Innovation is a word that peppers the industry as if it’s something we see in every new superyacht concept. But, how often do you look at an 80m+ concept and genuinely believe that a designer has introduced a new method or idea to the industry?

It’s very easy to look at profoundly new concepts and pick them apart as ‘unrealistic’ or ‘impractical’, but as Alex Meredith Hardy, naval architect at BMT Nigel Gee, said in a recent discussion on turning concepts into reality, “The only thing that cannot be changed are the laws of physics, barriers such as restrictive regulatory compliance, established engineering, construction practices and industry-specific limitations can all be challenged”. So, what is it about innovation in superyacht design that we’re scared of?

One of the problems for more radical designs is when innovation is used purely for differentiation instead of to serve a purpose. It’s all well and good to have a superyacht feature that is new and looks fantastic, but if it has no real purpose on board, what’s the point in it being there at all?

As an industry, we’re lucky to have such vast quantities of creative talent and there is an abundance of stunning concepts over 80m – but in terms of innovation, it looks like there is still room for development.

In an attempt to identify innovation, after looking through a variety of concepts from 80m to 200m, what becomes apparent is that we see plenty of stylistic innovation – but I’m not convinced that this is what the industry is seeking in its quest for something completely new. We tend to find two very different takes on conceptual design: those that have been designed to become projects and those created to remain concepts and present possibilities and ideas.

In issue 176 of The Superyacht Report, I have selected four very different superyacht concepts from different designers, including 142m Private Bay by Horacio Bozzo and 180m Her Majesty by Dennis Ingemansson, and explore in depth the concepts’ respective innovation, creative diversity and ability to be expanded on or even materialised.

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