Henrik Fisker Designs a Dream Boat
The man behind the Aston Martin DB9 and BMW Z8 has a new project. It’s a yacht.
Henrik Fisker is busy. In the past six months, we’ve talked to the famed designer about a broad range of products, including a six-figure Mustang rebodied in carbon fiber, a six-figure Viper rebodied in angled aggro intakes, a de-hybridized six-figure Karma sedan injected with a supercharged Vette engine, and the possibility of a six-figure ultra luxe American SUV from the new car company he started with Bob Lutz.
Not only does all of this confluent activity raise questions about the viability of each individual project—with so many irons in the fire, will the fire not be smothered by irons? It also causes us to wonder how Henrik maintains this productive output.
“I get bored easily and I only sleep a few hours a night,” he tells me in Miami, where he is stationed for a couple days to attend one of the world’s largest consumer boat shows. “But, this is exciting. I mean, this is like being in the dream business.”
Fisker is nothing if not a consummate dreamer, and his latest project—perhaps every recent project of his—revels in the realm of fantasy. Henrik is in Miami to announce his partnership with Benetti, the nearly 150 year-old, Italian luxury yacht builder. Together, they’re building a super-yacht. “Something that would be extremely modern, but would show a level of comfort and quality in the sort of yacht around the 47 to 50 meter size,” Henrik says.
Dreams are, by nature, evanescent. So there is no model, or schematic, or even sketch of this 165-foot floating phantasm. There is just Henrik, standing on the prow of another Benetti yacht with Benetti CEO Vincenzo Poerio. And the promise—as usual—of something amazing, something unconventional.
When does announcing your disruption become banal? Henrik does not ask this question. In every category, he sees only possibilities for innovation. He is an optimist. Or an opportunist. Or both?
“One of the things that I want to innovate is specifically try to combine a very chic sporty design, with the visibility of a three deck yacht,” Henrik says. “I think is something new in this size of boat, because there always seems to be a compromise. Either you have a very sporty looking yacht with two decks, or you have a very usable yacht which then seems to be very upright and stale and not quite as sexy as you would like it to be. So I’m kind of trying to merge these two.”
Henrik talks about using a “proven hull” from the Benetti stable, though it’s unclear whether it will be a re-bodied version of a traditional Benetti superyacht or something else entirely. At any rate, it will also include other “innovative technologies” such as solar-powered ambient lighting, clear-coated carbon fiber, and something he refers to as “creative tension.”
Okay, so when can we see this amazing boat, already? Henrik mentions an unveiling pegged to the Singapore Boat show in early April. But even that’s not a certainty. And with good reason.
“We don’t want to rush out and show a show boat, because we don’t want to show something we can’t build,” Henrik says, defying typical practice. “And I think that’s one of the key elements, because whatever we are going to show, Benetti will build. So we are working together with engineering teams to make sure we will build it, which is why we don’t want to rush it out to the market and just showing a concept.”
Lest you think this all sounds a bit too concrete, Henrik ends our conversation by reminding us of an important distinction, familiar to all visionaries: “At the end of the day we’re building and designing dreams for other people. We are making people’s dreams come true, whether it’s a sports car or an amazing boat like we’re doing right now, and I just think that’s so fantastic and so exciting to be a part of that.”