In this year’s Best of the Best, we honour the brands and people behind the most covetable products. Here, we honour the four greatest yachts we have seen to date
Azimut Grande Trideck
Italian shipyard Azimut is so proud of its new flagship design that it added the number of decks to the name. But in truth, the Trideck moniker sells it short, since the flybridge actually gives the vessel four levels.
While linking inside and outdoors is the driving force behind yacht design these days, Alberto Mancini’s tiered exterior and the Achille Salvagni open-plan interior set the Trideck apart from competitors in the high-volume 125ft class. Looking aft from the flybridge, the Trideck has a cascading effect that blends practical design with aesthetics. The flybridge has sun recliners, a lounge and a bar forward, with the upper helm discreetly in front, concealed behind a divider. The level below has a foredeck with a jacuzzi, a salon and an aft al fresco dining area. The beach club on the water includes a fold-out transom swim platform to expand the space.
But the most creative area is the main deck. The raised mezzanine level replaces a traditional, and often dark, cockpit area that can feel like a neglected social space. Nicknamed Sea View Terrace, this large open version floats above the beach club like an oceanside villa’s patio. Salvagni’s whimsical-but-elegant interior, with its rounded furniture, unusual ceiling patterns and architectural details that even extend to the stairwells, is a worthy complement to the unconventional exterior.
Performance-wise, the Trideck’s wave-piercing bow improves fuel efficiency by more than 40 per cent, which means the yacht can reach 24 knots on two 2,600hp MTU engines. Azimut used carbon fibre across the hull to minimise weight. The boat also has lithium-ion battery packs for hours of silent running for its house systems. All in all, it’s this year’s breakthrough design in a competitive category.
Best Beach Club
The beach club aboard the 263ft Tatiana caught our attention the moment the yacht hit the water. Designed for an owner who despises design cliches, the sweeping two-level club is a formula for how to achieve spectacular waterside living with a sense of style. Conceived primarily by Unique Yacht Design, the club’s lower-level centrepiece is a 9.1m-long freshwater pool that offers far-reaching views out to sea. The pool is joined by a wet bar forward with glass columns, Carrara marble and a backlit blue-agate floor that bring on the Gatsby vibe. There is also a steam room and shower as well as a dedicated massage room with a side terrace for an overwater treatment. At anchor, with the transom door and two side terraces unfolded, the club measures 141sqm. Perhaps its most distinguishing feature is the dramatic stairway linking the main salon. Macassar wood and white Carrara-marble stairs are coupled with teak strips and backlit panels. On the upper level, a second cocktail bar is joined to a spa pool, with clear windows in the floor that dapple the beach club below in diffused light.
When CRN launched the 203ft Rio in January, all eyes fell on the dedicated owner’s deck, which has the 72sqm private suite of our dreams. As owner areas go, it’s a head-turning design enhanced by the simple-but-functional vision of Italian studio Pulina Exclusive Interiors. White, light and clean decor is paired with views that stretch across the private foredeck (with a spa pool and sun loungers) for precious alone time. The deck also features an office, a generous dressing room and his-and-hers bathrooms, with an interconnecting shower and bath for end-of-day soaks.
While it’s only proper that the owner should enjoy the best suite on board, the design team realised that special treatment for guests was also an option. Two full-beam VIP suites—one forward on the main deck (with its own grand dressing room), the other located amidships on the lower deck—are what edged Rio onto the winner’s podium. The immaculate sky lounge, which serves as a private salon for the owners but opens for soirees including all 12 guests onboard, sealed the deal. Rio will have a top end of 15 knots and a 4,500-nautical-mile range at 12 knots.
A consistent attention to detail runs throughout, with an elevator that serves the four decks, a sundeck pool, a gym plus a beach club with a chromotherapy shower and a hammam. Even the selection of toys excels, including a chase boat, a tender, E-Surfs, Lift Foils and inflatables. Rio’s secret is ensuring that each area has a standout feature setting it apart from the conventional, much-repeated standards of superyacht design.
Beyond its colourful spa and multiple-level owner’s decks, this 378-footer from Lürssen has an interesting backstory. The Jamaican owner, who previously built the 283ft Quattroelle with Lürssen, asked the same design firm, Nuvolari Lenard, to outdo themselves with Ahpo. Three semicircular windows in its profile are the only design cues Ahpo shares with Quattroelle. Otherwise, the boat is an entirely new creation, with sleek, proportionate lines that mask the internal volumes and a mast slightly reminiscent of an exhaust stack of a 1960s ocean liner.
The interior, however, is anything but a ship. The owner wanted a multilevel apartment for himself and his family, so the design team created a ‘family suite’, consisting of three staterooms, and a palatial main suite with sea terraces on both sides. Up a staircase is the owner’s private salon, offering panoramic views.
The interior is a tapestry of whites, pale-coloured wood, stone and omnipresent curves, including the ceilings. The mix of natural illumination and classic-but-slightly-out-there design makes for a fun but elegant celebration of the good life. That’s most apparent in the spa, with a round, ceramic-tiled pool in the centre of the lower level and relaxing seating all around. The hammam is Arabic-influenced, with tiles on the wall, a central white fountain and twinkling LED stars above.
Ahpo has a lot of glass throughout, not only for the exterior doors and windows but also in a corridor where the owner wanted guests to be able to see operations in the engine room without disturbing the engineer. Details, both large and small, are what distinguish Ahpo from its gigayacht peers.