At this year’s World Superyacht Awards, held on 13th May at the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, a number of charter yachts were recognised for their impressive design, engineering and construction, picking up prestigious neptune trophies in a glitzy prize-giving ceremony.
A wholly formal affair, the 12th World Superyacht Awards welcomed the elite of the superyacht world, owners and industry leaders, who came together in Italy to celebrate the finest luxury yachts launched throughout 2016.
Perhaps the finest surprise of the evening was the number of charter yachts found on the long list of winners. From awards for rebuilds and refits to design accolades for yachts over 2,999GT, charter yachts made the cut in six out 18 categories.
YachtCharterFleet rounds up those which clearly impressed this year’s perceptive panel of judges, made up of superyacht owners and a presiding chairman.
Out of the eight superyachts nominated in the refit category, it was the 86m/280ft motor yacht AQUILA - previously known as CAKEWALK - that stood out from the crowd and took home a coveted neptune trophy.
Originally built in 2010 by Derecktor, she underwent an extensive 12-month transformation last year at the UK’s Pendennis shipyard, which included new interior design and decoration by the esteemed Redman Whiteley Dixon and Susan Young Interiors.
At the same time, AQUILA’s five-year survey and significant technical upgrades were also undertaken and, today, she is totally unrecognisable from her former self.
According to the judges, the interior refit was carried out to exemplary standards, with the result fully meeting the owners brief.
The 77m/254ft expedition yacht LEGEND overcame competition from two other nominees in the rebuild category, securing the top accolade.
LEGEND started life in 1974 as an ex-Russian tug but, in order to implement full SOLAS and MCA 13 to 36 passenger status following her owner’s wishes, only her hull and main engines could remain in place for the 2016 rebuild.
The hull, however, was extended by 3.6 metres, with a remodelled stern to incorporate a bathing platform and 16-person swimming pool, while her superstructure was modified to soften her lines, and a helipad and refuelling facilities were also installed.
Today, she is a world-roaming expedition yacht with Lloyds A1 Ice Class and Polar classification. In the view of the judges, the rebuild was highly successful and has readied her for operations in high latitudes. Indeed, she has already be open for charter in Norway and Antarctica.
Also nominated in the refit category was the 36m/118ft expedition yacht RH3 and, despite losing out on the main prize, was awarded a judges’ commendation.
Built in 2003 by RMK Marine, she was re-launched last summer after an extensive rebuild at Florida shipyard Rybovich and features a contemporary, urban-style interior from Belgian designer Vincent Van Duysen.
According to the judges, the ‘top-to-toe rethinking of a proven explorer into a comfortable, intimate family yacht that will soon embark on a circumnavigation’ makes RH3 worthy of the special mention.
The award in the highly competitive displacement motor yacht between 500GT and 1,499GT category went to the 70m/230ft superyacht JOY thanks to her dynamic looks, forward-thinking design and excellence of construction from the Dutch yard, Feadship.
In particular, the judges were impressed by the capacity to enclose all three aft decks with full-height sliding glass panels to increase the interior volume in times of unfavourable weather, as well as the enviable blend of comfortable modernism and striking design apparent across the interior.
Praise also went to JOY’s active noise attenuation system for the gearboxes, which keeps internal noise levels much lower than usual when underway.
In the displacement motor yacht between 1,500GT and 2,999 GT category, the ‘special’ 73m/237ft expedition yacht CLOUDBREAK was crowned the winner.
Said by the judges to be an unusual example of a yacht ‘specifically designed for a task that reaches beyond the norm’, she is an explorer-style offering tailored to practice adventure sports on land and sea, specifically mountaineering, hiking and snow sports.
She also benefits from the work of three yachting greats: naval architect Espen Oeino, interior designer Christian Liaigre and legendary shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen.
Impressing with her design, build quality and price, the 33m/110ft expedition yacht NARVALO from Cantiere delle Marche was presented with the judges’ special award for quality and value.
Summed up as a ‘pocket explorer yacht’, she offers all the essential elements of a go-anywhere vessel, including long range, good autonomy meaning she can remain at sea for extended periods, high internal volume and good seaworthiness.
On top of this, she also fulfils the role of a traditional motor yacht with well-sized cabins, an internal dining salon and two lounges, as well as spacious, well-considered deck areas. She has certainty been a favourite on the charter market since joining in the autumn.
The 49m/160ft charter yacht CHASSEUR, meanwhile, picked up the judges’ special award for achievement in view of her wide ranging virtues and the admirable quality of her build that was carried out in difficult circumstances at the Christensen yard.
She was the first yacht to be launched by the US yard following its reopening and caught the eye of the judges due to her robust and seaworthy GRP hull which, powered by twin 1,650hp Caterpillars, achieves a top speed of 16 knots and a 4,000nm range at her 10-knot cruising speed.
Her sleek modern exterior lines and her vibrant, light and bright three-deck interior, linked by an intriguingly lit, cantilevered glass staircase, was also praised.
The finest surprise of the evening, was the number of charter yachts found on the long list of winners
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