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Russian yacht company builds boats with car-shaped top decks

Big name car brands commonly collaborate with yacht builders for stylized vessels. Moscow-based Baikal Yachts Group is taking a different tack, styling the top deck and the interior of its 14-meter (46-foot) Discovery Sport Catamarans after the buyer’s choice of car automotive brand.

Notable luxury automotive brands and yacht builder partnerships include Aston-Martin with Quintessence, AMG and Cigarette Racing, Bugatti with Palmer Johnson Yachts, Mercedes-Benz with Silver Arrows Marine, and Lexus with parent company Toyota’s Ponam yacht division.

Baikal first offered to build a 10-meter catamaran styled after a Porsche Cayenne in 2012, but there were no takers. The project didn’t go beyond the design concept phase, and the boat never hit the water. The Russian engineers are taking a different course with the Baikal Yachts Discovery Sport Catamaran.

A new aluminum and magnesium alloy developed by Rusal Company is a key factor in Baikal’s plan. Rusal is the second largest aluminum producer in the world. The alloy, which also contains scandium, is as strong as steel. Because it is 20 to 25 percent lighter than aluminum, the new alloy is also lighter than composites, according to Baikal.

Catamarans are built for speed. Optimal hull and structural materials are strong and light. The Discovery Sport model, for example, is rated for a maximum 52 knots. The new alloy from Rusal meets Baikal’s performance and durability requirements and also allows the one-off customization planned for potential auto brand-loving customers.

Baikal does not plan to build yachts on speculation. The boat builder’s business plan for this project is to start a new yacht build based on a preliminary order. The hull and other major exterior components are designed and constructed first. As the project goes forward, interior and exterior stylistic features will be designed. That way, if a buyer bails part way through the project, Baikal isn’t left with a custom boat with no customer.

Baikal suggests people who own Maseratis, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Range Rovers, Bentleys, BMWs, Jaguars, or Aston-Martins could be their best market. However, Baikal co-founder and owner Sergey Gmyra said in a press release, “It is feasible to engineer any styled variant and inside the original parts will be used for inner trim and control station.”

According to chief project designer Maxim Lodkin, “I think that the future owners will proudly show it to their friends and fill them with enthusiasm by its speed characteristics.

Pricing for car-styled Baikal Discovery Sport Catamarans is not disclosed. Depending on design complexities, the company estimates each yacht will take 6 to 12 months to build.

Digital Trends looks forward to seeing the first commissioned automobile-styled Baikal catamaran hit the water. We noted that Baikal didn’t mention licensing arrangements with car companies. Unlike collaborations between car companies and boat builders, licensing issues may be a factor if Baikal catamarans are marketed or promoted using specific auto company brand names.

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