Oceanco and DeBasto Designs’ Y717 Project Shark: A 90m Homage to Nature

All superyachts are designed but not all superyacht designers are the same. For Luiz DeBasto, visionary President and Chief Designer of the eponymous award-winning Miami-based firm, truer words have never been spoken. The thirty-year veteran has delivered over 200 custom design and production yachts of all sizes for 40 shipyards in 15 countries. His repertoire also includes collaborations with yachting giants such as Lürssen, Benetti, Turquoise, Trinity, and Magnum, among others.

But it is his latest venture with Oceanco that stands out as a stunning homage to nature. DeBasto speaks exclusively to Haute Time about his collaboration with Oceanco, the 90m (295-ft), 47-foot beam superyacht Y717 nicknamed Project Shark, its features, and nature as the penultimate muse.


The unyielding grit and grace of Project Shark’s overall design come from the hammerhead itself. When viewed from above, the wing station—coupled with the yachts fluid, shark-like exterior, and colour contrasts—replicate the seamless flow the shark.  Add to this a mast that looks like a fin, and the latest innovations in glass technology, and you have a concept unlike any other.

DeBasto elaborates. “I am a keen observer of nature and like to get inspiration from the animal, vegetable, and mineral worlds. Nature has inspired the design business for a long time.” “Sharks, in particular”, he continues, “have achieved what is called stasis, a state of equilibrium, an evolutionary plateau. Project Shark draws inspiration from the hammerhead shark. Of course, we are not designing a shark but a yacht so, the shark is just the starting point, not the arrival point.”

Running. Photo credit Francisco Martinez

No strangers to innovation, the synergy between Oceanco’s penchant for futurist engineering design and DeBasto’s concept is undeniable. “There are only a few yards in the world able to build such a structure of that kind”, DeBasto says. “Oceanco is one of them. I approached Oceanco at the Lauderdale Boat Show and they immediately fell in love with the design, so we proceeded to work together in order to make it available to an eventual client. A large amount of glass is a very selective feature of the project.”

Y717 boasts a Steel hull and Aluminum superstructure finished in reflexive glass, is outfitted with twin 4,828hp MTU 20V4000 M73L engines, a four-deck displacement, and is the Netherland’s first yacht to receive the Lloyd’s Register Integrated Bridge System (IBS) designation. Circling back to his point, he reiterates that, “The other side of this design is the extensive use of glass and the restrained use of walkarounds.” Stunning panoramic 2.3m (7.5 ft) floor-to-ceiling glass panels at aft, port and starboard, allow for unfettered viewing access to the marine environment and the outdoor spaces, simultaneously.


The upper deck has 12 staterooms, including a private owner’s apartment, an alfresco dining area, rich leather panels, 3-D lacquer, and bas-reliefs for decor accented by Brazilian Carballo-wood detailing. All courtesy of Nuvolari Lenard. What is more, Project Shark features–wait for it– a waterfall over the pool from the above deck. And much like the jaw-dropping beauty of the hammerhead, one doesn’t fully appreciate its magnificence until you are extremely close to it.

“Many conventional yachts are just a stack of decks that try to stand out through small details alone. Project Shark, instead, is a glass monolith with decks that, where necessary, provides privacy. This particular approach needs to correspond to a very specific layout. The exterior design is totally interconnected with its spatial planning.”


“One of the things that I like best about this design”, he says, “is its perfect proportion … you don’t seem to realize how big it is until getting closer and closer. Usually, yachts of this size are visually heavy at any distance.”


DeBasto’s specialisms in exclusive luxury yacht design, custom and production boats, as well as unique commercial vessels, are unmatched. He concludes. “From the preliminary concept to the space planning, styling, and interior design, creativity and excellence are the main considerations, always with a constant awareness of function.” Photo credits: Francisco Martinez Photography.

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