If you don’t succeed the first time, persevere.

That’s the lesson we all can learn from Adam Voorhees, a California-based post-graduate who just won the Young Designer of the Year Award at the World Superyacht Awards. (That’s him pictured second from left.) Voorhees had entered last year’s competition and was among the five finalists, but didn’t land the top prize. Undaunted, he created a new design for this year’s competition.


superyacht Ra by Adam Voorhees

The design you see here, Ra, definitely grabbed the judges’ attention. Trevor Blakeley, chief executive of RINA and chairman of the judging panel, says they found Ra to be “imaginative” and struck a good balance between inside and outside spaces. “The judges felt that it was a very ‘user friendly’ design that would appeal to both owner and charterer,” he adds. “The judges were particularly impressed by the designer’s clear understanding of the quality and enjoyment of life on the water—what yachting should be all about.”

Indeed. Voorhees, who grew up in Lake Tahoe, tells me, “sailing was taught alongside walking” in his household, and he’s loved drawing all types of boats since he was a child. With Ra, “I wanted to communicate the idea of new experiences and ways of living in close connection to the nautical environment.” Named for the Egyptian sun god Amun-Ra, the megayacht measures 66 meters (216 feet) and has large-volume spaces. The design also emphasizes light, as illustrated by the placement of all staterooms above the main deck. The 12 guests get a deck to themselves one level above the main deck, in fact, while the owners’ suite is on the bridge deck. There’s also the cool conversion of the aft main deck into a giant terrace on the sea (below) and the entirely open uppermost deck—no enclosed gym or observation area here, as seen aboard some other superyachts.


superyacht RA open aft deck

Because the award competition (sponsored by Camper & Nicholsons) requires that entries must have the lowest possible carbon footprint, Voorhees specified a few eco-friendly components. First, Ra is envisioned to be built of recyclable aluminum and composites. She also will employ photovoltaic panels, which would provide power to a handful of Caterpillar gensets. And finally, Ra will meet RINA Green Star requirements.

So what’s next for Voorhees? Besides looking for a client for this project, he says, “I am also working on two 90-meter concepts in conjunction with Lürssen that we will be showing at the Monaco and Fort Lauderdale shows.” He’s also creating a 25-meter “‘spirit of tradition’ sailing yacht and an 18-foot daysailer to match.”