As Wikipedia defines it, a “superyacht” is a large and luxurious pleasure vehicle. And “pleasure” is the operative word here, especially these days. In Canada, we’re ears deep in lockdowns and Covid-19. Most of us are really pining for travel again. With yachting, you can get away as far as you want. For those with the means, sailing the seas and waterways has been an effective way to escape the world during the pandemic. Just hope the Wifi doesn’t crap out.
According to this Reuters story, global business jet deliveries declined 20 per cent (644 aircraft) in 2020 due to Covid-19. According to the article, industry leaders, like General Dynamics Corp. Gulfstream, Montreal’s Bombardier Inc. and Textron do not expect a full industry recovery to pre-pandemic levels this year. There are signs of recovery, but the damage from last year is done. Planes are being de-commissioned. Some may never fly again.
Re-purposed jet engines
Yacht designer Uros Pavasovic has some thoughts about how to take advantage of that, as he explained in an interview with CNN. He’s found a creative way to make use of discarded aircraft. Pavasovic has devised a 130-meter superyacht influenced by military aircraft. It would be powered by re-purposed jet engines built into the vessel’s upper shell. His “Cobra” concept is influenced by military aircraft, almost out of a sci-fi movie.
“News of all those discarded airplanes and their perfectly functioning jet engines made me wonder how they could be re-purposed in a ‘Mad Max’-inspired, post-pandemic world,” says Pavasovic to CNN. “(It’s an) out of the box concept bordering on science fiction.” But he also insists that it’s very “buildable”.
“It might look like science fiction, but it’s not total fantasy,” he says. “The only unreal element is that those engines (which power the generators) would be loud!” He adds that noise could be addressed by putting the jet engines in a sound insulated engine room in the hull.
“With this engine location swap, the general aesthetic and performance would still be preserved. The vertical wings would now hold satellite, communication, and navigation equipment instead,” he adds.
The Cobra also has an onboard helicopter, plus a super-sized beach club and swimming pool on the main deck. It’s a one-off project rather than a sign of the future of superyacht design, says Pavasovic, who runs London-based Pavasovic Studio. If the Cobra design were to be picked up, it would take around four years to design, engineer and build the yacht, with a likely price tag in the “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
“So far, the response has been overwhelming, especially on the creative side of the concept,” he tells CNN. “This design would only appeal to a handful of owners out there who are less concerned with chartering, and place style and speed above maximizing the space usage.”
With the number of planes earmarked for the scrapyard on the uptick, Pavasovic won’t have a shortage of jet engines and other parts to draw from.