Luxury boat design has evolved considerably over the years, from massive ships to sleek, elegant yachts. As the audience that the boating industry caters to has become more widespread, custom designs that are comfortable and seaworthy have become more and more popular. This trend is expected to continue and escalate in the future, but there are several factors that come into play while designing a luxury boat.
We’re not talking just money, although that is an important consideration. The world is becoming more environment-conscious and there is a strong desire amongst the maritime industry to create environment-friendly designs. In addition, the definition of comfort is changing from person to person, requiring greater ingenuity on the part of the boat designers.
Which is why, in this article, we see the five factors that are expected to dominate design considerations for the luxury boats of the future.
Factors Affecting Luxury Boat Design
The design of a luxury boat is largely driven by the aesthetic appeal the boat is expected to have. It needs to be attractive and yet functional. The aesthetics of the boat depend on the kind of application it is to be used for – entertaining guests, spending time with your family, adventure trips, conferences, or a mixture of all these. Given that the principal reason for building a luxury yacht is entertainment, the design needs to incorporate all the elements that make the boat comfortable and as aesthetically appealing as possible.
There have been numerous creative attempts at creating futuristic boats that have been successful in some cases, not so much in others. Some of the best examples of luxury boats having a futuristic design, from an aesthetic perspective, include the ship designed by British designer Zaha Hadid, which has a skeletal structure like that of a marine mammal, the ‘Double Century’ designed by Christopher Seymour, a gigayacht having nine decks, making it the biggest luxury vessel in the world, and many such others.
While the world of luxury boats appears to be very beautiful and uber-comfortable in the future, it is also expected to be governed by the environmental considerations that are of pressing concern. Climate change and the maritime sector are co-dependent and any activities of the latter have a direct impact on the former.
Consequently, there have been several new declarations to curb the rising problems caused by boats and boating companies, such as the emissions cap set by the IMO for 2020. In addition, the use of renewable sources of energy has also become a hotbed of research to find viable, environment-friendly solutions to fuels powering ships. The future of luxury boat design is expected to be highly influenced by the need for sustainable design and has already started to make some headway in that direction.
Although several of these boats are still in their conceptual phases, the attempt is to harness solar and wind power to replace fossil fuels to the maximum possible extent. These yachts of the future are based on green technology, promoting greater efficiency and a cleaner ecosystem.
Materials and Technology
The materials and technology used in yacht design are expected to change with the years, as the aesthetic requirements of luxury boats change. This will be primarily from the angle of styling, though greener build materials will also be in vogue soon. Glass is expected to be the material of choice for artistic superstructures, with giant windows becoming popular.
Carbon fibre is also an upcoming alternative for luxury boats. While it is not exactly a new material for the marine industry, yacht and superyacht designs have only lately begun to focus on using it. The advantages of having a carbon fibre or FRP (fibre-reinforced plastic) boat is that there is a significant reduction in weight, leading to faster speeds and better utilization of power.
Technology trends are also naturally expected to affect luxury boat design. Forget wellness centres, swimming pools, and saunas, it is soon going to be the era of localised bluetooth systems, 4k video streaming, and wifi-connectivity, to help you stay connected to the world even in the midst of your vacation. The mechanical advancements are no less significant. Advanced propellers, solar sails, and automation software are being brought into practice rapidly, changing the technological face of luxury boats.
This is one of the most important factors driving yacht design. There is a rapid shift towards a high-end lifestyle, with all the related knick-knacks becoming a necessary part of the boat design. The clientele of luxury yachts is no longer limited to the elite of the business industry, but now encompasses a wide spectrum of moderately affluent people who are ready to set sail for the occasional weekend of fun.
As this age group is used to a uber-comfortable lifestyle, their expectations from the luxury boats are the same, if not more. Given the easy availability of technology and the increasing affordability of yachts, lifestyle becomes a governing factor in the design of future luxury boats.
Until a few decades ago, sailing the high seas for pleasure was a privilege of the rich and famous. However, over the years, with the advent of more economical charters and boat manufacturers, the maritime industry has expanded to include a wider audience. Chartering yachts has become more affordable and need no longer cost a heavy penny. Consequently, there is an increase in the number of people purchasing or renting a boat to sail out to the sea for a weekend vacation.
That’s not to say that sailing is not expensive. The cost of building a custom superyacht is still beyond the means of ordinary folk, not even counting maintenance and docking overheads. For instance, the nine-deck Double Century superyacht is expected to cost billions of dollars, touted to be the biggest and most-expensive superyacht in the world.
Nevertheless, there is a definite decrease in the capital investment for chartering luxury boats, even allowing for design experiments.
This concludes our list of factors that are expected to influence luxury boat design in the future. Over the years, the trend is seen to lean towards making sure that the yacht reflects the owner’s personality, creating enormous scope for custom design. Numerous boat manufacturers in India are rising to this challenge of creating comfortable yet affordable luxury boats, to encourage more people to sail out to sea.
Rising concerns of security and safety are also anticipated to drive the yacht design scenario. What are your thoughts on the design factors we’ve talked about? Any other considerations you would like add? Join the conversation to let us know!