The term ‘explorer vessel’ does seem to fall victim to prolonged misuse, as the concept of an expedition can mean very different things to different people. In the next issue of The Superyacht Report – issue 177 – we talk to Bart Bouwhuis, director of Vripack, and discuss explorer design and define this often misconstrued market place.

The past decade has been characterised by the emergence, and subsequent growth, of exploration vessels as a superyacht-market sector. As the average age of owners begins to fall, the thrill-seeking mentality appears to have grown exponentially. However, if we look at some of the latest conceptual designs to emerge from the exploration market, is there a defining style that encapsulates these globe trotting vessels?

“For some people, doing an Atlantic crossing is an expedition; it’s about getting out of your comfort zone,” says Bouwhuis. During the discussion, it becomes apparent that one doesn’t necessarily need an ‘explorer’ vessel to explore, just the right equipment that can safely and comfortably perform accordingly.

Explorer vessels are intrinsically functional vessels, however this rugged and often ship-like appearance may only be skin deep when it comes to performance – much like the modern-day SUV, Bouwhuis explains. “Despite the great SUV cars available, only a select few can go off-road and perform well – it’s the same for explorers.” So while so many explorer yachts look like they can handle anything, this may not be the case.

There is certainly a growing popularity of the appearance of the explorer in the superyacht market, perhaps having derived from the commercial market, and there does appear to be a growing appreciation for explorers and their capabilities to the extent where their functionality is celebrated through exterior design.

Find this discussion in greater detail, including a thorough analysis on three different conceptual explorer designs, in issue 177 of The Superyacht Report. Subscribe and receive your copy here.

Image: X-trawlwer 56 - Marco Casali Too Design


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