The dilemma of how to facilitate a tender boat entering a yacht without the aid of a crane has been solved in recent years by the development of the floodable garage. This highly flexible space works both as a drive-in garage and as a stylish living area with swimming pool. When acting as a garage, a side hatch opens hydraulically and floods the space with water, allowing the tender to enter and exit easily. The pool perimeter is protected, meanwhile, to avoid any damage, and the garage can be drained of its 18,000 litres of water in just a few minutes. Illuminated by underwater lights, the area can also serve as a beach club flush with water and, when the tender is out, a second swimming pool.
A fireplace may not typically be associated with yachting life, but superyacht owners are increasingly favouring a real working fire to bring a traditional warmth to their luxury interiors. As fire itself is generally considered less than welcome in a boating context, the new breed of superyacht fireplaces have been carefully designed to ensure that the air supply to the flames can be instantly cut off by a series of valves so that there is no risk of a fire getting out of control. They are fuelled either by ethanol or wood, with the latter stored in specially designed, fire-protected areas. Happily, at sea there is also much less risk that a bird will nest in your chimney.
A stylish way to maximise leisure space, this technology enables the bottom of your swimming pool to be raised up until it is flush with the surrounding deck. The floor can be made of metal or glass, with a menu of additional design features, such as embedded lights, creating a picturesque dance floor through with guests can look down at the water trapped below. There is also the option of raising the floor halfway, creating a shallow paddling pool or, for a more exotic effect, to raise just part of the floor, creating a dance floor that overlooks a small pool. (The moveable floor also has another, distinctly practical advantage: at times when the pool needs to be drained those on-board need not be faced with an unsightly hole in the deck.)
One super cool way to personalise a superyacht is to find a way to make your own music onboard. Today, it is possible to build highly sophisticated recording facilities – on a par with many land-based studios – aboard yachts. Such state-of-the-art facilities are totally insulated to exclude any peripheral noise, and include all the requisite booths and instrument-specific areas. Thus owners can invite their musician friends to come aboard and record tracks in the most peaceful surroundings imaginable – free from the distractions of daily life and with total privacy guaranteed.
Spas have long been an essential feature of superyachts, but every year brings a new way to personalise them. As well as saunas and jacuzzis, items such as cold-water plunge pools, hair salons, massage rooms, hammams and chromatherapy baths (using coloured lights to enhance the effects of hydrotherapy) all make up a menu of special features that can easily be included.
Helicopters have been landing on yachts for decades, most commonly on strengthened decks where they rest to allow passengers to alight before taking off again. As these most mobile of aircraft need to be made from ultra-lightweight materials that are also sensitive to the marine environment, they can quickly corrode when stowed on deck in the open air – making it difficult to sail with one aboard. This is why covered hangars have been developed – to give busy yacht owners the luxury of keeping their aircraft safely stored aboard, below deck, hidden from sight and protected from the elements. Typically, these enclosed helicopter storage systems have automatic doors that open and close over a fully fireproof, ventilated garage beneath the deck. A hydraulic helipad raises the aircraft up onto the deck for take-off as required. This seamless arrangement has the added bonus that the helicopter and handling equipment does not encroach on precious deck space.
In addition to a state-of-the-art indoor cinema, a really super superyacht might also have an outdoor version for movie watching beneath the stars. Often housed on the sundeck, the cinema’s screens and projecters can be hidden discreetly below deck, emerging silently from beneath a panel when a remote control is activated. Thus, a flexible leisure space can, in the time it takes to request someone to prepare some popcorn, be used to create a totally immersive cinema experience with HD picture and surround sound.
The stern platform extension is a masterful piece of engineering design –a two-tiered drop-down platform with built-in staircase that can be perfectly positioned to take account of a variety of sea conditions. The additional, flexible, leisure space this feature creates has multiple potential uses: as a sheltered relaxation space or beach club, a diving or swimming platform, or as a convenient launchpad for a variety of aquatoys. When not in use, such a platform swings back upwards, blending seamlessly into the yacht’s stern.
One of the many advantages of spending time in luxurious surroundings in the middle of the ocean is the unparalleled opportunities it presents for enjoying extraordinary views and wildlife spotting. Today, some superyachts include an elevator that makes the most of such opportunities by carrying guests safely 60m upwards from deck level toward the tip of the main mast. It is even possible for crew to manoeuvre the yacht remotely while up in the crow’s nest, too. More recent incarnations boast push-button controls that enable the boat to remain stationary above a whale, reef or other sky-high feature of interest.
No superyacht is truly complete without an enviable, well-stocked wine cellar. But storing fine wine at sea requires a good deal of planning to ensure that bottles are stabilised, humidity levels are regulated and that temperatures are controlled – so onboard cellars have to be meticulously designed. Aesthetically, they can be made to reflect the individual design and ethos of the yacht, and many now include spectacular features such as a glass viewing port into the ocean below.