Tim Heywood: Orders for extremely large yachts are redefining the top of the market

Now that this man has a status of a living classic and many of his boats are considered a benchmark, it is hard to believe that there was a time when he had to work on a construction site and couldn’t even dream of yachts
Jun 11 2024 • by Alexander Shumskiy 4 minutes to read
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Pelorus  superyacht (114.5 m, Lürssen, 2003)

Things changed overnight after one fateful meeting early in the 1970s 

On getting his degree in Industrial Design Engineering from the Central School of Art and Design (in 1989 it merged with St Martins School of Art), for quite a long time he lived the life of a freelancer and survived on odd jobs, as he couldn’t find a job he really liked. Once he heard that some yachting designer was expanding and looking for people for his studio. Tim decided to give it a try. He was taken on immediately and joined the team managed by none other but Jon Bannenberg. “Jon took me from college and taught me a great deal. But equally the industry as a whole also owes him a similar debt. You could say he created the super yacht design industry”, says grateful Heywood about his tutor. 

Pelorus superyacht (114.5 m, Lürssen, 2003)
Pelorus superyacht (114.5 m, Lürssen, 2003)

He spent over twenty years working for Bannenberg. In 1996 together with his wife Vanessa he decided to start a business of his own, and Tim Heywood Design studio started amazing the world with its projects, most of which are now classified as icons. 

A really “programmatic” creation by Heywood is the 115-metre Pelorus, built by Lürssen in 2003. Her sleek lines and a well-balanced silhouette have been winning the hearts of more than one generation of sea-lovers, and the designer admits that a lot of customers are still asking him to do "something with similar outlines”.

A+ superyacht, ex. Topaz (147.2 m, Lürssen, 2012)
A+ superyacht, ex. Topaz (147.2 m, Lürssen, 2012)

Later the Amels 199 Event (62.4 m, Damen Yachts, 2013) made a real splash with her unusual axe-shaped bow, which became the most recognizable and captivating feature of the project, and also turned out to be amazingly economical in terms of fuel consumption. An axe bow has been on trend since that time.

Heywood has created over 30 projects for Amels, and has also been collaborating fruitfully Blohm & Voss, Feadship, Icon Yachts, Lürssen Peters Schiffbau Wewelsfleth, Oceanfast, etc. 

Amels Event superyacht (62.4 m, Damen Yachts, 2013)
Amels Event superyacht (62.4 m, Damen Yachts, 2013)

Tim Heywood Design studio specializes in megayachts, and mainly their exteriors. As opposed to his colleagues trying to base their studios in world’s capitals, the master values the peace and quiet of the countryside: his studio is based about 150 km north of London, in England’s smallest county, Rutland, where his customers often come by helicopter. He didn’t seek to hire a lot of assistants and prefers to work on all stages of the project on his own. His main assistant is still his loyal and loving wife Vanessa. 

Carinthia VII superyacht (97.2 m, Lürssen, 2002)
Carinthia VII superyacht (97.2 m, Lürssen, 2002)

Tim Heywood draws inspiration literally from everything around him: nature, art, history, architecture. That’s why among his projects there are both those that send you back to ancient times, and bold futuristic concepts. None of the craziest ideas of his customers is rejected, and it becomes another starting point for the development of the industry. “The orders placed for extremely large yachts are redefining the top of the market. Every conceivable requirement of the clients is being catered for in these major projects, and the beauty of these craft, both inside and out, is second to none”, says Tim Heywood. 

Tim Heywood on board the Vikal Tender he built for the Pelorus superyacht
Tim Heywood on board the Vikal Tender he built for the Pelorus superyacht
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Alexander Shumskiy
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Alexander Shumskiy
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