Glider Yachts unveils SS18 prototype

  • London-based Glider Yachts has launched its Glider SS18 concept that it hopes will revolutionise luxury sea travel
  • The £1million craft glides comfortably on the water on 60-ft long twin hulls, seating a driver and four passengers
  • Powered by four 270-horsepower engines, the catamaran can travel from Miami to the Bahamas in just 45 minutes

This futuristic catamaran looks like something that would transport a James Bond villain to a secret lair but it is set to make waves at playgrounds of the rich and famous.

London-based Glider Yachts has launched its 1,080-horsepower Glider SS18 concept that it hopes will revolutionise sea travel for Champagne-swigging tycoons and celebrities.

Known as ‘M’, the £1million craft glides comfortably on the water on 60-ft long twin hulls, while a driver and up to four passengers are seated in a cockpit 10ft above the surface.

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London-based Glider Yachts has launched its Glider SS18 concept that it hopes will revolutionise sea travel for the rich and famous

London-based Glider Yachts has launched its Glider SS18 concept that it hopes will revolutionise sea travel for the rich and famous

Known as M, the £1million craft glides comfortably on the water on 60-ft long twin hulls, while up to five people are seated in the cockpit

Known as M, the £1million craft glides comfortably on the water on 60-ft long twin hulls, while up to five people are seated in the cockpit

Designed for high-speed luxury travel, the first-ever prototype of the SS18 was recently launched in Southampton, where it was built

Designed for high-speed luxury travel, the first-ever prototype of the SS18 was recently launched in Southampton, where it was built

Glider Yachts said orders are being taken on the first production models, each of which can be customised to the owner’s liking

Glider Yachts said orders are being taken on the first production models, each of which can be customised to the owner’s liking

The cockpit features Corbeau leather seats and a JL Audio sound system that has been acoustically engineered for the SS18

The cockpit features Corbeau leather seats and a JL Audio sound system that has been acoustically engineered for the SS18

BY THE NUMBERS: HOW GLIDER YACHTS' REVOLUTIONARY SS18 YACHT STACKS UP

Designer: Glider Yachts

Builder: Burgess Marine

Length overall: 18m (60ft)

Maximum beam: 5.3m (17ft) 

Construction material: Aluminium and composites

Homologation category: RCD Category B (CE)

Fuel tank capacity: 560 litres 

Engines: Yamaha, 270bhp (four)

Total horsepower: 1,080bhp

Speed: 56 knots (65mph)

Long-range tank range: 340 nautical miles (optional)

Range at 50 knots: 130 nautical miles

Seating for pilot plus 4 passengers

Navigation system: Garmin 

Source: Glider Yachts 

Designed for high-speed luxury travel, a prototype was recently launched in Southampton, where it was built, and orders are being taken on the first production models, each of which can be customised to the owner’s liking.

The high-performance vessel is powered by four 270-horsepower supercharged engines and can reach a top speed of 56 knots (65mph).

That would allow it to travel from Monaco to Saint-Tropez in the Mediterranean or Miami to the Bahamas in just 45 minutes, said Glider Yachts.

There are also plans for a model with a turbine that can reach 100 knots (115mph). 

The high-performance vessel is powered by four 270-horsepower supercharged engines and can reach a top speed of 56 knots (65mph)

The high-performance vessel is powered by four 270-horsepower supercharged engines and can reach a top speed of 56 knots (65mph)

At 1,080 horsepower, the yacht would be able to travel from Monaco to Saint-Tropez or Miami to the Bahamas in just 45 minutes

At 1,080 horsepower, the yacht would be able to travel from Monaco to Saint-Tropez or Miami to the Bahamas in just 45 minutes

In addition to an entry model that can reach 56 knots, there are plans for a model with a turbine that can reach 100 knots (115mph)

In addition to an entry model that can reach 56 knots, there are plans for a model with a turbine that can reach 100 knots (115mph)

In addition to seating for a driver and four passengers, the cockpit has space for luggage and a bespoke dashboard from Garmin

In addition to seating for a driver and four passengers, the cockpit has space for luggage and a bespoke dashboard from Garmin

A shallow draft allows the catamaran to enter bays that are off limit to superyachts or even land on beaches, and there is luggage space for passengers.

The cockpit features Corbeau leather seats, a JL Audio sound system that has been acoustically engineered for the SS18, and a bespoke dashboard and navigation system from Garmin.

Construction of the prototype started last April after Burgess Marine in Southampton signed a £100million deal to produce the range.

It is the brainchild of Rob McCall, managing director of Glider Yachts, who spent eight years developing the design.

The SS18 is built from a lightweight combination of aluminium and other composites, and has a stability control system that eases the bumpiness associated with traditional sport boats, even in the choppiest of seas, said Glider Yachts.

Construction of the prototype started last April after Burgess Marine in Southampton signed a £100million deal to produce the range

Construction of the prototype started last April after Burgess Marine in Southampton signed a £100million deal to produce the range

A shallow draft allows the high-performance catamaran to enter bays that are off limit to superyachts or even land on beaches

A shallow draft allows the high-performance catamaran to enter bays that are off limit to superyachts or even land on beaches

The SS18 is built from lightweight aluminium and composites, and has a stability control system that eases the bumpiness of the seas

The SS18 is built from lightweight aluminium and composites, and has a stability control system that eases the bumpiness of the seas

The SS18, known as M, is the brainchild of Rob McCall, managing director of Glider Yachts, who spent eight years developing the design

The SS18, known as M, is the brainchild of Rob McCall, managing director of Glider Yachts, who spent eight years developing the design

Glider Yachts' Rob McCall said there is nothing else like the SS18 on the market and he predicted it revolutionise high-speed transport

Glider Yachts' Rob McCall said there is nothing else like the SS18 on the market and he predicted it revolutionise high-speed transport

Targeting the rich and famous, the SS18's speed would allow passengers to eat breakfast in Saint-Tropez and be in Monaco by lunchtime

Targeting the rich and famous, the SS18's speed would allow passengers to eat breakfast in Saint-Tropez and be in Monaco by lunchtime

McCall said: ‘The problem with yachts is, when you go above 10 knots you bounce from wave to wave. It's not a pleasant experience. It looks fun for a few minutes but it's spine shattering.

‘A glider does exactly what it sounds like, it glides over the waves rather than bouncing. There is nothing like this on the market and this design will totally revolutionise high-speed transport.

‘You can quaff Champagne at 50 knots. It's faster, more efficient and beautifully more comfortable. We've had the best nautical and F1 engineers in the world helping to make this happen and the finish is breathtakingly beautiful.’

McCall added: ‘It's like a beautiful car, like a Rolls-Royce. It's got incredible power but you don't feel the speed.

‘It will open up the Med and allow people to travel at twice the speed.

‘Instead of taking a big cabin cruiser and having to spend 90 per cent of your time getting to your destinations, with the SS18 you can be at your next hotel in a different destination within a few hours and do several places in one weekend. It's going to revolutionise the way people enjoy their time for a fun weekend.

‘You could have breakfast in Saint-Tropez and then be in Monaco by lunchtime.’

The SS18 is the first in a series of luxury watercraft, ranging from 60ft to 262ft, to be custom built by Burgess Marine.

FOLLOW THE MONEY: NEARLY HALF OF THE WORLD'S SUPERYACHTS ARE OWNED BY AMERICANS AND BRITONS

Serene (top), the world's 14th largest superyacht, at 439ft, was the largest to exchange hands last year at an undisclosed price

Serene (top), the world's 14th largest superyacht, at 439ft, was the largest to exchange hands last year at an undisclosed price

While they’re usually associated with Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern royalty, nearly half of the world’s superyachts are owned by extremely wealthy Americans and Britons, a new study has found.

Multimillion-pound price tags and steep upkeep costs make ownership an incredibly exclusive club, with the first-ever report on luxury yachts revealing that there are just 4,476 in the world.

Of those, 33 per cent of owners are from the US and 11 per cent are from Britain.

In third place, Italy is home to five per cent of all owners, followed by Australia (four per cent) and Russia (three per cent), said the report from London-based yacht management firm Camper & Nicholsons and London-based Wealth-X, which analyses the spending habits of the super-rich.

In 2015, the world's owners spent a combined $22bn (£15.2bn) to operate their yachts.

An estimated $2.68bn (£1.8bn) was spent on sales in 2015, down 18 per cent on 2014’s figures largely due to the US dollar’s strength against the euro. However, orders increased slightly to 166.

The largest yacht that exchanged hands in 2015 was the 133.9-metre (439ft) Serene, the 14th largest superyacht in the world.

It was originally owned by Russian tycoon Yuri Scheffler and was rented by Microsoft head Bill Gates, the world’s wealthiest person, in 2014.

The report found that the average value of a superyacht – defined as a vessel measuring 30 metres (98ft) or more – has dropped to $10million (£7million) from around $16million (£11.1million) in 2011, and the average length is 41 metres (134ft).

The largest superyacht in the world, the Azzam, owned by United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is 180.6 metres (592.5ft).

The report is the first of its kind on the world’s one per cent and their taste for luxury vessels.

Like private jets, superyachts are one of the ultimate symbols of fame and fortune, and a flashy way to flaunt one’s wealth in places such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean.

However, a generation of new and younger owners is setting new trends with a desire for rare and tailored experiences to confirm their high status, the report said.

While the Mediterranean and Caribbean are traditional superyacht destinations, owners are increasingly looking to visit exotic places such as the Galapagos Islands, Asia or Antarctica, meaning the demand for ice-breaking hulls and long-range capabilities is on the up.

They are also fitting their floating palaces with gyms, spas, swimming pools, cinema rooms and brighter open-plan interiors, and bringing personal trainers, nutritionists, therapists and other professionals with them.

In terms of water toys, personal watercraft no longer cut it, as owners want the latest gadgets, including skibobs and hoverboards.

The report analysed data from 211,000 people who have a minimum net worth of $30million (£20.8million).

They account for 0.003 per cent of the world’s population and have a collective net worth of nearly $30trillion (£20.8trillion). 

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