Captains' views on ideal superyacht design
by Claire Griffiths
Captain Christensen would keep modern technology to a necessary minimum on the bridge, and Captain Bleecke likes the idea of an ergonomic bridge. Although Bleecke favors conventional propulsion systems, he’d opt for diesel/electric propulsion if it could be fitted on a 50m boat.
He’d also incorporate a dynamic positioning system to allow him to stop anywhere without having to drop anchor, giving him the pleasure of ‘flicking the Vs’ at maritime officials looking to charge him extortionate mooring fees or fines for anchoring throughout the Mediterranean.
Although now a common feature on many yachts, Captain Lauridsen really would like some zero-speed stabilizers.
Captain West’s wish list goes on to include bow and stern thrusters powerful enough for 30-knot wind on the beam, a huge swim platform (‘They’re never big enough once you’ve got the tables and sun beds set up’) and a high-pressure jet wash for hull windows and topsides.
He also recommends a crew interior corridor from foredeck to swim platform to ensure guest privacy.
Captain Christensen would consider anything that helps with recycling, and he’d like to see a Jacuzzi holding tank that’s able to pump the water back into the pool on arrival in port rather than having to dump and re-fill.
‘You want very big tenders,’ says Captain Lauridsen. ‘That’s important for all our clients. Take St. Tropez, for example, you can have 100 yachts anchoring off the village in the summer with lots of traffic in the water. You want a big tender to make sure guests are comfortable and don’t get sprayed.’
‘Exactly right,’ agrees Captain Coxon. And to avoid the problem of storing a large tender, Coxon does, and always would, opt to tow it.
‘It means you’re not limited by size; it’s always instantly available and it must be able to fit in all the guests at once,’ Coxon insists. If he didn’t tow, he’d store a tender on the aft deck with a beam crane.
Captain West is keen on fold-down flush crew tender/rescue boat chocks on the foredeck and guest tenders to be stowed in interior tender bays through shell doors.
Is Perfection Attainable?
For Captain Butler-Davis, the perfect yacht is a difficult concept to quantify. A perfectly good yacht needs to perform well with reliable and functional systems, excellent naval architecture and quality materials. The available space needs to be used in a logical manner with the right proportion allocated to engineering, owner/guest and crew areas.
Design-wise, the yacht should withstand the test of time and not simply seek to challenge new boundaries. Other considerations are build cost, operational cost, charter-ability, resale value and environmental impact.
‘As most yacht designers will acknowledge, the vast majority of yachts represent a compromise between one or more of the contrasting requirements,’ Butler-Davis explains. Add all these elements together and perfection seems implausible.
‘There are always legitimate reasons why you have different kinds of “stuff” on board,’ says Captain Coxon, ‘stuff the owners might want, stuff charter guests might want and stuff that makes the captain’s life easier. But yachts are rarely ideal for everyone.’
One thing he believes a perfect yacht does need is a perfect management company and a perfect crew.
‘Ideally, the whole management structure of the yacht means everyone is working in the same direction – which is not something that just happens, you have to work at it.’
Originally published in the April 2012 issue of ShowBoats International.