Discover the new class of freshwater superyachts bringing bold design to the lakes


The term “freshwater yacht” was an oxymoron until J. David Weiss conceived Invictus, a futuristic 80-footer that redefines large barges. After writing dozens of ocean-going superyachts for major European builders, Weiss was given carte blanche from Arizona-based Bravada Yachts to create a new freshwater category. “The designs were generally square, bloated RVs,” he says. “The good news is that their scale can deliver a personalized yacht experience.”

The nearly $ 2 million Invictus has 3200 square feet of space on two decks. The sprawling interior, with nine-foot ceilings, features five cabins, two full kitchens, custom daybeds and, true to its lake-boat DNA, a 15-foot slide, while the ubiquitous glass provides exceptional views on the water. Since even large lakes experience minimal wave action – at least compared to ocean swell – Weiss was able to push some aspects of the design. “Bringing glass so low to the waterline is unheard of on a superyacht,” he says. “These kinds of differences allow us to explore what was possible” in the new category.

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Companies in Australia and Germany are also launching new glass-centric freshwater designs. Status’s 60 feet, three decks Nonsense, while being more boxing and less maneuverable than Invictus, has a sprawling, upscale interior, while a 90-foot single-deck model from Berlin-based HouseBoatYacht looks like a floating glass studio.

Weiss expects the segment to evolve rapidly, with ever larger and more elaborate designs. “This is a great opportunity to go beyond the best-in-class designation and instead design a whole new class,” he said. “We’re really trying to do justice to what these ships should look like in the 21st century.”

Bravada is in the process of receiving a proposal for a 120 foot helicopter landing pad. “We’re also designing one for a music label with a recording studio on board,” he says. “The owner wanted some unusual features and colors, and we’ll deliver it.”

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