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Unconventional vessels: 11 of the world’s most quirky yachts

28 August 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

Decades of ambitious owners, eureka moments and cutting-edge tech have made superyachts evolve in unexpected ways. BOAT takes a look at the quirkiest yachts currently on the water, including Porsche's cosmic catamaran and the world's largest wooden superyacht...

Yas

Credit: Giovanni Romero

Builder: De Schelde
Length: 141m
Year: 2012

Designed by Jacques Pierrejean, this Dolphin-inspired superyacht sports a slim frigate hull and massive panes of glass on her forward superstructure. Originally launched in 1977 as the 135-metre HNLMS Piet Hein, Yas served in the Royal Dutch Navy for 20 years and in the UAE military from 1998 to 2006. When she was bought for private use, most of the hull had to be rebuilt – allowing her now-iconic, porpoise-like lines to take shape. The trademark glass dome encloses both the bridge and the owner's cabin, providing spectacular ocean views.

Read More/Iconic yachts: How a Dutch navy frigate became the 141m dolphin-inspired superyacht Yas

Olivia O

Credit: Raphael Montigneaux

Builder: Ulstein Verft
Length: 88.5m
Year: 2020

Olivia O is believed to be the first time Ulstein's trademarked X-Bow has appeared on a yacht. Her hardy, explorer constitution and impressive gross tonnage – just shy of 5,000 – also makes her one of the roomiest yachts in her size bracket. Designed by Espen Øino, stand-out features include a spa, cinema room and her eight guest cabins, which boast "hotel room" heights of 2.7 metres. 

Read More/Olivia O: Ulstein Verft's 88 Metre Espen Øino-Designed Explorer Yacht

Asean Lady

Builder: Pride Mega Yachts
Length: 88.2m
Year: 2004

This unusual, one-and-a-half-hulled yacht is based on the Proa, a traditional Austronesian sailing vessel. With Ian Mitchell at the (asymmetric) helm of exterior design, Asean Lady boasts impressive stability on the water, with her forward and aft drives allowing her to ‘walk sideways’. Her stability was put to the test in December 2004 when she survived a tsunami while anchored off Phuket. Leisure highlights include a helipad and a 160-square-metre master cabin with a private balcony and office.

Zeus (ex Eco)

Credit: Guy Fleury

Builder: Blohm + Voss
Length: 74.5m
Year: 1991

Martin Francis' first motor yacht, Zeus is known best for her radical bulbous windows – inspired by 1950s Parisian buses – and her impressive speed, able to reach 36 knots in her prime. Commissioned by Mexican billionaire and multimedia emperor Emilio Azcárraga Milmo, he got good use out of the yacht until he died aged 66. Interiors are owed to François Zuretti; now a household name in the yachting world, at the time he was recognised for designing the acclaimed Mamounia hotel in Marrakesh. However, a multitude of big-name yacht designers have lent their hand to Zeus over the years.

Read More/The incredible life and boats of Mexican billionaire Emilio Azcárraga Milmo

Unnamed Custom Wooden Yacht

Builder: Henderson Marine International
Length: 50m
Year: 2020

The largest wooden superyacht in the world, this custom unit touts a classic design alongside an unusual teak-and-GRP construction. With a 10.6-metre beam (larger than average for its size), the in-house, Italian interiors are described as having a "cavernous" appeal, housing multiple social spaces, a formal dining area and breakfast bar. She is currently listed for sale with Bush & Noble.

Read More/World's largest wooden superyacht receives $1M price drop

Crazy Me

Builder: Heesen
Length: 50m
Year: 2013

Beginning with a Gary Grant sketch, Crazy Me has a rounded, sculptural exterior modelled after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Her aerodynamic inspiration is evident in the mast's winged sections and the wheelhouse, which, from the foredeck, looks remarkably like an airplane cockpit. Carrying around six tonnes of glass, her top speed of 21 knots is no easy feat – she even managed to outdo herself on sea trials, reaching a top speed of 22.4 knots. 

Thunder

Credit: Raphael Montigneaux

Builder: Oceanfast
Length: 49.8m
Year: 1998

Thunder was designed with one goal in mind: her owner, Greek shipping magnate Theo Angelopoulos, wanted to be able to have breakfast in Saint-Tropez, lunch in Monaco and dinner in Portofino. With lines penned by the legendary Jon Bannenberg, the result was a swoop-line superyacht that could make it straight to 40 knots. Fun fact: Thunder’s original military-grade trim system, by Maritime Dynamics, was the same equipment used to keep decks stable on missile launchers.

Read More/Thunder: A closer look at one of the wildest yachts on the water

Adastra

Builder: McConaghy Boats
Length: 42.5m
Year: 2012

Unsurprisingly, this sci-fi trimaran draws crowds whenever she's in port – to quote owner Anto Marden, "It's like living in a goldfish bowl." Designed by John Shuttleworth, Adastra's built to explore the ocean (not the stars), with her 10,000 nautical mile maximum range and 4,000 nautical mile range at 17 knots meaning she can cross the oceans both quickly and efficiently. In 2013, she won the coveted Neptune Award for the most innovative yacht at the World Superyacht Awards.

Read More/On board with Anto Marden, owner of trimaran superyacht Adastra

Royal Falcon One

Builder: Custom
Length: 41.4m
Year: 2019

The owner of Royal Falcon One gave the design team Porsche a very simple brief: they wanted a "spaceship on the water." Inspired by the high-speed catamaran ferries in Australia, they delivered a yacht with a sweeping, galactic design that can dart across the water at 37 knots. She packs a punch indoors, too, with an impressive 490GT of space across her 41.4 metres. Another nice touch from Porsche – all the beds are lifted from the ground, as if "float[ing]" in space. The build was completed at a Swedish shipyard with naval architecture from Incat Crowther

Ocean Emerald

Builder: Rodriquez Yachts
Length: 41m
Year: 2009

Famed British architect Lord Foster – the man behind the Yacht Club de Monaco and London's "gherkin" tower – is responsible for the arched, silver superstructure and pinched bow that has had Ocean Emerald likened to both a fish and a hospital. This superyacht was actually the first ever to get a charter license in Thailand, with the country's strict bureaucracy meaning that only a few have followed in her footsteps. According to BOATPro, Ocean Emerald travelled nearly 4,000 miles in May – from Port Rashid, Dubai to Marina Genoa, Italy.

Read More/On board with Nigel Plaskett, owner of divisive yacht Ocean Emerald

Guilty

Builder: Posillipo-Rizzardi
Length: 35.3m
Year: 2008

Courtesy of American artist Jeff Koons, Guilty's geometric exterior was inspired by WWI dazzle ships, whose camouflage paint jobs were designed to confuse rather than conceal. Art enthusiast and owner of Guilty, Dakis Joannou, considers the yacht part of his 1,500-strong collection of contemporary artwork. According to BOATPro, she was recently sighted in Sarandë, Albania. 

Read More/The private museums owned by superyacht owners

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