A Glimpse into the Semi-Custom Superyacht Build Process

A Glimpse into the Semi-Custom Superyacht Build Process

By HMY Contributor   April 4, 2023

Step aboard any yacht and it’s easy to imagine the level of craftsmanship that goes into every detail of these luxury vessels. And having a superyacht custom built according to your vision gives you an active role in the process from day one.  When it comes to yacht building, the bigger you go, the more freedom you’ll have in terms of design and customization. If you’re considering an 80- to 164-foot yacht, your options open up dramatically. Here’s a closer look into the build process for semi-custom superyachts.

Starting with a Vision 

Some seasoned yachting enthusiasts approach the build process with a detailed, pre-planned vision in mind. For others, conceptualizing their future yacht and collaborating on the design is part of the excitement. No matter where you stand, it’s imperative to identify your intended use to create a detailed list of wants and needs.  For example, if you plan to take months-long trips with family and friends, your needs will be different than if your main goal is chartering. We refer to these goals as the boat’s mission profile.  When defining your mission profile, consider these factors: 

  • Chartering: When designing with chartering in mind, certain features can be used to increase booking rates. A 360-degree panoramic view, beach club, spa, ample storage, and refrigeration are a few of the most sought-after qualities. 
  • Destination: Having a superyacht leads to near limitless opportunities for sea travel. Pinpointing your ideal destinations can help you find the model that suits you best. For extended travel, for example, you’ll need plenty of storage for housing personal belongings and supplies. Or, if you’re visiting places with shallow drafts, that needs to be taken into consideration. 
  • The crew: Creating comfortable quarters can go a long way in attracting top-tier crew members. Plus, if your crew has ample space to decompress and rest, it’s less likely that you’ll find them in the yacht’s common areas. First, you’ll need a rough idea of the level of service you’d like to have, as this will dictate how many crew members will be on board. The size of the yacht will also play a role; for instance, going from 80 feet to 100 could facilitate a jump from two crew members to five. Keep in mind that captains typically expect to have their own stateroom with a full or queen bed, as well as a separate head. 
  • The layout: Many prospective superyacht owners are drawn to vessels between the sizes of 90 and 164 feet. Within this range, manufacturers offer a semi-custom layout experience in which owners can oversee many details without the overwhelming process of starting completely from scratch. Instead, you’ll have the parameters of a builder’s model series to guide you. Still, you’ll be able to make important decisions, such as whether you’d like a main-level master stateroom or beach club. 
  • Aesthetics: While function is the primary driving factor behind most customizations, aesthetics certainly play a central role in the build process. You’ll have the opportunity to choose among a range of features, materials, and finishes for your yacht, so think about the comprehensive look you’re going after ahead of time.  
  • Feedback from other owners: Prior to meeting with the builder, it’s helpful to sit down with owners of previous hulls in the same model series. Ask what they like about the yacht and what they’d do differently to help inform your decisions for the build.   

Enlisting the A-Team 

Superyacht construction is an intricate endeavor, and therefore involves many different parties. The legal, fiscal, practical, and environmental aspects of the construction process are complex, which is why it’s important to have an experienced liaison, like HMY Yachts, on your side.  We take the less exciting matters out of your hands, minimizing hassle and overseeing the build process while ensuring you have as much involvement as you’d like. This means that you won’t have to worry about dealing with the intricacies of naval architecture or going back and forth with project managers and shipyard representatives — we take care of everything for you.   

Transforming Dreams into Reality 

A semi-custom build for a superyacht requires an investment of time, but it’s well worth the wait. Expect the process to take two to three years, but know that there will be exciting milestones to look forward to once the build is underway. The builder will provide a rough time frame of when you can plan your first visit, walk through, and finally, the sea trial.  Whether you’re considering a custom build, or you’d like to explore existing models, HMY is your source for superyachts. Browse our inventory here or contact a superyacht specialist to learn more: (561) 228-1800. 

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