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Era 80 Proves Explorer Yachts Don’t Have to Be Boring or Less Luxurious
Not all explorer yachts have to look like industrial vessels, be boring or less luxurious. That was the idea in the mind of Ricky Smith of Ricky Smith Design, when he penned one of the most beautiful, practical and fast explorers to the day.

Era 80 Proves Explorer Yachts Don’t Have to Be Boring or Less Luxurious

Era 80 concept blends the functionality of an explorer yacht with superyacht elements of styleEra 80 concept blends the functionality of an explorer yacht with superyacht elements of styleEra 80 concept blends the functionality of an explorer yacht with superyacht elements of styleEra 80 concept blends the functionality of an explorer yacht with superyacht elements of styleEra 80 concept blends the functionality of an explorer yacht with superyacht elements of style
Explorer yachts have to be spacious enough to house all the necessary equipment, efficient and reliable in the most extreme conditions. With these goals in mind, designers hardly ever take the time to focus on the aesthetics, which is why they all tend to look bland and boring.

The Era 80 is a superyacht on the outside but an explorer at heart. Introduced in 2017, it still holds its own against other revolutionary concepts that aimed to break the mold of naval design. A single look at it will tell you how this is possible.

Era is not your regular explorer yacht. Penned as a statement of progressive design, it incorporates stylistic elements more common to superyachts, into the structure of what is essentially an explorer. It does so without compromise on functionality or reliability, but adding all the luxury amenities superyacht owners are used to.

Designed in collaboration with Stuart Friezer Marine naval architects, the Era is an 80-meter (262-foot) yacht with an eye-catching reverse bow that serves to reduce drag and improve efficiency. The proposed all-aluminum hull and azipod propulsion combination was tested at Shanghai University, delivering a theoretical top speed of 25 knots, which would make Era an incredibly fast explorer.

With its stacked foredeck superstructure, Era 80 is also a proverbial sight for sore eyes.

“Brokers advised me to ignore convention and to stop trying to please naval architects by presenting conservative concepts. I was advised to show something progressive and innovative,” Ricky Smith said when the concept was introduced. “I wanted to develop a smooth, molded, non-faceted superstructure, and also to shift the beach club to midships for additional stability, as well as taking advantage of the space and privacy when toys and sea craft are deployed.”

Again going against norm, the Era was designed with all luxury amenities included, from on-board pool and sizable beach clubs, to a vast tender garage (this is, after all, an explorer yacht) and storage room for a helicopter.

The pool on the main deck alone is deep enough to allow guest to dive in it, while the generous beam would allow a Bell 427 or Eurocopter EC145 to be carried on board, making for easy transfer of guests. Meanwhile, the side-loading tender garage would provide easy access to all the tech or watertoys guests would need, at a moment’s notice.

Speaking of guests, the Era could carry 20 of them and 24 crew, with the owner’s suite occupying most of the upper deck. VIP and guest suites would be available on the lower deck, and there would be two beach clubs – one of them in the tender garage and the other by the deep pool. Socializing areas were designed as open-space, and there would be a salon, a wellness area, a theater, dining area, private cocktail bar and bistro-style cafe. More secluded areas, with limited access, are included in the design – for those moments when VIP guests don’t feel like socializing.

“The primary focus in creating the design was maximizing the on-board comfort and options of the owners and guests. This is illustrated by guests having facilities on all levels for dining, socializing and private relaxation,” Ricky Smith says.

More details on the propulsion system on the Era 80 or estimated range were never made public.

For all the focus on efficiency and comfort, and the still-revolutionary design, the Era 80 never left the page it was drawn on. However, as with many other concepts (and not just in naval design), certain elements have already been used in actual builds. For instance, the reverse bow shape by SFM has been incorporated in two high-speed commercial vessels now being constructed in Asia.

 
 
 
 
 

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