Technology has wielded great influence in yacht design in recent years and looks set to become an increasingly dominant aspect of that world. This is true not only in racing where weight, appendages and waterlines have attained levels of efficiency unthinkable even a decade ago, but also in the leisure boat arena. Rapid developments in battery technology for smartphones, tablets and electric cars have led to giant steps in marine electric propulsion systems too. This, is turn, has produced a new approach to space division in displacement yachts, as Luca Bassani Antivari points out in Out of the Box.
Of course, safety standards have had to change to match these technological developments. In fact, as The A Group’s Richard Hein explains in this issue, yacht design is not merely influenced by, but must now work around, the new regulations.
Support vessels for megayachts are another knock-on effect of the technological revolution and are featured in our Innovation section.
Last but very far from least, entertainment systems have progressed more rapidly over the last few years than in the previous half-century. Both aboard and at home, walls can now essentially be used as speakers, while some immersive systems mix sound and smells. Hidden projectors are taking the place of conventional TVs, using improbable surfaces as their screens. Needless to say, the yachting world – in which entertainment and relaxation are central to the onboard experience – is feeling the impact of all these developments.
The result is, of course, that design can no longer be an end in itself but must be crafted very much around function.