his circumnavigation. Following her acquisition, Athos was placed in the hands of Royal Huisman’s Huisfit yard in Amsterdam – the home of her now-defunct original builders, Holland Jachtbouw – for almost a year under the design supervision of Andre Hoek, her original naval architect. Among the mass of work carried out, her stern was slightly extended to provide the owner with a larger cockpit adjoining his cabin, and the navigation station repositioned to a new deckhouse just aft of the foremast. She was also given new booms, new sails and lightweight carbon-fibre rigging. The quality and practicality of the work so impressed the judges that they had little hesitation in selecting her as the winner.

SAILING YACHTS, 30M TO 49.9M: SØRVIND

Length 34.59m
Builder Southern Wind Shipyard
Naval architect Farr Yacht Design
Exterior designer Nauta Design
Interior designer Nauta Design

Two yachts were built in the qualifying period for this class. One was designed to provide its owner with a combination of seagoing comfort and excellent sailing performance, and the other a classic-inspired bluewater cruiser. A closer examination of specifications, photographs and plans was followed by further discussion that focused the spotlight on the 34.59-metre Sørvind, a yacht that was beautifully constructed and multifunctional. The secret ballot that followed confirmed that this yacht, built in Cape Town, South Africa by Southern Wind to a design by naval architects Farr Yacht Design, with exterior and interior design by the Milan-based Nauta Design, took the prize. The owner, a keen sailor from a young age, told us in his statement submitted for the judges’ dossier, that he had wanted a “high-performance yacht for fast and comfortable sailing that embodies a ‘Nordic Cool’ spirit, while also designed for success on the charter market”, and the judges felt that he had received exactly this. In creating Sørvind, her builders had optimised this, their fifth SW105 model, developing a special assembly process between her full-carbon hull, deck and bulkheads, while her environmentally friendly synthetic teak decks were paired with titanium stanchions to reduce her weight to an impressive 69,500kg, thus giving her the ability to sail in the lightest of wind conditions. The judges also considered that her bright and light Scandi-style interior decoration combined with a highly practical GA plan – which places the master cabin and a double forward of the saloon, and two twin cabins and the crew accommodation, navigation and technical areas aft - perfectly met her owner’s needs. 

SAILING YACHTS, 50M AND ABOVE: ALEA

Length 56m
Builder Vitters
Naval architect Germán Mani Frers
Exterior designer Germán Mani Frers
Interior designer m2atelier

The larger Sailing Yacht class contained just one vessel whose size was such that the judges considered it to be difficult, if not unfair, to compare it with the two significantly smaller sailing yachts, whose similar size suggested that they should be judged in a class of their own. It might seem that classes with just one yacht entered hardly require a judging process but, to ensure that unworthy yachts are not celebrated, precedent requires the judges to decide - based on their past experience - whether the vessel in question, in this case the 56-metre Alea built by Vitters is of sufficient quality to win its class against similar-sized winners in former years. Following a thorough review of the material submitted in support of Alea’s entry, the judges unanimously approved that she should be awarded a Neptune. Alea is a long-range bluewater cruising sloop conceived for an owner who had requested a light displacement vessel that would perform well in both low and high winds. An extensive engineering study in conjunction with Frers Design led to an aluminium-hulled yacht whose lifting keel reduces her draught from 6.95 metres to 3.5 metres, thus allowing access to shallower harbours. On deck, she is clean and hazard free, with all sheets and halyards led below to captive winches, and her otherwise flush layout is broken only by a low deckhouse and coachroof-shaded cockpit amidships, and a raised entry to the crew and navigation areas aft. Her interior is a picture of comfortable minimalist elegance, the deck saloon giving access forward to the master and two guest cabins, while three further guest cabins and the crew areas open aft. Beautifully built in every respect, she is a most worthy winner.

JUDGES’ COMMENDATION: MELODY

Length 41.5m
Builder Ridas Yacht
Naval architect Olivier F. van Meer
Exterior designer Olivier F. van Meer
Interior designer Olivier F. van Meer

For 20 years, the owner of Melody had dreamed of building a state-of-the-art sailing yacht in which to make a safe and comfortable round-the-world voyage. When he came across the Zaca series of classically inspired designs created by renowned Dutch naval architect Olivier van Meer, he knew his search was over. This led to the commissioning of the Zaca 115 design which, built by Ridas Yacht & Composites in Estonia, became the 41.5-metre ketch Melody. Ridas had made its name in the construction of much smaller, composite vessels of extremely high quality, so the request to build an aluminium-hulled sailing superyacht of this size classed to Lloyd’s +100A1 presented the yard’s 25-strong workforce with a real test, but they rose to this challenge. The judges were impressed with the high quality of construction and finish, along with the sophisticated onboard technical systems, such as the Böning monitoring equipment that makes it possible to remotely monitor all of the yacht’s technical aspects. The judges found it difficult to compare this classic vessel with her more modern rival in the class, but were so impressed with her builder’s achievement that they voted to award a Judges’ Commendation.

SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS, 30M TO 34.9M: BLUE JEANS

Length 33.74m
Builder Van der Valk Shipyard
Naval architect Diana Yacht Design
Exterior designer Guido de Groot Design
Interior designer Guido de Groot Design

All five yachts in this class were of very similar size, and while this made detailed comparison easier, the unvarying high quality of the entries and their disparate characteristics still made the task of choosing the winner difficult for the judges. The nominees’ performances ranged from an extremely fast 51 knots to a more sedate 26 knots, while advanced composites vied with aluminium and GRP for hull material, and water-jet propulsion jousted with conventional propellers. During discussion it was the less extreme vessels that drew the attention of the majority of the judges, with the fully customised 33.74-metre Blue Jeans, built by Van der Valk Shipyard, being the focus of much of their attention. Their admiration of this vessel was confirmed after the secret ballot, which she won by a significant margin. The judges admired her striking appearance, her comfortable cruising speed of 25 knots, her spacious maintenance-friendly engine room, high- quality build and her optimum layout. The owner had asked Van der Valk for a fast vessel with a high level of seaworthiness, stability and manoeuvrability and challenged the yard to surprise him with what they could do. To meet the owner’s performance needs, naval architects Diana Yacht Design drew a semi-displacement hull with large propellers positioned in tunnels to increase efficiency and decrease draught. Her interior by Guido de Groot Design, who also drew her exterior lines, was laid out in the classic manner with the master cabin well aft on the lower deck where movement is at a minimum, and a formal dining room forward on the main deck. Blue Jeans, the judges considered, is a very pleasant all-rounder that certainly met the owner’s challenge.

SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS, 35M TO 41.9M: RUSH

Length 41.7m
Builder Baglietto
Naval architect Baglietto
Exterior designer Francesco Paszkowski Design
Interior designers Francesco Paszkowski Design in collaboration with Margherita Casprini

Comprising four similar-sized vessels that were otherwise quite different in their construction materials and performance, this was a tough class for the judges. Their discussion was long and wide-ranging, and after every aspect of the yachts had been considered in detail there was no clear consensus of which might come out on top. But even though the results revealed that the voting was indeed close, the outcome of the secret ballot was clear in that the aluminium-hulled 41.7-metre Rush, with naval architecture and build by Baglietto and exterior styling and interior design from the board of Francesco Paszkowski, the latter in collaboration with Margherita Casprini, led the field. She was the largest and also the fastest yacht in this class, topping out at 29 knots powered by three MTU 1,939kW diesels; the flank engines driving fixed-pitch propellers, while the central unit powering a Voith Linear Jet drive. At her fast cruising speed of 24 knots, her 43,090 litres of fuel provides a range of 980 nautical miles, which increases to an admirable 2,800 nautical miles at her 12-knot economical cruising speed. Her elegantly aggressive exterior line reveals a classic raised pilothouse design with spacious deck areas aloft, forward and aft. These are complemented by a fold-down stern platform that opens to reveal a compact beach club that gives access forward to an athwartships tender garage. Inside, the brief called for a traditionally laid-out interior, well illuminated by natural light, offering a “welcoming and sober style”. This was achieved by Paszkowski and Casprini with predominantly grey hues and a small palette of materials that create a sense of harmony throughout the vessel. Fast, stylish and fully featured, she is a worthy winner.

SEMI-DISPLACEMENT OR PLANING MOTOR YACHTS, 42M AND ABOVE: CALLISTO

Length 42.5m
Builder Feadship
Naval architect Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects
Exterior designer Studio De Voogt
Interior designer Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design

Four finalists were lined up to compete in this, the largest of the semi-displacement and planing classes. Our judges, having thoroughly examined the material provided in the dossier, voted that Callisto, a 42.5-metre, full-custom, fast-displacement design built by Feadship, was the winner by a close margin. The owners of Callisto, who also own a much-loved 65-metre Feadship of the same name that launched in 2006, wished to downsize and focus their future cruising on the Mediterranean, where a smaller vessel would allow access to more ports and anchorages. They also wanted a good turn of speed to dart between these, as well as comfortable navigation at lower speeds, so a fast displacement vessel that could replicate as many of the things they loved about their former yacht was the obvious choice. The larger Callisto had classic Feadship lines and a hint of these were retained in the new yacht, while giving her a more modern edge and personality, an example of which is seen in her near-vertical bow. After studying two versions – a raised pilothouse and a three-deck configuration – the owners opted for the three-decker, further requesting that it should be “light, liveable and summery”. Interior designer Sinot achieved this with a background of brushed and bleached oak that was combined with cinnamon oak detailing and pale marble to create the crisp, clean beach house look that was admired by the judges. The panel felt that the combination of good looks, the highest standards of construction and the very evident satisfaction of the owners with their new Callisto, were very compelling reasons to award her the coveted Neptune.

DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHTS 499GT AND BELOW, 30M TO 39.9M: UNKNOWN

Length 34.36m
Builder Benetti
Naval architects P.L. Ausonio Naval Architecture and Benetti R&D Dept.
Exterior designer RWD
Interior designer bonetti/kozerski architecture

After the judges had completed their detailed discussion of the five yachts in this class, the ballot made it clear that one yacht stood out from the crowd. The subsequent voting confirmed the supremacy of the 34.36-metre Benetti Oasis, Unknown, with exterior design by UK-based RWD and interiors by the New York architectural firm bonetti/kozerski, the same team that created the larger 40-metre Oasis design. The first thing that drew the judges’ attention were the deck spaces, in particular the aft deck, whose intimate connection with the water has created a huge and open beach club over two decks, centred on a glass-backed pool that sits astride the two levels. The judges also admired the open beach sensation created by the fold-down bulwarks to port and starboard, as well as the ideally positioned sunbathing area surrounding the pool, and the ability to unite all of this with the dining room through its wide semicircular doors. No other yacht, the judges felt, could match this highly desirable deck. Further large deck areas that offer comfortable seating and sunbathing are also to be found at the bows, on the bridge deck aft and on the sundeck, where alfresco dining is on offer. This is, in the judges’ opinion, a yacht that makes an excellent connection with the ocean and the open air. Inside, Unknown displays a natural, refined and tranquil style that perfectly matches her sporty exterior spaces, while huge windows again provide a close connection to her surroundings. The judges felt that this was a well-built, groundbreaking yacht that fits such extraordinary features into its compact size that it is very deserving of a Neptune.

DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHTS 499GT AND BELOW, 40M TO 44.9M: ACALA

Length 42.9m
Builder Cantiere Delle Marche
Naval architect Hydro Tec
Exterior designer Horacio Bozzo Design
Interior designer Simon Hamui Design Studio

This year, none of the classes provided easy decisions for the judges, but this was possibly the toughest even though it contained five significant yachts – all of which had been visited by judges – of a size, volume and performance that made them very comparable. The discussion that followed was lengthy and detailed but two yachts, the 44.27-metre Conrad Ace and the 42.9-metre Cantiere Delle Marche Acala, seemed to command most attention. This was confirmed by the result of the secret ballot, when Acala came out top and Ace second with near-identical scores. Acala is the second yacht of this name for this owner, whose family had used their first vessel, a smaller Darwin 102 delivered by Cantiere Delle Marche in 2015, to visit and dive in the remote islands and archipelagos of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This, his second yacht of the same name, was devised to provide additional comfort while using their extensive knowledge to customise it to their exact needs. Working with designer and naval architect Horacio Bozzo and interior designer Simon Hamui, they defined and designed every aspect of their new yacht and spent almost a year working on its technical aspects. In the owner’s own words: “The shipyard has outdone itself – the build was smooth and totally under control, and the quality of construction is impeccable.” The judges admired Acala’s rugged good looks, her well-sized engines that provide a top speed of 15.3 knots and a 7,506-nautical- mile range at 10 knots, excellent crew areas, a superb diving store and her elegant and modern interior. Their summary was that this is a true explorer yacht, well conceived and built, that perfectly met all of her owner’s needs. As such, she is an extremely deserving winner.

Read More/Exclusive: First look on board 43m custom CdM explorer Acala

JUDGES’ COMMENDATION: ACE

Length 44.27m
Builder Conrad Shipyard
Naval architect Diana Yacht Design
Exterior designer Reymond Langton Design
Interior designer m2atelier

During their visits to Ace, our judges admired many aspects of this Conrad C144s design first seen in her near sistership, the smaller 40-metre Viatoris, also penned by Diana Yacht Design and Reymond Langton Design. Appealingly attractive and built to a commendably high standard, she was commented on favourably by the judges on the generous size and practicality of her well-laid-out deck spaces, while admiring her interior design, created by Marco Bonelli and Marijana Radovic’s m2atelier. They also thought highly of her convivial crew facilities and working areas, as well as her engineering and technical areas. Her owner came across Viatoris, the near-sistership to Ace, during the 2018 Cannes and Monaco yacht shows, and after spending a good deal of time aboard, sea-trialling her and discussing a few changes – notably his request for a slightly larger vessel with a vertical bow rather than the raked bow of Viatoris – the deal was signed and Ace started her voyage to reality. In view of the extreme closeness of the results of this class, together with their admiration for the product of this up-and-coming Polish superyacht yard, the judges decided to award Ace – an enviable all-rounder yacht – with a Judges’ Commendation.

DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHTS 499GT AND BELOW, 45M AND ABOVE: OCEAN Z

Length 49.9m
Builder Heesen Yachts
Naval architect Heesen Yachts
Exterior designer Clifford Denn Design
Interior designer Reymond Langton Design

Having reviewed all the yachts in this class in some detail, the judges’ secret ballot clearly showed the 49.9-metre Heesen Ocean Z to be the clear winner. Her American owners had purchased their first yacht, a 32.9-metre, during the Covid-19 pandemic, a time when they had made a great deal of use of her. Having uncovered a new-found passion for the yachting lifestyle, they decided to invest in a new vessel more tailored to their lifestyle. Their research drew them to a semi-displacement yacht under construction at Heesen, but she swiftly came under offer and they lost her. On reflection, however, this was a serendipitous moment as it caused them to reassess exactly what they wanted. Comfort and good seakeeping came at the top of their list, so when another in-build Heesen of similar size and appearance became available – this time built from steel with a full-displacement hull form offering the comfort that they now sought – it was seen as fate, and a contract was signed. Ocean Z is the third vessel in Heesen’s 50-metre series - true bluewater vessels offering a top speed of 15 knots and a range of 3,800 nautical miles at 13 knots - which feature a purposeful exterior design by Clifford Denn. Ocean Z’s interior, by Reymond Langton Design, although already underway, was customised to the owners’ need for clean and simple lines, bright open spaces and subtle contrasts of light and shade that were admired by the judges. This, combined with the yacht’s attractive lines, excellent deck spaces and Heesen’s high quality of construction and engineering, tipped the judges’ balance in favour of this very competent yacht.

Read More/A look on board the first Amels 60 superyacht Come Together

DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHTS, 500GT TO 1,499GT: COME TOGETHER

Length 60m
Builder Amels
Naval architect Damen Yachting
Exterior designer Espen Øino International
Interior designer Winch Design

This was another class in which the high quality of the contestants – all built by notable shipyards – made it difficult for the judges to decide a winner. Each yacht certainly displayed some enviable attributes, but the voting revealed that Come Together, the first vessel in the Amels 60-metre semi-custom series designed by Damen Yachting, with exterior design by Espen Øino and her interior by Winch Design, narrowly topped the secret ballot. But this was not an easy victory as she was chased hard by the 54.9-metre Feadship Shinkai and the 60-metre Heesen Lusine. The owner’s brief for Come Together was clear. Limiting the carbon footprint came top of the list, followed by the need for a stable, seaworthy platform for comfortable cruising. When focusing on the design detail, he requested an expansive sundeck and the ability to touch and go in a helicopter. In terms of the interior, the request was for an atmosphere in which he could entertain and unwind with family and friends. Winch Design met this with a relaxed and natural theme that gives a subtly masculine feel to its tactile and architectural form. This, in the judges’ view, blended well with Espen Øino’s pleasingly angular and geometric exterior. Among other admirable layout features, the judges were also influenced by the yacht’s amazingly spacious sundeck, where the central portion could be blocked by sliding- glass doors to prevent the unpleasant wind tunnel effect that can spoil open-air gatherings. The yacht’s hybrid-propulsion technology was also admired, enabling the yacht to up anchor and slow cruise without starting the engines and disturbing guests. This, the judges concluded, was a well-conceived yacht and a deserved winner.

JUDGES’ COMMENDATION: LUSINE

Length 60m  
Builder Heesen Yachts  
Naval architects Van Oossanen Naval Architects/Heesen Yachts  
Exterior designer Omega Architects
Interior designer Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design

Having produced few fully customised vessels in recent years, Heesen is today best known for its range of high-quality semi-custom yachts built as speculative projects. But the company shines when commissioned for a fully customised vessel such as the 60-metre Lusine. Developed from a concept design, her elegant exterior features a touch-and-go helipad that can also be used as a sports deck, a private owner’s deck, guest areas on both the fore and aft of the main deck and a large bathing platform. Set within a practical GA, her sophisticated interior reveals an exquisite display of opulence that reinvents the understated glamour of the art deco period. Its star attraction, perhaps, is the games table inset with a slice of genuine lunar rock in a nod to the yacht’s name, which is Armenian for the word “Moon”. Provided with a fast-displacement hull form by naval architects Van Oossanen, Lusine has a top speed of 15.5 knots and a 4,500-nautical-mile range at 13 knots. She is tailored to the needs of an experienced client, and the judges felt that this was a special yacht which, in view of the closeness of the scoring, should be awarded a Judges’ Commendation.

DISPLACEMENT MOTOR YACHTS, 1,500GT AND ABOVE: KENSHŌ

Credit: Vanderwalt Productions

Length 74.85m
Builder Admiral - The Italian Sea Group S.p.A
Naval architects The Italian Sea Group S.p.A/Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture
Exterior designers Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture/archineers.berlin
Interior designer Jouin Manku

This was yet another class in which all the competitors are superb yachts, but a winner had to be chosen. After long deliberation, the secret ballot revealed that the 74.85-metre Kenshō, built by Admiral, a brand of The Italian Sea Group, who also acted as naval architects in conjunction with Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture, had triumphed. Azure also created the yacht’s exterior design with multi-disciplined architectural and engineering consulting company archineers.berlin. The yacht’s German owner wanted an “out of the ordinary superyacht to travel the world with family and guests”, and he presented an extremely concise list of demands for the designers to make reality. First of all he wanted to prioritise his interior design requirements over the yacht’s technical needs in creating a design with a high ratio of living areas to technical spaces. This living area could be spread over four decks, and should offer generous room heights of 2.7 metres on the main and upper decks, while incorporating highly glazed, forward-facing living rooms above the wheelhouse. Additionally, there should be generous outdoor living areas, especially on the lower deck aft, which should be dedicated to a large and comfortable beach club. Add in the need for optimal circulation routes, two pools, a four-deck lift, helicopter pad, excellent storage for a nine-metre tender and toys, and spacious crew areas. Such unique demands gave the design team food for thought, but they achieved the owner’s wishes. Despite the jury not being unanimously drawn to her exterior styling, the admirable manner in which the other requests were met by her builders and designers led to her being declared an exemplary winner of this competitive class.

JUDGES’ COMMENDATION: JUICE

Length 71.1m  
Builder Feadship  
Naval architect Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects
Exterior designer RWD  
Interior designer Peter Marino

The owner’s previous vessel had been the first Feadship F45, used for family and friends in which he had cruised for ten years before returning to Feadship in search of a larger vessel. This new yacht was to feature a private owner’s deck, and was to exhibit the highest quality construction while emanating an air of refined elegance and timeless modernity. The result was the 71.1-metre Juice, featuring naval architecture by De Voogt, exterior design by RWD, and interior design by Peter Marino. The judges were impressed by her sleek exterior lines, together with impressive detailing such as that seen in the “pencil line” shadows that draw the eye forward and aft from the hull’s tear-shaped windows. They also applauded the manner in which the exterior staircases giving access to the upper decks are separated from the superstructure to let more light in the interior. The fact that the owner spent hours perfecting the interior with Marino, even personally selecting individual pieces of veneer for the stairwells, is a testimony to his involvement in the creation of his perfect yacht. The judges agreed that such superb build quality and attention to detail should be rewarded with a Commendation.

JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARDS: SHINKAI

Credit: Feadship

Length 54.9m
Builder Feadship
Naval architects Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects/Vitruvius
Exterior designer Vitruvius Yachts

Many superyachts are classed by their builders as “expedition yachts”, but when put under scrutiny few actually meet the specific needs of a vessel designed to explore the oceans from tropics to high latitudes. But the 54.9-metre De Vries-built Feadship Shinkai, featuring naval architecture by Vitruvius and de Voogt, is a true go-anywhere vessel. Her experienced owner’s second explorer yacht, she is a development of his first Vitruvius-designed vessel that has, where necessary, refined and amplified aspects of his earlier yacht in which he twice circumnavigated the globe. Shinkai’s worldwide cruising grounds include polar and uncharted regions, as well as the depths of the ocean, and this led to the need for ice classification, FLIR night-vision cameras and the installation of forward-looking 3D sonar and seafloor-charting equipment to assist navigation in uncharted waters. Shinkai’s permanently embarked U-Boat Worx submarine gives the ability to descend to between 300 and 480 metres, while she also carries a full range of tenders, including an eight-metre limousine and a six-metre SOLAS tender. For land exploration, there is a six-person SUV housed in a weatherproof garage. As many of the areas that this yacht will visit are environmentally sensitive, Shinkai has SCR units to remove harmful emissions from her exhausts, state-of-the-art black/grey water systems, plus garbage compaction and freezing systems. Add to this a range of 6,200 nautical miles at 12 knots, an interior perfectly suited to the owner’s needs, and the legendary build quality of the de Vries shipyard, and the result is an extraordinarily capable explorer that so impressed the judges that it was unanimously decided to present her with a Neptune to denote a Judges’ Special Award.

JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARDS: CORAL OCEAN

Credit: Ahoy Club

Length 72.54m
Original builder Lürssen
Refit Ahoy Club
Naval architect H2 Yacht Design
Exterior designer H2 Yacht Design
Interior designer ibL/Sabrina Monte-Carlo

When the majority of judges seriously admire a narrowly second-placed yacht, they usually discuss the presentation of either a Judges’ Commendation or Judges’ Special Award. Such discussions are commonplace in the Refit and Rebuild Class, where comparing differing yachts can be problematic. Such was the case this year, when the upgrades to both Athos and Coral Ocean were much admired by the judges. While the refit of winner Athos had completely updated her, any changes would take an expert eye to spot, while the changes to Coral Ocean are more obvious. The owner’s aim was to allow charterers to fall in love with every space, particularly the deck spaces that urgently needed upgrading. Additionally, he felt it essential that all six guest cabins should offer equal facilities to charterers. The sundeck was reimagined, with a new central deckhouse containing a TV lounge, dining area and bar, all lit through a sunroof and glazed doors that access open decks fore and aft. Forward is a glass-sided spa pool, while aft is a sunbathing and observation deck. This new area, in conjunction with the upgraded cabins and the sensitive approach to the refit, was considered to be worthy of a Judges’ Special Award.

Read More/Inside the multimillion-euro refit of legendary 73m Lürssen Coral Ocean

JUDGES’ SPECIAL AWARDS: NEBULA

Credit: Guillaume Plisson

Length 68.2m
Builder Astilleros Armon
Naval architect Incat Crowther
Exterior designer Schwalgien Yacht Design
Interior designer Schwalgien Yacht Design

Nebula was the sole support vessel delivered in the qualifying year for these awards, and given the unfairness of judging a work vessel against superyachts of similar size, the judges decided that she should be judged in a Support Vessel class of her own and only awarded a Neptune if she came up to the highest standards of past winners. Even the briefest look at this yacht’s dossier assured the judges that this was a very special craft. Built in Spain by Astilleros Armon with naval architecture by Incat Crowther and interior design by Schwalgien Yacht Design, this 68.2-metre aluminium catamaran came about from an owner’s requirement to safely land his H145 helicopter on its certified landing zone, support it with refuelling facilities and a workshop, and store it securely in a weatherproof garage without folding its blades. While guests previously landed on the foredeck of the mothership adjacent to the owner’s suite, they now land more safely on Nebula’s helipad and transfer on a 12-metre custom-built catamaran tender. Nebula also carries a 10-metre Scorpion RIB as well as a seven-metre Pascoe RIB. The vessel is provided with guest accommodation, guest deck areas and a lounge, should there be delays between landing and transfer, as well as a hospital cabin, waste treatment facilities, storerooms, and a sizeable laundry to support the mothership. Apart from these, and her 15-metre by 12-metre helicopter hangar, her size allows for excellent crew facilities that include a crew gymnasium, yoga and sunbathing area on the sundeck. With a top speed of 21 knots and an 8,900-nautical-mile-plus range, Nebula is an extraordinary vessel, and a well-deserved winner of this special Neptune.

Read More/Nebula: The 68m support vessel with out-of-this-world accommodation for crew

VOYAGER’S AWARD: V6

Length 48.5m
Builder G&K Yachting SA

Significant cruises are rarely impulsive, while some take years to plan, so the impact of Covid-19-related restrictions still cause a major impact on Voyager’s Award entries. Last year saw two entries, both made on impulse when their respective owners foresaw a need to isolate themselves. This year there was just one, and while remaining travel uncertainties meant that this entry was not as far-ranging as most in the past, the jury nevertheless considered it to be highly significant in terms of the amazing experience had by all those on board 48.5-metre expedition yacht V6. She logged 14,500 nautical miles during her summer 2022 cruise, starting in San Diego, transiting the Panama Canal to the Los Roques archipelago off the Venezuelan coast, then returning through the canal and north to British Columbia and Alaska, before closing the loop at San Diego. While the judges considered the distance covered to be a feat in itself, Voyager’s Award rules require the owner, or a guest nominated by the owner, to be aboard for the majority of the cruise. This condition was not met during the lengthy transits, so the judges decided to consider the element from Seattle to Anchorage as a stand-alone voyage – a cruise that met the needs of the award and with a scope equal to that of former winners. The adventure started on leaving Seattle, with orca and bald eagle sightings, scenic fjords, rides in historic float planes, and trips to the whirlpools of Arran Rapids and the all-but-abandoned town of Ocean Falls. The Alaska leg added canoeing, fishing, otter-, bear- and moose-spotting and beach barbecues into the mix. This was a well-documented cruise, spectacularly illustrated with remarkable photography.

LEGACY AWARD: RAHMI M. KOÇ

Mention the name Rahmi M. Koç to a group of international businessmen and they will instantly link it to his family business, Koç Holding A.S., a Fortune 500 company with a turnover of $52 billion, that is responsible for seven per cent of Turkey’s exports. Rahmi Koç has dedicated his life to this company, eventually taking over from his father, Vehbi Koç, as chairman of the board in 1984, a post he held until his retirement in 2003. The company’s achievements have been legendary – forging international manufacturing partnerships with global brands such as Ford, Fiat, Peugeot and Siemens, but also in setting up or acquiring wholly owned companies in fields as diverse as household goods, medical products, hotels, marinas and banking.

Despite his involvement with this huge group of companies, Rahmi Koç always found time for his particular passion – boats. A keen yachtsman since his childhood holidays, which, in his own words, were spent “mucking around in boats” on the Bosphorus, he grew up to become an avid collector of vessels both large and small, powered by steam, sail and diesel. He accumulated so many that he doesn’t know the exact number, but many can be found in perfect working condition in Istanbul’s superb Rahmi M. Koç Museum. Vessels such as the 1907 steam-tug Gonca, and the William Fife-designed 12 Metre Lady Edith launched in 1925, have been saved for posterity and are open for public viewing, which is a legacy in itself, but Rahmi still asserts that his first “real” boat was Nazenin, a 19-metre Francis Jones design which he built in Turkey in 1977 and still owns. Then came Nazenin II, an Alden 23-metre, and then Nazenin III, another Alden ketch, but this time 33 metres LOA. Having crossed the Atlantic, he then set his sights on a circumnavigation and his extensive experience was poured into the fourth Nazenin, a 35-metre designed by Sparkman & Stephens and built by Palmer Johnson, in which he took two years to circle the globe. His current flagship is Nazenin V, a Sparkman & Stephens-designed 52-metre built at RMK, his own shipyard in Istanbul.

Tonight, we celebrate this remarkable life in business, philanthropy and boats with the presentation of a well-deserved Legacy Award.

More about this yacht

Lurssen   72.55 m •  1994
Flyghtship   48.5 m •  2006

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