While we’ve all fantasised about the arsenal of gadgets available to James Bond, the fact of the matter is there is probably more fun to be had as the bad guy. No financial constraints, no expenses sheets, no performance review meetings or annual 1% pay increases; no questioning of your motives or corporate distaste at collateral damage. With infinite wealth and scant regard for your carbon footprint, you can simply roam around the world, gambling, womanising, looking sinister and pulling the wings off butterflies. Brilliant...
(1) SeaPhantom – The dastardly speed machine
Based on a NASA space shuttle with hydrofoil vanes, the SeaPhantom is designed to "fly" at great speeds over the water, enjoying only minimal contact with the surface – and that raised-body (low-drag) design has led to some remarkable claims regarding performance and efficiency.
With modified Ilmor powerplants (originally designed for Indy Car racing), these craft can reportedly hit up to 130 knots and cruise at speeds in excess of 100 knots. Designed by experienced offshore racer, David Borman, the SeaPhantom is built from a composite blend of Kevlar-reinforced fiberglass with a resilient polypropylene honeycomb core. Up top, it uses an escape-hatch equipped NASCAR-style safety pod which doubles as the craft’s own lifeboat. The aim of all this is apparently to solve some of the world’s most pressing transport and ecology problems - but the ‘Hell Beast’ styling and the outlandish speeds make the SeaPhantom a very sage choice for the aspiring villain in need of an image-compatible conveyance.
(2) Trilobis 65 – The floating shark tank
Named after a miniscule marine mammal of half a trillion years ago, Giancarlo Zema’s ‘Trilobis’ is a four-level, ocean-going residence, designed to remain independent of external power courtesy of photovoltaic cells on its upper levels.
The idea behind the vessel’s shape is to combine surface and subsurface environments in a single craft – and while that is by no means a new concept, rarely has it been done with greater scale or commitment than this. At 20 metres in length, 13 metres in the beam and around £4 million, it can transport a family of six in ghostly silence at around seven knots for as long as you want. However, the key benefit of this approach is that you can go three metres below the water without the need for complex breathing and pressure systems. Sadly, like most modern concept craft, the Trilobis has been designed as quite an eco-friendly concept – but if you equip it with a set of super-powered engines, an arsenal of nuclear warheads and a tyrannical regime of absinthe for all, it could make a very fine platform for the hatching of dark plans.
(3) Project Utopia – The oceanic quad pod
If you liked the Trilobis, you’ll love ‘Project Utopia’. With a circular body and four disconcertingly insectoid legs, this alien looking device has all the grotesque, apocalyptic charm of Stromberg's oceanic lair from the Bond classic, ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’ – or at least it would do if it wasn’t quite so pearlescent.
Brainchild of Yacht Island Design and BMT Nigel Gee, Utopia is designed to be “an avant-garde vision” of how the vastly wealthy might roam the seas in their own personal hideaways. Of course, it doesn’t actually exist yet, but the beauty of being rich and villainous is that you could simply make it happen - and why wouldn’t you. This radical rejection of inherited superyacht design measures 100 metres in diameter and incorporates 11 decks, four helipads and unlimited 360-degree visibility from a height of 65 metres above sea level. In fact, according to the designers, this peculiarly elegant vessel boasts “enough space to create a micro-nation”. If that doesn’t appeal to the Arch Villain, nothing will.
(4) Schopfer Oculus - The roaming whale
The word ‘oculus’ appears to mean a great many things – not east, an eye, an architectural spiral and a whale’s blowhole. What is not in doubt however is the beauty of this 250-footer.
Designed by E K Schopfer (founder of Schopfer Yachts), the Oculus is styled like a marine creature, with the facial structure of a large oceanic fish. Built around a central staircase with a cylindrical dining room and a main salon, this unstintingly luxurious 14-man craft also uses internal tube-style dividers that are designed to echo the characteristics of a sea beast’s anatomical chambers. However, the yacht’s most extraordinary feature is the dramatic ‘reverse bow’ configuration. This is designed so that when raised, the garage door at the stern transforms the entire vessel into a vast basking shark. Of course, in ‘Basking Shark Mode’ (unless you go astern) you will always appear to be swimming backwards – and that seems decidedly imperfect, particularly if your intention is to appear cool. And yet if you were faced with two equally capable motor yachts, only one of which could transform into a basking shark, which would you choose? Exactly. Me too…
(5) Streets of Monaco – the success statement
At the start of last year, I insulted this grotesque £700 million monument to bad taste as an object so appalling that its only conceivable real-world purpose would be as a curiosity at a freak show.
But I was shortsighted, because if you slapped on a bit of black paint, changed the light bulbs for red LEDs and popped a few henchmen on the turrets, this ‘Streets of Monaco’ craft would be a magnificent lair for the ambitious villain. Described by the designers as a ‘yacht island’, this 508-foot catamaran concept takes Monaco’s most iconic features, recreates them in boat form and uses a diesel-electric set-up to power it all along at speeds of up to 15 knots. In addition to a fully functional Formula 1 style kart track, you get an oasis garden, a waterfall, a cinema, a casino, a dance hall, a wine cellar, a library and a spa (probably an evil one). You also get endless space for a fleet of evil toys on that vast forward deck, plus the kind of unambiguous ‘I’m-massively-rich-and-dangerously-unconcerned-with-your-opinion’ styling that will no doubt appeal to the high-end miscreant.
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