Super Yachts began to appear at the beginning of the 20th century when wealthy individuals constructed large private yachts for personal pleasure.
More recently, over the last decade or two, there has been an increase in the number and popularity of large private luxury yachts. Luxury yachts are particularly bountiful in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas, although increasingly luxury yachts are cruising in more remote areas of the world. With the increase in demand for luxury yachts there has been an increase custom boat building companies and yacht charter brokers.
Design & Layout
Yachts from 23 metres (82 feet) and up qualify for design awards from the Superyacht Society, but at the bottom end of that scale yachts will not necessarily be crewed and many set the minimum length for a superyacht considerably higher. A 45 to 50 metres (148 to 164 feet) yacht, the smallest with a generally accepted claim to superyacht status, will usually be a three decker with cabins for 10-12 guests (that is a preferred number, more common than 14, and is found on yachts across quite a wide size range), and for a crew of a similar size. The accommodation on this type of yacht is typically as follows:
Lower deck: exterior swimming platform at the stern; four (sometimes five) guest cabins with en-suite bath or shower rooms aft; engine room amidships; crew quarters forward.
Main deck: sheltered exterior deck aft leading into the salon; dining room and galley; entrance amidships; owner’s suite forward, usually includes either a study or a second twin stateroom.
Upper deck: exterior deck aft, often used for outdoor dining; second salon (often called the sky lounge); staffed bar inside or outside or both; sixth stateroom will be amidships if it is not on the lower deck or part of the owner’s suite; gym (may also be on the lower deck or part of the owner’s suite); captain’s cabin; bridge.
Sun deck: on the roof of the upper deck, often features a jacuzzi.
A 50 metre yacht will have one or more luxury yacht tenders for reaching shore and other “toys” which may include a speed boat or sailing boat, jet-skis, windsurfing and diving equipment and a Banana boat. Up to date yachts have multiple flat screen televisions and satellite communications.
The number of very large yachts has increased rapidly since the 1990s and increasingly only yachts above around 65 metres (213 feet) stand out among other luxury yachts. Yachts of this size are almost always built to individual commissions and cost tens of millions of dollars (most super-yachts cost far more than their owners’ homes on land, even though those homes are likely to be among the largest and most desirable). A yacht of this size usually has four decks above the water line and one or two below. It is likely to have a helicopter landing platform. Apart from additional guest cabins, which are likely to include one or more “VIP suites” besides the owner’s suite, extra facilities compared to a 50 metre yacht will include some or all of indoor jacuzzis, sauna and steam rooms, a beauty salon, massage and other treatment rooms, a medical centre, a discotheque, a cinema with a film library, plunge pool (possibly with a wave-maker), a playroom, and additional living areas such as a separate bar, secondary dining room, private sitting rooms or a library. There will be more boats and “toys” than there are on a 50 metre yacht.