Versatility and “usability design” are key features of current motor boat concepts
In the automotive manufacturing field, we are accustomed nowadays to the idea that car suspensions not only adapt to speed and the road surface but also minimise external noise, while tyre pressure is displayed on the dashboard. To an increasing extent, we experience mobility in surroundings that are customised to satisfy our personal requirements. This is exactly the direction in which motor boat design needs to develop as well!
Just an eye-catching appearance or practical operation
Customers’ expectations are growing where motor boats are concerned too, as Mathias Ganz from the Swiss motor boat manufacturer Ganz Boats explains: “The time when a boat was supposed either merely to look good or primarily be practical to operate is over. Customers now want everything combined”. The fact that his Ovation 7.6 boat, which is being exhibited at boot, received a “Special Mention” in the “German Design Award” is strong evidence that Mathias Ganz’ assessment of the situation is correct and that the motor boats created on this basis are in line with the latest demands.
Focus on the user
The reasoning the jury gave for their decision in favour of the Ovation 7.6 was as follows: “The design focusses on the user and manages in this context to integrate form and function in a modern, aesthetically sporty entity”. In other words: looking stylish alone is no longer enough.
Above and beyond purely visual appeal
It is an important basis nevertheless, as is demonstrated in addition by the cool-looking boats made by the Austrian shipbuilder Frauscher-Werft. However, they too include numerous practical functions over and above the purely visual features of the design. To make this possible, Frauscher actively incorporates the more and more topical aspect of electric motors in its boats: it is a shipyard that supplies a whole series of fast and sporty electric boats.
Made in Germany
Another designer who, like Ganz, obtains inspiration from the automotive industry is the Englishman Robert Chaffer, who is the Project Manager at Bavaria responsible for the new Bavaria R40: “With the R40, the future has already begun. Bavaria aims to emphasise its brand values more clearly. High quality is just one of the key factors that reflect its typically German heritage. I like to follow the example of premium German car brands, which have succeeded in becoming the global embodiment of what “Made in Germany” means, while making a pretty cool impression at the same time.”
Responsive, rapid, recreation, restful and relaxing
Robert Chaffer says that five words starting with the letter R – responsive, rapid, recreation, restful and relaxing – are the standard intrinsic values of motor boats and yachts. The choice of these terms alone illustrates the versatility that is now expected of modern motor boats. What they mean in the case of the Bavaria R40? Responsive – the focus here is on handling and manoeuvrability. According to BOB tester and WAVE editor-in-chief Stefan Detjen, this boat succeeds in satisfying this requirement. He describes the handling as “impeccable, confident and safe”. Rapid – in the same text for the Swiss magazine WAVE, the boat reached as much as 37 knots, instead of the 35 knots that were promised. Recreation – to Bavaria, this involves everything that makes life on board easier. Ranging from the layout of the deck areas and the fixtures & fittings to such small but important details as the door handle shapes. Restful and relaxing – this relates to the overall impression of boat operation and life on board; after all, time spent on the water is supposed above all to be restful and relaxing, as much as or more than anything else.
Nordic interpretation of versatility
The Finnish boat Bella 700 Raid, which is celebrating its premiere at boot 2017, represents a more Nordic interpretation of this new emphasis on versatility. It is more of the floating equivalent of a SUV: a rugged boat for many different purposes, but above all for operation in rough seas, that can be used effectively even in rough weather and in the winter months – thanks to the pilothouse and inside steering facilities. The combination of the pilothouse and the relatively large, free cockpit area behind it enables the boat at any rate to be deployed in many ways: anything goes, from transport and fishing to family or swimming trips.
Demand for variable concepts
In the final analysis, what is involved over and over again is the motto “usability design”. From rugged Nordic “SUB” – Sport Utility Boats – to more sophisticated designs for inland waterways that tend to be located further south. Variable concepts are popular, one example of which is again the Ovation 7.6 from Ganz that has already been mentioned above and is being presented in its new “water sports” version at boot. Mathias Ganz puts it like this: “A boat equipped with a variety of different details specifically suitable for water sports that looks extremely distinguished. The boat for sport and family at the same time. Water skiing fun in the morning, swimming, drinking, eating and relaxing with the family during the afternoon and classy dining with friends in the evening. All with one boat and no compromises. Incorporating our touchboat management system, which not only provides the boat captain with information but also helps him to take decisions.”
So this is what motor boats will be like in future. And they can already be seen now! At boot Düsseldorf 2017.