Mark Smith, director of Michael Leach Design, stole the limelight at the prestigious annual ShowBoats Design Awards at The Mar-o-Largo Club in Palm Beach, picking up four Golden Neptunes.
The results have been a well-guarded secret since the panel of SBDA judges – comprising peer group designers, superyacht owners and industry specialists – deliberated over one of the best ever collections of new yachts and came to their conclusions in June. Palladium won decisively in four categories, including interior and exterior, tender and bespoke furniture.
Michael Leach Design’s Palladium is described by editors as “a new species entirely”, its organic exterior form totally in harmony with the living spaces it surrounds and creates. Unique and practical features abound from the main deck swimming pool and sports deck plus direct link to the spa. The flexibility of the lifting bulwarks allows “more combinations than a Rubik’s cube”, protecting the fleet of jetbikes in choppy seas. MLD’s brief from the experienced owner was for “excellence and overhead space”…!
Leach and Smith, who spent five years developing every aspect of the 96m Blohm + Voss Palladium with painstaking attention to detail, pulled together specialists including eight-times world offshore champion Steve Curtis MBE (also present at the awards) for the 40-knot Cougar tender, plus Silverlining and Metrica for the furniture and fitting out respectively.
MLD – whose motor yacht design portfolio includes the 62m Amels Solemar and 67m Feadship Anna – has won awards before but winning four in one go is unprecedented. MLD also designed the interior of the newly-launched 44m sailing catamaran Hemisphere – the world’s largest superyacht cat – surely to be short-listed in next year’s awards!