Virtual Monaco Yacht Show
Asia-Pacific update on superyacht developments and the latest launches by the world’s leading builders. By Bruce Maxwell.
Recent Monaco Yacht Shows run by Informa have been fully booked. They also own Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Palm Beach. Photo: MC Clic
As the ghosts of Monaco Yacht Shows past gather on the hallowed quays of Port Hercule, a partial solution to the problem that postponed MYS this year may be emerging from an unlikely source – Fiji in the South Pacific.
In Asia-Pacific, superyachts bound for the Tokyo Olympics diverted when that event was put back to 2021, although some took the opportunity to cruise the intriguing North Pacific anyway. Now the focus is on whether the America’s Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, from January to March 2021, can be saved.
About 70-80 superyachts were originally expected for the America’s Cup season, compared with an average of 50-60, but numbers have been depleted already by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
If approaching from the Med and Suez Canal, there are adverse contingencies to consider in Phuket, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. From the Caribbean via the Panama Canal and Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific route has seen bottlenecks too, but is a little more open.
French Polynesia remained marginally okay for approved and locally-based superyachts. We understand more than 3,000 Americans have been permitted to enter, facilitating some cruising and charters, after self-administered covid-19 tests, which raised questions as to how these visitors may handle things like nasal swabs.
Some vessels have arrived at or are heading for Fiji, where the cost of living is considerably lower, and the government is cautiously trying a Blue Lane VIP scheme devised by David Jamieson, of Yacht Help and Port Denarau Marina, the only entry point.
Fifteen superyacht berths, including four over 70m, open next year at Nawi Island Marina facing Savusavu on Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second largest island north of Viti Levu
This involves strict covid-19 tests prior to departure and on arrival, quarantine for arriving vessels including passage time, and similar strictures for crew, most of whom are coming on transfer from relatively Covid-free states of Australia and New Zealand.
Owners may turn up by private plane, and cruise the extensive Fijian islands if they do not come into contact with local people ashore. Fijian navy boats are being despatched to ensure both sides observe this rule.
“At least we’ve got a wicket to play on,” remarked Jamieson, evoking a cricketing term. He had a Russian owner arriving that weekend, and an American in early September. Largest yacht in port was the 67m Amels Maria ex-Shanti from Bali in Indonesia, which according to some reports is “officially closed”.
The Seychelles and Maldives have been allowing access to superyachts under quarantine conditions, and owners and guests can fly in and out, so this is another cruising and chartering bright spot in the Indian Ocean. Imperial Yachts advises that the 81m RoMEA was highly sought-after last season, and will be returning to these waters
Owners and captains in the South Pacific had been hoping to hear after the New Zealand elections in September if the country would re-open to superyachts, but having had 100 virus-free days, another outbreak caused new restrictions on 12 August, and the elections were put back to October 17.
This may be too late for some owners to wait, as it falls shortly before the South Pacific cyclone season begins. America’s Cup teams and their boats can enter under quarantine rules, but if visitors are still banned, this could have a dire effect on other planned AC events.
The situation in Singapore, a crossroads for superyachts in Asia, took a turn for the worse when a second wave of covid-19 infections occurred, traced to foreign workers who commute daily to the city state from Malaysia and Indonesia. As yacht crew are also classified as foreign workers, further complex tests and quarantine procedures apply.
One captain told Yacht Style: “All yachts in this region are presently stuck in port, with few if any countries allowing them entry, and certainly none allowing crew to rotate home.
“We are hoping Phuket will open, followed by Subic or Palau, but with crew rotation still impossible, and I understand Fiji is now considering some cruising. Superyacht Australia and our friend and yacht agent Carrie Carter have been helpful in getting a few yachts
“Some of our crew were allowed to go home due to serious family issues, but as this rotation is mostly one way, with no return guaranteed, we are now below Minimum Safe Manning levels, and could not sail, even if we had a safe port of refuge available.
“It is frustrating that, even though yachts are a very safe environment to keep everybody quarantined, tested and constantly checked, we are still being treated as commercial crew on a container vessel pulling into port for the day, this after 4+ months isolated on board”.
In the Indian Ocean, charter agents Camper & Nicholsons advise one bright aspect is that the Seychelles and the Maldives have been allowing access to superyachts under quarantine conditions, and that owners can fly in and out.
In lieu of Monaco Yacht Show 2020, Camper & Nicholsons International has chartered the 105m Lady Moura (above and below) for a series of five events with private bankers
In lieu of Monaco Yacht Show being held this year, C&N is hosting a series of five events with Private Banking and Monaco authorities aboard the 105m Lady Moura, which was built by Blohm & Voss, now part of Lürssen Yachts.
Imperial Yachts is another agency active in the Indian Ocean. Their 81m Abeking & Rasmussen RoMEA was highly sought after last season, and will be returning. They are agents for the largest charter yacht afloat, the 136m Flying Fox, have recently added the 107m Benetti Lana, and offer the already popular Amels 55 Lili.
Most Asia-Pacific industry people interviewed for the section above are usually at MYS, promoting facilities and services in the growing Indian Ocean-Asia-Pacific cruising region.
Leading superyacht yards Lürssen, Feadship, Amels and Benetti all have new builds in place for Asia-Pacific owners, so that at least is a positive sign that this market continues to grow.
Looking at recent launches by yards that are Monaco’s mainstays, Lürssen’s 136m Flying Fox in her first season is creating waves by becoming the largest and most expensive vessel ever offered for charter. There is change from US$5 million a week, but not much. Lürssen, meanwhile, has spent the last two years trying to convince the market that it doesn’t only build the world’s biggest superyachts.
Sales Director Michael Breman, who is also President of the Super Yacht Builders Association (SYBAss), says that they tackle bespoke builds from 60-90m as well, and even dip below that figure on occasions.
As an example, their Project 13800, a Chinese lucky number, is a 55m that will be delivered in 2021. The initial concept was influenced by Bannenberg & Rowell studies based on the classic yacht Carinthia V1 designed by Dickie Bannenberg’s late dad Jon, a London-based Australian doyen of the industry.
Several design iterations followed, and she now has her own strong identity, but retails the very real heritage of her predecessor. “Fearless use of colours and textures,” says a spokeswoman, “as well as museum-quality interior furniture, underline the approach.” James Hutchison is owner’s representative.
Peter Lürssen, Managing Partner of the yard, comments: “We are very grateful for the success of all the large yachts we have built. However, our core business is 60-90m, and Lürssen has built more vessels over the last 15 years under 90m than above. As long as it is a bespoke yacht, Lürssen is the right shipyard.”
Feadship’s latest Pilot update, released in August, says the yards have continued to work through lockdowns while implementing the widest range of Covid-secure measures.
“Putting the safety of our people and guests first, we managed to successfully deliver three new builds, Moonrise, Podium and Arrow, and complete the major refit of W. A range of new-build projects continue apace, and we will share more details on these in due course.”
Separately the yard observes that “these are astonishing times, the likes of which very few of us have experienced. We have been hugely encouraged by the way the global Feadship family and the wider superyacht world has been supporting each other on an individual and collective level.
“You won’t hear us say this very often, but there are more important things than business, and we’re putting the well-being of our clients and people first. Obviously we can’t predict further developments with the virus, but rest assured that we have everything under control that can be controlled in such a crisis.”
In one year recently, Feadship delivered five yachts to Asia-Pacific clients, and another spectacular vessel is on the slips at Royal De Vries in Amsterdam. The yard has been active in Asia for over 30 years, and Merle Hinrich’s Double Haven, named after the anchorage in Hong Kong’s Mirs Bay, is regarded as a classic.
One new star born into the Feadship firmament this year was the 99.95m Moonrise launched at Makkum, the group’s gigayacht facility out in Friesland. Described as having “sleek sensual lines with a modern masculine profile”, the vessel has long hull windows, grey hull and a striking vertical bow. Exterior is by Studio De Voogt and Rémi Tessier Design, which also handled the minimalistic-style interiors.
Amels and parent yard Damen have been extremely successful in the Asia-Pacific market in recent years, to the point where their regional fleet now forms 20 per cent of our annual Top 100 Superyachts of Asia-Pacific feature. They too have a history stretching back to 70m-plus custom vessels like Reg Grundy’s Boadicea and Frank Lowy’s much-modified Ilona V.
Damen’s multi-purpose Yacht Support and SeaXplorers boost the total. Originally these were meant to be super tenders to even larger superyachts, hence names like Garçon, but increasingly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans both are being used as stand-alone explorers, sometimes under contract to universities and ocean
institutes for research voyages.
Amels Limited Editions concept took off in the early 2000s. Tried-and-tested hulls and other basic fittings are constructed in advance, so that an owner need only wait two years instead of the usual four, but can still make critical custom decisions about interiors, and to a lesser extent, exterior profiles. The cost of this exercise is underwritten by Damen, a wealthy family-owned shipyard and shipbuilding
group operating in 120 countries.
Most recent launches are the 63m Amels 206 Limited Edition Stardust, which has just made her maiden voyage to Norway, the 77m Damen SeaXplorer La Datcha and the 55m Yacht Support vessel Blue Ocean.
Stardust is another signature vessel from Tim Heywood and Laura Sessa, who announced their Limited Editions project at a Monaco hotel breakfast 15-plus years ago and have not looked back since. Espen Øino was last year asked to handle some LE concept builds, too.
This owner specified a light grey hull and white superstructure, highlighting the long lines from the Scimitar bow to swim platform. Range at 13 knots is 5,000 nm, comfortable for Atlantic crossings, and she looks absolutely spectacular in the Norwegian fjords.
I was in Mike Simpson’s office in Aberdeen, Hong Kong, in the mid-1980s when Azimut owner Paolo Vitelli and Sales Director Massimo Perotti, who were just acquiring the family-owned Benetti superyacht shipyard, called to see if he would be interested in representing them in East Asia. A Simpson-run Azimut sales base was set up in then-burgeoning Japan as well.
Benetti delivered the 107m Lana (above) and the 108m IJE (below), the latter for Australian casino billionaire James Packer
A few years later Benetti’s largest yacht at the time, the 83m Nabila built for Saudi businessman Adnan Khashoggi, was purchased by an American, Donald Trump, who renamed it Trump Princess, and among other things called at Hong Kong on a world cruise, offering day trips for the RHKYC ladies. So the brand Benetti, founded in 1873, has also been around for a long time.
Ambrous Young, who owns the 65m Benetti Ambrosia 111 often based in Kaohsiung or at Gold Coast Marina in Hong Kong, has owned three Benettis, and was a substantial shareholder in the yard at one time.
The Benetti yards have expanded from Viareggio, Italy’s yacht building centre, to Livorno in recent years, and the last year has been one of their most spectacular yet, with the delivery of 107m IJE to Australian casino billionaire James Packer, the 108m Luminosity listed shortly after for sale, and finally the 107m Lana which as mentioned is joining Imperial Yachts’ charter fleet.
Packer, a former media mogul, is always in the paparazzi spotlight, so it is no secret that IJE is named for his three children Indigo, Jackson and Emmanuelle. The vessel has lately been on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
Italy, the world’s largest pleasure boat builder, was affected earlier this year by a national lockdown when it became a covid-19 hotspot. It is thus interesting that although Monaco has been postponed, and Cannes in France as well, Genoa in Italy from October 1-6 is still going ahead.
Massimo Perotti is Executive Chairman and majority holder of Sanlorenzo Spa, founded in 1958 in Viareggio and now with further shipyards in Ameglia, La Spezia and Massa. Like the big four superyacht yards above, it too has new Asia-Pacific clients, these introduced by Simpson Marine, which continues their long-time association.
Sanlorenzo anticipated a record output this year and is still on track for impressive results. Awaited with great interest is the new Sanlorenzo 62Steel, launched in La Spezia early June before her autumn premiere.
Described as a “100 per cent Sanlorenzo creation”, this is a five-decker which the yard says “sets new standards in the metal superyacht sector”. Two units had been sold by the second quarter of 2020.
There is a vast, sumptuous owner’s apartment, for which the whole upper deck has been set aside, as well as featured principal living areas and a “majestic beach club” on the lower deck. The owner’s deck alone spans 97sqm indoors, comprising the night-time zone, a studio, two spacious bathrooms and a walk-in dressing room, and 123sqm outdoors.
Another development is the Sanlorenzo 44Alloy, “a true conceptual update on the prize-winning 40Alloy, famous for its fold-out terraces in the owner’s zone, its gullwing doors on the bridge, its remarkable performance and commercial success, with as many as ten yachts sold”.
Martina Zuccon handled interior design for the first Sanlorenzo 44Alloy, while the second is done by Florence-based architect Michele Bonan, and the third will bear the signature of the France-based architect firm Liaigre. Two 44Alloys have been sold to Asian clients.
SilverYachts is another Monaco regular whose most recent showings were the 77m Silver Fast and 85m Luxury Expedition Vessel Bold. They complete five successful builds and sales for this aluminium specialist Western Australian yard, and a second 85m is under construction.
SilverYachts, another Monaco regular, is building a sister ship to Bold (above) in Australia
Earlier models were two 73ms, one based in Dubai and the other, now called Dragonfly, has spent years in the South Pacific as the steed of an American IT guru. She was in Bora Bora’s lovely lagoon in August. There must be worse places to ride out a pandemic. All SilverYachts come with a go-fast pedigree at relatively economic rates. Silver Fast, for example, sailed from Australia to Europe in a comfortable 21 days.
Designer Espen Øino has come up with a new concept for SilverYachts’ second yard at Jiangmen, one of the principal cities of the Pearl River Delta enclosed by Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou.
This is the 36m SpaceCat, first announced at Singapore Yacht Show last year and covered by Yacht Style then. Initial builds are now well under way, advises SilverYachts executive Jona Kan, and smaller yacht owners who want to upgrade to a 50m monohull superyacht are showing strong interest, as interior space is comparable, at an attractive price.
“The typical curves Espen Øino has created on the bow and the aft sundeck resemble her Australian-built iconic cousin Silver Fast,” says Kan. “SpaceCat deliveries will start in the summer of 2021.”
SilverYachts Jiangmen is being run by Australian COO Rod Davies, who was formerly Singapore-based. He set up the yard from scratch in mid-2018 and has a small group of managers from SilverYachts in Western Australia. The build team has been ramped up and is now about 80-strong.
Øino comments: “As most yachts are floating homes, this unique project gives you the possibility to create something much more exciting with a catamaran. You are less limited with length to beam ratio and can design the spaces in a completely different way.
“At the same time, you can be extremely efficient, which aligns perfectly with the SilverYachts philosophy, using all-aluminium, lightweight and slender hulls to run at high speeds with very modest power. The SpaceCat will operate at cruising speeds around 14 knots with ridiculously low consumption, but we are expecting to get up to about 20-plus knots at around 60 litres an hour.”
In other news, the 89m Oceanco Barbara is in Fremantle, Western Australia, after a 13-day voyage from Addu in the Maldives. Her designer Sam Sorgiovanni is also based in this port city to State capital Perth.
Former Oceanco executive Michele Flandin now represents Australian designer Sam Sorgiovanni in Monaco
Once a protégé of Jon Bannenberg, Sorgiovanni has handled several previous builds at Oceanco, and Yacht Style recently ran a back page on his latest concept, a luxury 99m expedition project called Frontier.
In Monaco he is now represented by former Oceanco media executive Michele Flandin, who is well-known in the superyacht industry and whom Sorgiovanni tells us “has been a great asset during these difficult times”.
Michele herself, when we last spoke in August, said “Monaco is pretty quiet at the moment and so is the port. A few usual large ones like Alfa Nero, Wedge Too and Lady S, but there are nearly no yachts at anchor in the bay.”
Heesen, another very large Dutch superyacht builder, has managed to launch Amare 11, Solemates and Triton.
Solemates is the latest Heesen 55m Steel Class and uses the “fast displacement hull form” devised by Dutch hydrodynamicists van Oossanen, whose founder’s winged keel may also have helped Australia win the America’s Cup in 1983.
Burgess Yachts, now with a network of Asia-Pacific offices, is one of the most prominent dealers and agents in Monaco, often taking a substantial hospitality and display area on one of the quays.
In Asia-Pacific they presently have the 60m CRN Ramble on Rose and 55m Amels Papa available for charter in Australia, while the Asian-owned 52m Lind is in the Med. Lady E has had a refit, and plans to charter in Australia and New Zealand this season, but is carefully watching latest port rules and regulations.
The 30th edition of Monaco Yacht Show will now be held from September 22-25, 2021, in Port Hercule. A lot of water has ebbed and flowed in the Med since the first one in 1991, under the auspices of Lord Irvine Laidlaw, who bought a series of Lady Christines from Dutch builders including Heesen, Oceanco and Feadship. He will visit Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Philippines waters later this year.
I was at the dealer meeting in the old Monaco Yacht Club which approved the event. There were rival venues in Nice and Antibes, but for big boat sales, dealers wanted only one. The inimitable Herbert Dahm of Dahm International spoke strongly on Monaco’s behalf.