Expert Panel

Expert Panel

On Day 2 of Superyacht Design Week I had the privilege of sitting in on a Q&A session hosted by Crestron at their experience centre situated on the second floor of the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour. Making up the panel were three of the marine industry’s leading technology experts; Patrick Coote of Blohm+Voss; Neil Grant of  Harris Grant; and Ameet Sarvaiya of Van Berge Henegouwen. Paddy Baker, Editor of Installation Magazine moderated.

The session,  DESIGNING WITH PEACE OF MIND, raised the question  “When building a superyacht, what security challenges do we need to consider?”The experts were asked to discuss the options available to designers, shipyards, owners and crew, as well as technological advancements in the market.”

I quickly learnt that the superyacht owner’s greatest fear is that of unwelcome intruders making their way on board. Patrick Coote was quick to demonstrate, with a series of images, that the shape of the hull can itself act as a significant deterrent. Particular attention is also paid to the shape, position and operation of the transom doors as well as that of the swim platforms.

As well as physical intruders a member of the audience raised the owner’s fear of cyber attacks and the hacking of on-board networks. Neil Grant said that the IT systems Harris Grant design and install are of the highest standard, are robust, and are stringently tested and monitored. Aside from the IT network HG also install CCTV and comms as part and parcel of the on-board security system.

Asked about the challenges of working in such a demanding industry Neil explained the complexities of streaming live broadcasts to a vessel that could be anywhere in the world. As part of their remit as system integrators, HG have to provide seamless audio visual facilities throughout the vessel, be it to the crew mess or the owner’s private suite, and they have to be operational 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

Another question from the floor asked at what stage of a superyacht build would a company such as HG or VBH need to be appointed. There was a reverberating response of “not soon enough”. The very infrastructure on which every item of hardware has to hang needs to be included in the design from the very outset. A combination of space limitations and Lloyds codes require the correct cables to be specified, installed, future proofed, and terminated prior to areas being closed off, which means that the final design needs to be agreed very early on.

This timescale also impacts on the positioning of the hardware as much of it is required to be hidden away. Discerning owner’s do not want to see racks of equipment or bulky screens and loudspeakers, and as such these are often built into exquisitely made bespoke pieces of furniture. Screens rise and fall on near silent motorised lifts and hoists, while centralised racks of equipment disappear into temperature controlled voids or cupboards.

As such these industry experts often work hand in hand with a naval architect and interior designer. This combination of skills ensures that the client benefits from the best possible on-board experience; aesthetically, technologically, and securely, giving him the utmost peace of mind.