19 World Superyacht Awards 2015 winners

Motor Yacht of the Year: Grace E

Award sponsored by Mercedes-Benz

This award needed little debate – the stunning 73 metre Grace E was an overwhelming favourite. The superyacht with the ultimate sun deck spa, Grace E handily won Motor Yacht of the Year.

Builder: Picchiotti – Perini Navi Group
Naval Architect: Philippe Briand/ Vitruvius
Exterior Design: Philippe Briand/Vitruvius
Interior Design: Rémi Tessier

Past winners of Motor Yacht of the Year include: Ice (2006), Kogo (2007), T6 (2008), Al Mirqab (2009), Arkley (2010), Eclipse & Exuma (2011), Tango (2012), Loretta Ann (2013), Madame Gu (2014).

Sailing Yacht of the Year: WinWin

Award sponsored by Embraer Executive Jets

WinWin had to beat stiff competition to scoop this prize, but the gorgeous cruiser/racer seduced our judges. Maybe because Baltic Yachts' 33 metre WinWin balances performance, style and comfort.

Builder: Baltic Yachts
Naval Architect: Javier Jaudenes
Exterior Design: Javier Jaudenes
Interior Design: Design Unlimited

Past winners of Sailing Yacht of the Year: Parsifal III (2006), Maltese Falcon (2007), Meteor (2008), P2 (2009), Hanuman (2010), Zefira (2011), Vertigo (2012), Pumula (2013), Inukshuk (2014).

Displacement Motor Yacht of 1,300GT to 2,999GT of 75m and Above: Kismet

Award sponsored by Holland Jachtbouw

This was perhaps the most difficult class for the judges to decide as they agreed that all of the yachts were highly attractive, having been built to the most demanding standards with little regard to cost, while their differences largely resulted from their owners’ specific requirements.

The judges considered that every aspect of all four yachts was well thought out and this was demonstrated by the fact that every yacht was singled out as the winner by at least one judge. But each jury member awards marks to every yacht and this means that their second, third and fourth choices are also important in determining the overall result.

When the results of the secret ballot were announced it was 95.2 metre Lürssen yacht  Kismet that narrowly headed the scoreboard. This yacht, they felt, is a true all-rounder combining impeccable construction, with appealing exterior design, great deck areas, and a tasteful interior that suits a wide audience.

Builder: Lürssen Yachts
Naval Architect: Lürssen Yachts
Exterior Design: Espen Øino International
Interior Design: Reymond Langton

Displacement Motor Yacht of 1,300GT to 2,999GT of Below 75m: Grace E

Award sponsored by Embraer Executive Jets

Despite their wide range of backgrounds and individual tastes, the judges were of one mind in deciding a winner for this class – a degree of agreement rarely seen in this competitive environment. The yacht that stood out was 73 metre  Grace E, the third vessel in the Vitruvius series designed by Philippe Briand and built by the Perini Navi-owned company Picchiotti.

The judges were particularly impressed by the purposeful good looks of her attractively clean, modern exterior lines, but they also admired her interior layout, her calm yet detailed decorative scheme from the celebrated French designer Rémi Tessier, and the high quality of construction achieved by Perini Navi. Not least, the judges also noted that her miserly fuel consumption, long range and economy of operation made her a vessel that is ideally suited to the modern era.

Builder: Picchiotti – Perini Navi Group
Naval Architect: Philippe Briand/ Vitruvius
Exterior Design: Philippe Briand/Vitruvius
Interior Design: Rémi Tessier

Displacement Motor Yacht of Below 500GT of 30m to 43.99m: Onika

Award sponsored by Royal Huisman

To determine the winner in this, the smallest of the Displacement classes, the judges found it necessary to examine each of the five finalists in the smallest detail. Appearance, general arrangement of the yacht’s interior and exterior areas, together with the ambiance provided by its interior design, its construction quality, and mechanical and technical issues were all discussed and taken into account on the individual marking sheets completed by each judge.

While noting that some aspects of this yacht, such as her tender storage on the bridge deck aft, might not fit European ideals, the judges nevertheless chose 40.5 metre  Onika, which they described as a superbly built yacht with an elegant and stately classic appearance. Her efficient hull shape, and hence fuel efficiency and long range, perfectly suited the oceanic and coastal cruising ambitions of her US owner, for whom the spacious exterior living areas and the Edwardian-inspired interior are perfectly suited.

Builder: Delta Marine
Naval Architect: Delta Design Group
Exterior Design: Delta Design Group
Interior Design: Delta Design Group

Semi-displacement or Planing Two-deck Motor Yacht of 38m and Above: Como

Award sponsored by Admiral

The undisputed winner of this class arose from a liaison between an acknowledged builder of the highest quality yachts and an experienced owner from New Zealand who has constructed more yachts than anyone can remember. This yacht, 46.2 metre Como (now re-named Lady May by her new owner), is the second motor yacht of that name to be commissioned by Neville Crichton and is unusual in that it is one of the smallest Feadship yachts built in recent years.

While semi-displacement yachts are usually characterised as providing high speed and short range, the judges admired Como’s more moderate approach that offers the possibility of a 19-knot top speed, while at her economic cruising speed of 14 knots she will achieve an enviable range of some 4,500 nautical miles. Adding to the appeal of this performance the judges considered that this yacht’s appearance and build quality took her to a very special level that could not be emulated by other yachts in this class, despite some impressive performance figures.

Builder: Feadship
Naval Architect: Dubois Naval Architects
Exterior Design: Dubois Naval Architects
Interior Design: Redman Whitely Dixon

Legacy Award: Lord Irvine Laidlaw

Few have achieved more on the regatta circuit than this year’s winner

The winner of this year’s Legacy Award very nearly didn’t progress beyond his first experience of sailing – aboard a sailing school yacht in the English Channel during a gale. Lord Irvine Laidlaw remembers it as “rough, cold and a bit scary!” but it taught him that sailing was sufficiently demanding to be of interest, while it had the added benefit of forcing his mind off his demanding job.

A year later, he and a partner bought an unfinished Varne 27 that was languishing on wasteland near Tower Bridge in London. It took another year to get the yacht ready for launch, but in 1976 Tower Maid splashed into the Thames and was soon cruising the south coast of England. It wasn’t too long before he caught the racing bug, and the Varne 27 was followed by two fully owned Westerlys: a GK29 and GK34, the latter becoming the first of his now internationally famous series of Highland Fling yachts.

Moving to Hong Kong and then Singapore didn’t mean his racing career suffered – far from it. He competed in the 1981 Admiral’s Cup, and placed second in the 1985 One Ton Cup with his third Highland Fling. He later captained Singapore’s Admiral’s Cup team and was a member of the winning British team at Sydney’s Southern Cross event. A second visit to the Southern Cross in 1987 was less successful, but still notable: while there he met his wife, Christine.

A move into Swans meant he could still compete and drive his own boats, and a long association with the brand began. His Swans crept upwards in size from the 14 metre Highland Fling No. 4 to the 18.3 metre Highland Fling No. 7 as he raced at every Swan event and most of the world’s “serious but fun” regattas. A foray into the Wally Class saw him racing a 24.4 metre Farr design, after which he built the Reichel/Pugh 82, Highland Fling No. 15 – the incredibly fast sailboat that he currently owns, along with a Ker 46 that he keeps and races in Cape Town. He also has a Swan 112 in build.

This sort of sailing history would mark anyone out as a dedicated yachtsman, but this owner has a second arrow in his quiver: motor yachts. By the 1990s he had started working his way through a series of motor yachts, all named Lady Christine. First came a 23 metre Azimut, then a 38 metre Heesen and a 55.6 metre Oceanco, before building his current Lady Christine, a magnificent 68 metre Feadship that is currently in the Maldives. He has also owned the 34 metre Sunseeker Frivolous, and the 40 metre Seaflower, another Feadship, which he sold and has just repurchased.

There cannot be many yachtsmen who have achieved so much in the dual fields of sailboat racing and motor yachting over the past 40 years, and for this, our deserved winner of this year’s Legacy Award is Lord Irvine Laidlaw.

Semi-displacement or Planing Three-deck Motor Yacht of 30m to 40m: So'Mar

Award sponsored by Maybach Icons of Luxury

Four finalists, three built from FRP and one from wood-epoxy, evenly spaced across the size category competed for a Neptune in this class. All had been visited by one or more judges, who briefed the remainder of the jury on those elements which could not be determined from the written text and photographs contained in the Judges’ Dossier, prior to a lively discussion concerning their relative merits.

It was not an easy choice as each yacht excelled in some area, but when the ballot was counted 37.9 metre  So’Mar was a clear winner. Some judges had selected her on the grounds of her clean, modern lines and efficient long-range performance, while others liked her practical interior layout with its enviable master suite on the upper deck. Clearly this yacht is a winner when it comes to satisfying a wide range of tastes.

Builder: Tansu
Naval Architect: Diana Yacht Design
Exterior Design: Tansu
Interior Design: Tansu

Sailing Yacht of 30m to 44.99m: WinWin

This class, which featured a mix of fast cruisers and cruiser/racers, included one yacht built from aluminium and three from advanced composites. While the 228-tonne displacement yacht Escapade was admired by the judges as a well-specified bluewater cruiser, their attention was drawn to the lighter, higher-performance craft for which this class is a natural home. Among these it was the 33 metre WinWin designed by Spanish race-boat designer Javier Jaudenes and built by Baltic Yachts that gained the judges’ admiration.

Built from pre-preg carbon fibre and boasting a remarkably light displacement of 77 tonnes, this lifting-keel yacht combines an attractive appearance with efficient yet extremely stylish on-deck working areas, a particularly agile performance, and a level of technology that allows the yacht to be readily manageable by a crew of four. In addition, she features super-comfortable living spaces styled in the modern idiom and a superb build quality.

Builder: Baltic Yachts
Naval Architect: Javier Jaudenes Exterior Design Javier Jaudenes
Interior Design: Design Unlimited

Refitted Yacht (tie for first place): Amore Mio 2

Award sponsored by Amels

Four yachts were considered by the jury in the Refit Class, a category that is defined by the judges as one in which the work carried out is largely cosmetic but nevertheless represents a notable upgrade to the vessel and her amenities. The amount and quality of the work carried out, the resulting improvement, and the time in which these were achieved, are all factors considered by the jury. When the results of the ballot were announced, Alumercia and Amore Mio 2 had scored exactly the same total.

Along with other much needed work Amore Mio 2, the 52 metre Abeking & Rasmussen yacht launched in 1997 as Sea Jewel, received a very thorough interior refit that transformed her dated interior into a comfortable modern environment, again in a three-month period.

Original Builder: Abeking & Rasmussen
Refit Yard: CPN
Naval Architect: Espen Øino International
Exterior Design: Espen Øino International
Interior Design: FM Architettura d’Interni

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