While rugged oceangoing vessels have been around for decades, recent years have seen a noticeable growing trend for compact explorers. IYC is proud to exclusively represent Italian shipyard, Cantiere delle Marche, in the USA, matching our expertise in the growing American market with the world’s leading explorer yacht builder. We dig deeper into this growing trend and where it is headed.
Undeniably, the definition of luxury has evolved along with clients’ taste from the simple acquisition of material commodities, to an interest in lasting experiences which frequently challenge the boundaries of the conventional superyacht. The benefits of owning a versatile, self-sufficient yacht perhaps became amplified in the face of travel restrictions and the closure of social attractions on land for some, and their masculine lines and extended ranges appealed to others seeking longer, meaningful trips to lesser touched areas.
IYC Sales Consultant and Managing Partner California, Matthew Stone, notes, “the needs and wants of our clients are changing. The desire to be in congested ports is becoming less appealing, with an increased appetite for remote destinations, sea-worthiness, and autonomy, impacting the client's needs and expectations of the yacht's capabilities. This has led to an all-time high of explorer yachts in-build and on order.
A winner in this growing trend is Italian shipyard Cantiere delle Marche (CdM), who identified a gap in the market and discovered its niche as a shipbuilder for small to medium-sized explorer yachts ranging from 85’ to 141’ (26-43m).
Born in 2010 with a very precise aim to become the best explorer yacht builder in the world, CdM has certainly had an impact. Indeed, the yard has gained a reputation for consistently pushing the boundaries of industry norms and has risen to the forefront of explorer yacht production globally, boasting the highest number of expedition-style superyacht deliveries by a single shipyard thus far.
Four series make up the DNA of this shipyard. The Darwin Class, a true classic explorer yacht, Vasco Buonpensiere, CEO of CdM, simply explains as “rough and tough”. The Flexplorer, a yacht that still very much looks like a true explorer but “offers the flexibility to be just as cool in St. Tropez as in Ushuaïa.” Deep Blue, what Buonpensiere calls the future of yachting, “a classic, stylish boat with a very masculine and sturdy image” – this particular series awarded the yard a Neptune Award at the 2023 World Superyacht Awards with 141’ (43m) ACALA. And finally, the RJ line, without a doubt the latest milestone in explorer yachting, an explorer yacht parading as a conventional stylish “white yacht” with all the capabilities of a true explorer.
CdM partnered with IYC in their newest challenge to grow their presence in the US market. “Our explorer yachts perfectly match the way many US yacht owners use their boats,” explains Buonpensiere. “All explorer yachts built by Cantiere delle Marche, no matter their size, allow maximum freedom, range and reliability to enjoy the beauty of tropical archipelagoes, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, without stopping for refueling or provisioning.”
“This is a segment of the market you will want to keep a close eye on, as we expect exponential growth and our client's needs and desires continue to evolve,” says Stone. “With IYC acting as an extension of the shipyard in the US, we're able to offer and educate our clients on the innovation, development, and CDM's product line.”
One such current development is a line of 260 GT explorers, Buonpensiere is confident will “fill another empty niche we have identified where there is nothing comparable in terms of quality, customizability, reliability, and distinguishing characteristics.” Generally, the yard is also laser focused on continuing to evolve the explorer concept and investing in engineering developments related to propulsion, batteries, the use of materials, and performance.
At the time of publication, CdM currently has 12 yachts under construction. At capacity and with a continued growing demand, Buonpensiere says the yard is focused on growing “better and better rather than bigger and bigger,” staying true to their commitment to delivering on quality, reliability, and detailed engineering. “These yachts are handmade,” adds Buonpensiere. “We don’t want to jeopardize our quality just for the sake of growing. Therefore, we will keep growing sustainably, solidly and responsibly.”
As the yard continues to grow and innovate, Buonpensiere likens the process to a conversation, dance whereby every explorer yachtsman is seeking something different, something personal and CdM’s challenge is to adapt their way of thinking to respond to this.
“We are witnessing a real evolution of the species,” says Buonpensiere. “We are demonstrating that in order to be an explorer, a yacht does not need to look rough and tough.” With a CdM build, owners can have their cake and eat it too, unbounded from the limitations of the classic idea of a yacht. “We are definitely widening the perspective and yachtsmen are understanding that they can have both a stylish and modern look and be able to decide what they want to do and where they want to go with their yacht.”
In fact, CdM's capabilities aren't limited to their pre-engineered designs, which are an added convenience, to reduce build time, but are also well versed in complete custom builds working with a roster of the industry's leading naval architects and designers to deliver a purpose-built exploration yacht only defined by one's imagination.
As explorer yachts grow in popularity, they remain singular still and their distinct lines and profiles stand out from the rest. “Owning an explorer yacht states your maturity as a yachtsman,” says Buonpensiere. “They reinforce the fundamentals of the luxury world, offering yacht owners the chance to own something that is both exclusive and must be understood to be truly appreciated;” qualities, he affirms, propel that owner into a league of their own.
This article was published in Issue #10 of HORIZONS magazine. To read the full magazine, click here.