Since its founding in 1992, AB Yachts has been focused on luxury yacht design that emphasizes balance and dynamism, two qualities that shine through the AB 116’s slim and sleek exterior and high-speed and high-performance internal technology.
In the AB 116, function and form come together to not just work but excel, with noise and vibration-free cruising and a top speed of 49-knots thanks to triple 2,600-horsepower MTU engines coupled with MJP water jets.
Her top-level performance is partly in thanks to the aerospace industry, with many of the materials and technology that went into her build originally developed for that sector.
And perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising, since luxury yacht design and luxury aviation design have been increasingly paired together in recent years.
The International Yacht and Aviation Awards even group them under the same umbrella when determine the best design from across the globe, understanding that both industries are innovation leaders that should be set in conversation.
As reported by Boat International, Oracle team USA’s AC class catamarans that competed for the 2017 Auld Mug (more formal title: The America’s Cup, the oldest international sailing competition in the sport—and any sport, for that matter) had a wingsail size that was the same as the wing size of an Airbus A320.
Not by mistake, but by design.
Though aerodynamics might not matter much when you’re going at lower speeds, when you’re on a yacht that starts moving toward 40-45 knots, aerodynamic drag becomes a concern.
To move fast and smooth while decreasing fuel consumption and increasing range, yacht builders have started to borrow tips and tricks used to boost performance in aviation design—incorporating materials that are lighter and stronger while borrowing shapes that you’ll often see in airplane wings.
And the AB 116 is a powerful example of this collaboration at its best. She’s a boat economical in shape, with a sleek profile that gives no hint of the spacious yacht design interior within.
Which is good news for boaters wanting to buy a yacht or charter a yacht of her caliber.
Because unlike the Airbus A320, whose passenger capacity promises speed but also includes a 150-person capacity that undeniably makes chartering a jet seem like the right call, the AB 116 draws inspiration from aerospace to navigate at top speeds while also providing comfort.
It accommodates up to 12 guests with plenty of spacious and airy room to relax, and includes a pilot house that offers 360º visibility of the exterior from anywhere on the main deck.
Which makes yachts like the AB 116 the perfect blend, and makes me wonder whether yachts and airplanes will be sharing even more shapes in the future.
If design et al’s International Yacht and Aviation Awards have anything to say about it, then we’re going to be increasingly seeing a crossing of boundaries. And boaters will be the ones who benefit.