For all the advantages of travel by private yacht, there is one perennial headache: what to drive when you arrive in port.
The obvious answer is renting, and in most of the ports that you’d care to dock a superyacht you’ll also be able to have your people arrange a supercar for you. But the sorts of people who show off luxury rentals are very different from the sorts who show off meticulously restored classics, and you are in the latter group.
So the answer is to ship your pony on your boat (see L Lovett, Pontiac, 1988), but that approach comes with its own set of challenges. A few yachts have been crafted to store a car in the tender bay (though salt, remember, is the enemy) or a dedicated on-board garage, but to get those vehicles ashore requires cranes and slings or a beaches-of-Normandy-style landing craft. And what are you to do if you want a quiver of classics for your next vacation?
Well, you order a superyacht designed with that in mind.
“We had a brainstorming session, creating concepts around automobiles,” says Jeroen van der Knaap,
design director and partner of Amsterdam’s Sea Level yacht design. “We came up with three ideas, and this one proved most feasible.” A year after that session, they’ve unveiled a design for the CF8, a ship that, at 80 metres, is just shorter than an American football field. Floating above the main deck is a half globe of glass that serves as passengers’ living quarters, and on the second story of that is an auto showroom, so that boaters-by may stare at your collection in envy.
Getting the cars there — and out of there again once you’re in port — is achieved via a hydraulic platform lift that disappears into the main deck when not in use. “It’s not so nice to see working, maybe,” says van der Knapp, “but it’s a system we’ve been using on a smaller scale for 3 or 4 years and it’s proven technology.” This is the first time it’s been used move autos on and off a ship, though — previous iterations lowered bikini-clad bathers from the main deck to water level, where it was used as a swimming platform.
The main conceptual design for the CF8 (that stands for “Car Family 80 metres”) was done by a 21-year-old trainee named Neils Ruiter, who van der Knapp recruited aggressively with promises of working on designs just such as this. Further elements of the CF8 include a raging river through the middle of the top deck, which feeds a waterfall that drops two decks into a swimming pool on the main level. This, apparently, is also feasible. “A lot of challenges are still there,” says van der Knapp, “but the principles we have covered.”
Pricing of yacht concepts is based mostly on volume, and van der Knaap estimates this craft at £233m, though that’s before you upgrade the trim package. Insurance for transporting a car collection on the high seas, we suspect, could end up being the most expensive part of the proposition.
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