Step Aboard The Winning Yachts Of The Boat International Design & Innovation Awards

These baller boats featuring supersized pools, decadent beach clubs and $1 million-per-week rates are changing the yacht game.

An exterior view of the 378-ft. ‘Ahpo’ built by Nuvolari Lenard (Nuvolari Lepard)

A new generation of superyacht clientele, with ever-evolving priorities and pastimes, is challenging the industry to freshen up. For such a discerning cohort, decadent scale and unparalleled sense of space is a key driver. High concept, future-forward design is winning out over ostentatious glamour for its own sake.

Case in point, one only has to look to the winners of the 2023 BOAT International Design & Innovation Awards to see evidence of ambitious forms heralding higher functionality than ever before. 

Held in Cortina d’Ampezzo on the first day of the Superyacht Design Festival in February, the dazzling ceremony celebrated yacht design and toasts the studios behind them. Attended by preeminent designers, naval architects and shipbuilders, the evening is a who’s who of industry mavericks, not least because BOAT International has been the authority in superyachting for over three decades.

Interior view of the 378-ft. ‘Ahpo’ built by Nuvolari Lenard (Nuvolari Lepard)

Ahpo, a seriously siren-worthy 378-ft. stunner, took the top prize for Outstanding Exterior Design, Motor Yachts 60m and Above—a major coup for Nuvolari Lenard, who also designed the sublime interior. Carlo Nuvolari and Dan Lenard are renowned for their sizzle reel of superyachts, private jets and villas.

Ahpo’s naval architecture was developed by Lürssen to showcase a drop-dead gorgeous teak deck and spellbinding aluminum superstructure. Judges clearly approved of the designer’s instinct to limit the palette of shapes—her retro mast funnel is in perfect proportion and keeps exhausts and antennae neatly in check.

Her profile breathes with grace, given the wide open decks fore and aft. Ahpo over-delivers on envy-inducing outdoor living areas that flow seamlessly from the interior. She lavishes 16 guests with creative personal space across eight staterooms, who will clearly want for nothing with 36 crew accommodated. Owned by the illustrious Michael Lee-Chin, a Jamaican-Canadian business tycoon and a repeat client for Lürssen, Ahpo is valued at $300 million.

This trophy is in the top 5% by LOA (length overall) in the world; she is one of only 64 motor yachts longer than 100 meters (328 feet). Ahpo is certainly aligned with one yachting trend that shows no signs of slowing down. She sails under the Marshall Islands flag, the fifth most popular state for conspicuously scaled yachts, with a total of 383 big ones registered. A desirable “flag of convenience,” owners register vessels there for favorable tax upsides and operational freedom.

The wickedly fast Mangusta 165 REV (Mangusta)

Speaking of magnates, Giorgio Armani and Diane von Fürstenberg are two fashion moguls renowned for their taste in megayachts, though rarely mixing official business and pleasure on board. Italian designer Alessandro Fulle is set to shake this up after winning Young Designer of the Year, impressing judges with his multifaceted Prêt-à-Porter concept.

Competitors were challenged to design a cutting-edge, green motor yacht for a fashion designer with a global retail chain. The task demanded dual-use virtuosity—giving its owner a place to unwind, as well as an atelier to develop her line of high-end apparel and give ample space for intimate, unique fashion shows on the lido deck.

BOAT International Editor-in-Chief Stewart Campbell describes competition on this one as rather stiff. “The judging panel, composed of internationally known yacht designers, reported that the standard of entries to this year’s competition was the highest they had ever seen,” he tells us. “This year’s task asked for a multifunctional, eco-conscious motor sailing yacht and Fulle was able to fulfill the complex brief with an exceptionally stylish design.”

As for the Lifetime Achievement winner, Campbell tells us, “This year’s worthy winner, French designer François Zuretti, is responsible for the interiors of more than 200 superyachts. Zuretti has always shunned the limelight, allowing his beautiful creations to do the talking, so it was particularly poignant to be able to recognize his remarkable talent with a standing ovation from a room full of some of the most talented designers in the world.”

Design buffs with a soft spot for the 1928 Golden Arrow record racer will be easily smitten with N1. To clinch Outstanding Exterior Design 40m to 59.9m, Lobanov Design stacked two decks in the bow increasing overall height, yet barely ballooned the 164-ft. visual silhouette with savvy use of glass and paint. The major style influence, inspired by racing cars of the 1920s, appears as a single glass hull element.

X-Treme Yachts’ 107-ft. ‘Lady Fleur’ (X-Treme Yachts)

X-Treme Yachts’ Lady Fleur meanwhile impressed judges by “camouflaging” a large owner’s tender into her sleek overall 107 feet in the Outstanding Exterior Design 24m to 39.9m category—without bloating up into cargo carrier territory. To say the owner’s brief was ambitious is an understatement: a large tender that can be stored in a drive-in bay and a swimming pool within a yacht less than 35 meters long.

If the Culpo sisters have taught us anything, it’s that a yacht is pretty much worthless without a photogenic beach club. Project X’s swing-for-the-fences beach club impressed the judges enough to bring home the award for Best Lifestyle Feature.

A creative hub that exhibits a museum-caliber tender while acting as a launch pad for water sports, a lobby for the spa, a gaming space, and a lounge experience in and of itself. The circular seating, which the designer refers to as a “spinning nest,” is clearly the focal point. As an architectural backdrop, wooden slats rise up from sofa backrests and blend with the haloed ceiling. Seating rotates and divides into sections to provide literal shape-shifting views through opening hull doors or, alternatively, to allow the stunning bar to take center stage.

On the Outstanding Exterior Design Sailing Yachts front, Bella won the judges over with her streamlined looks. The panel made a point of praising her deck and cockpit for having few trip hazards. The substantial hard top conceals the terminus for the mainsheet all while making ample space for solar panels.

The majestic, award-winning ‘Kenshō’ is available for charter from Y.CO from €850,000 per week (Y.CO)

And from her debut, Kenshō was universally praised by yachting media. Little surprise she captured Best Interior Design, Motor Yachts 500 GT [gross tonnage] and Above. Judges praised the fruitful endgame of the owners’ suite, think bathtub and shower walls crafted from a single piece of marble.

A panoramic lounge with sofa seating adjusted with the press of a button is right out of the David Geffen playbook, as is the dining room that transforms into a library. Best of all she is now available to charter from top drawer, full-service luxury yacht firm Y.CO with rates starting at about $950,000 per week.

Despite not picking up a prize in this particular year, Tillberg Design of Sweden recently pulled off a major coup in terms of clientele. Parent company The Viken Group no doubt popped a few magnums of Moët to celebrate TDoS’ lucrative contract to create a yacht liner for Four Seasons.

The esteemed studio has been tasked with master planning, as well as complete exterior styling, of the inaugural 679-ft. Four Seasons Yacht, set to launch in 2025. Fincantieri will design and construct the cruising yacht (don’t call it a cruise ship). Five-star service on the high seas will surely reach peak nautical chic, now that they’ve tapped luxury publisher and tastemaker extraordinaire Prosper Assouline for creative direction, and ordered four Riva tenders to speed guests to shore in style.

The SW96 ‘Nyumba’ from Southern Wind Shipyard (Southern Wind)

When it comes to sailing stylishly into the future, the SW96 Nyumba was born ready. South Africa-based Southern Wind Shipyard’s newly launched Nyumba was designed to the client’s specifications and SW’s “Smart Custom” philosophy. The brief? A fast and efficient vessel for cruising the world, as well as a sloop worthy of competing in the occasional superyacht regatta.

SWS Chief Commercial Officer, Andrea Micheli elaborates, “The SW96 represents a major milestone for the shipyard, as she is the first yacht with a hybrid propulsion system. The project comes from the encounter of a passionate and experienced yacht owner willing to raise the bar and a shipyard that proved can deliver on ambitious goals.”

Sexy, powerful, with stamina for days—Nyumba is a potent symbol of future-forward propulsion-meets-performance car chic.