SDS 2019: Owners declare sustainable superyachts "fundamental"

29 January 2019By Miranda Blazeby

It is now “fundamental” that superyachts are made as sustainable and environmental as possible, a panel of owners have said at the Superyacht Design Symposium. Giovanni Tamburi, Mike Fisher, Piero Ferrari and Richard Hadida joined Boat International editor Stewart Campbell to discuss the priorities of superyacht ownership at the two-day event in Cortina.

The panel agreed that it is now critical that yards offer sustainable yachts with environmentally friendly solutions. Tamburi, owner of 30.6 metre sailing yacht Xnoi, said: “The world is going towards green. It’s fundamental. You have to offer the market a fantastic product which is environmentally friendly, green, hybrid with all the characteristics that the market now needs."

Mike Fisher, owner of 36 metre Brigadoon, added that environmental land-based measures, such as curbing the number of diesel cars in cities, will eventually feed into the superyacht industry. “People will look at these big boats guzzling all this fuel and begin to ask how did they get away with it? So I think there’s going to be a big, big change in how the propulsion system will work,” he said.

Hadida, chief executive and owner of Oyster Yachts and 27 metre Oyster Lush, agreed, adding that the younger, more environmentally aware generation will shake-up the superyachting industry. “I can’t understand how there could be any other eventuality. The young people of today, are all properly educated. I’m betting the oldest form of transportation on the planet is going to come back.”

The panel also spoke about the increasing demand for semi-custom yachts, with Ferrari arguing that opting for a semi-custom yacht considerably cuts delivery time while “providing very high quality.”

Ferrari, owner of the first in-build 50 metre Riva superyacht, admitted that the wait for a new-build superyacht can be problematic. “The delivery time of a big superyacht can be an issue,” he said. “It can be in the range of three years and many things change in that time, maybe you have a problem with your family or your business.”

Mike Fisher, whose own yacht Brigadoon was started on spec, argued that the level of customisation offered by semi-custom yards allowed owners to extensively tailor yachts to their own tastes.

Fisher, who is also creative director of Studio Indigo, said: “Semi-custom from a design point of view is a great challenge because I never like to finish the space. I want the owner to come along and finish it and adapt it.”

Hadida agreed, “You can still do an enormous amount. You can take two identical boats at the beginning and then look at the way they’ve been finished - you can change so many things.”