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Party by design: Top tips for creating the ultimate party yacht

Party by design: Top tips for creating the ultimate party yacht


Plan ahead


It’s not all about A-list guests and vintage Champagne. You need to think about technology if you want to host the ultimate superyacht party, writes Risa Merl...

Yacht parties are a study in organised chaos. While they might be all about letting your hair down, creating a memorably wild time on board is made possible only by careful planning. The perfect party yacht is fuelled by technology, whether it’s spectacular flashing lasers or discreet custom speakers making sure the entertainment is up to the minute.

Owners and charter guests expect the latest of everything. Boat International columnist Eddie Jordan certainly had entertaining in mind when designing his yacht, 47 metre Sunseeker Blush (pictured). “A bar on each deck, the right lighting and customised sound are important, as is the positioning of the speakers,” he says, touching on just a few of the items on the long checklist of party yacht accoutrements.

Planning for parties needs to begin as early as the GA stage so the owner can offer the very best entertaining experience. Winch Design incorporates the A/V room into the layout when developing the GA so it doesn’t have to go back and ask the owner for more space later.

“A/V is a moving target,” says Patrick Moussa, operations director of yacht management company Master Yachts. “We bring the experts in early. The hardest things to retrofit are additional wires, while a speaker or TV is easily replaced. The experts will know what’s coming five years from now, and may even know how it will be wired up.”

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Fully integrate the on-board tech


Today’s high-tech party yacht might have a DJ booth hidden behind panels, a video wall that slides up from a sunpad, an LED-sensitive dance floor that reveals itself after dark, and speakers, lights and lasers built into the radar arch. Integrations such as these make the transition from day to night a breeze.

Flexibility is the key word, says Dirk de Jong, Oceanco’s director of design and innovation. “Given the limited space on a yacht, multipurpose areas are always popular. The entertainment system in such an area is usually designed to be unobtrusive during ‘regular’ use, but can then be easily augmented with extra speakers and lights, a DJ booth or a cinema set-up if that’s what the owner wants.”

A good design and A/V specialist will try to make sure that not too much crew involvement is required to put the yacht into party mode. Most party-integrated yachts can transform within an hour, with the biggest chunk of that time going to moving furniture rather than bringing the A/V online.

Automation is important to lessen the demands on the crew. “A yacht is not a club — there isn’t dedicated staff to operate the sound and lighting systems — so smart software solutions and automation should be at the centre,” says Goran Antonijevic, sales manager at A/V specialist VBH.

Photo: Feadship

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Know your needs


Integration doesn’t work for all. Many owners and captains are fine hiring gear as needed. “There is so much you can hire in — like rotating lights and disco balls,” says Eddie Jordan. “One reason to do this is space, two is the cost and third is because it all goes out of date.”

The captains of Joy and Icon _(pictured), both yachts known for their party credentials, agree that integration isn’t mandatory. _Joy has a set of powerful JBL Professional speakers and woofers that can be brought out for special occasions — “when we really want to crank up the volume,” says the captain.

Icon’s captain, Marcel van den Houdt, says its sound system from Mr Smith is complemented by hiring lights and disco balls when it’s time for a party. The obvious downside to this, though, is there might not be A/V gear or specialists available everywhere the yacht goes.

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