It was a baking hot, blue-skied morning aboard our superyacht, moored off the volcanic coast of St. Barts. While we sat on deck, sipping our Mimosas, the Captain and crew busily prepared a veritable fleet of toys for a day’s activities, skimming the surface and exploring the depths of these glorious sun-sparkled waters. For gone are the days of whiling away your superyacht sailing holiday lying about in the sun or simply being towed atop an inflatable by a tender. The new breed of owner is young and restless, eager for action, and fond of a spot of adrenaline as a more dynamic way to unwind.
This new owner profile is driving the market for futuristic sea-faring toys that are capable of taking you on all sorts of mind-boggling adventures, from deep-sea diving to hovering in the water as if suspended, surfing at speed or bounding energetically on the surface of the sea and into the air. The best combine stylish, practical and intelligent design with impressive technological innovation, power and – most importantly – they impart spectacular bragging rights.
Certainly, these next-generation toys provide the sort of thrilling experiences that certainly stand up to a retold story or two over cocktails. The new Seabob F5s is so lightweight, at 35kg, it pulls you along the water’s surface like a turbo-charged dolphin at top speed – perfect for a triumphant fly-by of the less adventurous folks still dry up on deck. And, in a sporty display of the machine’s especially sharp manoeuvrability, riders can plunge to the depths of the nearest coral reef, under power of the 680-newton propulsion, to effortlessly glide about and explore the shimmering, multi-coloured wonders of the sea. No need for tedious flippering.
Another impressive sub-marine machine – but this one built for two – is the new $1.5 million Deepflight Dragon Submarine which takes two people on a magnificent underwater flight, enabling the drivers to both hover and fly through the water with only the most minimal of training on how to manipulate the vehicle’s smart controls. Diving to 400 feet, the 16-foot-long sub gives riders the freedom to cruise alongside whales or stop and hover over shipwrecks. It’s an incredible bit of kit that gives you a genuinely unique view on the world.
Back up on the water’s surface, the new Jetovator Tandem is another entertaining option that’s specially built for a pair of thrill-seekers. Offering the thrillingly acrobatic capabilities of a jet-powered aircraft with the simplicity and straightforward fun of riding a bike, the Jetovator powers up and down, across and roundabout atop the waves, like a beautifully controlled, watery jack-in-the-box.
More spectacular still, the Kormaran K7 is a 23-foot Transformer-inspired speedboat that uses both hull engines with two jet drives and converts into six configurations – including catamaran, trimaran, monohull or hydrofoil – all of which you can command the K7 to transform into while you’re in motion. It’s a truly beautiful super-toy, with long, elegant lines to the body and fabulous detailing in the cabin, combining advanced technology pioneered in Formula 1 and at the America’s Cup to create mind-blowing on-water performance with optimum safety.
The Biski is another impressive shape-shifting beast – a high-speed amphibious motorcycle by Gibbs Sports Amphibians, with two wheels that you can ride straight down a boat ramp into the water. At the touch of a button, the vehicle’s wheels retract to a new position, convert to jet skis and the vehicle switches to jet propulsion. Pleasingly Bond-esque, it’s a get-away vehicle worthy of 007.
Speedfreaks will also enjoy the new Wavekat P70, which drives, quite simply, like a go-kart on water. It’s able to perform 90-degree turns with virtually no loss of speed, so you can put your foot down and slalom about while the catamaran-style toy retains its stability.
Last, but not the least of the more thrilling inventions on our supertoys spectrum, is the world’s fastest surfing experience, unencumbered by the usual, unpredictable aids of wind or waves. The Lampuga Boost Electric Surfboard lets you whip along the water at a top speed of 34mph, thanks to its 15-horsepower engine, powered in 60 minutes for a full 40 minutes of enjoyment. It sums up the attitude that’s prevailing in superyacht toy technology these days: don’t let the usual forces of nature get in the way of good fun.
For those less addicted to adrenaline but still interested in upgrading to the latest in toy technology, Williams Jet Tenders’ new Minijet 280 Tender is an especially hot ticket. It has all the performance and premium quality of regular jet tenders, but in a more compact package, so, with its lighter weight and trim dimensions it easily fits the garages and platforms of a conveniently wide variety of smaller yachts.
Fitness enthusiasts with a love of tranquil vistas will also enjoy the cutting-edge NautiBuoy Yoga Platform – tethered to the back of your yacht or anchored off the beach, it’s the perfect place to perform sun salutations while being cooled by 360-degree sea breezes. Admittedly, it’s not quite as exciting as a supersonic, two-person, transformer submarine. But as you can see, with the latest breed of superyacht toys, it’s whatever floats your boat.