The superyacht remains one of the more spellbinding sights to sail the seas and, as Will Daynes discovers, 2018 has proven that demand for these luxury vessels shows no sign of sinking beneath the waves

While for a great many individuals and businesses the world over, 2017 was a year characterised by political and economic uncertainty, it was also one that saw the number of officially recognised billionaires rise. Although a high proportion of said billionaires call the United States home, so too do a number from Asia and the Oceania region where the interest in boating remains strong. It is this new wave of billionaires, men and women who place greater value on conspicuous consumption, that are in part being credited with the continued strength of superyacht sales.

Indeed, 2018 has seen some of the largest names in the industry debuting new concepts and creations, with forecasting the arrival of no fewer than eight new entries into the Top 100 list of the largest superyachts this year alone. The largest of these new vessels will be a 146-metre vessel from Lurssen Yachts, and while the old adage about bigger being better may not strictly be true, there is undoubtedly a consistent trend towards demand for large superyachts.

This is a development that has not been missed by the likes of Oceanco. The Netherlands headquartered, privately owned custom yacht builder specialises in creating sophisticated yachts from 80 metres to 140 metres in length, applying innovative engineering and technology to create one-of-a-kind new builds. “The owning of a superyacht remains an incredibly attractive prospect for those with the necessary wealth for a number of reasons, among them the privacy and autonomy they offer, the amazing design they possess, the state-of-the-art technology offered, and of course the sheer love of the sea that many of their owners have,” explains Paris Baloumis, Group Marketing Manager at Oceanco.

Recognising the increased level of demand for superyachts ahead of time, the company made plans to facilitate this be enhancing its operations and facilities through the construction of a new facility to cope with yachts of up to 140 metres in length. “As a result of our efforts, we recently delivered two new yachts that are new to the Top 100 largest superyachts list, and we are excited to currently have several more under construction that we are certain will appear on said list in the very near future,” Paris enthuses.

So, what exactly is it that superyacht owners in 2018 are looking for in their investment? “Owners of Oceanco yachts demand certain features and characteristics, and these include compliance with specific codes, complete safety, seaworthiness anywhere in the world, fuel efficiency, comfort, first class quality throughout, and exciting new technology, whether it be found on the bridge or in other areas such as entertainment systems,” Paris details. “Of course, when making such a large investment, owners also want to have the peace of mind in knowing that they can count on a dedicated after sales service as well.”

As it rightly should be, Oceanco is excited about each of the new yachts that leave its facilities, but for superyacht aficionados it is the launch of the Black Pearl that has tongues wagging. It came about when one distinguished Russian gentlemen set himself apart by choosing to invest his money into a project to develop and realise the most ecologically advanced yacht afloat. “Black Pearl is a unique vessel, and at 106.7 metres in length she is not only the largest sailing yacht in the world, but also the most environmentally designed vessel of her kind afloat,” Paris states. “She features an innovative Dyna-rig sailing system and a single level engine room hybrid propulsion installation with a high capacity battery bank allowing for a regeneration mode when under sail. The sails themselves have an automated control system, making it possible for a single person to control all functions for setting or reducing sail, and adjusting the angle of the sails towards the wind. Controls are located on the sailing station on the bridge, with a duplicate control system on the fly bridge, and it is also possible to control the functions with a wireless handheld control. All sails can be set or furled in approximately seven-to-eight minutes.”

With 2018 set to go down as a highly successful for the superyacht market, it is interesting to hear Paris’ view as to what the next evolutionary step will be for these large luxury vessels. “In my opinion, superyachts will become increasingly more technologically advanced, and there will be greater strides taken towards creating environmental awareness for all items on-board, from the propulsion system to the materials used throughout the interior. Furthermore, designers will continue to push the limits when it comes to unique visual creations, and yachts will have to become more prepared to travel to the sort of exotic, off the beaten path destinations that increasing numbers of people are looking to access.”