A Century of Sea Change

Yachts have seen remarkable transformations in design and technology in the last 100 years. The lengths and shapes have changed decade by decade, from the mini-ocean liners of the 1920s to a more glamorous, fuller shape by the 1950s, eventually giving way to the layered wedding-cake construction that was so popular until about a decade ago. Now, just about anything goes, judging from the list below, with yachts boasting vertical bows being the most popular.

Technology also changed over the years, from steam engines to diesel to a growing list of hybrid diesel-electric powerplants. In the next five years, expect to see the first generation of superyachts with hydrogen- or methanol-powered fuel cells. What really hasn’t changed in the last century are owners’ desires to create superyachts that are unique, often clashing with the accepted design norms of the time.

Here are our favorite 25 superyachts from the past 100 years.