Tried And True Yacht Features That Stand The Test Of Time
The yachting industry is continually innovating, with leading manufacturers such as Viking Yachts and Princess Yachts constantly pushing the envelope of what’s possible and using high-tech design and engineering to address customer feedback.
Look no further than Viking’s new motor yachts, Billfish series, and Valhalla center consoles, or Princess’s sleek and powerful R35 Performance Sports Yacht with Active Foil System and striking X95 Super Flybridge Yacht.
Innovation is no doubt crucial to unearthing better ways to boat. Some changes stick and some are simply trends. And some tangible features stand the test of time and are here to stay, such as stabilization and spacious salons, while equally as important intangibles like customer service and a positive customer experience with your brand never go out of style, separating the great companies from the good.
So, what are some time-tested, tried-and-true features and qualities leading global builders such as Viking and Princess lean on to keep them at the top of their game and earning customers’ repeat business?
Whether chasing giant tuna, embarking on a trans-oceanic voyage, or at rest, stabilization has been part of yachting for decades, be it through fins or a gyro. Nobody likes seasickness and unless the day comes when there are no more waves in the ocean, stabilization methods will continue to be counted on.
These days the unquestioned leader in stabilization is Seakeeper, whose computer-controlled gyros are ubiquitous around the yachting world. From mid-20-feet boats to 85+ feet yachts, preventing roll is a must for an enjoyable day on the water.
The Seakeeper gyro stabilizer installed in the Viking 68C
Your boat may look good but if it doesn’t get you where you want to go safely and in a timely fashion, you’re going to have a less-than-ideal yachting experience. Why spend hard-earned dollars on a vessel that underperforms?
Viking’s performance and pedigree are legendary; something other brands constantly aspire to and why every tournament field is loaded with Vikings. 90% of each Viking yacht is manufactured in their two New Jersey facilities, ensuring quality control over every aspect of the build. Add in tank-testing of their boats and constant “comprehensive engineering analysis” (Valhalla magazine, Winter 2019), Viking leaves no stone unturned in ensuring customers get maximum performance.
Likewise, for Princess, who really upped their game with the hiring of former Managing Director of supercar manufacturer McLaren Automotive, Antony Sheriff, as their new Chairman three years ago. Already building rugged, true blue water boats that can withstand the punishing English Channel (as they say, the quality of boats is as good as the quality of water they have to run in), the infusion of the luxury supercar mentality propelled Princess to even greater heights of performance. And similar to Viking, 80% of a Princess is built in-house.
One of the absolute best things about yachting is hanging with friends and family on the flybridge, in the salon, or on the mezzanine. While layouts and configurations may change, what these spaces represent will not.
A big driver in the current generation of Princess boats, particularly 70’ and below, is the aft galley. The galley is all the way aft meaning everyone is part of the action. You don’t have to go through the boat to get to the galley or salon.
Whether open or enclosed, on a sportfish or motor yacht, the flybridge is a desirable social space for all. This top-of-the-world perch is a perfect respite to enjoy the passing ocean as it glides by underneath the helm.
In an effort to create even more space, Viking, with the new Gen II 58 Convertible, flipped the salon which aligned the salon door with the forepeak, allowing you to see all the way to the bow from the salon, giving you that spacious feeling.
Building high-quality, luxury boats is obviously a big part of being successful, and the other side of that equation is world-class customer service. Creating the best possible customer experience at every touch point is an art, and something leaders like Princess and Viking take extremely seriously.
One way Princess does this is by building full 1:1 scale mockups of boats for customers. They produce a complete mockup of the interior, including features such as stained wood and recessed lighting, that allows customers to fully visualize the boat and get a true evaluation to allow for accurate tweaks before buying.
Viking went the extra mile when they created in-house subsidiaries Palm Beach Towers and Atlantic Marine Electronics. This created a one-stop-shop similar to the automotive market where all work and repairs can be done in-house.
Viking went even further when they opened the Viking Service Center in Riviera Beach, FL, becoming the only manufacturer to provide its owners with a satellite facility solely for their convenience.
What do brands such as Princess and Viking continue to do to innovate while staying true to their roots and giving customers what they want?
For Princess, that’s putting out a new product every two months under the new ownership and management group that features managers and directors from the ultra-high-end car market, resulting in groundbreaking yachts like the R35.
After the successful launch of their new motor yacht fleet, Viking came right back with the announcement they’re launching Valhalla, a high-end large center console fleet (33’, 37’, and 41’).