Drawn in 60 minutes: The SDS Design Challenge 2017

The SDS Design Challenge 2017

The year is 2027. A broker from a prominent firm (AKA superyacht designer Tim Heywood) has sent you an instant message saying that his client, a young New York billionaire, wants to kick-start a yacht project for delivery on his 40th birthday, just over three years away. The client has never owned a yacht before.

The yacht has to fulfil three functions: it has to be able to go anywhere, including the increasingly liquid North Pole; it has to have significant entertaining spaces for his many friends; and it must carry plenty of toys. Money is no object. The only limiting factors are that he’s prone to seasickness and sensitive to noise. He likes to think of himself as environmentally aware.

The boat can be power or sail, multihull or monohull. The likely minimum length to accommodate range and guests is 50 metres. The broker has shared the client’s design choices:

Likes: Blue and green, Rocky Mountains snowboarding, black and white photography, gadgets, robots, prosecco, his pet lizards Larry and Other Larry, darts and snooker, secret passageways, mini-subs, drones, kitesurfing, Tai Chi, funky lighting, his kids from his two ex-wives, sailing fast, discovering new chefs, reading on all platforms, collector cars, ice cream.

Dislikes: Golf or anything slow, orange, pastels, skinny handrails, being around people all the time, germs, dust, wastefulness, haircuts, formal dining, loud sources of sound, socks, minutiae, Donald Trump.

Favourite destinations: Whistler, Kauai, Aspen, New Zealand, Chiang Mai, Baja, Maldives, Laucala, New York, Napa, Nantucket, Barcelona and Ireland.

Hiccup One (15 minutes into the challenge): The broker informs you that his client has just taken delivery of a 3D printed helicopter and he hopes to have a licence to fly it shortly. He’d like you to incorporate that into the design.

Hiccup Two (30 minutes into the challenge): The broker adds that his client has purchased a berth in Barcelona and is closing the deal on another in Malta that is 106 metres long.

Project Larry III

Team captain: Frank Laupman

Team members: Perry van Oossanen, Chris Downham and Ricardo Pilguj

Type of vessel: Nuclear power boosted, steel-hulled tri-deck motor yacht with a reverse prow and a 3D printed titanium superstructure.

Dimensions: 90m x 16m

Max speed: 30.5 knots with a rang of 6,500nm

Look and feel: Sleek, but still very robust. A lizard-like exterior with whale furnishings, inspired by the aggression and elegance of nature.

Unique details: Tai Chi dojo, multi-deck helicopter garage, club room for snooker and darts, graphene-lined swimming pool, crew of 10 humans and 12 robots.

Mantaleon Ray I

Team captain: Martin Francis

Team members: Jiri Tokar, Iliyana Popova, Richard Hein, Guillermo Hummel, Timothy Baldacci

Type of vessel: Electromagnetic propulsion — it has no propeller and no moving parts. It sucks water in and squirts it out of the back. Speed foiler stabilised, photovoltaic over surface with opening wind power mills.

Dimensions: 80m x 40m

Max speed: 28.888 knots with a range of 10,000nm

Look and feel: Sexy, fun. The photovoltaic surface can change colour. It has the characteristics of the chameleon plus the shape of a manta ray.

Unique details: Enormous space for entertaining. Underwater glass and Rolls-Royce Phantom submarine.

Project Pine

The winning design

Team captain: Peder Eidsgaard

Team members: Marnix J Hoekstra, Kenneth Nyfelt, Claudio Zimarino, Richard Gibeaud, Jud Velde, Jens Weishaupt

Type of vessel: Monohull LDL

Dimensions: 100m x 17m

Max speed: 18 knots

Look and feel: The yacht is a hull with a floating pod on top — a gimballing master bedroom was placed two thirds aft on the semi-raised lower deck, with a large circular porthole in the centre. From this suite a private lift would take the owner to his panorama suite two decks up, with walk-around decks and 360 degree views.

Unique details: Aft deck garden, swimming pool that converts into a tender garage, 100 per cent CO2 and NO2 free. Exhausts would not be necessary owing to the conversion of solid carbon, so in place of a traditional exhaust stack would be a mast up front with navigation equipment.

Seven Seas Worldcruiser

Team captain: Frank Neubelt

Team members: Ronno Schouten, Filippo Rossi

Type of vessel: Long-range cruiser with a heavy displacement bow and a combination of magnetic and Azipod propulsion.

Dimensions: 95m

Max speed: Undisclosed

Look and feel: Modern contemporary. The inspiration was self-contained modern technology and a sustainable design with a focus on the environment.

Unique details: Glass-sided infinity pool on the foredeck, removable helicopter platform, four semi-submersed staterooms on lower deck, 2.16m headroom throughout, owner’s suite on upper deck with private terrace and swimming pool.

Blue Crab

Team captain: Andrew Winch

Team members: Sabina Nasser, Jacopo Spadolini, Jim Sluijter

Type of vessel: Transformer yacht for diverse specification and to incorporate the owner’s love of robotics.

Dimensions: 40-100m x 16m, with 40-100m x 40m option

Max speed: Sail 30 knots, motor 20 knots

Look and feel: Space age with comfort and funk. It’s adaptable to its environment. If he wants to go into a smaller port and have more of a quaint experience, he can do that on one vessel and if he wants to take over the sea, he can do that too.

Unique details: Powered by four shuttle drives/retractable pods. Hulls can shorten to get into Portofino.


Team captain: Gregory C Marshall

Team members: Charles Barber, Andreas Iseli, Krystyna Ledochowska and Sergio Cutolo

Type of vessel: Autonomous trimaran, powered by a hybrid fuel cell, fitted with an ice-breaking bow.

Dimensions: 70m x 16.8m

Max speed: 30 knots

Look and feel: Blue-green titanium finish.

Unique details: Lizard terrarium staircase in the central hull, Tai Chi room with 3.66 metre headroom.

Project Iggy

Team captain: Burns Fallow

Team members: Hans-Maarten Bais, Paolo Foglizzo, Rebecca Sawyer

Type of vessel: Foil-assisted sloop with electric propulsion and an ice-breaking hull.

Dimensions: 70m

Max speed: 40 knots

Look and feel: Strong curved lines in the exterior styling allow for lighting features to follow the lines of the boat.

Unique details: Retractable mast to allow for Panama canal crossings, solar panels incorporated into the sails, aft-deck helipad, virtual reality room, central glass atrium with mini jungle for pet lizards.


Team captain: Christian Oliver

Team members: Olivia Bridges, Guillaume Rolland, Guido de Cesare, Thomas Springenberg

Type of vessel: Romantic explorer motorsailer

Dimensions: 100m

Max speed: 25 knots power, 15 knots sail

Look and feel: A wide-beam, two-masted, low centre-of-gravity motorsailer — sort of a mobile island paradise retreat as much as a yacht. The short, shallow fin allows guests to walk off the boat on to land.

Unique details: Flat communication domes on fore mast. Huge flat deck. Master cabin hangs out over the water at the back with sunken helicopter landing pit on top. Transom fully opens at the back to allow access to beach.


Team captains: Fiona Diamond and Steve Gresham

Team members: James Drysdale, Bart de Haan, Harun Kemali

Type of vessel: Diesel-electric multipurpose explorer with the option of a detachable hull.

Dimensions: 70m x 30m

Max speed: 25 knots, 10 knots cruising

Look and feel: Sleek, with a hull that changes like a chameleon to its environment.

Unique details: The engine is in the side hull, so that it isolates all the noise. The entertainment deck also doubles up with the two-tier helicopter deck, which would have an awning for privacy when the owner wants to have a party and not be seen.

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