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 500GT to 1,299GT: MySky

Award sponsored by Clyde & Co

Five yachts competed for the Neptune in this competitive class with two being singled out during the judges’ round-table discussions prior to the completion of the ballot sheets. When the mathematics were completed the narrow margin of the result became apparent: 51.1 metre MySky from Heesen Yachts had been chosen as the winner.

The judges had particularly noted the comments of the owner – a three-time Heesen client – who explained how his philosophy and use of the yacht had influenced its style and layout. The yacht also introduced the work of interior designer Erick van Egeraat whose interior was greatly admired, as was the quality of all aspects of the yacht’s construction and performance, including the stated range of 5,400 nautical miles at a cruise of 10 knots.

Builder: Heesen Yachts
Naval Architect: Van Oossanen/Heesen Yachts
Exterior Design: Omega Architects
Interior Design: Erick van Egeraat

Judges' Commendation: Saramour

Just a single, solitary point separated MySky and Saramour in the final standing, so in recognition of this, the judges agreed to present her with a Commendation.

Displacement Motor Yacht of Below 500GT of 44m and Above: Elena

Following the screening of pictures of all the yachts in this class the judges entered a lively debate on the merits and otherwise of each of the five finalists. But it was the result of the secret ballot that determined the winner and this showed a clear preference for 46.7 metre Elena, which covered the widest range of judging parameters.

This yacht, the judges felt, provided well balanced and extremely pleasant living areas, both on deck and inside, for the owner and his guests while the crew, for whom good living and service facilities ensure the proper running of a modern yacht, was equally well provided for. Particularly admired were the fully featured sundeck and the spacious master suite.

Builder: Heesen Yachts
Naval Architect: Heesen Yachts
Exterior Design: Omega Architects/Heesen Yachts
Interior Design: Omega Architects

Judges' Commendation: Logica

While Elena was the best all-rounder, the highest-scoring yacht for her exterior design was Logica, which receives a Judges’ Commendation.

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

Semi-displacement or Planing Two-deck Motor Yacht of 30m to 37.99m: NoNo

Award sponsored by Tansu

This class was remarkable for the extremely wide range of performance among its entrants. At the top of the range was the amazingly fast AB116, whose planing hull is powered to a top speed of 53 knots by triple MTU 16V2000 engines developing a total of 6,240hp, which are shoehorned into her engine room.

But speed was not the sole factor on which this powerful class was assessed, and after much discussion on quality of construction, appearance, engineering and internal layout, followed by the usual secret ballot, the winner was declared as the aggressively styled but more conservatively powered 37.3 metre  NoNo, which is able to operate acceptably in both semi-displacement and displacement modes, with the latter providing a maximum range of 3,200 nautical miles.

The judges considered that her large external areas were ideal for relaxation and socialising while their marriage to a cosy interior that is well lit through large windows, make this a good all-rounder with wide appeal.

Builder: Admiral – The Italian Sea Group
Naval Architect: Admiral – The Italian Sea Group
Exterior Design: Luca Dini Design/ Admiral Centro Stile
Interior Design: Gian Marco Campanino/Admiral Centro Stile

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.

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