Series stars: Standout semi-custom yards


Semi-custom yachts are very much the best of both worlds — combining the relatively short lead times of production building with much of the flexibility associated with full custom projects. We t__ake a closer look at the top yards from around the world that are raising the bar.

Previously exclusively building in composite, the British builder recently announced it was moving into metal. It has teamed up with Dutch yard Icon Yachts to build a 49 metre aluminium superyacht called the Sunseeker 161. Announced at the Monaco Yacht Show, the Sunseeker 161 represents the British company’s first foray into metal built yachts and is set to launch in spring 2021.

Palumbo Group

Founded in 1967, Palumbo Group has made huge inroads into the superyacht world in recent years, with both custom and semi-custom projects. Production has ramped up since the 2016 acquisition of ISA Yachts with new-build projects taking shape in Ancona (pictured above). The yard also has an extensive network of refit and maintenance facilities stretching from Tenerife to Malta.


Ferretti produces fibreglass flybridge yachts measuring up to 29 metres. The Italian builder has recently been busy refreshing its entire fleet, which is now nine models strong, including the 960, 920, 850, 780, 720, 700, 670, 550 and 450. The 20.2 metre 670 yacht made its debut in June last year as parent company Ferretti Group celebrated its 50th anniversary in Venice.


Turning heads in Italy since 1842, the sexy lines of a classic Riva runabout define the golden age of yachting. In 2014, the dayboat pro launched its new line of Riva Superyachts, built in aluminium and steel and ranging from 50 to 100 metres. Currently under construction in Ancona, the first Riva 50M will become the flagship of the Riva range when it hits the water. Though this new 50 metre flagship is a far cry from the size of early Rivas — this one will host 12 guests and carry its own Williams Dieseljet 625 tender and two Jet Skis — its styling is inspired by Carlo Riva’s Caravelle line from the 1960s and 70s.


Wider is a shipyard intent on pushing boundaries, as proved by its transforming tenders as well as its high tech and efficient diesel-electric propulsion systems. The Wider 165 Project Cecilia (pictured) launched last year, while the yard’s first launch, 47 metre Bartali, won a World Superyacht Award as well as scoring a RINA nod for eco-friendliness.


Not wanting to be pigeonholed, semi-custom Asian builder Horizon Yachts offers a wide range of yacht styles as standard and encourages customisation within each, adapting them to different markets. The first FD77 model is currently nearing completion at the Taiwanese yard while construction is well underway on the first model of the yard's FD102 series.

Nautor’s Swan

Photo: Kurt Arrigo

Performance sailing yachts put this Finnish builder on the map, but it’s no slouch in the ever popular racer-cruiser sailing superyacht segment. The third and fourth units in the Swan 78 range are well underway while the second Swan 98 was recently sold. On top of this, the yard recently unveiled the Maxi Swan 120 model and is currently expanding its boat building facility signalling the yard has no plans to slow down.


With a background in crafting navy ships, this Italian yard specialises in planing, light aluminium alloy yachts ranging from 35 to 50 metres, but it also has a trick up its sleeve with steel and aluminium yachts in the 40 metre-plus range.


Vacuum infusion technology is this Turkish builder’s specialism, used to construct high performance motor yachts from 19 to 32 metre. The yard has already launched two models in the 32XP range, with another approaching an imminent launch. Meanwhile, in October, the yard announced it had sold a further three hulls of its 26XP superyacht series following “hugely successful” autumn boat shows.

Gulf Craft

Value for money is the business model for this UAE builder, which aims to create high quality superyachts at a more reasonable price: its Majesty range is the perfect example. Last year, Gulf Craft presented a Majesty 100 and Majesty 125 at the European boat shows, while its 53.34 metre flagship Majesty 175 yacht is due to launch later this year. 

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