$15 million yacht can be controlled by an iPad

Story highlights

  • The $15 million yacht features an iPad controller, luxury interior
  • Features aerodynamic 'wings' to help glide along water, cut fuel consumption
  • Space-age shaped vessel could spell the future of superyacht design

With her curved 'wings,' long pointed nose, and gleaming underbelly propped high above the waves, this space-age yacht might be better suited to the sky than the sea.

Just a few square meters of the futuristic vessel -- valued at $15 million -- actually touch the surface of the water, allowing it to skim across the waves with ease.

The innovative design, along with high-tech features such as an iPad-controller, helped glossy "Adastra" win three prizes at last week's prestigious ShowBoats Design Awards in Monaco, including Best Naval Architecture.

The yachting world is clearly impressed. The honor follows a prize for the Most Innovative Design at the 2013 World Superyacht Awards earlier this year.

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So could this alien shape -- resembling something between a spaceship and the Concorde supersonic plane -- be the future of superyacht design?

"The superyacht industry is pretty traditional," designer John Shuttleworth, told CNN. "But the establishment has given a 'yes' to this idea which is a huge step forward."

"Inevitably, there has to be a trend for reducing fuel consumption -- and I think superyachts will have to look something like this in the future. Initially I don't think economics will drive it -- these are wealthy owners and cost isn't an issue. Instead, it will be from an ethical, environmental point of view."

Billionaire's toys

Billionaire shipping magnate Anton Marden is believed to be the proud owner of the plush 42.5-meter vessel, which took more than five years to design and build.

The Hong Kong-based mogul and wife Elaine will be able to remotely control their luxury yacht from up to 50 meters away, simply by sweeping their hand over an iPad.

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If you want to appeal to the mega rich, such flashy gadgets -- and room to house them -- are now an essential part of superyacht architecture.

"We have recently seen an increase in new and exciting superyacht toys on the market and clients are increasingly looking for more space to house these," said co-exterior designer Orion Shuttleworth.

"Our new designs incorporate lots of space to accommodate jet skis, sailing boats, kayaks, paddle boards and other toys."

Speed machine

With just 20% of the enormous 52-ton boat submerged in water, Adastra is able to glide along the waves without the same drag as traditional superyachts, hitting up to 43 kilometers per hour.

It also means the vessel, made from a super-light glass and carbon material, consumes a lot less fuel -- around 14% of a conventional superyacht the same size.

"Adastra's longer, slender main hull has extremely low drag, which is why she is so fuel efficient," explained Orion.

"The smooth, seamless, unbroken surfaces also help to reduce weight," he said of the boat, which can travel up to 6,400 kilometers -- the same distance from London to New York -- without refueling.

In fact, the three-pronged design -- featuring a slim hull and two 'wings' -- is similar to the world's fastest sailboat Hydroptere, which broke the speed record in 2009 at 95 kilometers per hour.

Read: Hydroptere -- The futuristic 'flying' boat

Living in luxury

Step inside the sleek Adastra and you'll find all the luxury of a five-star hotel, including five elegant bedrooms and four bathrooms.

The plush yacht also features a saloon, a lounge and an industrial kitchen. The rear deck has an open-air bar, allowing guests to gaze out at the water while they enjoy a cocktail.

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At night, the glowing underbelly of the boat lights up in neon blue, giving it the impression of a futuristic spacecraft.

If the reams of recent awards are anything to go by, this yachting future could be a lot closer than you think.