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Winner of the Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition revealed at the Southampton Boat Show

by British Marine 22 Sep 2023 10:13 UTC 21 September 2023
Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition 2023 © British Marine

After almost 14 hours of sketching it was time for the incredible young designers taking part in the Superyacht UK Young Designer (SYUK) competition, sponsored by Marine Resources, to down their pens and reveal the 2023 winner at the Southampton International Boat Show (Thursday 21 September).

After much deliberation the judges, who had the unenviable task to judging the designs, named Oliver Rommelrath from Staffordshire University as the 2023 SYUK Young Designer of the Year. Second place went to Ben Kenward from Coventry University and third place to Dhruv Raajput, also from Coventry University.

Speaking of his win Oliver commented: "This is fantastic, I really didn't expect it. This is the first time doing a superyacht design and winning feels like a great achievement. It has really been heads down right from the start and although the process is exactly the same as my other design work, there have been challenges such as working out how to fit the exterior design around the interior design. I knew from the start I wanted to do a motor yacht and once I had the brief, I had a vision in my head of how it would look. As for the prize, I'm going to sleep on it before I decide, but I am definitely going to have a smile on my face on my drive home."

Along with the winners' title, Oliver can now choose from two incredible opportunities, either an internship with Olesinski or Sunseeker, with the runner-up taking advantage of the other internship.

Getting under way on Tuesday 19 September, judges Justin Olesinski, Managing Director at Olesinski and Douglas Hynd, Senior Project Manager at RWD provided the competitors with an overview of what to expect and outlined the competition brief which had been created by the judging panel.

The competitors were given a day and a half to produce a profile illustration/drawing of the vessel, a block General Arrangement (GA) drawing defining the general space allocation and detailed sketch developments (including 3D illustrations as appropriate) illustrating at least three unique selling points of their proposal, which they then presented to the judges on the final morning of the competition.

Before revealing the 2023 winner, Stephen Hills, Chairman of Superyacht UK and one of the judges for the competition commented: "These young designers have produced a really impressive body of work; from a blank piece of paper to these fantastic outputs on display is incredible. The judges have been really impressed by the diversity of the designs and commend everyone for using their imagination and for the quality of their designs in such a short space of time. We were all also incredibly impressed with how everyone presented their designs to the judges.

"It was incredibly hard to pick a winner, but the top three really stood out for the judges. We loved everything about Dhruv's design, there was an excellent level of detail and mature design. Ben showed real imagination and quality of visualisation, whilst the judges loved the profile drawings presented by Oliver. His designs quickly caught the judges' eyes and stood out, with exceptional quality of line, fantastic."

Congratulations to all of the 2023 designers:

  • Oliver Rommelrath - Staffordshire University
  • Taylor McGraw - Staffordshire University
  • Sebastian Horbacz - Staffordshire University
  • Jonathan Stock - Staffordshire University
  • Raghav Sharma - Coventry University
  • Dhruv Raajput - Coventry University
  • Matthew Harman - University of Plymouth
  • Ben Kenward - Coventry University

Bringing decades of industry success between them, together with a wealth of knowledge and experience to the competition, the judging panel consisted of:

  • Stephen Hills - Commercial Director, Pendennis Shipyard and chairman of Superyacht UK
  • Justin Olesinski - Managing Director, Olesinski
  • Douglas Hynd - Senior Project Manager, RWD
  • Jeff Houlgrave - Senior Associate, Marina Projects
  • James Shakespeare - Graduate Designer, Princess Yachts and 2019 Superyacht UK Young Designer competition winner
  • Stephanie Olliff - Recruitment Consultant, Marine Resources
James Ward, founder and CEO of Marine Resources and sponsors of the SYUK Young Designer competition concluded: "We are absolutely thrilled to support this event. It is vital for the industry and showcases the talent that is out there outside of the industry and it is key that we seek to attract this talent to the sector. None of these designers come from a marine background, these amazing designs have come purely from talent. It is important to keep supporting events of this nature and providing these opportunities, so we are delighted to be involved."

The Superyacht UK Young Designer Competition will return next year, look out for details, coming soon.

To find out more about SYUK visit

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