Thursday 3, March 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: A desire to feel ever closer to sea is emerging as a notable trend among superyacht buyers, say manufacturers exhibiting at Dubai International Boat Show. Dubai is one of the world’s premier events for the superyacht industry, with major shipyards either displaying new boats on the water, or as collections of beautifully intricate scale models.

At the show, Netherlands-based yacht builder, Feadship, is showcasing a magnificent scale model of a yacht the company sees as a landmark achievement – the Savannah, launched last year. Go below the waterline on most yachts and all you will see is the inside of a the hull. The Savannah, by comparison, offers something startlingly different – an ocean gallery.

“This is the first yacht to have an ocean gallery,” said Feadship Marketing and Brand Director, Farouk Nefzi, describing a viewing area where a vast, underwater picture window looks out onto the sea-life swimming around the ship, and the pool is designed to share the view. “With this, the whole sea is your aquarium.”

The Savannah and its underwater gallery made big news in the yachting world when Feadship launched the ship, but it represents a trend every superyacht builder recognises: a growing number of customers want a yacht that will let them truly experience the sea.

Custom yacht builder Oceanco unveiled a model of the stunning 90 metre Moonstone at the show, with a distinctive faceted hull design that aims to create a visual link between the ship, the sky and the sea – impressive to onlookers. Impressive for those on board is the vast deck area at the rear of the yacht, kept as low possible to the water. This kind of sea level space is now a regular request from customers, combined with an increased emphasis on lifestyle, and it has reshaped the way yachts are configured.

“People want to get closer the elements,” explained Michele Flandin, Marketing Manager at Oceanco. “We used to have gyms and spas on the upper deck, but we don’t have that anymore. Everything has to be at sea level. Our clients also want more and more space for wellness; on the last yacht we delivered, we had 350 square metres for a wellness and spa area.”

At Mondomarine, the new SF40 design, which had its on-water Middle East debut at the Dubai International Boat Show, presented a unique challenge: to meet a demand for a better view of the water from the main living areas, while also meeting a cultural demand for family privacy in the Middle East market. The solution was to place the owner’s area on the highest level of the living area, below the wheelhouse, with vast picture windows looking out onto private balcony areas, and superstructure carefully shaped so the owner’s deck at the front could not be overlooked by anyone outside the family.

“People insist the boat should have a great view outside,” said Roberto Zambrini, CEO of Mondomarine. “You feel you are in the open air on this boat, because you have the two balconies, and if you open the window on the balcony you are immediately in the sun, yet there is a high level of privacy and the owner’s cabin and deck cannot be seen by any guests or the crew.”

For the ultimate open air experience, the Riva Florida 88, part of the ART Marine and Ferretti Group display, takes things to a new level. Resembling a classic speedboat – with its sleek lines scaled up into a 26 metre superyacht – the Florida 88 features a car-like convertible hard-top. With the roof in place, the upper deck forms an enclosed lounge and wheelhouse, but when the sun is shining, two hydraulic arms can lift the roof, swing it forward, and stow it on top of the forward cabin.

“You have this completely open space to enjoy,” says Gregor Stinner, CEO of Feretti Group’s Middle East distributor, ART Marine. “And we can genuinely say this is a unique feature, because Ferretti owns the patent so nobody else can copy the design.”

Getting to Dubai International Boat Show
The 24th Dubai International Boat Show at Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi is open to trade visitors and the general public from 3pm – 9.30pm daily until 5 March 2016, with a single entry ticket cost of AED 60. Free parking is available at Skydive Dubai and at Gateway Towers – the multi-story carpark at the entrance to the Palm Jumeirah – with shuttle transfer to the show, while for public transport the Dubai Tram Mina Seyahi Station is immediately outside the gates.