Cannes Film Festival is not the only show drawing the great and good to the Mediterranean this weekend. Tomorrow in Florence, Italy, the World Superyacht Awards takes place, attended by owners, designers and the elite of the superyacht world.
Now in its 11th year, the awards recognises “ingenuity and innovation demanded by the design, engineering and construction of the world’s finest luxury yachts” according to luxury yacht magazine Boat International. The awards will celebrate the finest superyachts, launched in 2015.
“What these awards continue to reinforce is that some of the finest creative minds and craftspeople in the world work in the superyacht industry,” says Stewart Campbell, editor of Boat International. “The boats nominated include some incredible superyachts, such as Feadship’s Savannah with its truly innovative propulsion system, the whisper-quiet Wider 150, and Malahne, whose interior is an Art Deco dream built with exquisite attention to detail.”
There are 12 categories with prizes for motor yachts, sailing yachts and converted yachts of various sizes from 30m up to the largest yacht, Symphony, at 101.5m long. Sixty-nine yachts entered this year.
The new-build yachting industry has moved into recovery mode over the last two years, with more projects being constructed last year than at any time since the global financial crisis, according to Campbell. “We’re still behind the dizzying pre-crash levels, but that was an overheated market heading for a correction. What we’re seeing is slow and steady growth,” said Campbell in a report at the end of last year.
However the last 12 months has created headwinds for the very big yachts (100m-plus). Last year there was a record 23 projects of more than 100m in build. The number for 2016 is 21, with some putting the decline down to economic sanctions imposed on Russia, a rock-bottom oil price and continuing uncertainty in Europe and the wider global economy.
According to Boat International, the bigger yards, particularly Feadship, Lürssen, Benetti and Oceanco, have very strong order books. Feadship and Lürssen particularly, had a vintage year in 2015, building several of the largest yachts in the world.
The shortlist of finalists in the World Superyacht Awards can be found here.