Today I received a truly wonderful concept from a well known designer who likened their new creation to a dolphin and it struck me that this was one of the few times I could actually see the resemblance. I'm talking about the new DART range by Royal Huisman and Andrew Winch. Its ark matched the curvature of a dolphin’s back and the mast angled to match a dolphin’s fin. Whilst this is a comparison that has been used many times before, this time it was particularly prominent. It just shows that when the resemblance is present, it benefits the concept hugely and helps us to understand its shape; but when it doesn’t quite work, the cover is blown and you’re left with a rather irritating PR stunt.

This got me thinking about inspirations for superyacht concepts and how often something, such as an animal or even the sea itself, is used to describe the yacht’s appearance and its unique characteristics. However, there are just too many occasions where the project has no resemblance whatsoever to its so called ‘inspiration’. On occasion a concept is strategically named after the inspiration, such as ‘panther’ or ‘jaguar’. When this happens and it’s not blatantly obvious I tend to spend less time admiring the project, and more time trying to understand how the 50m superyacht in front of me resembles a big cat.

The danger of an unrecognisable comparison is that a concept may be approached with a level of confusion pertaining to the thinking process behind it, potentially drawing the focus away from the yacht itself; or one begins thinking of the potential PR benefits to the ‘inspiration’ behind the concept.

On the other hand, when a concept or yacht truly resembles the thing which has inspired the designer, it’s wonderful. A good example would be 86.5m Quattroelle, where the funnel resembles the air scoop of a Formula 1 car.

Is it, therefore, a bit of a risky game, tying a new concept to something if lacks blatant stylistic cues of the subject? Or does it give the concept more depth and invites us to delve into the designer’s mind set and discover their initial thinking process?