To mark our 45th anniversary, Burgess naval architect Rory Boyle spoke to Pascale Reymond and Andrew Langton of Reymond Langton Design to ask what has changed in design and engineering in that time?
(Above: the lower deck guest lobby on the 56.4m Alloy-built MONDANGO 3, designed by Reymond Langton Design and for sale with Burgess)
RB: Recently we’ve worked together on a number of projects, particularly BRAVO EUGENIA, LADY S, GALVAS and a couple of confidential projects. Which would you say you've enjoyed the most and why?
AL: LADY S, I think. We’ve ended up with an extraordinary product by being challenged and pushed.
PR: We were really pleased with the way she turned out. The client was challenging but it's good to be challenged because we pushed the boundaries of design. We’ve been invited on board many times as well, which makes it even more interesting. We experienced the design we created.
RB: Over the 45 years that Burgess has been selling boats, what has changed?
PR: Clients are spending more time on the yachts. Some of them always planned to stay on board but some love their yachts so much that they decide they don’t want to get off. The yachts are nicer than their own homes.
AL: Some clients spent the whole confinement period on board and still haven’t left - and they are not always in the most salubrious of places. Some got locked down in commercial ports but still had a good time.
AL: Going back 45 years, yachts were designed by naval architects. Gentlemen’s yachts of the '60s and '70s were along the lines of fishing boats with canoe sterns, you couldn’t access the water, or maybe you had a door on the side of the boats. Then we started seeing stern platforms but you still had to climb down a ladder to get there. There was still no real connection with the sea. Jon Bannenberg changed all that and introduced yacht design as a profession. Now it's about connecting with the sea, beach clubs, opening up the boat to the water so guests can have a seven star experience on board.
RB: We have noticed the use of shell doors for balconies, amazing use of glass but also the requirements for owners are changing. While they used to want a small cabin, they have gone up to a full beam owner's suite.
AL: Yes, huge spaces for owners – full beam cabins, huge bathrooms, even larger closets because they want to spend more time on board. And yachts that charter sometimes have a separate closet.
PR: They need wardrobes for different seasons too because they don’t necessarily go to sunny places, so they need to have different types of wardrobe.
AL: One of the biggest trends we’re seeing at the moment is glass. One of our recent projects has enormous glass windows – 5m floor to ceiling panels without mullions that make such an impression when you walk into the space. You don’t want it feeling like a goldfish bowl inside so you need enough interior and warmth and acoustic engineering with the materials and the shapes to stop the echos. It needs to feel soft and quiet as well.
RB: The natural thing 40 years ago was to dive over the side and swim in the wonderful waters of the Cote d’Azur. These days people want to swim in their own pool. Do you find that more and more?
AL: Absolutely. Beach clubs and pools are a big must these days. It started with ALFA NERO, that broke the ice with a really cool swimming pool and everyone wants something like that now. Quite a lot of the yachts we’ve designed have one or even two pools. Most clients want to spend time close to the water with facilities for massages and even eating down by the water’s edge.
RB: In contrast to 40 years ago, people are more aware of their environment. Have you noticed a more eco-friendly direction in your work?
AL: We’ve done some client concepts for hydrogen powered boats, that’s something we definitely want to investigate further. Some shipyards have people working flat out on developing hydrogen power and the systems behind that: getting the hydrogen on board, how you store it, the fuel cells, huge banks of batteries can come with lots of issues. For some you could probably have a diesel electric boat with a plug-in hydrogen solution so, if you can’t get hold of any hydrogen, you can still run around on diesel. A real hybrid boat, that is the way I’d like clients to go.
RB: If hydrogen can be used as a fuel to add into a hybrid propulsion train, so that instead of batteries we’re using a fuel cell, then that would be great. At the moment it is working so well from the fuel cell side is now very advanced, the batteries, the power train and the motors, all seemingly in place. The difficulty is storing the hydrogen. We need to learn how to fix hydrogen directly from water or through ion exchange. We’re getting there.
RB: Over the years the rate of change in lighting has rocketed, it's one of those wonderful wormholes. We've gone from 100W lights to 5W lights, which reduces heat so you can lower the air conditioning load, which means we need to generate less power so we can use a smaller generator. Those little efficiency gains are what this industry is all about, these infinitesimal gains all add up.
AL: It’s something that, with one of our projects, we actually dropped an engine size as the hull shape was so efficient and because we had energy efficient technology like this onboard we managed to achieve a very high speed without monster engines.
RB: LADY LARA was a pretty iconic piece of exterior lighting, what were your thoughts on her?
AL: The brief was pretty cool. We had a lot of shape and sculpture in the design of the boat and the owner wanted to see that so we did two things. We made the actual outlines of the boat light up by putting lights in the handrails or in a channel that followed the curves of the boat. Then we had other lights in handrails and areas that shone on surfaces; from the forward navigation mast shining onto the superstructure, from the bow bulb shining up on the hull so you really could see the whole boat. There was a lot of party lighting too, lighting behind one way mirrors, a glitter ball, multicoloured lights shining on the decks, but it could all be made subtle and turned pure white. It was a very interesting project and quite a game changer for exterior lighting.
RB: As soon as people find out that I’m involved in yacht building, they start asking ‘What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever put on a yacht?' I’ll ask you that question.
PR: A snow room, that was quite something, especially as it had windows so you can see the snow from the outside.
AL: An indoor padel tennis court. It's 20m long and 6.5m high and has the same GRT as quite a large yacht. The whole yacht was built around the court. On LADY S we put in a 201in folding TV that comes up out of the deck by the pool, which was a nice engineering challenge for you.
RB: It certainly was! Finally, how has it been working with Burgess?
PR: Very good technical support that’s for sure, and the following of the project is superb.
AL: You guys go the extra mile, get into crazy amounts of detail to make sure that the boat is perfectly built and it’s a tremendous skill that you have. It’s been a pleasure working with you and seeing you do that Rory.
RB: It has been an absolute pleasure for me too, thank you very much indeed for joining us. I look forward to a cool glass of rosé next time we meet.
To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact your Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.