New Photography Books: ‘Yachts – The Impossible Collection’ (Assouline)

Yachts: The Impossible Collection is an eclectic and carefully curated anthology of ships, from the 1851 ship for which the America’s Cup was named, to J Class racing yachts of the early 1900s, to the current high-tech megayachts, from classics with timeless silhouettes, to head-turners that broke the mold with daring design and redefined their era. 

Since time immemorial, monarchs, nobility and the aristocracy have yearned to spend their leisure time on the water. From Cleopatra’s fabled luxury barge to Her Majesty’s Royal Yacht Britannia, from elegant Jazz Age vessels such as Nahlin, once chartered by King Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson, to the swinging ’60s Hollywood royalty invited aboard Aristotle Onassis’ Christina O, the yachting scene has always attracted celebrities, high society and the top 0.1%. But with over three thousand sizable yachts currently in the global fleet, not to mention those legendary vessels that are sadly no longer in existence, how do we distinguish the crème de la crème of this exclusive breed?

And with so much focus today on the environment and the health of the oceans, the yachting world is changing quickly, increasingly pursuing sustainability. Whether impossible in sheer size, speed, luxurious features or advanced green technology, all of the vessels in this fantasy marina have transformed the yachting seascape.

As long as there are people with means and blue oceans to explore, there will always be a demand for these beautiful and impossible creatures that break the boundaries of technology, luxury and decadence—and new yachts are still yet to be built, worthy of The Impossible Collection.

Miriam Cain is a U.K.-based luxury journalist and editor, specializing in the superyacht industry for two decades, in a variety of editorial and PR roles, including editor of Elite Traveler Superyachts and SEA+I Magazine. Cain is currently the editor for the yachting and lifestyle publication Navigator, and she also contributes to a variety of international yachting publications as a freelance journalist.

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