I once witnessed a client get on the wrong yacht at a marina because there were three similar-looking yachts nearby.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with going with popular and reliable yacht models that have a proven track record – especially for first-time owners. But I am finding more and more clients requesting an exterior profile that’s just a bit ‘different’. They want their boat to be the one that stands out in a literal sea full of superyachts. They want to be able to spot their yacht from afar.
Yachting is about many things – but freedom and self-expression are chief among them. Because of this, many yacht owners will go the extra custom mile, for tailor-made options according to their preferences, or decorate their boat with personalised furniture and artwork. However, it is ultimately up to the shipyards to come up with new, creative designs that allow owners to express themselves. And several are starting to do just that.
“I am finding more and more clients requesting an exterior profile that’s just a bit ‘different’” – Carmen Lau
One notable example is CL Yachts, whose new flagship CLX96 just finished her Hong Kong debut. This crossover yacht was created in collaboration with international designer Jozeph Forakis, with structural engineering from Albert Horsmon and naval architecture from Earl Alfaro. They did a test where they looked at a massive line-up of yachts from 300 metres away to find which hull shapes stood out, and which stunning lines were missing in the market.
Unsurprisingly, the CLX96, with her bold and striking double reverse-angle deckhouse windshield and plumb bow, has been turning heads wherever she cruises.
The vertical bow allows for increased stability and streamlined cruising, and the teardrop-shaped hull, made out of fibreglass hybrid composite, is so sturdy that its producer, Cheoy Lee shipyard, is offering a 10-year warranty instead of the traditional five-year one. This is a strong statement on its quality.
On the other side of the spectrum is the Codecasa Limited Edition Gentleman’s Yacht, which has a uniquely ‘vintage classic’ exterior. Designed by the renowned Luca Dini, this 24m masterpiece is based on the relatively new concept of ‘pocket-sized superyacht’ with its unique interior. The boat is a throwback to 1960s yachting with its distinct lines, glossy mahogany flanks, chrome-plated steel finishes and enclosed transom. But it also has strikingly modern interior design and technological solutions. Finally, the hull’s full-aluminium build gives the yacht a great combination of durability and cruising performance.
Lastly, the new Princess X95, which already has three hulls afloat in Hong Kong, has a unique exterior design allowing both her flybridge and main deck to cover almost the full length of the yachts, which provides great interior volume. This makes it a standout yacht from other Princess models, or yachts of similar size.
There will always be a need for standardisation on some level – and not every yacht owner feels the need to be adventurous with such a substantial investment. However, we are seeing more owners that view their yachts as extensions of themselves and therefore they like to stand out from the crowd.
At the end of the day, it is important for us as brokers to offer a variety of yachts for clients to choose from. The owners and the industry always appreciate the heavy investment shipyards put in from concept, design and the detail of implementation into production. Straying from the standard with original standout designs is a costly risk for shipyards, but the rewards for getting it right in today’s market where everyone is looking for that something special can be huge.
About the author
Carmen Lau is the senior advisor of Camper & Nicholsons International. With over 18 years of experience in the yachting industry, specialising in the sales, production and management of yachts over 100m. She also has experience at the shipyard and acting as owner’s representative.