Yachts are traveling farther, and owners are getting younger. The correlation between the two is not coincidental. Millennials make up the largest adult generation in the world. As they reach their prime working and spending years their impact on yachting has created tsunami-sized ripples. The growing explorer yacht market is fueled by experience-hungry youngsters who swap materialism for adventure. They place sustainability at the fore, building with responsibly sourced materials, cruising with lighter footprints and appreciate cultural authenticity. Their choice of yacht is changing, too, eschewing the white wedding cakes of the 90s for authentic sailing boats that travel by wind and solar or rugged industrial expedition boats that are less about posing on the aft deck with a glass Champagne and more about capability, range and equipment. When looking for real-world representations of what Millennials value the most—experiences, personalization, authenticity and transparency—you only need to look at yachting.
Age: 27 | Yacht: Arktos (113’ 6”)
“My father built the wooden sailing yacht Arktos in 2004, and I took over in 2019. My idea of ownership is very different from his, as I like slow journeys and prefer to be more hands-on and active. A wooden boat takes a lot of upkeep, so I work with the crew to help maintain the paint and varnish. And I often like to take the helm. I’m always looking to make improvements. I’ve refurbished the interior so it’s brighter, more contemporary, and now has solar panels. My father and I enjoy the boat differently. He likes to sit at anchor with family; I prefer socializing with friends while moving from place to place. A boat should travel—you get far more from the experience.”
Dimitri Tran and Adrien Portier
Ages: 33 and 31 | Yacht: Vela (164’ 1”)
“When we first discussed ideas for what would become our Phinisi-style charter yacht, Vela, our guiding principle was to showcase how we see Indonesia, adding modern features to the traditional wooden build. We sketched a simple diagram with measurements outlining what we wanted, like large spaces and two primary suites so friends can charter together. Other things that resonate with our peers: good internet, water toys, a La Marzocco coffee machine with beans sourced from Flores, craft cocktails with local ingredients, sustainable furniture, and zero plastics. We believe that sustainability is the right way to do business.”
Age: 40s | Yacht: Project Fox (114′ 3″)
“Project Fox is our first new build. We had smaller boats before that we used for remote cruising, including the Norwegian Fjords where we like to ski. This yacht is an escape for us and a platform to experience new places together. We’re both tall and high ceilings give us a feeling of space. We also plan on using it for ecological projects, so flexible cabins and connectivity are key. Project Fox is compact, yet it carries big tenders and toys. A shallow draft makes it great for cruising the Bahamas and being close to the shore. For us, it’s about enjoying each destination with our family.”