"A lot of the current designs I see look more like Nike trainers than luxury motor yachts," states Donald Starkey. A seasoned name in the industry, and he has witnessed an evolution of the design community throughout the course of his professional life.
With this being said, he presents unique insights on the trends that come, go and stay across the yachting industry; "I think that these large superyachts that I have been involved in for a very long time do not particularly follow the swinging trends of fashion. I have always aimed to make my designs as timeless as possible. My yachts always look great to the clients, and people recognise my designs despite their differences."
However, it is the competitive nature of a saturated market that now has evolved over time, today a different scene entirely to the landscape he once knew.
"When I began thirty years ago this year, there were around 20 odd big-name designers for yachting," shares Starkey Design, "Now there over 200 designers all competing for the same market and customers. I'm not sure if that has increased the enjoyment of yachting for owners. We are in the entertainment business, we do not make money out of yachts, a yacht is purchased for the lifestyle of enjoying time with their families."
Thus, the design company has displayed flexibility in the face on oncoming change, and the ability to adapt to shifting environments. For Starkey? The yacht design scene of today is lacking in the expertise of his own creative house. He begins, "A lot of these yacht designers don't even know what they're doing. I claim to be one of the more experienced designers who does know what he is doing and it is seen in the results."
"These super-wealthy individuals have driven the industry into the arena of 'anything goes' and the competitive rabble of 'mine's bigger than yours' or 'mine is more expensive than yours. A lot of the current designs I see look more like Nike trainers than luxury motor yachts."
Donald Starkey clearly has a strong opinion of the standard of yachting design at present, but unfortunately he cannot hope to fix all the problems he sees single-handedly. Hopefully new designers can hope to take the torch from Starkey in helping to create timeless works of art in their designs, evolving the yachting landscape to merge the traditional with the contemporary, the old with the new, and the yesterday with the today.