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The rise of expedition yachts

Designed to have boundless cruising capabilities and plentiful storage, expedition yachts are expanding the possibilities for exploring remote destinations in ultimate luxury.

Expedition yachts are a growing trend in the superyacht market. In fact, data published by BOAT International shows that the expedition yacht segment grew by 33 per cent in 2021, with 85 expedition vessels recorded as in build or on order in last year’s global order book, as well as several conversion projects underway. “It’s a relatively young market that is growing very fast, especially in the 40 to 60-metre size range,” comments Adam Papadakis, Head of Sales at Moravia Yachting.

According to Adam, there are multiple reasons for this trend, with the primary being a changing demographic of superyacht owners. “A new type of owner has emerged, owners who wish to use their yachts in different ways and explore different regions,” he explains. “Owners are increasingly environmentally conscious and want to be closer to nature and the marine environment – expedition yachts allow them to experience remote, untouched destinations to their fullest potential.”

In response to demand, the new-build market has been flooded with a range of designs labelled as expedition or explorer yachts. While there is no universal classification of what an expedition yacht is, there are certain technical features that ought to be considered as standard to ensure exploring remote regions is safe, easy and enjoyable. 

Arguably one of the most important requirements for an expedition yacht is the ability to remain autonomous for long periods. “The number one factor for an expedition yacht should be sufficient range at a reasonable speed and sufficient storage to allow cruising in areas where there may not be nearby facilities to refuel, provision or get supplies,” Adam advises. 

“An expedition yacht should also be able to carry different kinds of tenders and toys to explore these destinations, such as a helicopter, submersible, quad bikes and even cars. And then there is the attention to detail for certain design characteristics and specifications, such as an ice-classed hull for cruising in polar regions, optimised seakeeping for certain areas of operation, state-of-the-art emissions control, and so on. All while offering the same amenities, level of service and comfort that a luxury superyacht would.”

While the notions of expedition and exploration are subjective – depending mainly on the objectives that each owner wishes to achieve – the key differentiator of an expedition yacht is what it can facilitate. When looking at an expedition yacht for sale or charter, it is important that prospective clients first consider where they want to go and what they want to do while they are there. Choosing a yacht that provides the right platform in accordance with these expectations will ensure clients can explore destinations exactly how they imagine.

Moravia brokers’ picks: expedition yachts for sale and charter

85.3m Bold

Delivered in 2019, this aluminium explorer was built by SilverYachts and sports a striking military-inspired exterior by Espen Øino. With accommodation for 16 guests across eight suites, and separate crew quarters for a complement of 22, Bold is listed for sale with Moravia Yachting and remains available for charter exclusively through its parent company, Hill Robinson.

Bold boasts many features that make her deserving of her premium explorer status. There’s a 400-square-metre aft deck that hosts a helipad and AW109S Grand helicopter, a 12-tonne crane for deploying the yacht’s trio of tenders and, serving the demands of the superyacht lifestyle, an eight-person Jacuzzi, cinema, exterior bar and teppanyaki grill counter. 

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76.6m Yersin

Yersin yacht for charter

Available for sale and charter, Yersin is a true go-anywhere sustainable discovery vessel, dedicated to science and discovery with all the luxuries of a modern yacht and accommodation for 18 guests. Built by Piriou, a French shipyard specialised in the construction of oceanographic, pelagic fishing and navy vessels, Yersin was designed to take her owner’s family, guests and scientists to the world’s most remote destinations with the highest levels of safety and comfort. SOLAS Passenger Ship compliant, she has top maritime safety standards and boasts an exceptional number of functional features for exploration.

73m Planet Nine

Delivered in 2018, Planet Nine features a rugged and utilitarian exterior design by Tim Heywood and is available for sale and charter. Built for off-the-beaten-track cruising, the yacht is Lloyd’s Register Ice Class 1D, equipped with dynamic positioning and zero speed stabilisers for comfort at anchor, and features a commercially approved helideck with enclosed, below-deck hangar and refuelling facility. The interior, designed by Tino Zervudachi, provides accommodation for 16 guests in eight staterooms.

68.2m Ragnar

Originally launched by Royal Niestern Sander as an ice-breaking support vessel for the oil industry in 2012, Ragnar was completely rebuilt and relaunched as a luxury explorer yacht in 2020. The conversion project was overseen by Icon Yachts with RWD designing the transformed vessel both inside and out. With accommodation for up to 12 guests and 17 crew, she is now listed for sale.

37m Numarine 37XP (new build)

The 37XP has already proved to be a popular model in Numarine’s explorer series, and is available for purchase. Designed as an explorer vessel to take her guests anywhere in the world in luxury and comfort, the 37XP combines luxury living with excellent seakeeping capabilities, boasts a 6,000 nautical mile cruising range and accommodation for 12.

33.85m Mimi La Sardine

Available for charter, Mimi La Sardine is a striking explorer superyacht built by the Italian shipyard Cantiere Delle Marche and launched in 2019. Her strong exterior lines and inviting interiors were designed by Mario Pedal and Massimo Gino of Nauta Yachts.