ICON Yachts on the Changing Attitudes of Exploration

By Ben Roberts

Sherakhan, one of the world’s most celebrated explorers, entered the ICON Yachts yard for an extreme refit before tackling the world once again. As the 70-metre prepares for an 'unrecognisable makeover', we spoke to ICON Yachts about the modern era of exploration and the evolving attitudes changing the very fabric of the superyacht lifestyle.

The Here & Now of Exploration
Speaking with Marcela de Kern Royer, Business Development at ICON Yachts, it’s clear that adventure yachts are no longer just a conversation topic, but an established and advancing marketplace thanks to the changing demands of owners; “We noticed that clients nowadays are interested on experiences and on ‘what money can’t buy’ which only explorer vessels can do.”

“More and more clients don’t want to do the usual Med and Caribbean, they feel like they have ‘been there, done that’ and are eager to explore the natural beauties of this world,” continues Marcela de Kern Royer. “I’ve heard comments from clients that with all the climate change, pollution, deforestation, endangered species, etc going on with the world is time to go explore the world now before is too late!”

The attitudes of the modern yacht owner turned pioneering adventurer have created some of the most exciting new-build projects to enter the global fleet; however, with a world of new launches building the nascent explorer armada, we look at how refit and conversion could play a bigger part in its evolution.

Repurposing Global Giants
With four refits, a conversion and two new builds underway at the moment, the 60:40 balance of refit and new builds at ICON Yachts heightens the notion of, not only a rise in refit, but a potential renaissance for conversion.

The immediate attractions surrounding conversion projects include value and proven expertise, but Marcela de Kern Royer shone a light on the wider benefits of repurposing former naval and commercial ships for a new and exciting mission.

“It is lately very popular because you get a ‘new boat’ in half the time. In order to build a 70 meter clients would normally have to wait between 3 to 4 years to get one, with a conversion you get yours in 1.5 years or less!” adds Marcela de Kern Royer.  “Furthermore in terms of value it is really interesting as well, since you get more value for what you pay. The cool thing about conversions is that it also has a story to tell, like the origin of the boat, how was it used before, and the entire conversion process is pretty outstanding and unique.  In short, faster delivery, lower price and greater value!”

Project RAGNAR is the ideal example of the modern market demands surrounding adventure, experience and, in particular, conversion. The 68-metre former naval ship is now in the yard and undergoing a drastic change, with the vision of unlimited luxury and exploration. With a style designed to echo medieval warfare craftsmanship, combined with a unique sense of contemporary lines and striking first impression style, RAGNAR is the result of a close creative collaboration between owner, RWD yacht design studio and shipyard.

RAGNAR, we learn, might not be the only conversion project that ICON announces in the near future; however, as always, the yard is keeping their cards close to their chest. As ICON expands with a potential new dock and a larger team, we look forward to bringing you more insights from superyacht and exploration experts.

By Ben Roberts
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