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Shipbuilders stretch beyond classic designs as millennials buy superyachts

Why it matters to you

Think 30 is too young to commission a custom superyacht? Better think again.

The millennials are coming. When a 30-year-old Swiss customer commissioned a 160-foot, 320-ton, $26.6 million superyacht, that project convinced Italian-based Rossinavi yacht builders its market is changing, CNN reports.

Rossinavi COO Federico Rossi, who at 39 is just outside the 22- to 36-year-old millennial age range, sought more insight in defining a niche within an already narrow market. Rossinavi worked with the International University of Monaco to find out what millennials would want in a yacht. The answers were a focus on environmental impact, utilization of new technology, safety provisions, and newer aesthetics.

More typical 55- to 70-year-old buyers tend to want classic boat styles. Rossi is enthusiastic about the younger customer. Rossinavi’s research indicates the average yacht owner’s age is decreasing. The company also believes that in 20 years, buyers in their 30s will not be unusual.

“Millennials are used to going outside the general boundaries,” Rossi told CNN. “For us, it’s a great opportunity — shipyards that can take this [demographic] into consideration are only shipyards that build full custom ships.”

The Aurora’s anonymous Swiss buyer’s new aluminum superyacht has a range of 3,800 nautical miles with her 17-knot (19.5 mph) cruising speed. Top speed is 21 knots, about 24 mph. Aurora is powered by two MTU 12V4000 M93L diesel engines that each produce 3,460 horsepower.

With its 29-foot beam, the Aurora has large open space saloons for entertaining and lounging. The owner’s cabin and two VIP cabins are on the main deck. Two more passenger stateroom suites and crews’ quarters are on the lower deck.

The Aurora’s interior spaces have yet to be fully finished. Rome-based architect and interior designer Achille Salvagni is completing the Aurora interiors for the owner.

The $26.6 million price tag is near the bottom of the range of Rossinavi’s bespoke superyachts, which take two to three years from start to finish. According to Rossi, most of the shipbuilder’s clients need to have at least $106.5 million in assets and be prepared to spend about 10 percent of the original sales price on annual maintenance and operating costs.

Rossi said, for example, that repainting a 230-foot yacht can cost up to $4.26 million. At that rate, Aurora’s new owner should figure on an eventual painting bill of about $2.6 million. Unless of course, he intends to have friends spend a few weekends painting for beer and pizza.