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Publication Title | The Modern Superyacht Enlarged Yacht or Smaller Ship

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The Modern Superyacht ; Enlarged Yacht or Smaller Ship?

James Roy, Yacht Design Manager, BMT Nigel Gee and Associates Ltd

The increasing size of the modern superyacht is pushing the boundaries of traditional yacht architecture. Large yachts are now more akin to small ships and the naval architecture, engineering and procurement of such vessels demands an increasingly rigorous approach. Coupled with ever increasing requirements for increased range, reduced noise levels and good seakeeping ability the engineering of these vessels requires a multi-disciplined approach with increasingly higher level technical input essential from the early conceptual design stage.

Within this paper the Author will examine a number of areas where mature technology developed within the commercial shipping industry is now being adopted in the yacht market and where some requirements specific to the large motor yachts are leading to adaptation of existing technology.


Yacht design is often referred to as a careful blend of art and science. Historically the role of the yacht designer has encompassed both these disciplines with the successful designers of yesteryear possessing a good eye for style whilst integrating the latest technology through sound engineering skills.

Today the situation has changed somewhat with the role of the designer /stylist often separated from that of the naval architect. Projects generally begin life on the drawing board of the stylist and whilst he may have a good judgement for engineering aspects, the fact is that as yachts get larger and more technically complex there is an ever growing need for fundamental multi- disciplined engineering input from the earliest design stages. Whilst this separation of disciplines can often stimulate innovation with the creativity of the designer/stylist pushing the engineering boundaries, it also often leads to un-necessary compromise in some fundamental engineering aspects.

The size of the modern superyacht has grown rapidly in the last 10 years with vessels of 80m now being common place and yachts of up to 162m have been successfully constructed.

The technical demands required of these large motor yachts are generally encapsulated in the following fundamental requirements;

• Increased range capability and good seakeeping through close attention to optimisation of hull and propulsion system

• Stabilisation at rest

• Exceptionally low noise and vibration levels

• Good manoeuvrability and increasingly a requirement for DP capability

It is these fundamental requirements that are driving the leading naval architects and builders to adopt and adapt technology normally found in the commercial ship market.


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