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The winners of the BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards 2023 revealed

8 February 2023

The winners of the BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards have been revealed in a dazzling ceremony attended by the best designers, naval architects and shipbuilders in the business. Held in Cortina d'Ampezzo on the first day of the Superyacht Design Festival (8 February), the awards acknowledge individual components of yacht design and celebrate the studios behind them. Meet the winners of this year's awards as decided by an independent panel of judges...

Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 24m to 39.9m: Lady Fleur
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m: N1
Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 60m and Above: Ahpo
Outstanding Exterior Design, Sailing Yachts: Bella
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below: Lady Lene
Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 500GT and Above: Kenshō
Best Interior Design, Sailing Yachts: My Song
Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts: Rocket One
Best Naval Architecture, Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts: Rio
Best Naval Architecture, Sailing Yachts: My Song
Best New Series: Oasis 34M
Eco Award: Rocket One
Outstanding Lifestyle Feature: Project X
Innovation of the Year Winner: Lady Fleur
Tender of the Year: TT Nebula
Lifetime Achievement Award: Francois Zuretti

Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 24m to 39.9m: Lady Fleur

Length: 32.7m
Exterior stylist: Bernd Weel Design
Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design
Builder: X-Treme Yachts

This finalist was tapped for the top award because of the innovative, contemporary way her design team met a very complex owner’s brief. The goal was to carry a large tender that can be stored in a drive-in bay and offer a swimming pool within a yacht less than 35 metres long. In addition, there were to be five guest cabins and a crew apartment, while keeping volume below 300GT. The designer responded with a robust, well-proportioned, forward-leaning profile and paired it with unique flowing window shapes that tap into a highly functional interior arrangement. Interesting structure lines and chamfers develop 3D-like shadows that change with the angle of light. The fact that Lady Fleur carries such a large owner’s tender without looking like a cargo carrier and maintains quality outdoor living areas including practical water access is a remarkable design achievement.

Read More/Holterman’s first X-105 superyacht Lady Fleur makes world debut in Cannes

Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 40m to 59.9m: N1

Length: 49.9m
Exterior designer: Lobanov Design/Overmarine Group
Naval architect: Overmarine Group
Builder: Overmarine Group

The builder’s request to the designer was nothing more – or less – than to remake the iconic Mangusta 165. Keeping to the same 50-metre length as its predecessor, the new series had to have more usable exterior deck space and raise the principal en suite to main deck level, yet be instantly recognisable as a Mangusta sport yacht. Stacking two decks in the bow increased overall height, but it is barely noticeable in profile thanks to the sleek lines emphasised with clever use of glass and paint. The primary style line, inspired by racing cars of the 1920s, appears as a single glass hull element. In reality, it is a series of windows starting in the principal suite, dropping to the lower deck crew area and then continuing to the guest cabins. The semi-raised pilothouse as seen on the first 165 REV, N1, all but disappears within the superstructure, while the sundeck and main deck exteriors each benefit from about 10 per cent more guest space.

Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 60m and Above: Ahpo

Credit: Guillaume Plisson

Length: 115.1m
Exterior designer: Nuvolari Lenard
Naval architect: Lürssen
Builder: Lürssen

A repeat client’s request for a new 100-metre-plus yacht did not mean merely scaling up his previous, beloved 86 metre, as there were new elements including a pair of 12-metre tenders to store and PYC rules to meet. In fact, the new yacht carries just one design feature forward from her predecessor – the half-moon windows on the main deck. Wrapping a massive interior volume of more than 5,000GT, the profile appears sleek, light and graceful due to the extra length and open decks fore and aft. The judges appreciated that the designers held to a limited palette of shapes and noted her slightly retro mast funnel is in perfect proportion and keeps exhausts, domes, lights and antennae neatly collected. But exterior design is more than profile and Ahpo excelled at delivering large, beautiful outdoor living and dining areas matching the interior style.

Read More/ Ahpo: Behind the build of Lürssen's striking 115m superyacht

Outstanding Exterior Design, Sailing Yachts: Bella

Length: 27.4m
Exterior designer: Tripp Design & Naval Architecture
Naval architect: Tripp Design & Naval Architecture
Builder: YYachts

Bella stood out for the smart way her design met the client’s brief for a new series yacht that would be so simple, comfortable and fun to sail that it would draw potential owners away from powerboats. Judges used the words “streamlined” and “sleek” and praised her deck and cockpit for having few trip hazards. To that end, the substantial hard top conceals the terminus for the mainsheet and simultaneously makes space for 14 square metres of solar panels. The division of the sailing and guest cockpits is pleasant and appropriate. One of the design requirements was that it accommodate process engineering so that components could be built off the boat for quick assembly without sacrificing yacht quality. The design is also modular so that an owner can choose a deck saloon version and one of five interior configurations without requiring new engineering or hull mould modifications.

Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 499GT and Below: Lady Lene

Length: 32.9m
Interior designer: Carla Guilhem Design
Naval architect: Ginton Naval Architects / Diana Yacht Design
Builder: Van Der Valk

Judges responded favourably to the elegant interior treatment on board this pure custom yacht that was designed to accommodate a family member with compromised mobility. It was clear the designers and builders understood and interpreted the owner’s brief. It included requirements for the feel of a beach villa, plenty of light, two owner’s suites, good space for crew and extra staff, and smartly positioned grab rails. Wrapped in supple leather, the latter are visually unobtrusive. There is easy flow all around the decks, from the stable boarding passerelle wide enough for a wheelchair all the way to the cabins, which are accessible via a lift. It’s a feature that is seldom seen in a yacht of this size. But remove the requirements for wheelchair access and the interior design of Lady Lene stands on its own merit as elegant, thoughtful and practical, qualities that the judges most appreciated, along with the versatility of key spaces.

Read More/Inside 34m Van der Valk explorer yacht Lady Lene

Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 500GT and Above: Kenshō

Credit: Eric Laignel

Length: 75.2m
Interior designer: Jouin Manku
Naval architect: The Italian Sea Group S.p.A.
Builder: Admiral - The Italian Sea Group S.p.A.

The result of a collaboration between very involved owners and a design studio with extensive experience in high-end boutiques, hospitality and residential design (but here making its debut in the yachting world), the interior of Kenshō was unanimously lauded. The judges appreciated the novel approach to the GA where the owners’ spaces are concerned, and remarked on the extraordinary overhead height (2.7 metres) and exquisite details – from a bathtub and shower walls made from a single piece of marble to hand-painted decorative panels. Among the highlights were the artistic treatment of the ceilings and corridors, a panoramic lounge with sofa seating adjustable at the touch of a button, a multipurpose dining room that converts to a library, and the novel layout of the owner's suite. Equally noteworthy was the seamless integration of interior and exterior spaces (done by different designers).

Read More/Kenshō: An exclusive look on board Admiral's 75m showstopper

Judges’ Commendation: Lusine

Interior designer: Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design
Naval architect: Van Oossanen Naval Architects / Heesen
Builder: Heesen

Although the innovations in Kenshō ’s interior carried her to the top, the judges were highly impressed with the design complexity and beauty exhibited within Lusine’s traditional GA. They particularly noted how the sophisticated and elaborate lighting plan showcased the elegant joinery, rich textures, and rare stone surfaces throughout, controlling shadows and providing appropriate illumination at every level.

Judges’ Commendation: Ahpo

Interior designer: Nuvolari Lenard
Naval architect: Lürssen
Builder: Lürssen

The interior of Ahpo features numerous unique pieces highlighting the skills of various artisans, creating a design signature that impressed the judges. One piece that stood out was the spiral staircase’s stunning balustrade, which rises several decks and represents the branches of an olive tree. Drawn by Valentina Zannier of Nuvolari Lenard, it was realised in bronze by Vedder with two shades and finishes. From design meetings to installation, it was a one-year project.

Best Interior Design, Sailing Yachts: My Song

Credit: Carlo Borlenghi

Length: 24.7m
Interior designer: Nauta Design
Naval architect: Juan Kouyoumdjian
Builder: Nautor Swan/Persico Marine

At first glance, the interior of My Song seems to be missing. But once your eyes adjust to the environment, the level of innovation and detail enhancing the form-follows-function dictum is revealed. Creating what the design team called the yacht’s “double soul” meant mixing cutting-edge carbon fibre surfaces with traditional mahogany accents, and juxtaposing linear and spotlighting to create a depth of space that makes the interior feel larger than her actual measure. My Song is Swan’s latest one-design racer. But this owner also required her to be a weekend cruiser with three en suite cabins, a galley and a dining area. To meet both criteria, all her creature comforts are removable, so as not to retard performance, and several structural elements cleverly perform multiple functions. Notably the stowage lockers in the cabins and bathrooms are soft lockers built with recycled sail cloth from the previous My Song.

Read More/My Song: Sailing in symphony on board the first ClubSwan 80

Best Naval Architecture, Semi-Displacement or Planing Motor Yachts: Rocket One

Length: 37m  
Naval architect: Soyaslan Marine  
Builder: Gulf Craft

This is a completely new hull for the builder to a brief that prioritised efficiency over a wide speed range, particularly regarding the bow wave, as well as directional stability, seakeeping and rudder response. The naval architects were also tasked with designing the boat’s composite structure for lighter construction. Utilising various studies and CFD, the new design plan resulted in a hull that is approximately 15 per cent lighter than similar-size production vessels. The Naval Architecture Subcommittee’s findings, resulting from analysis of our required performance data, showed that Rocket One presented the most efficient performance of the finalists. They also lauded attention to micro-refinements made to reduce resistance, such as redesigning the sea chest inlet and exhaust outlets to avoid scoops. Further modelling led to a new rudder skeg shape that alone reduced drag by three per cent.

Best Naval Architecture, Displacement Motor Yachts: Rio

Length: 62m
Naval architect: CRN Engineering
Builder: CRN

With 14 bow shapes run through flow and resistance CFD analysis at 12, 14 and 16 knots, plus additional flow studies for the stabiliser fins, it is safe to say there was no lack of data when it came to determining the underwater lines to support the styling of this full-custom yacht. The aims were to reduce resistance through the majority of the speed range and to determine the correct position of the spray rail forward, as well as height and trim conditions aft to keep the beach deck dry. Rio features a vertical stem, a very narrow entry and a long open bow, with weightiest elements of the systems and accommodation concentrated near the centre of the yacht. The shape of the stern was carefully refined to keep the beach deck dry, even when running at top speed. With carefully sized equipment and constant attention to weight, this slim yacht delivers 10 knots with fuel consumption at 180 to 200 litres per hour.

Best Naval Architecture, Sailing Yachts: My Song

Length: 24.7m
Naval architect: Juan Kouyoumdjian
Builder: Nautor Swan/Persico Marine

While the other competitors in this field are fine sailing yachts, they are primarily developments of previous first-rate hull designs. The winner, however, developed from fresh naval architecture effort. The development involved considerable hydrodynamics work, not just on the hull but also on the canting keel, pivoting centre board and twin rudders with adjustable toe-in angles. Substantial CFD studies were run to determine correct trim and balance at both high speed and medium sailing speeds, and to minimise risk and maintain full control while sailing at 25 knots. To enhance safety for this owner-driven maxi-racer, the bowsprit is retractable when on the starting line and while sailing upwind in a tight fleet, and then extends to hoist a big kite for downwind performance. Given the depth and breadth of the studies done and the resulting data provided, this boat will be a remarkable competitor.

Read More/My Song: Sailing in symphony on board the first ClubSwan 80

Best New Series: Oasis 34M

Length: 34.4m
Builder: Benetti
Naval architect: P.L. Ausonio Naval Architecture / Benetti R&D Department
Exterior designer: RWD
Interior designer: Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture

With several strong contenders vying for the top spot, the fact that the Oasis 34M claimed the award by just a few points highlights the quality in this category. The challenge for builder Benetti and designers – RWD Studio for the exterior and Bonetti/Kozerski Architecture for the interior – was to condense all features of its larger sistership on a hull that is six metres shorter. This includes an enclosed tender garage and an extensive beach club area connected via sweeping glass doors to a vast main deck saloon. As the smaller version of a successful yacht, the Oasis 34M impressed the judges with its use of space, from the signature aft deck pool and terrace, dubbed the Oasis deck, to the generous sundeck above. They perceived it as a very complete “entry-level option” for the series that respects and perhaps even improves on the original concept, offering clients several layout choices and various interior finishes.

Read More/First Benetti Oasis 34M hits the water

Eco Award: Rocket One, Heat Recovery System

Length: 37m
Builder: Gulf Craft
Naval architect: Soyaslan Marine
Exterior designer: Gulf Craft
Interior designer: Cristiano Gatto

While waste heat recovery is not a new idea, the novel, comprehensive ways in which waste heat – and cold – is reused aboard Rocket One to reduce electrical consumption is impressive. Working with Dutch company MAR-IX, the holistic Hyper Thermal Process captures heat from multiple sources beyond engines and generators to include the double circuit HVAC, shore power converters and AV/IT equipment. Rethinking how hot water for taps is stored and plumbed through the yacht, engineers reduced hotel energy consumption by 15 to 20kW alone. Even cooled interior air extracted for continuous fresh-air make-up is captured and reused as a first-stage coolant for outside air. These and other systems result in a saving of 80,000kW per year, which, when the yacht is operating in full owner mode, may save 180 to 220 litres of diesel fuel per day through reduced generator demand.

Best Lifestyle Feature: Project X, Beach Club

Length: 88m
Builder: Golden Yachts
Naval architect: Marco Yachts
Exterior designer: Ken Freivokh
Interior designer: Massari Design

The semi-enclosed space replacing the lazarette on motor yachts these days has become almost ubiquitous. Therefore, it takes a really special beach club to impress the judges. And on that score, Project X did not disappoint. It is an innovative space that simultaneously showcases a museum-quality tender, serves as a launch pad for watersports, a lobby lounge for the spa, a games area and provides a lounge experience in its own right. The key element of the warm and welcoming space is a circular seating area the designer describes as a “spinning nest”. Wooden slats rise up from the backrests and integrate with the haloed ceiling to act as an architectural backdrop. But far from being confining or static, the sofas and their backdrop rotate and split into sections to provide various views through opening hull doors or, alternatively, to allow the stunning bar to be the focus.

Read More/How the 88m Project X came to life over 14 years

Innovation of the Year: Lady Fleur, Tender Platform/Swimming Pool

Length: 32.7m
Developer: X-Treme Yachts
Naval architect: Diana Yacht Design

The first thing to realise is that this unique element – a truly multifunctional space – is on a 33-metre boat. Experienced owners challenged the design and build team with a simultaneous request for a drive-in tender bay for a large RIB and a swimming pool for their grandchildren. The solution is so novel it has to be seen to be believed. In fact, demonstrations created traffic jams at the Cannes Yachting Festival. In essence, creative engineering allows this monohull to temporarily become a catamaran, at least for the aft third of the yacht. By splitting the engine room into two watertight sections à la power cats, and building a watertight compartment between them, the aft centre section of the hull lowers to allow the tender to float out or in. With the tender launched, the bay, now containing seawater, rises to become a safe and secure 11-metre swimming pool flush with the aft main deck.

Tender of the Year: TT 68m Nebula

Length: 12.3m
Builder: Compass Tenders
Naval architect: Allseas Design
Exterior designer: Schwalgien Yacht Design
Interior designer: Schwalgien Yacht Design

It is only fitting that a 68-metre catamaran support vessel, Nebula, carries a catamaran tender. In this case, the shadow cat has a shadow kitten. This custom tender is the last link in a chain that begins with a 100-metre mothership. As guests arriving by helicopter land on Nebula rather than the mothership, this tender is the owner’s ambassador. Meeting the brief that it must closely match the support vessel and sit comfortably alongside the yacht, the chiselled exterior lines and the three-tone grey livery instantly identify her connection. Designed for flexibility, this water-jet-powered tender can carry a substantial 2,000-kilogram payload, act as a beach landing craft for people or vehicles, or transfer up to 17 guests or crew in speed and comfort, even in rough conditions. Its hardtop is on a hydraulic system that lowers to permit the tender to fit snugly under cover between the aft decks of the shadow vessel.

Read More/Nebula: The 68m support vessel with out-of-this-world accommodation for crew

Lifetime Achievement Award: François Zuretti

Company: Zuretti
Nationality: French
First yacht design: Eco

One of his famous clients dubbed him the “god of interior design”, yet François Zuretti’s name is nearly absent from the public domain. Outside of yachting circles and a tight-knit cadre of people in the know, you will find very little about him in the form of newspaper or magazine articles.

Zuretti's career started in Morocco, where he designed the interiors of official residences and palaces. It was his reputation as a master of the art deco style that gave him his entrée into yachting in 1987, when he worked with Martin Francis on the iconic Eco (now called Zeus). In the early 2000s, he moved to the South of France and established Zuretti Interior Designers (Zuretti Exclusive Residences followed a few years later).

He had a multiple-yacht, multi-year collaboration with Paolo Vitelli on the ultra-successful Benetti Classic, and the Vision and Crystal series. BOATPro credits him with more than 200 yacht interiors. Among the custom projects, four are in the Top 101. His creations include Ambrosia, Princess Mariana, Apoise, Martha Ann, Amadeus, Albatross, Symphony, Amadea, and so many more. No matter the style of interiors, everyone seems to agree he is attentive to the most minute details. While the business has grown exponentially, his public persona has remained as it was, nearly absent. The time has come to bring François Zuretti into a more public arena and celebrate his incredible body of work with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.