Every year Boat International, an influential magazine, distributes Neptune statues to the best megayachts. The boats are carefully selected by an international jury of experienced superyacht owners. They board each of the nominees, then secretly vote to select the best of the best. This year's three prestigious awards were given to yachts owned by Russian billionaires.
Motor Yacht of the Year - Dilbar
Constructively Dilbar Alisher Usmanov is one of the most complicated yachts in the world. Exterior designer Espen Oino, interior designer Andrew Vinch and the Lurssen shipyard's construction team have managed to accomplish the impossible: 156 metres of interior volume has reached a record 15917 gross tons. The yacht has so much useful space that it has been able to accommodate a huge 180 cubic meter pool, 21 passenger cabins and 47 crew members. The Boat International jury of experts on board the Dilbar yacht were impressed by the quality of the interiors, which are kept secret from ordinary mortals. Dilbar also has the most powerful diesel-electric unit ever used on a private vessel and allows megayacht acceleration up to 22.5 knots. At the same time, the engines are equipped with carbon filters to minimize environmental pollution.
Sybaris Sailing Yacht of the Year.
The jury chose between two very different boats - the fast but elegant My Song racing cruiser, which has already proved its class victories in several regattas, and the extra large Sybaris, designed for comfortable trips to distant parts of the world. The choice was difficult, but it was nevertheless in favour of the Sybaris, which impressed the judges not only with its ability to sail even in low winds when other yachts of her size are forced to start the engine, but also with the comfort on board, a clever layout that fully meets the owner's requirements. The sail plan and protruding elements of the underwater hull have undergone a multi-stage hydrodynamic simulation that has allowed for detailed optimization of hull shape and sailing weapons.
Voyager's Award - Glaze
The owners of the 49-meter Glaze - a young family - took it on a round-the-world voyage, one section of which brought a cherished statue of Neptune. It was a cruise through Western Australia, from Wyndham to Broome, during which Glaze owners explored the remote, rocky, rugged Kimberley coast. They visited numerous coves and rivers, previously poorly or not explored, saw many crocodiles and sharks, sailed through waterfalls falling from the steep red cliffs, visited caves with Aboriginal rock art and even toured the remains of a DC3 plane shot down here during World War II.
Refits - Aquila
The owner of the 85-metre Aquila (formerly Cakewalk) decided not to wait five years for a new yacht to be built, but to take and remake an existing one to his taste. The Pendennis Shipyard team in Falmouth took on the job. RWD and Susan Young Interiors were invited as interior designers. Within a year they had converted the Aquila so that it was difficult to recognise it. The team managed to exactly implement the owner's brief, and now the Aquila is his special pride.
Rebuilt yachts - Legend
If you want a polar-class icebreaker, the choice of an old Soviet icebreaker as a base seems justified, even if the yacht is 34 years old. The 77-meter yacht has already been converted into a superyacht once, but the current owner wanted it to meet the requirements of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the MCA 13-36 standard for large passenger ships. This required a complete refit, leaving only the main engines and hull intact. However, the latter has also undergone modifications, expanding by 3.6 meters, and the stern has been rebuilt for a bathing platform and swimming pool for 16 people. The superstructure lines have been softened and a certified helipad and filling post have been added to the upper deck.
Sailing yachts 30-40 meters - My Song
A difficult choice was made by the members of the jury who were considering six candidates in this category. The winner, the 39.6-metre My Song from Baltic Yachts, can reach speeds of over 30 knots in optimum conditions, while remaining a comfortable cruiser with well thought-out relaxation areas both on and below deck with three passenger cabins and an admirable crew area of six people at the stern.
Sailing yachts from 40 meters - Sybaris
Another statuette of Neptune went to the masterpiece Perini Navi, 70-meter Sybaris. Sybaris' competitor was a yacht also striking in size, the 85m AQuiJo from Vitters Shipyard and Oceanco.
Sybaris took on how accurately and elegantly the owner's vision was realized. The Owner has personally chosen the designers for this project and they have worked very well with the talented yard team to create a low profile yacht with continuous interior volumes and wide sea views. The yacht is equipped with electric winches and sailing devices, as well as variable speed generators that allow to reduce speed to a minimum when much power is not required.
Semi-displacement motor yachts 30-34 meters - Botti
In this class the competition was tight: many double-deck sportsboats, boats with raised wheelhouse and three deck boats. Three of the finalists had the same basic design, so this time the jury paid more attention to the yacht's uniqueness. The winner by secret ballot was Botti, a 32.6m composite yacht with raised wheelhouse from Monte Carlo Yachts. Her elegant exterior design features a large, secure bimini sundeck with dining and lounge areas. Another dining table is located aft on the main deck, while there is another lounge area with a cinema at the bow. Botti's interiors have won over the jury with their clean, practical lines and quiet colours. The engine compartment of the yacht, which houses a pair of MTU diesel engines and gyro stabilizers, is characterised by a clever layout.
Semi-displacement motor yachts 34-40 meters - Gipsy
Appearances always play a big part in the judges' verdict. The clean lines of the 35-metre aluminium Gipsy, combined with the well-thought-out open spaces for relaxation, have won over the jury. She has good sailing characteristics: she can reach speeds of up to 20 knots and at a cruising speed of 11 knots she can travel up to 2,000 miles on one tank. On closer inspection, Gipsy has impressive interior volumes and a clever layout with the dining room moved to the forward side of the main deck and the owner's cabin aft of the bridge deck. From the crew area, there is easy access to the lower deck for easy maintenance of the guest cabins. The modern interior is in harmony with the exterior lines of the yacht. The functional main saloon, with a cinema, stands out in particular. The judges considered this compact but very well designed yacht, which fully meets the needs of her experienced owner, to be a worthy winner in this class.
Semi-displacement motor yachts from 40 to 50 meters - Amore Mio
The 45-meter Heesen Amore Mio has won over the judges with its versatility. It can be very fast, showing a maximum of 30 knots, but on cruising 12 knots it has a decent range of 2750 miles.
The owner wanted a «summer home at sea»and, according to the judges, the designers were able to fulfill his wish. Aft on the main and upper decks are spacious open terraces for al-fresco snacks and relaxation, with additional sunbathing areas at the bow.
With this generosity of open spaces, it was necessary to use every square centimetre of indoor space. The judges considered that the builders had succeeded in maximizing the open areas without compromising the comfort of guests and crew.
They also noted the quality of the assembly, the presence of gyroscopic stabilizers to ensure comfort at anchor and the presence of a self-expanding «man overboard»system, thanks to which individual lifeguards are ready at the touch of a button.
Semi-displacement motor yachts from 50 meters - Galactica Super Nova
The 70-meter Galactica Super Nova is another winner of the World Superyacht Awards, whose customer is a Russian. Heesen built it for Vagit Alekperov, owner of «Lukoil» and the German shipyard itself.
The Galactica Super Nova in Van Oossanen's Fast Displacement can reach 30 knots and has a transatlantic range of 4,000 miles at 12 knots.
Whether the vessels in the hull of Fast Displacement are classified as semi-displacement vessels is a controversial topic: they show excellent performance both in displacement mode and when going out for hydroplaning. But the judges of the World Superyacht Awards judged that a yacht should be considered in this category, because for her, as for all semi-displacement boats, lightweight construction is very important and any excess weight seriously reduces productivity.
Since the Galactica Super Nova was 20 meters longer than her closest competitor in the semi-displacement class, the judges singled her out as a separate category. The quality of the assembly of the Galactica Super Nova, its attractive appearance and the large number of exclusive «chips» on board, such as the crystal elevator, waterfall swimming pool with glass bottom and finishing with leather of different grades - from stingray leather to delicate calfskin - determined her victory.
Displacement Motor Yachts up to 500 BRT from 30 to 43 meters - X
The name «Explorer is» often given to yachts for their brutal appearance, not for their all-terrain mobility. However, it has nothing to do with X: Sanlorenzo's 42.2 metre superyacht is equipped with everything necessary for transoceanic crossings in comfort and safety. This well-engineered steel and aluminium vessel is powered by two 970 kW Caterpillar diesel engines that deliver a top speed of 15.5 knots. At a cruising speed of 14 knots, the Sanlorenzo X has a range of 4,000 nautical miles. The stern of the main deck has been given for storage of tenders and water toys, but the two remaining upper decks have all the standard rest areas. In rainy weather, guests can enjoy the views in the comfort of the main saloon, equipped with large windows. Sanlorenzo X boasts a well-designed crew area for eight people, plenty of lockers and storage niches and a laundry room in the layout.
Displacement motor yachts up to 500 BRT from 43 meters - La Passion
There are always many nominees in this category, and judges spend a considerable amount of time considering each of them. This year's winner is the first boat of the Turkish shipyard Sarp Yacths, the 46-meter La Passion. The judges loved everything about this yacht, from the seaworthy steel hull to the clean, elegant in simplicity exterior lines, from open deck areas to contemporary interior design.
Displacement motor yachts from 500 to 1500 BRT - Joy
It was not easy for the judges to choose a winner in this class, but the combination of dynamic looks, thoughtful design and quality of construction drew their attention to Feadship Joy. Externally, the Joy stands out for its many curved surfaces and unprecedented amount of glass. The judges were particularly struck by the fact that all three aft decks can be completely covered with sliding glass panels, significantly increasing interior volumes on a bad day. The jury also noted the work of interior designer Joy, who, in response to the client's request to create a home environment in contrast to the hotel atmosphere, has designed a comfortable modernist space with vivid details. Technical innovations, such as the Active Noise Cancellation System for the gearboxes, which significantly reduced noise levels when the yacht was on the move, also contributed to Joy's victory.
Disposable motor yachts from 1500 to 3000 BRT - Cloudbreak
Today the layout of most yachts differs from one another only in minor details. However, Cloudbreak goes beyond the established norms. This yacht was designed for an experienced owner who knew exactly what he wanted: he needed an Explorer to serve as a platform for extreme sports on land and at sea, at high and low latitudes. Cloudbreak carries a fleet of tenders and toys on board and has a fully equipped ski room. Like other explorers, it is equipped with a certified helipad for work in remote areas of the world. A star team of designers and engineers worked on the Cloudbreak: the exterior and layout was designed by Espen Oeino, the interior design by Christian Liaigre, the assembly by Abeking & Rasmussen.
Displacement yachts from 3000 BRT and above - Dilbar
The rules of the award state that if the class is represented by a single yacht, this class must be combined with the previous one in terms of size. According to this rule, Dilbar was first placed in the same class with boats from 1500 BRT. However, when it came to voting, the judges admitted that it was impossible to make a rational choice when one of the nominees was so superior to the nearest rival in terms of gross tonnage. Dilbar's interior volume is seven times that of Cloudbreak, the second largest yacht on the list.
This precedent had been set before, and it was then decided that a yacht could be singled out as a separate class and awarded the statue of Neptune as its sole representative, provided that the yacht was truly worthy of winning. In the case of Dilbar, the visiting members of the jury clearly described the yacht as the most impressive of all they had seen.
The special award for the quality/value ratio is Narvalo.
The judges found Narvalo to be the perfect «pocket explorer». Built at Cantiere delle Marche with Nauta design and Hydrotec naval architecture, Narvalo combines all the qualities required for an Explorer, including good range, good autonomy with respect to water and food supplies, seaworthiness, large interior volume and a strong, well-equipped 5.5m tender.
At the same time, Narvalo has everything necessary to successfully perform the role of a traditional motor yacht: spacious cabins, a dining room and two lounge areas in the salon, well-thought-out relaxation areas on decks. Sufficient attention has been paid to the crew area, which is spacious and comfortable, an important feature for a yacht designed for long cruises.
The special award for achievements is Chasseur.
Chasseur is the first yacht built on the newly-opened Christensen Shipyards after the shipyard was bought out by its co-owner Henry Luken. Although this 50 meter yacht was built under difficult conditions, the yard has managed not only to maintain but also to improve the quality of the build. According to the judges of the World Superyachts Awards, Chasseur is the best yacht ever built by Christensen. She has a sturdy GRP hull, modern exterior and interior design and two Caterpillar 1650 hp engines, which enable her to reach 16 knots and pass 4,000 miles without refueling at a cruising speed of 10 knots. The spacious crew area is complemented by a large freezer/freezer room, the volume of which opens up new possibilities for the owner for long journeys.
Special award for outstanding video - Latitude
Last year Latitude won the Navigator's Award for its voyage along the icy shores of the Svalbard Archipelago, during which the owner of Latitude Anil Tadani was able to observe polar bears, sheep-bears, walruses and whales in the wild. This year the same yacht received a special award for the best film made during last year's voyage. «The Highest Latitude: An Arctic Svalbard Expedition» movie is freely available and can be viewed here.
Heritage Award - Alex Dreyfus
Alex Dreyfuss has owned yachts all his life. First a sport fishing boat from Rybovich, then a Burger and a 43.6m Feadship. To enable his wife Renata to join him on long-distance cruises, Dreyfus began exploring different hull forms that could reduce her suffering from marine disease and settled on the SWATH concept, a two-hulled boat with a small waterline area. For the project Dreyfus turned to Abeking & Rasmussen, a shipyard that not only builds superb yachts but also commercial vessels in the SWATH hulls. Tests confirmed the benefits of this project and he commissioned A&R to build his current 40.8 meter Silver Cloud superyacht. The vessel has been successfully used by owners on risky cruises and carries scientific equipment to support ocean research.