Top 10 superyacht design features found on the world’s largest yachts

February 19, 2015 Diane M Byrne

At the Superyacht Design Symposium, the world’s top yacht designers, industry icons and owners will gather to discuss the future of the yachting and the dissect the magnificent vessels sailing today. Many of the yachts that will come up in conversation undoubtedly have at least one – or all – of these covetable top superyacht design features.

Top 10 must-have amenities found on the largest yachts in the world


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The private, shaded owner’s deck of CRN superyacht Chopi Chopi

Gone are the days of simply having a large stateroom forward on the main or upper deck. Today’s large yachts require a whole apartment on a private deck to satiate superyacht owners. Witness Blohm+Voss-built superyacht Eclipse, the now number two largest yacht in the world at 162.5 metres, with an owner’s deck measuring about 56 metres in length. Then there’s the 119m Blohm+Voss A, with a loft-like owner’s suite that also includes an aft-facing balcony. The newly delivered 82m Graceful, also from the Blohm+Voss shipyard, has a similar setup. Some owners want more than a mere balcony, though, which is why motor yachts like the 114.5m Lürssen Pelorus include a private al fresco area off the owner’s suite. The new 80m CRN superyacht Chopi Chopi, pictured above, has an expansive private outside space on the owner’s deck, too. Part of it is shaded, with furnishings suitable for taking in an anchorage or enjoying morning coffee. The part that’s not shaded doubles as a helipad. The owner’s deck additionally features a pool and a TV lounge.


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A helicopter deck is the ultimate way to arrive in style on a superyacht

Sure, limo tenders allow you to arrive in style, but it’s hard to compare the experience with being whisked from the airport straight to the deck of your yacht. The list of megayachts with helipads is long, but some of the Top 200 largest boats are taking the concept up a notch, such as the 85.5m Oceanco Sunrays, whose whirlybird has a matching color scheme, and Chopi Chopi, which, as mentioned above, situates the helipad steps away from the owner’s suite. If you don’t like your chopper being out in the open, borrow a page from the owner of the new 99m award-winning Feadship yacht Madame Gu. That yacht’s helicopter tucks away in a belowdecks hangar, as do those on Luna and Eclipse.


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Picture of CRN superyacht J’ade‘s float-in tender dock

When imagination and technology meet, they make for fantastic features like floodable tender garages with guests boarding comfortably within the yacht. Tenders and toys can float right in, and once they’re securely in place, the water gets pumped out, taking mere minutes. When the 258-foot Royal Denship Pegasus V was delivered (as Princess Mariana) in 2003, she took yacht watchers by storm with her aft arrangement for two boats. She wasn’t the only yacht to debut that year with this novel feature. The 414-foot Lürssen Octopus was handed over in 2003, too, though kept most of her features unknown until she started cruising in the public eye. Not until photographers started getting good photos of Octopus did most people learn her tender bay allowed two craft to maneuver in. Each is impressively in the 65-foot range; one is a custom Vikal named Man-of-War, and the other, even more impressive, is a mini-submarine.


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Tenders that exactly and are styled by the mothership’s designers is a superyacht must-have

Limo tenders are understandably popular, as they allow shuttling owners and guests to and from shore while offering protection from wind and water. Yachts like the 95.15m Blohm+Voss Palladium and the 85.6m Derecktor superyacht Cakewalk take the concept up a notch as their owners commissioned tenders to complement and exactly match the mothership’s styling. Palladium has two 10m tenders (capable of 40 knots, no less) built by Cougar Marine to specifications by Michael Leach Design, which also styled the yacht. Cakewalk has an 11m Vikal limo tender styled by Tim Heywood who also designed Cakewalk herself. Then there’s Blohm+Voss superyacht A, with three distinctly different tenders, one being a 11m craft with lines penned by Philippe Starck to match his equally different vision for A.


Superyacht paint jobs don’t need to be just one or two colours – note the creative paint scheme on Feadship yacht Tango

White hulls and superstructures don’t suit everybody, and even dark-blue or green hulls are too conservative for others. Maybe that was the thinking behind Feadship’s 77.7m Tango, which makes clever use of metallic greys and blues. The greys wind their way across the superstructure,
aft to front, in shapes akin to waves.


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Feadship superyacht Musashi has a permanently mounted basketball hoop on the aft deck

Who needs to watch Wimbledon on a large-screen TV when there’s an al fresco deck area suitable for sports? Feadship megayachts Madame Gu, Musashi and Hampshire II each have terrific setups. The 87.78m Musashi even has a permanently mounted basketball hoop on her aft deck, modeled after the one on Rising Sun. (Both were commissioned by Larry Ellison, so it makes sense.) Not to be left out, also at 87.78m Fountainhead, has an al fresco basketball court, as do superyachts Tatoosh and Octopus. The 78.5m Feadship Hampshire II’s guests can play basketball, too, but also badminton, tennis and even soccer on the expansive foredeck, once the crew ring the area with specially designed nets to prevent balls from going overboard. It also has a zipline and a squash court.


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On board indoor gardens bring greenery to superyachts no matter the season

Fresh flowers are ordered by many owners once in port, but the 72.1m VSY superyacht Stella Maris offers her owner and guests visions of greenery at all times thanks to glass-enclosed, vertical gardens that rise from the main deck to the level above. The goal was to treat the owner and guests to green landscapes while at sea regardless of season; no need to venture to the Caribbean or other warm climes come wintertime. Even smaller yachts are incorporating gardens of all types; witness the 55m Zen-inspired Benetti superyacht Ocean Paradise, with a Zen garden in the main-deck foyer that changes every day.

8. SPAS:

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Ultimate relaxation can be found on board superyachts in spas, such as J’ade‘s, decked out with massage rooms and hammams

What better way to relax on board a superyacht than to have massage rooms and saunas/hammams at your disposal. The 99.14m Christina O’s Turkish bath, outfitted with 60 tons of marble, delights the eyes as much as the spirit, but that’s just one area in the multi-room onboard spa. It further includes two massage rooms and a hairdressing salon. The 70m Rossi Navi Numptia has a spa that includes a sauna, steam room and gym. Even many of the yachts ‘too small’ to rank on the Top 200 largest yachts in the world have these features. For instance, bright-green mosaic tiles used in the Turkish bath aboard the 60m CRN J’ade leave no doubt as to how she got her name.


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The infinity pool aboard superyacht Axioma

Ever since the day she was delivered in 2007, the 81.27m iconic Oceanco yacht Alfa Nero has turned heads as much for her aft-deck infinity pool as she has for her overall looks. The 86m Oceanco Seven Seas and the 72.5m Dunya Yachts superyacht Axioma (launched as Red Square) have infinity pools, too. When Axioma is at anchor, lounge chairs can be set up on her swim platform, directly beneath the pool’s front, for an extra-striking effect.


Venus yacht light

Photo of 78m yacht Venus | courtesy of Tom van Oossanen

When the 70.7m Lürssen superyacht Skat was delivered in 2002, even those who didn’t like her styling had to admit the expanses of glass made the largest traditional yacht windows look tiny. Since then, yachts like the 257-foot Feadship Venus have incorporated the design. Indeed, there’s a whole host of yachts of all sizes under construction with full-height glass. As with many of these Top 10 must-have superyacht design features, they may first have debuted on a yacht where size posed few limits to one’s imagination, but these features proved too good to integrate in the rest of the fleet – this is perhaps most recently seen on the groundbreaking 78m Feadship superyacht Venus, built for none other than innovator Steve Jobs. See more photos superyacht Venus.


This article originally appeared in the February 2014 issue of ShowBoats International magazine.

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