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Superyacht designer Andrew Winch

In November 1988, Boat International introduced ‘one of the youngest designers now making a name for himself in the increasingly competitive and rarefied world of superyacht design’: Andrew Winch. This whiz kid, the piece asserts, ‘has yet to establish an identifiable studio character, although this has clearly been an advantage in gaining a foothold among the established designers.’

Nearly a quarter of a century later, Winch sits in a converted fire station by the Thames in Mortlake, west London. Weeping willows rustle by the balcony and a cool breeze off the river fills the office.

‘I still don’t have a studio character. I don’t want one,’ says Winch, before reassuming a beatific smile understandable in a man who has so successfully worked his raw talent into polished achievement.

Winch set up the studio with his wife Jane in the 1986 on the premise that she would deal with finances, contracts and management, leaving the designer to design. It has been a successful arrangement that has allowed the company to expand from two to 45 employees, and made Winch one of the most in-demand yacht designers (both interior and exterior) in the world. His professionalism and amiability have also made Winch one of the best liked.

Indeed, after half a lifetime in the business Winch counts as friends many designers who do have studio characters – and he takes pains to say he respects and admires their work enormously. It’s just not his style.

‘I like to have the opportunity to do something new every time,’ says Winch. ‘It means with each job you’re learning to do something different.’

‘What I hope owners want from Andrew Winch Design is something original, of the highest quality, where it’s both emotionally charged and very relaxing. You go in and say “Wow”, but you sit down and say “Aaah”. It should relax you,’ he says.

Drawing out this emotional reaction with a completely individual design is an art form in itself. An owner goes to Winch because he has an idea or feeling that he wants the designer to interpret for him.

As a result his interiors, for example, include such diverse yachts as the 1989 ShowBoats Award winner, the ultra-modern Cyclos III (1989), the native art-inspired Slipstream (which won the 2009 Superyacht Society best interior award) and the palatial Al-Mirqab (for which the designer won the Best Yacht of the Year at the 2009 World Superyacht Awards). To create such designs Winch has to delve into an owner’s mind and pull out a dream yacht that he did not fully comprehend himself.

‘We are a tool to deliver something better than they could have imagined themselves – but it’s their road,’ says Winch.

‘You’ve got to have chemistry and want to do this together. You ask them lots of questions – and you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Which side of the bed do you sleep on? Do you like using the left or right hand basin? Do you want to share a bathroom with your wife? Do you like to sit at the head of the table or the middle of the table? Some clients hate to be at the head because they like to be in the centre of the conversation,’ he says.

This acute awareness of how practicalities can affect the enjoyment of a yacht (‘it’s a waste of design if it doesn’t work’) is rooted in Winch’s long experience on the water. He grew up sailing on Chichester harbour, where he still has a boat.

Later he studied art at Central St Martins college and wanted to go on to become a sculptor, before his father interjected with practical considerations. The compromise was a course in 3D design at Kingston College, where in his second year – much to the consternation of his lecturers – Winch declared that he wanted to study yacht design.

‘They said I couldn’t design a yacht – that wasn’t part of the course. They had nobody to tutor me. I said a yacht is 3D object – that’s what I want to do. They said I’d have to find an outside tutor to assist me,’ recalls Winch.

He managed to persuade Jon Bannenberg to be his tutor – a coup comparable in yachting terms to a rogue music student getting Jimi Hendrix to teach him the electric guitar. When the university staff saw the work Winch was producing with Bannenberg’s guidance they understood his passion and at the end of the course the young artist naturally knocked on his mentor’s door. But Bannenberg said, as Winch recalls, ‘I don’t need you, you should go and learn about yachting. Go sailing.’

Winch took Bannenberg at his word and skippered a 15.8m sailing yacht across the Atlantic. He experienced various travails on the journey, even rescuing a shipmate who fell overboard. After the rite of passage, he knocked again on Bannenberg’s door and this time the designer took him in.

‘He was just so creative and hated the frustration of somebody saying, “It can’t be done!” If ever it really can’t be done, it’s either a cost issue or an insight issue. I suppose I followed in these footsteps, dreaming the impossible,’ says Winch.

This determined, imaginative attitude is certainly apparent in projects from Winch’s own studio. In particular the 30m sailing yacht Alithia , launched in 2002, for which he designed the exterior and interior.

‘I pulled the window of the deckhouse right down into the teak deck. Everyone said it couldn’t be done, but it could. We had two drop-down windows as well, so you could sit and feel as if you had your elbow on the teak deck, and yet you were sitting in the interior with a fresh breeze crossing the deck,’ says Winch.

‘ Alithia was a very, very contemporary boat, but she went round the world with five children aboard, so she proved that a contemporary boat does the job very well.’

Winch most enjoys creating yachts where, like Alithia , he designs both the interior and exterior. Such projects allow him to co-ordinate inside and outside, understand the placing of windows and spaces, the superstructure and flow. Winch’s favourite project, the 2010, 90m motor yacht Phoenix² was one such cohesive project.

‘Every bit down to the china plates was custom built. The masts, the shape, the proportions, everything is unique. And being given the chance to do something like that, it’s fabulous, it’s sculpture,’ says Winch.

Indeed, if he thinks of his work in these terms, it is easy to see how Winch came to prize distinctiveness so highly – who would want a work of art that was the same as someone else’s? Perhaps such a strong commitment to delivering a unique product is in itself a defining characteristic of Andrew Winch Design.

‘It’s difficult to say what a Winch “picture” is, because each boat is different. But I do have a signature. A lot of people will say, “That’s a Winch boat”,’ he states.

‘What is it? It’s quality, it’s creativity, it’s individuality. It’s never repeating a design.’

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Winch Design

Winch Design is an award-winning design studio, established in 1986 as a specialist exterior and interior yacht designer, by Andrew Winch and his wife Jane.

With the focus on extremely high-end bespoke, dynamic design for a worldwide client base, Winch Design is now recognised as one of the leading International design and architectural studios, having added Aviation, Architecture and Interiors teams to the core yacht business.

Over the years, Winch Design has established itself as the go-to design studio for individuals who expect not only the highest levels of design excellence but also a totally bespoke, integrated approach, individually tailored to their lifestyle, whether it is a home, yacht, private jet, helicopter or train!

The team comprises of over 85 designers, naval architects, 3D visualizers, merchandisers and support staff whose holistic approach and creative ingenuity drive the business forward. Having scoured the globe to find highly skilled artisans, the rarest materials and the finest elements of design, the end result is always unique and most certainly breath-taking.

Unlike many design studios, Winch Design will not only create both the exterior and interior of a project but will also design and source the items housed within – down to the linen, glassware, artwork, carpets and wall coverings. This really does allow clients to know that their environment is totally unique, from initial concept to the smallest detail, and this originality, combined with a turn-key approach is increasingly in demand.

Despite the hugely varied scope of Winch Design’s work, certain values are upheld by each and every project: the importance of creating spatial energy and emotion, of designing spaces that are balanced, beautiful and uplifting.  

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  • The Old Fire station 123 Mortlake Highstreet London SW14 8SN United Kingdom

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The World’s Most Expensive Yachts—Including Some That Cost Billions

By Brett Berk

most expensive yachts

Though superyachts are already among the most costly consumer items available, the prices of the most expensive yachts in the world are still astounding. In recent decades, those with money to burn have settled on these floating palaces as an ideal locus for demonstrating their prosperity, and, as such, the global luxury yacht industry is undergoing a golden age. The world’s überwealthy think of their motor yachts as toys, and they’re constantly trying to outdo each other in scale, design, amenities, materials, and sheer profligacy.

Knowing this, what features does it take to own one of the most expensive yachts in existence? And how much do these opulent vessels actually cost? To that end, AD has compiled a list of the five priciest superyachts currently out on the water. As with many things connected to the very wealthy, details are shrouded in secrecy—often intentionally—to shield the assets from taxation or seizure, or to protect privacy.

Below, dive into the five reportedly most expensive yachts in the world.

5. Dubai ($400 million)

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Yacht and Boat

This 531-foot yacht is reportedly owned by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. Though it was originally planned for another Middle Eastern potentate, Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, he suddenly voided the contract in 2001. With exteriors designed by Andrew Winch and interiors by Platinum Yachts, this German-built Blohm + Voss vessel features several Jacuzzis, a pool inlaid with handmade mosaic tiles that is reportedly large enough to hold 115 people, a circular staircase, a discotheque with an appropriately sized dance floor, squash courts, a movie theater, a dining room for 90 guests (the other 25 presumably have to eat in the pool?), a helipad, and a submarine.

4. Topaz ($527 million)

most expensive yacht

Resembling a stealth bomber, this 483-foot ship is reportedly owned by Russian fertilizer and coal oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. With exteriors by Tim Heywood Design Ltd. and interior designs by Terence Disdale Design, this German-built Lürssen Yacht features a 2,500-square-foot primary bedroom, six guest suites (with moveable walls so they can be transformed into four grand staterooms), glassware and tableware fashioned from French crystal, a helicopter hangar, a 30-foot speedboat tender, and three swimming pools, including one with a glass-bottom dangling menacingly above a disco.

3. Azzam ($600 million)

most expensive yachts

This 590-foot ship is currently thought to be the largest private yacht in the world and one of the fastest, with a top speed of 35 miles per hour. To achieve this immense scale and speed, it required a pair of gas turbines and two stratospherically potent diesel engines, rendering it very difficult to build. It is reportedly owned by a member of the royal family of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With exteriors by Nauta Yacht and interiors by French decorator Cristophe Leoni, this yacht was also built by Lürssen in Germany. The vessel is set apart by its early 19th-century Empire-style veneered furniture, as well as its state-of-the-art security systems, including a fully bulletproof primary suite and a high-tech missile deterrence capabilities.

2. Eclipse ($1.5 billion)

most expensive yachts

In addition to being the second-costliest, this 533-footer is thought to be the world’s second-largest private yacht. Owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich , the ship was claimed to be located in Turkey and may be impounded as part of the United Kingdom’s sanctions against Russia. Designed by Terry Disdale and built by Blohm + Voss, it features two-dozen guest cabins, two swimming pools, two helipads, and multiple hot tubs. For privacy and security reasons, it hosts a missile detection system, bulletproof windows in the primary bedroom and on the bridge, an anti-paparazzi shield, and, when all of that fails, a mini-submarine that can take a few VIPs 164 feet under the ocean’s surface.

1. History Supreme ($4.8 billion)

History Supreme has never actually been seen in a major port, and rumors suggest that the yacht may not be real and instead just a publicity stunt. Reportedly owned by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Kuok, and designed by Stuart Hughes in the UK, the yacht is only a paltry 100 feet long. Its worth is said to be derived from its lavish finishes, including a statue constructed from genuine Tyrannosaurus rex bones, a liquor bottle embedded with an 18.5-carat diamond, and a primary bedroom with one wall made from meteorite and another from a 24-karat gold Aquavista Panoramic Wall Aquarium. If you see it somewhere, let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Jeff Bezos’s yacht?

Most Expensive Yachts

This is why people like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos work to keep their yachts out of the public eye. Though we are not including Jeff Bezos’s yacht, Koru (Maori for “coil”), in this list because it is a sailing yacht and thus excluded from the realm of these motor yachts, it created controversy in the Netherlands when its presence became known. Jeff Bezos’s abided the $500 million price tag of Oceanco, the Dutch custom yacht builder, to create the 417-foot megayacht. But when the company, at Bezos’s behest, requested that a local bridge be dismantled to make way for its gigantic mast on its journey from the shipyard, public sentiment turned against the cento-billionaire, and Oceano shelved its request. Maybe a port like Monaco would be more accommodating?

Also not on this list is the world’s largest private yacht, reportedly owned by Alisher Usmanov. Though size and cost typically scale in the world of superyachts, this is not always the case (see #1 in this list.) Also, Somnio, the 728-feet dream-monikered yacht liner that tops our list of the world’s largest private yachts , isn’t quite done being constructed. And it is not, like most of the largest superyachts, privately owned by one individual or family—it’s a kind of floating condo, with 39 eight-figure homes available to potential owners solely by invitation.

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IMAGES

  1. Winch Design Unveils World's Largest Superyacht, Called "M/Y Somnio

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  2. Commercial aircraft AW609: 'Faster, Further and Higher'

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  3. Winch Design Brings Superyacht Sophistication To Your Ocean Home

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  4. Winch Design carves an ecosystem in a superyacht's interior

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  5. Yacht Aurora, a Lurssen Superyacht designed by Winch Design

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  6. Winch Design’s Latest Superyacht: The Beach Explorer

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VIDEO

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  4. Superyacht DILBAR transits Istanbul strait towards Mediterranean

  5. EXCELLENCE by Abeking & Rasmussen

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COMMENTS

  1. Unveiling the Largest Superyacht in the World

    Winch Design is thrilled to announce our collaboration in the exterior and interior design of what will be the largest superyacht in the world, M/Y Somnio. Stretching 222m in length, with a gross tonnage of 33,500 GT and breaking all the records in the book, this unprecedented feat of design and engineering is set to change the course of ultra ...

  2. Luxury Yacht, Private Jet & Architectural Designers

    These cookies are used to collect information about how you use the Winch Design website. The information collected includes number of visitors, pages visited, and time spent on the website. The information is collected by Google Analytics in aggregated and anonymous form, and we use the data to help us make continuous improvements to the ...

  3. Come Together wins at World Superyacht Awards

    Winch Design is delighted to announce that 60m Come Together has won a neptune in the prestigious category of 'Displacement Motor Yachts, 500GT to 1499GT' at the BOAT International World Superyacht Awards. Built at Amels shipyard, featuring interior design by Winch Design and an exterior penned by Espen Oeino, this award is a testament to ...

  4. Winch Design reveals 80m Simply Custom superyacht concept Reverie

    British design studio Winch Design has revealed the first renderings of its 80-metre superyacht concept, named Reverie, a model that belongs to Oceanco 's Simply Custom range. The range was first presented at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2023. To be built on a proven platform by Lateral Naval Architects, the Simply Custom ...

  5. Heesen And Winch Design Unveil New Explorer Superyacht Concept

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  6. Winch Design

    MetresFeetWinch Design Fleet Launched & In Build. There are currently 79 yachts in the Winch Design fleet, of which 73 yachts have been launched and 6 yachts are in build . A complete list of the superyachts launched by Winch Design, as well as in-build projects and yachts for sale or charter.

  7. MYS 2022: The Limitless Creativity of Winch Design

    29 Sep 2022. We were delighted to welcome Winch Design CEO Aino Grapin to our interview studio on day one of the Monaco Yacht Show. We discussed the latest news from the British design studio, including the brand-new announcement of a partnership with Heesen, and heard how Winch is designing for the future with limitless creativity.

  8. Superyacht Influencer Interview: Andrew Winch Of Winch Design

    Andrew Winch during the Monaco Yacht Show with MY Amatasia and MY Odyssey. Andrew Winch's dynamic career would make any designer jealous. In fact, the work of his firm, Winch Design is comprised ...

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  10. Winch Design to design 80m superyacht built by Nobiskrug

    Winch Design to design 80m superyacht built by Nobiskrug. Winch Design is delighted to announce that they have signed a contract to design both the exterior and interior of an 80m superyacht, for delivery in 2025 to be built by world-renowned German shipyard Nobiskrug.. Winch Design and Nobiskrug will tailor the Owner's wishes and high expectations into a unique masterpiece.

  11. Superyacht Guide to Winch Design

    Winch Design is a renowned British design studio specializing in luxury yacht design, architecture, and interiors. Founded in 1986 by Andrew Winch, the company has earned a stellar reputation for its innovative and timeless designs across a range of sectors, including yachts, private residences, aircraft, and more.

  12. How to design a luxury superyacht

    Here Comes The Sun —. The interior of 83m superyacht, Here Comes The Sun, was also designed by Winch Design. Winch Design. Here Comes The Sun —. It can sleep up to 12 guests across 10 rooms ...

  13. Luxury Yacht Designer: Custom Yacht Interiors

    Led by Jim Dixon, the Yachts Team at Winch Design has designed and delivered some of the most iconic and industry-leading custom superyachts in the world and continually strives to push the boundaries of luxury yacht design and innovation every day. For more information about Winch Design's luxury yacht design offering, please contact the ...

  14. Andrew Winch Yacht Designer

    Andrew Winch. Andrew Winch's love of yachts was ignited in childhood, during long summers spent sailing the Solent in his father's 42ft (12m) Beneteau. He completed a degree in 3D Design at Kingston College of Art, and then went on to gain experience as a skipper in the Caribbean, followed by an apprenticeship for acclaimed yacht designer ...

  15. Delve in deep with Andrew Winch: Founder of Winch Design

    Andrew Winch, founder of Winch Design shares his experiences, as well as his future vision for the company.

  16. Superyacht designer Andrew Winch

    Owners go to Andrew Winch Design expecting originality in the designs. In November 1988, Boat International introduced 'one of the youngest designers now making a name for himself in the increasingly competitive and rarefied world of superyacht design': Andrew Winch. This whiz kid, the piece asserts, 'has yet to establish an identifiable ...

  17. Winch Design

    Winch Design is an award-winning design studio, established in 1986 as a specialist exterior and interior yacht designer, by Andrew Winch and his wife Jane. With the focus on extremely high-end bespoke, dynamic design for a worldwide client base, Winch Design is now recognised as one of the leading International design and architectural studios ...

  18. Influencer Interview: Powerhouse Superyacht, Private Jet, And ...

    Winch Media. Andrew Winch's dynamic career would make any designer jealous. In fact, the work of his firm, Winch Design, is comprised of private yachts that are well over 300-feet long, private ...

  19. Winch Design, Great Britain: superyacht design, interiors ...

    Brand History. Andrew Winch, while still a student at Kingston College of Art in 1980, began his career in the yacht design studio of Jon Bannenberg.After working there for 6 years he decided to start his own company and in 1986 he founded Andrew Winch Designs with his wife Jane. In 2015 the company was renamed Winch Design. Winch has loved sailing since he was a child.

  20. Winch Design

    Winch Design is an award-winning design studio, established in 1986 as a specialist exterior and interior yacht designer, by Andrew Winch and his wife Jane. With the focus on extremely high-end bespoke, dynamic design for a worldwide client base, Winch Design is now recognised as one of the leading International design and architectural studios, having added Aviation, Architecture and ...

  21. The World's Most Successful Yacht Designers in 2023

    Andrew Winch Design. Andrew Winch Design is a luxury yacht and aviation design firm based in London, UK. The company was founded by Andrew Winch in 1986 and is known for creating bespoke interiors and exteriors for superyachts, megayachts and private jets. They have a reputation for creating unique and bespoke spaces that reflect the ...

  22. Yacht Interior Design Firm: Projects

    View a selection of Winch Design's recent yacht projects, designed & produced in collaboration with some of the largest yards across the globe. ... These cookies are used to collect information about how you use the Winch Design website. The information collected includes number of visitors, pages visited, and time spent on the website. ...

  23. The World's Most Expensive Yachts—Including Some That Cost Billions

    With exteriors by Tim Heywood Design Ltd. and interior designs by Terence Disdale Design, this German-built Lürssen Yacht features a 2,500-square-foot primary bedroom, six guest suites (with ...

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    The Dynamiq GTT 115, a 35-metre megayacht designed by Studio F. A. was launched at the end of September in Moscow. A. Porsche. The private event was held at the Sportcar Center, Europe's largest Porsche dealership and attracted around 50 guests. Maurizio Magri, Commercial Director of Dynamiq Shipyard and Studio F. A. Porsche, Senior Transport Designer Studio F.A. Roland Reitenbach told about ...

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