Explorer-style yachts, once a relatively niche market, have been making their way into the mainstream superyacht market for years. Designed with an unrivalled capacity to freely roam the Earth’s oceans for extended periods of time, the draw of an explorer yacht is not hard to understand, harking back to the ages of exploration and discovery. In order to examine this emerging trend more in-depth, we sit down with Vasco Buonpensiere, the Co-Founder of Cantiere delle Marche (CdM) to discuss five things you should know when building an explorer yacht.Photo: Cantiere delle Marche1. The Brief
The first and foremost consideration for owners when building an explorer yacht is to properly mull over how they plan to use the yacht and where they want to go. This may sound like an obvious suggestion, but if you plan on cruising in the Arctics, different considerations need to be made than if you are planning to explore the Indian Ocean and all of her archipelagos.
With an explorer yacht, Buonpensiere advises a range of 5000 nm at 10 knots minimum in order to ensure your new vessel can and will bring you where you want to go.
It is crucial that the specifications of the yacht under consideration match the brief. Those icy waters of the Arctic means you need a thicker steel hull to help avoid any damage caused by slicing through the ice. Buonpensiere recalls a Nauta Air 111 on which a customer ordered a 20mm steel hull for just that reason.
Photo: Cantiere delle Marche2. The Design
When it comes to designing explorer yachts, style is important, but functionality and usability are much more important according to CdM. Consider the distances explorers are expected to cover and the time away from shore the vessel will endure. Designing a yacht apt to meeting these challenges means including things like enough storage space so that the vessel doesn't need to restock for at least 30 days and onboard workshops with spare parts for repairs at sea.
Stability and seaworthiness are also important factors to consider when designing explorers with CdM. Buonpensiere says, “At CdM we have noticed that clients are now looking for sturdier, more reliable, less fuel burning and more manageable yachts. This perfectly describes the explorer-type yacht. We always take into account that explorer yachts are supposed to make long passages even with guests onboard, and in every kind of weather. This is the main aim of our design: function and usability.”
Photo: Cantiere delle Marche3. The construction
For CdM, constructing explorer-type yachts revolves around three keywords: respect, redundancy and reliability. CdM channels this trifecta practically by ‘doubling whatever is possible’ and by engineering their vessels so that everything is accessible and thus able to be maintained at sea.
“Our engine rooms and technical spaces have created our reputation,” Buonspiere states. “Since we started eight years ago, we are proud to be able to say that they have only become better and better over time. We obviously use double the steel thickness required by class where necessary, cupro nickel piping, and commercial or heavy duty grade pieces of machinery wherever possible.”
In addition, Buonpensiere stresses that ‘no shortcuts can be allowed on an explorer’ as the content and quality of build, along with the materials used are key when constructing an explorer yacht.
Photo: Cantiere delle Marche4. Choosing the right yard
Like with any new build project, choosing the right yard is imperative. CdM explorer-type yacht building in its DNA: “When Ennio Cecchini and I met to discuss what kind of boats CdM would build (this was back in 2010), we had no doubts,” says Buonpensiere. “Ennio’s experience was in building commercial vessels, and my experience was with superyachts. I worked as the Sales Director at Custom Line and at CRN. Together we had already built a super sturdy small series of single-engine pocket explorers which were called Naumachos. So explorer type vessels seemed the natural avenue for CdM.”
Citing 10 explorers which are all in various phases of the build process, the claim that CdM has explorer-type yacht building in its DNA appears to hold watertight. “In the 100’’ to 140’’ steel explorer segment, CdM has about 60% of the worldwide market,” adds Buonpensiere. Photo: Cantiere delle Marche5. Keep learning and listen to your clients
CdM is constantly learning by doing. Using the practical knowledge gained from actually building explorer yachts, CdM plans to introduce an entirely new lineup of explorer series yachts in September 2018. Ideally, CdM looks forward to the day where they can build a budget-free explorer yacht so that they can implement “the many groundbreaking technological and design solutions [they] are developing.”
When probed regarding the future of explorer yachts, Buonpensiere told us “there is a very clear new client profile which matches perfectly with the explorer DNA. Matching this type of client with the perfect explorer yacht has yet to be done. On top of that, a very new kind of yachting lifestyle is developing and nobody is really interpreting that change properly, both onshore and at sea.”
As for the clientele who, Buonpensiere believes, are looking for explorer-style yachts, listening is paramount. Had CdM not carried out comprehensive market research beforehand, the explorer-type vessels that it builds might have gone unpurchased. But, after speaking with hundreds of yacht owners, captains, and others in the business, the advice Buonpensiere gives regarding listening to his clients, seems to have paid off.
Content created in collaboration with Cantiere delle Marche
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