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Designers have gone to great lengths to reinvent the bow. Typically a yacht’s working end, it has become a social area with lounges, tables and the occasional Jacuzzi. Now, several boatbuilders are looking at this forward space with a fresh eye, noting possibilities where it could be transformed into a very different way of living.

Damen is moving the forward end in an entirely different direction with its Xplorer series, with an open observation nook protected by the overhead deck. Most bows aren’t conceived to let people literally look over the edge, but the Xplorer’s vertical bow allows owners and guests to be close to the action when the boat is moving through a dramatic area, or even anchored out.

“It was created as the conduit for a thrilling experience—watching whales around the boat, dolphins surfing bow waves or passing glaciers in icy waters,” says Enrique Tintore, design manager for the Dutch line of expedition yachts, ranging from 197 to 345 feet. “The idea is to maximize the connection with nature, to look down over the front of the bow and feel an unusual connection. That’s something you can’t do on any other yacht.”

The open bows of Ferretti Yachts’ Infynito 90, and recently announced Infynito 80, are less concerned with off-grid travel, but more about social possibilities. More cruiser than explorer, the 90 has an “All Season Terrace” that connects directly with yacht’s outer passageways all the way back to the aft cockpit. The 90’s bow area is designed to be private, but still open, configured with lounges, a forward sunpad and Jacuzzi. Owners can even opt for a cocktail bar with stools. Like the Damen Xplorer, it has open sides and an open front, but the overhead offers protection with slats that can open if the owner and guests want direct sunlight. “We created it as an oasis to put the people living on board front and center,” says Ferretti’s Filippo Salvetti.

Both designers claim there are no structural downsides to these unusual bows, though Tintore admits that “green water” could wash over the front during rough-water crossings. “But guests can just step back into the enclosed observation lounge to enjoy the action with a cocktail.”



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