The Best Superyacht Builders In The World
If you thought all the best superyacht builders came from Italy or France, think again.
Princess Yachts, UK
Royal Huisman, Vollenhove, Holland
The 132-year-old Dutch shipyard has created the most spectacular sailing boats in the world, helped in no small part by a close allegiance with designers such as André Hoek, Ron Holland and the late Ed Dubois. Its complete restoration of Elizabeth Mayer’s 1934 J-class Endeavour in 1989 created a resurgence in classic superyachting that has not waned since. Royal Huisman is producing the sleek, ocean-going cruiser Ngoni (nicknamed The Beast), one of the last yachts designed by Dubois.
Pendennis, Falmouth, UK
The Pendennis shipyard is the leading light of the nation’s nascent superyacht industry. To date, the yard has built 30 custom yachts and refitted more than 250 others. Refit programmes range from paint and survey works, through to complete rebuilds and restoration projects, such as that on the classic motor yacht Malahne. In 1995 the yard fully restored perhaps the world’s most beautiful sailing boat, the 1903 twin-masted schooner, SY Adela.
Amels/Damen, Vlissingen, Holland
Amels has been part of the Damen group since 1991 and boasts the largest superyacht facility in the Netherlands. Its stable of boats includes several large Limited Edition yachts from 55-83m designed by exterior design guru Tim Heywood. Since 2009 Amels has introduced an entirely new genre of boat: the yacht-support vessel, based on the SeaAxe platform.
McConaghy, Sydney, Australia and Zhuhai, China
Started by racing skiff enthusiast John McConaghy in 1967, the company has spent 50 years perfecting the art of lightweight composite construction and now produces some of the largest carbon-fibre yachts in the world. Its portfolio includes Americas Cup-winning racing yachts, the One Design series, moths and carbon-fibre multi-hulls. Its first foray into motor yachts resulted in the iconic 43m carbon-fibre trimaran Adastra, designed by British designer John Shuttleworth.
Lürssen, Bremen, Germany
Its client list reads like the Forbes rich list and Lürssen has been responsible for the most famous superyachts in the world — Paul Allen’s 126m MY Octopus; David Geffen’s Rising Sun; and the world’s longest motor yacht, the colossal 180m MY Azzam. To coincide with its 140th anniversary this year, the yard launched Dilbar, at 156m and seven decks she is the largest motor yacht (by volume) in the world, boasting an Espen Øeino exterior and Andrew Winch Design interior.
Arcadia, Naples, Italy
Arcadia has been pioneering its sustainable approach to yachting long before its northern European counterparts and has a well-deserved advantage when it comes to fully integrated hybrid propulsion, solar cells and ecological materials. The range of current yachts goes from 85–155ft with new design concepts stretching towards 60m. Its current flagship is the 115ft M Ocean, her bold facetted design and naval architecture courtesy of fellow Italian Francesco Guida.
Feadship, Aalsmeer, Makkum and Kaag, Holland
Once renowned for its classic three-tier superstructure and clipper bow yachts, a series of high-profile clients have given Feadship the opportunity to show off its technological prowess. The Philippe Starck-designed MY Venus was a masterclass in structural engineering using glass. One of its most recent yachts, the stunning 83m MY Savannah, uses innovative hybrid power and propulsion systems to create a true vanguard superyacht for the new era of environmentally aware superyachting.
Silver Yachts, Perth, Australia
Silver Yachts has an enviable position among superyacht shipyards in being able to produce its vessels on spec. The semi-production series is designed by Espen Øeino and is very distinctive due to its narrow beam and streamline profile. Silver’s third yacht the 77m MY Smeralda picked up a Show Boats Design award and World Superyacht Award when she was launched in 2013. Two years later, again at 77m and built to the same platform, was Silver Fast, the name influenced by her top speed, which is in excess of 27 knots.
Vitters Shipyard, Zwartsluis, Holland
Vitters has created a series of stunning contemporary yachts using aluminium and carbon fibre, putting meat to the bones of the world’s most progressive sailing yacht designs. The yard was founded in 1990 as an aluminium megayacht hull manufacturer and soon started building its own sailing superyachts such as the 49m SY Thalia. In 2012 it launched SY Ahimsa (ex-Aglaia), a spectacular 216ft sloop-rigged aluminum yacht, with a low minimalist composite superstructure and unobstructed teak deck.
Sanlorenzo, Viareggio, Italy
With naval architecture, design and manufacturing all done in-house, Sanlorenzo has remained true to its ethos since 1958. Originally building purely wooden vessels, it now builds custom-made fibreglass, aluminium and steel boats from 26 to 52m in length. It’s no surprise that it ranks second in global superyacht orders.
Monte Carlo Yachts, Monfalcone, Italy
Although it is one of the newest yacht builders, Monte Carlo Yachts has been making waves — most notably because of its ties to some of the biggest names in the business. Every boat in its fleet is specially designed by award-winning superyacht design firm Nuvolari Lenard.
Princess Yachts, Plymouth, UK
Using predominantly British craftsmen, the Plymouth-based shipyard combines cutting-edge engineering with traditional craftsmanship in its range of boats. Aside from its flagship M-class superyachts, it also builds flybridge motor yachts, sports yachts and sport bridge yachts.
Jody Chapman is a British designer and the Managing Director of 77 Design, a superyacht and transport design studio based in Singapore.