The inaugural Experiential Yachting Forum, held at the Yacht Club de Monaco last week (April 21), invited participants to focus on the idea that “yachting is more than just the yacht”.
The talks focused on the experience economy and included a detailed analysis from brand strategist and co-moderator Peter Economides on how millennials are and will continue to impact the superyacht sector.
The event aimed to “change the perception of the sport of sailing”.
Looking ahead, the role of virtual reality experiences, NFTs and the metaverse in the superyacht sector was discussed. Berkeley Rand’s Andrew Grant Super explained how the brand’s immersive experiences that leverage interactive technologies – ranging from Broadway shows at sea to recreations of historic naval battles – are already being demanded by Superyacht customers.
Later in the day, the Forum’s youngest speaker, 21-year-old Manila Di Giovanni, spoke about her work in creating DWorld – the first VR platform for the Principality of Monaco within the Metaverse. She also spoke about future uses of the Metaverse, including the idea of virtual charters and other yachting experiences.
During the day a treasure hunt was organized for the guests
Back in reality, other conversations looked at how owners are now looking to use yachts for a wider variety of activities – including exploration and health and well-being. Sessions included insights from Cookson Adventure’s Nick Davies, Founder of Luxury Treasure Hunts Charlie Moretti and Maria Alekseenko Magan, Founder of Experiental Yachting.
Yacht owners Matty Zadnikar, Raffaele Costa and Anastasios Economou also shared their thoughts on the changing demands of yacht ownership. “After 28 years of yacht ownership, you’ve pretty much seen everything. So we thought about how we could use the unique environment,” said Economou. “Ultimately, the yacht is just an asset used to create an experience.”
The speakers and partners from the Experiential Yachting Forum
The idea of multiple use of a yacht also fed into further discussions about yacht design.
“Today we build boats that allow you to spend time for leisure and pleasure in St Barths or St Tropez, but at the same time have the opportunity to explore wrecks with camper vans [remote vehicles]said Vasco Buonpensiere, co-founder of Cantiere delle Marche. “It’s not just about eating, dancing and sunbathing anymore. It is, but it is also more than that.”
Oceanco’s Paris Baloumis also spoke about the importance of creating an experience around the construction process. “We have invested heavily in customers who come to the shipyard for the experience,” he said. “We let the family participate in important milestones like welding.”
Timur Bozca talked about his latest projects
2015 Young Designer of the Year award winner Timur Bozca also shared his insights into modern design, including his recent work on the 146 meter semi-submersible expedition yacht OK. He was joined on stage by Njord by Bergman Design House’s Sarah Colbon and Marie Soliman, who shared their experiences working on the overhaul of 56m galaxy with their forward-thinking owners.
“The key takeaway is that change is inevitable,” said Economides. “If you don’t change, someone else will. We must start with insight to really uncover what the next generation demands, allow ourselves the ignorance to see what is needed and then have the courage to come up with new ideas.”