6 industry insiders predict the future of yachting

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3D printed yachts will become a reality

In honour of Boat International Media's new bookazine Futureyachts, which is on sale now, we asked some of the most influential people in the yachting industry to predict the key trends of the future to look out for. Here’s what they had to say…

For Canadian yacht designer Gregory C Marshall, the future of yachting lies in new technology: “We are deep into the possibility that we could print an entire yacht using 3D additive printing,” he argues.

“Simply put, this technology will disrupt virtually every aspect of the industry. It’s a lot closer than you think — I’d say 2050 — and we will see large component parts before that.”

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Young owners will drive change

Charlie Birkett, co-founder of brokerage firm Y.CO, believes that a new generation of yacht buyers will force the industry to rethink some its approach. “Young Europeans and Americans are driving market change today,” says Birkett (pictured, above right with co-founder Gary Wright). “They have different pastimes to their parents. Even the super-wealthy are living simpler lives, and tech is woven into everything.”

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Multihulls will become the norm

Some of the oldest seagoing vessels in the world are multihulls but within the superyacht industry trimarans and catamarans remain something of an anomaly. This won’t always be the case according to French naval architect Jean-Jacques Coste.

“Think about the first jet aircraft. When it was compared to the propeller plane, people said it was noisy, that it consumed too much fuel, but today it is the standard. In the future, the standard will be multihull because it is more efficient,” he predicts. “Tomorrow’s customer is going to enjoy yachting in a much more autonomous way. Today, each time we have a discussion with an owner, we talk about hybrid propulsion, how to have an eco-friendly boat and less environmental impact.”

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Yachts will need to transform

French designer Thierry Gaugain believes that the contradictory desire to show off and yet remain invisible will lead to a rise of transforming yachts that can perform many different functions.

“I believe future yachts will be influenced by the eternal need for luxury, increasing concerns over safety and security, the merging of social life and business competition and astonishing new expressions of luxury made possible by technology,” he explains. “But owners’ contradictions — showing off for prestige versus the need or desire to be invisible — must be resolved. I believe the answer is the birth of luxurious yachts able to perform successive metamorphoses. I am working on this solution.”

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The cost of glass integration will come down

Large expanses of glazing are becoming increasingly popular — not just in yachting but in architecture as well — and Pascale Reymond of Reymond Langton Design (above, centre) sees this trend continuing: “Large panels of glass are expensive, however, as they are becoming more common in yacht building I believe the costs for class approval will come down,” she says. “It is well worth the additional costs as glass transforms spaces and connects the interior to the outside environment.”

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Remote exploration will lead to bigger tenders

Serial yacht owner Neville Crichton is no stranger to exploring the world by boat, and he believes that owners will continue to seek out new destinations in future.

“I believe future owners will use their yachts for more remote exploration,” he says, “and to meet those demands boats will carry considerably more toys, as shown on the latest explorer yachts. Personally, I love easy and quick access to the water, as this is our playground. Therefore, a good-sized superyacht beach club and stern platform are essential. My next yacht will be a powerboat around the 500GT size with tenders that are as large as it will be possible to accommodate.”

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