Couple on yacht

8 Things To Consider When It Comes To Semi Custom Yacht Design

The first step in a yacht’s construction process is yacht design. If you are ready to take the first step towards becoming a yacht owner, you will start off by selecting the yacht builder best suited to your tastes and needs. Then, it’s on to creating the semi custom yacht of your dreams!

Yacht design is a very important step in the boat building process. Your semi custom yacht will not only be a reflection of your personal style and refinement. It should also be a one-of-a-kind reflection of you as an individual.

We put together a list of important points to consider when planning the semi custom yacht of your dreams.



Being intimately involved in the design of your very own semi custom yacht sounds almost too good to be true. But, when you opt to have your yacht built by an artisan, boutique yacht builder like Knysna Yacht Company, personalisation and customization are key aspects, and your input when it comes to yacht design will not only be valued, but encouraged.

The mission to find a trustworthy yacht builder who is an expert in their industry shouldn’t be cumbersome – but it is a step that should be taken seriously. The boat builder you ultimately entrust with designing and building your yacht should commit to frequent and clear communication throughout the entire construction process.

A semi customized; personalised catamaran is just that: a boat as unique as you yourself.

To set sail in a yacht that is an extension of you as an individual, you’ll have to partner with a yacht builder who understands and honours this throughout the entire yacht design and construction process.

If you have selected a competent boat builder that is aligned with your vision, you will embark on the yacht-building journey as a team – and design and create something beautiful together in the process.

KYC Owners


A semi custom yacht is not only less expensive than a custom-built yacht, it also has a shorter waiting period, as it will be quicker to build. These catamarans combine the lower cost of production yachts and the personalisation of custom-built yachts, making them a very attractive option to prospective yacht owners.

From initial planning and yacht design to launch, the entire construction process of a Knysna Yacht Company semi custom yacht usually takes 12 months to complete.

Yacht on ocean


When commissioning a semi custom yacht, it’s easy to get lost in the ‘custom’ bit.

But before you get started on the yacht design process, it’s important to understand the parameters within which you will be working – and that includes the limitations that come with opting for a semi custom yacht.

With a semi custom multihull, you’ll kick off the yacht design process with a standard-stock hull, deck, and superstructure. Your boat builder will use this base as an existing canvas and work their way up from there.

On the plus side, even though they are often more costly, semi custom yachts usually feature more solid engineering and construction than production yachts.

This will provide you with a heavier, more durable vessel that is virtually unsinkable and one that could withstand a grounding with minimal or no damage.

When it comes to your semi custom yacht’s interior design, you’ll find that solid hardwoods and natural veneers are typically used to construct this section of the boat. This will increase your boat’s longevity while adding touches of personal style and quality.

Cupboard door in yacht



In addition to higher-quality interior features and fittings, using the services of a semi custom yacht builder will ensure more sophisticated engineering and system installations than you’d find on a mass-produced production yacht. This will significantly increase the resale value of your semi custom yacht, so your boat’s future owners will bear the fruit of your artisan boat builder’s labour.

Catamaran in sunset



It won’t be a semi custom yacht without more than a few touches unique to the person commissioning the boat, right? Take full advantage of this opportunity to bring aspects of your personal style into key elements of your yacht’s design.

While the available customization options will vary between boat builders, there are a few key aspects of the boat’s interior design that can be altered, including:

  • Cabin layout
  • Décor trims and interior finishes
  • Appliances
  • Specialised fittings

The ability to designate the amount (and placing) of cabins creates a valuable customization option. It means that you’ll be able to choose between three (one large and two small) cabins or four (smaller, equal-sized) cabins for the interior layout of your yacht.

In addition, some yacht builders may even allow for speciality areas, like a music corner fitted with a piano keyboard.

This is a huge advantage of opting for a semi custom yacht. Increased yacht interior customization offers you numerous opportunities to truly make your boat your home on the high seas.

Outside area on yacht



It’s important to remind yourself that a semi custom yacht is not a production yacht. This means that it may take your boat builder up to 12 months to complete the build (including the yacht’s design).

Take the time to research and find the best boat builder for your requirements. Find out what their available building slots are. If the yacht builder can accommodate you within a timeframe that’s acceptable to you, you can start planning a yacht design that will reflect your personality within the yacht builder’s skillset.

A semi custom, personalised catamaran is just that: a unique vessel carefully crafted to your personal tastes. Working with a boat builder who is dedicated to their craft and possesses the necessary skills and experience is an essential part of your semi custom yacht’s design process.

Although it may take a bit longer to set sail on your dream semi custom yacht, it will definitely be worth the wait.

catamaran in sunset



A semi custom yacht costs less than a fully custom one, simply because the hull, deck and deckhouse come ready-made.

It may not be the cheapest, or quickest option when you’re in the market for a new yacht. But on the customization spectrum, a semi custom yacht is considerably more affordable than a fully-custom, built-to-order boat. With only a 12-month lead time, you could be exploring the deep blue in style within a year.

Although cheaper than a fully custom-built boat, a semi custom yacht will still cost more than a production boat, simply because so much of it will be built to your specifications. That said, our semi custom Knysna yachts compare extremely well with some production yachts when it comes to cost.

catamaran on lagoon



During your yacht’s design and construction, you’ll spend lots of one-on-one time with the team building your boat. This is to ensure the utmost quality and, of course, the correct implementation of your tastes, preferences and requirements.

Spending a considerable amount of time with your boat builder and their construction team, you’ll inevitably develop a close relationship with the people bringing your semi custom yacht to life. Often, this is the start of a partnership that will extend far beyond the launch of your boat.

At Knysna Yacht Company, our family of Knysna owners expands with every launch of a new Knysna yacht, and we are always happy to welcome new members to our close-knit collective of ocean adventurers.

Yacht factory



We hope you’ve found these 8 tips helpful – and that they will make deciding on the perfect yacht builder to design your semi custom yacht a little bit easier!

If you’d like to learn more about what makes Knysna Yacht Company such a unique and sought-after boutique yacht builder, have a look at what some members of our KYC family had to say about their experience of the artisan, KYC yacht-building journey here.

If you are ready to take the first step towards becoming a yacht owner or have any questions about our Knysna yachts, don’t hesitate to contact us at – we’d love to hear from you!

Yacht sail

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