How to choose the right shipyard for your new build

Written by Kayla Dowling

The only thing standing between you and the new-build yacht of your dreams is the range of options and considerations that must be thought of before you embark on your yacht-building journey. SuperYacht Times has outlined some of the most important things to consider when looking for a shipyard to build your first new-build yacht.Bravo Eugenia yacht in shipyard 1. What kind of vessel are you looking for?

The first thing to consider before choosing the right yacht builder is, of course, what sort of vessel you are looking for. Different shipyards have different strengths, so establishing the type of yacht is the first step to finding the correct shipyard. With many different types of vessels, it is important to consider the ways in which you plan to use your superyacht. Below, are some of the most common types of vessels:

Motor Yachts

Explorer: If you’re looking for an adventure and want to explore some of the most undiscovered parts of the world such as Australia, Alaska, the Maldives and more, then consider opting for an explorer. Explorer yachts tend to have longer ranges to sustain autonomous travel to the earth’s most remote corners. An additional benefit of an explorer yacht is that they tend to have a range of toys on board, such as submarines, helicopters and more. At 126.2-metres and almost 10,000 GT, the Lürssen superyacht Octopus is a standout explorer. Octopus has a range of 12,500 nautical miles making her a truly trans Pacific vessel, and has been built to ice class standards.Octopus yacht by Lürssen in MonacoPhoto: Charl van Rooy / SuperYacht TimesConversion: Born from the hulls of pre-existing yachts, conversions are more financially approachable projects, and often have reduced lead times in comparison to a complete new build. Easily the most famous conversion project, is the 68.2-metre superyacht Ragnar. The vessel was converted from a Multipurpose Support & Supply Vessel (IMSV) into an explorer superyacht from 2017 through 2020 at Icon Yachts in the Netherlands.Ragnar yacht anchoredPhoto: Blueiprod / BurgessFlybridge: Opting for a flybridge yacht such as the 44-metre Heesen superyacht, Lady Lara provides additional spaces for socialising as well as unadulterated views. If being closer to your natural surroundings is a priority for you, then a flybridge yacht may be your best bet.Lady Lara yacht anchoredPhoto: Ocean IndependenceSailing yachts

Cruiser: A cruiser sailing yacht can offer the comforts afforded by a motor yacht while providing a true sailing experience. Unlike a performance yacht, a cruiser places less emphasis on overall weight, shape and other crucial performance factors, allowing for additional living spaces, tenders and toys. The 49.9-metre All About U 2, built by ADA Yacht Works Is a great example of a comfortable cruiser that also has excellent sailing ability.All About U 2 yacht exterior Photo: PozitifStudioHigh-performance: For the true competitors, a high-performance sailing yacht such as the 28.3-metre Wally yacht, Nahita, pushes the current technological advancements to their limits. Often constructed from the top of the line, lightweight materials such as GRP and carbon fibre, while utilising the most current rigging systems. A yacht like the 2018-built Nahita tends to be optimised for competition and is ideal for an owner looking to compete, and win, in the top sailing regattas.Nahita yacht sailingPhoto: YachtINSpirit of Tradition: Often built as an ode to the original, classic sailing yachts, spirit of traditional sailing yachts provide a glimpse to our past while harnessing the technology of today. Yachts such as the 50.58-metre yacht Borkumriff VI, built by Royal Huisman in 2002, appears as a classic sailing yacht but has been constructed from aluminium and requires less maintenance and up-keep than a vintage yacht.Borkumriff IV yacht2. How long is your lead time?

New build yacht projects can range from less than two years for a production, specification or conversion build, to sometimes more than four years for a custom built yacht. Different shipyards have specialised in these respective build types, which will determine the lead time of the project.

Shipyards such as Benetti, Sunseeker and Princess Yachts are known for their semi-custom, production yachts. Models such as the Benetti Delfino 95, the Sunseeker 100 and the Princess 35M, exemplify the benefit of opting for a project with a shorter lead time. As the design, naval architecture and much of the preparation of these models are already complete, the build process is automatically expedited. Shorter lead times also often result in reduced costs.Benetti Delfino 95 yacht cruisingOpting for a custom yacht will typically create a longer lead time as shipyards that are known for custom-build projects such as Lürssen, Feadship, Heesen Yachts and Nautor’s Swan often have full schedules. Of the lack of timeslots to accommodate custom builds thus lengthening lead times Jean-Claude Carme of TWW Yachts comments, “ Builders with a healthy order book may not always have a build slot consistent with the owner’s expectations in terms of timing. As an example, I am currently involved in a project where the choice of the builder is largely determined by its commitment to deliver in a relatively short time. The ability of a builder to invest in semi-custom, “speculative” yacht projects (as seen routinely in Italy and Holland for example) can be a highly desirable asset.”

3. What range would you like your superyacht to have?

The emergence and lasting presence of the Covid-19 pandemic has forced owner’s and prospective owner’s to reconsider the destinations that they cruise to. In an attempt to avoid crowds and escape the pandemic, while also attempting to discover some of the less travelled parts of our world, there has been a strengthened focus on a yacht’s range.

Mini-explorers, such as the 23.95-metre semi-custom explorer yacht Veronika, constructed by Bering Yachts, offer owners the double advantage of explorer capabilities while allowing them to continue to navigate into smaller ports and marinas, such as those found on the Mediterranean. These vessels offer owners flexibility and optimise the potential of explorer and cruising yachts alike.Bering B77 Veronika launch in AntalyaSailing yachts offer more flexibility in autonomy as they, obviously, use wind as their main source of propulsion. These vessels provide owners with the opportunity to explore as they really only rely on the elements.

Besides considering the type of vessel that would most suit your lifestyle, considering where exactly you want to cruise. A shorter range is appropriate for inner Mediterranean cruising, as ports are often close to one another. For those looking to make the famous Atlantic crossing, or an even more ambitious, Pacific crossing, a vessel with an extended range is essential and is important to consider when selecting a shipyard for your new-build.Bold and Ragnar yachts in the MaldivesPhoto: Tom van Oossanen4. Additional considerations

Volume: There are many things to consider in addition to the type of vessel, your lead time and the range when looking for a shipyard to build your yacht. Yachts above 500 GT must comply with specific safety requirements and regulations. 

Location: Oftentimes, owners who build a superyacht are interested in being involved in the process to ensure that the project goes according to their wishes. Therefore, given the current state of travel restrictions it is important to consider the location of the shipyard to ensure that you can be as involved in the realisation of your dream project as possible.

Green considerations: As the industry continues to grow a greater consciousness of sustainability, owner’s considering building a yacht with a reduced environmental impact should be mindful of choosing a shipyard who lines up with these goals. Besides innovative ‘green’ propulsion systems, an owner should consider the shipyard’s overall practices if sustainability is a priority for them.

This article has been produced in collaboration with the Monaco Yacht Show 2021. For more information about this years show, and to see details of exhibitors, visit their website at

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Monaco Yacht Show
22 Sep - 25 Sep, 2021


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