Superyacht design borrows from many sectors, from large, curved glass windows adopted from the automotive industry to sprawling open-plan footprints found in luxury condos. When designing his new 345-foot concept, Soar, J. David Weiss of Designova looked a little closer to home and found inspiration in the mother of all creatives—nature.
Soar’s design, shape and name are inspired by large birds of prey and their elegance of flight as they “soar” in the sky, says Weiss. The yacht’s shiny-black steel hull, developed in collaboration with racing and sailing yacht specialists, echoes the pointy structure of a bird’s skull, while the yacht’s internal- and external-support system takes its lead from their skeletons.
More similarities with nature are found in the concave forms of the upper freeboard, which flare at the top, providing unrestricted views of the sea below, both when cruising and at anchor. This allows for more real estate on the upper main decks, yet maintains a narrow waterline beam of just 47 feet.
“The avian world has pneumatic and intricate internal structures inside of their bones that make birds lightweight and strong while providing space for extra oxygen as they fly,” Weiss told Robb Report. “It inspired me to develop a nuanced support system between decks that allows for larger swathes of glass and gives unbroken views through the vessel’s interiors.”
Unlike most yacht concepts, which are the result of a designer’s blue-sky thinking, Soar is born out of one owner’s wish to have a moderately sized vessel with pace and space.
“As my conversations with the owner progressed, we realized that we could achieve his desired elements with even better efficiency if we made the yacht longer, narrower and reduced the number of decks,” says Weiss.
The owner never took the concept to build, but during the design process Weiss continued to borrow from other sectors. He gained insights from a Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) specialist for shaping the dramatic reverse bow. Pointed in shape like a bird’s beak, it’s conceived to provide greater speed, efficiency and stability.
Soar is intended to be a fast cruiser powered by hydrogen fuel-cell propulsion, and a hybrid electric cruising system for low-speed navigation. It has an estimated top speed of 30 knots when running a large-scale GE marine turbine for “more exciting speeds.”
Weiss’s list of suggested onboard tenders and toys are also electric, including a custom Voltari performance runabout and four T3mp3st jet skis, both of which Weiss designed. In addition to two existing helipads—one dedicated landing spot on the flybridge aft, and one touch-and-go circle on the foredeck—there is the option of a small personal electric quad copter to be housed in a custom hangar at the bow.
The interior design incorporates several layout options developed with future owners’ individual preferences in mind. The twin pool configuration includes a pool deck at the aft intended for family play time, and a private owner’s pool on the foredeck. Shaped like a figure eight, the owner’s pool has a contra-flow system.
For owners keen to enjoy the best views on board, Soar can be built with the helm located on the main deck, freeing up the forward flybridge area (typically where the captain’s bridge is placed) to become a dedicated owner’s suite.
The curvaceous flowing lines of the exterior are mimicked on the open-plan interior, with a looping central staircase that snakes through the decks, distinguished by a collection of natural materials and fabrics. Key to the interior design are large entertainment-focused living areas. These include carved-out open spaces amidships that provide sheltered alfresco “havens,” yet also help to lower the yacht’s gross tonnage.
There are also wide passages between decks, large gallery-like spaces for showcasing modern art and elevated platforms that were originally conceived for displaying the owner’s collection of Formula 1 sculptures and artifacts.
In the end, one is left with the impression of a very long sportboat with a vast, playful interior, and a long beak at the bow that makes this one unique bird of prey.
Click here to see more images of Soar.