29th January 2017

Built for Speed: The New Generation of Superyachts

There are those superyacht owners who go foremostly for comfort and luxury – those who keep their boats stationary, or sail at a leisurely pace while they take in their surroundings, and enjoy the facilities onboard to their full potential.

And then, there are those who truly feel a need for speed – the adrenaline junkies, the envelope-pushers, those who want to see their money spent on something which rises above and outstrips their peers on the open sea. Some of these pioneers have developed superyachts which have achieved legendary status – think of the James Bond inspired numbers developed by John Staluppi, such as Moonraker and The World is Not Enough, which cost 42 million US dollars and could reach an astonishing 70 knots.

However, even this speedy superyacht shrinks into the distance when compared with the latest project by Barracuda Yacht Design. Their latest project (built for a UK resident who wishes to remain anonymous at present) is a 33 metre, sleek and beautifully made ship which is built for cutting through the waves at an incredible top speed of 75 knots. This is a speed which sets new records for boats of this size, and sets a new high bar for privately-owned leisure yachts, which traditionally haven’t given much thought to racing-standard speed.

The secret of Barracuda’s latest release and it’s astounding zippiness is all about weight reduction and aero-dynamism. The boat is made from the same lightweight carbon material you would find on an America’s Cup racer, and features 3 metre foils which fold down and provide a huge amount of lift, essentially halving the weight of the yacht and enabling it to reach top speed.

So, is this the new standard? Will superyacht festivals feature a fast lane from now on? It seems somewhat unlikely, as superyachts will still mainly attract those looking for the easy, slow and luxuriant lifestyle they’re primarily associated with. Nonetheless, it’s a fascinating development and brings a new touch of excitement to a rapidly developing scene.


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