SDF 2020: 'Young Generations are Behind Explorer Yacht Boom'
by Miranda Blazeby
The increasing explorer yacht market has been spurred on by the experience-hungry younger generations who are shrugging off materialism in favour of adventure, a panel of industry figures has said.
Speaking at the BOAT InternationalSuperyacht Design Festival, EYOS Expeditions founder Rob McCallum argued that the explorer market increase is largely due to “younger clients pushing out into the more remote parts of the world.”
“We’re seeing people who typically have made their money at a younger age, so they are less inclined to be materialistic with their wealth,” he said.
“They’re more into experiences - they realise that one thing money really can’t buy is time,” he added.
Anil Thadani, owner of 45 metre superyacht Latitude, agreed: “I think the increase will continue because I can’t see the rational of spending that kind of money on these boats and then cruising from Monte Carlo and St Tropez and back.
“But if you can create experiences for your children doing the kind of things you can do with these boats then you can justify the expense a little bit more.”
Despite the increase of rugged, polar complaint explorer yachts into the new-build market, McCallum argued that the “explorer yacht” label is “partially a philosophy”.
“We’ve done around 1200 expeditions now and most of those are not classified as explorer yachts – it’s really the philosophy of the owner and the courage of the captain to seek advice on how to get to these remote places.”
Thadani used himself as a key example. Thadani has travelled into the Arctic and Antarctic using Latitude, which is not a polar compliant explorer yacht.
However, he agreed that travelling on an officially classified yacht would increase capability and reduce risk.
Referencing his journey through the ice-packed Bellot Strait on board Latitude, Thadani revealed: “It took 28 hours to do 22 miles. If you had boat that was properly equipped for that you would go through that in two hours – that’s the difference.”
McCallum agreed, “The more capable the vessel, the more time you get and the longer the season. The more capability increases, the more risk declines.”
Looking ahead at the market, McCallum predicted the IMO’s Polar Code is set to impact the private superyacht fleet, though the extent of the impact remains unclear.
“Eventually it is going to settle and make life more challenging for vessels that don’t meet the polar code to go beyond 60 degrees latitude,” he said.