Fifth annual Superyacht Design Symposium a resounding success

5 November 2012By Risa Merl

Continuing on last year’s successful salon-style format, the fifth annual Superyacht Design Symposium sparked discourse and an exciting exchange of ideas among the industry leaders in attendance. Expertly led by symposium chairman Nigel Campbell, the panel topics ran the gamut from abstract talks on the definition of beauty in yachts to a technical study of advances in performance cruising sailing yachts.

Owners participated on several panels to share their side of the design experience. Doubleshot 2’s owner and interior designer Ioanna Marinopoulos explained how she adapted her 36-meter yacht to suit her family’s needs, while Bill Duker, the owner of the 70-meter Sybaris under construction discussed plans to make his Perini Navi more performance driven.

While the topics were diverse, recurring themes were seen throughout the two days, such as the evolution of yacht design. 'We all tend to think we’re innovative, but, in fact, it’s an evolutionary process,' said Martin Francis of Francis Design and Consulting. 'We’re all influenced by what’s come before.' Nevertheless, the panelists presented bold new ideas and technology, of course, as typified in discussions on AV and communications and even innovations in yacht coatings.

This year, the Superyacht Design Symposium moved south to the Mandarin Oriental set on an island near downtown Miami, where guests enjoyed sublime views of Biscayne Bay. The highlight of the social activities was a spectacular dinner hosted at the historic Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. The Renaissance-style estate, built in 1916 by industrialist James Deering, made an exquisite venue for gourmet dinner on the waterfront and after-dinner drinks in the expansive gardens.

While some attendees would be competitors later in the week during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the Symposium created a collegial atmosphere of mutual respect where they can network and share their passion for the advancement of superyacht design and construction.

In the words of speaker Simon Rowell, 'The Superyacht Design Symposium is becoming a serious milestone in the yachting calendar. Deftly handled and elegantly hosted.'