Legendary superyacht designer Tim Heywood began his career in the seventies alongside fellow British designers Andrew Winch and Terence Disdale who learnt their trade under the godfather of modern yacht design Jon Bannenberg. Having worked with the celebrated designer for 20 years, Heywood eventually left to set up his own studio in 1996, a studio that produced some of yachting's most iconic designs that remain as fresh as the day pen was put to paper. As Heywood prepares to speak on his greatest hits and life under Bannenberg at the 2023 Superyacht Design Festival, we look back on some of his most memorable designs...
When the 147 metre Lürssen superyacht A+, previously known as Topaz, was delivered in 2012, she was the fourth largest in the world and second largest yacht to be built by the German yard. She features Heywood's trademark sheer line that gently sweeps down to the stern, while a second curve runs forward towards the bow, the two converging on the main deck aft. A+’s vast 5,306GT interiors were designed by Terence Disdale, another legendary designer to have trained under Bannenberg, and can host up to 62 guests in 26 luxury cabins.
Al Mirqab saw Heywood and his former colleague Andrew Winch team up for the first time - and was the first of many projects by the pair. But it is more than her design pedigree that makes this 133 metre icon a standout. Her size was formidable at the time of her launch, and to this day, she remains among the top five per cent of the largest yachts in the world. Al Mirqab was also the blueprint for a number of large-scale amenities. She is home to one of the largest spas afloat and was the first of its kind to feature an indoor pool and balcony terraces that fold down over the sea. Built for Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, the former Prime Minister and Minister of Qatar, she is a family yacht at heart with a pirate-theme underwater playroom and a butterfly-themed family lounge overlooking the bow.
Carinthia VII was built for Heidi Horten, the widow of department store owner Helmut Horten. Lürssen had built her late husband's Carinthia VI and on a visit to the shipyard, she was permitted to peep at Tim Heywood’s preliminary drawing of the yacht that was to become Pelorus. The two share a raised forebody and reverse sheer, but Carinthia VII stands out thanks to her custom Awlgrip hull colour which was later dubbed 'Carinthia Blue'. Aiming for a profile that was as clean and uncluttered as possible, Heywood replaced the usual stanchions and handrails with glass bulwarks set in slim steel frames that do not catch the eye. Forward-facing windows in the superstructure are shaded by the characteristic brow that looks like the peak of a cap.
The World Superyacht Award-winning Ice was delivered in 2005 and was the first yacht to have Azipod drive units in place of conventional shafted diesels, keeping noise and vibration pollution to a minimum. Delivered in 2005 as Air, she was one of the first explorers with that classic forward set superstructure to make room for a helipad aft - carrying a Eurocopter EC135 helicopter. Constructed in steel and aluminium, the yacht boasts an interior of 3,268GT while her beam of 15 metres accommodates 14 guests.
Here Comes The Sun
Here Comes The Sun was the flagship of Amels when she left the Dutch shipyard in 2016. Heywood and Winch had worked together on a number of Amels Limited Editions vessels and it seemed only natural for the pair to reunite for the largest in the series to date. One of the major changes from her smaller siblings was the beltline’s angle of descent. “It’s a more gentle curve, swept right the way round the back and into the stairwells and back outside of the stairwells, round the swimming pool,” said Heywood. Here Comes The Sun measures 83 metres and packs in 2,827 gross tonnes of volume (compare that with 99 metre Madame Gu’s 2,991GT and 95.2 metre Kismet’s 2,700GT). She recently completed an extensive 16-month refit that added an extra six metres added to the overall length.
Heywood’s curving exterior lines are again on display on the 74 metre Plvs Vltra, which was launched in 2016 as the first Amels Limited Editions 242 yacht. At the time of her delivery, Heywood said of Plvs Vltra: “[It’s signature look] is strong and functional, complementing the flowing lines very well which I would describe as athletically feminine. I must admit, these curves are not necessarily the easiest forms to build, but Amels rose to the challenge.” Jet black paint between Matterhorn white decks gives the exterior a healthy dose of individuality. “I added those curving black jet highlights to echo the curve of the wing station and then reversed it in the superstructure,” Heywood continued. Seven Limited Editions 242 models have now hit the water with an eighth on the way.
Planet Nine is the former flagship of Admiral Yachts and was built for heli-skiing adventures in higher latitudes. The owner had seen Heywood's work on Ice which formed the starting point for this similarly capable explorer. She’s undoubtedly a capable yacht but to characterise Planet Nine as an explorer alone is to do her a real disservice, according to Heywood. “Planet Nine displays a constant state of great comfort and elegance,” he said in an interview. “The fact that she is wrapped in an ice-class hull only adds to her luxury.” The superstructure is a relatively modest three-storey affair, but huge volume has been created within the hull’s tall topsides. Nearly the entire main deck above is given over to the owner’s suite which total 250 square metres. Other highlights include an observation lounge, two lifts and a boot room beach club.
The 2023 Superyacht Design Festival will return to the Italian town of Cortina d'Ampezzo, in the heart of the Dolomitic Alps, on February 8-10. This event will bring leaders of the superyacht industry and guests from the luxury community together for a thought-provoking and entertaining event that celebrates the world of design through innovating discussion and exclusive network opportunities. Tickets are on sale now.BUY TICKETS