Following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, some Russians were able to amass vast fortunes putting them amongst the richest men in the world. According to Forbes, Russia currently has 77 billionaires despite the country's current economic crisis.
In the past two decades, these oligarchs have been instrumental to the development of the yachting industry, setting a new benchmark as to what could be considered to be a megayacht.
In 1990, the world of megayachts was mainly dominated by Middle Eastern Royal families and Greek magnates such as Stavros Niarchos (commissioned the Atlantis and Atlantis II). The 147m Prince Abdulaziz, owned by the Saudi Royal family, was at the time the largest superyacht in the world.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the landscape of the megayacht industry however started to change with a new influx of owners from Russia and the US tech scene. From 1992 to 2005, 20 superyachts over 80 meters in length were delivered, surpassing the 19 megayachts delivered from 1865 to 1992.
These new megayachts famously included Paul Allen's Octopus, David Geffen's Rising Sun, Berezovsky's Radiant but also the yachts that came to be known in the field as Abramovich's Navy consisting of Sussurro, Ecstasea, Le Grand Bleu, Luna, Pelorus and later Eclipse.
As the financial crisis hit the sector in 2008, the small and middle-size yachting market was severely hit but while many thought the megayacht industry would collapse, it continued its exponential growth. Between 2008 and 2016, a further 48 megayachts have been built, doubling the previous decades' amount of yachts over 80m delivered.
Not only were there suddenly more megayachts but their size also grew with the 162.5m Eclipse being delivered in 2010 for Mr. Abramovich. This growth in uncertain times was once again, in most part, brought by an expanding class of Russian oligarchs.
Serene, first yacht built by Ficantieri was ordered by Yuri Sheffler before being sold in 2015 to a Middle Eastern buyer. M/Y A was famously commissioned by Andrei Melnichenko and delivered in 2008, same year as Lurssen delivered the first 110m Dilbar to Mr Usmanov.
As many began to think that this segment would finally collapse with a weak recovery followed by recession in Russia, demand did not go away. In 2014, 104m Quantum Blue was delivered to Sergey Galitskiy and 140m Ocean Victory to Viktor Rashnikov.
In the summer of 2016, a new Dilbar, which is now speculated to be the largest yacht by gross tonnage, was delivered to Mr Usmanov. As for Abramovich's Navy, it has now been split up with Eugene Schvidler now owning Le Grand Bleu, Farkhad Akhmedov buying Luna whilst Pelorus and Ecstasea were both sold to Middle Eastern buyers.
Whether this growth of the megayacht sector will continue is questionable due to renewed turmoil in Russia's economy. Melnichenko's newest 142m S/Y A project however does seem to be a good indicator that there may be one day a 200m yacht.
Here below are some of the most advanced and industry-leading yachts that were commissioned by Russian oligarchs over the past two decades.
162.5m Eclipse - Roman Abramovich
Photo by Julien Hubert
The 162.5m yacht was built by by German shipyard Blohm & Voss in 2010 and held the title of the world's largest private yacht until 2013, when the 180 metre Azzam stole the crown. Although not all the details of the megayacht are unveiled, it is known that her interiors feature designs by the renowned London-based team at Terence Disdale Design. It is speculated that Eclipse boasts a military-grade missile defense system, armor plating and bulletproof windows, while hosting three helipads, a private theater and a fitness center.
156m Dilbar - Alisher Usmanov
Photo by @superyachts_gibraltar
World's largest yacht by a volume, the 156m Dilbar was delivered to Alisher Usmanov in May 2016. Confidentiality is upheld to the highest degree at Lurssen, which celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2015, but it is understood that Dilbar's exterior design comes from Espen Oeino with interiors by Andrew Winch. It is also know the yacht has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. The Russian oligarch has another Lurssen superyacht, 110m Ona, that was previously named Dilbar as well.
140m Ocean Victory - Viktor Rashnikov
Delivered by Fincantieri in 2014, Ocean Victory is designed by Espen Oeino with interior spaces created by the late Alberto Pinto together with Sessa Romboli. Owned by Viktor Rashnikov, the vessel accommodates up to 36 guests. As with many other yachts of this size, she is packed with alluring features such as 6 pools spread out over her 7 decks, an internal floodable dock to house her 14m tender,two helipads and a vast spa area.
119m A - Andrey Melnichenko
M/Y A, owned by Andrey Melnichenko is reportedly now for sale. A was built by Blohm+Voss in 2008. Designed by Philippe Starck, the vessel remains the most talked-about yacht on the seas. She is capable of accommodating 14 guests in 7 luxurious cabins, as well as a crew of 42. Mr Melnichenko's second yacht, the 142.8m S/Y A, is being built at the Nobiskrug shipyard in Germany. According to the Daily Mail, the new project will cost close to 450 million dollars.
99m Madame Gu - Andrei Skoch
According to Forbes Russia, the 99m superyacht belongs to Andrei Skoch. Madame Gu was built by Feadship in 2013 and delivered after four years of construction. Andrew Winch styled her exterior, whilst De Voogt was responsible for the naval architecture. With perfect proportions, it's hard to imagine that her tonnage exceeds 2,900 GRT. The interior, also designed by Andrew Winch, accommodates twelve guests in six cabins. The crew quarters are composed of 18 cabins for 36 members. This twin screw superyacht is powered by quadruple 3,600kW MTU engines providing a top speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 22 knots.
95.15m Palladium - Mikhail Prokhorov
With an original design by Michael Leach, Palladium, formerly Project Orca, is thought to be owned by Mikhail Prokhorov. Palladium is a 95.15m (312.17 ft) luxury motor yacht, built by Blohm + Voss in 2010. With a beam of 16.00m and a draft of 4.40m, she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure.
88.5m Nirvana - Vladimir Potanin
Built by Oceanco in 2012, Nirvana was the star of the Monaco Yacht Show the following year busting an aquarium aft and a set of revolutionary features. Owned by Vladimir Potanin, the yacht features a jungle-themed interior design. Nirvana also hosts two spa pools and extensive lounging accommodations. Designed by Sam Sorgiovanni, the yacht has a transpacific range and a maximum speed of 19.5 knots. Nirvana was previously listed for sale asking 199 million euros but was supposedly taken off the market without any sale occurring.
Phi launched at Royal Huisman’s newbuild facility in Vollenhove, The Netherlands. Phi’s overall length is 58.5m developed and constructed below 500GT, she is by far the longest motoryacht in this category, based on current Classification rules. Phi’s general concept, exterior design and interior layout were made by Cor D. Rover, whereas Naval architecture was done by Van Oossanen Naval Architects. Lawson Robb is the author of interior design.Royal Huisman is a Dutch shipyard established in 1884 in Ronduite, building and refitting custom luxury sailing and motor yachts at its shipyard in Vollenhove, the Netherlands.Credits: Royal Huisman
July 23, 2021
The newest model in the Flybridge Collection is the Azimut 68. The shipyard is offering the new Azimut 68 with three possible main deck configurations, plus a multifunctional area, each with a particular lifestyle in mind.In the first layout called Lanterna, an elegant living area is located by the main deck entrance, with the galley tucked away behind an innovative surface of ribbed wood and plexiglass. For owners who are seeking a more convivial layout, the open galley version is the ideal solution. The galley is in a discreet location towards the bow, but opens directly into the dining area, which can also be converted into a second lounge zone.For a slightly less formal layout, the aft galley arrangement is situated to readily serve indoors and more often outdoors, while keeping the cook connected with the entire social area. The dining is found immediately across from the galley as you enter from the cockpit, creating a relaxed flow, which leads to the living area forward.Each main deck option has been tastefully integrated into the overall design to complete a stunning yacht. Exterior designer Alberto Mancini penned the Azimut 68 as a further renewal of his characteristic style, sculpting the surfaces to achieve a sporty and modern design, an approach more commonly seen in sports car design. The interiors are designed by Achille Salvagni. He also designed the exterior furniture.Below deck, four cabins and three bathrooms accommodate up to eight guests, with a separate area for one or two crew members.The propulsion package of twin Volvo IPS 1350 pods carries the Azimut 68 up to a brisk maximum speed of 32 knots. <iframe width=560 height=315 src=https://www.youtube.com/embed/3gwy8QJ6htc title=YouTube video player frameborder=0 allow=accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture allowfullscreen></iframe>Azimut Yachts is an Azimut Benetti Group brand. With its Atlantis, Magellano Flybridge, S, Verve and Grande collections, it offers the widest range of 34- to 125-foot yachts.Credits: Azimut Yachts
July 23, 2021
Australian based Azurite Yacht Design presented the 26.8m electric powerboat Infinit-e 88 with an aluminum hull and superstructure. Her exterior design features metallic pearl hull colour with a matte black superstructure that supports glass roof and full height windows in port and starboard that promises a living area with lots of natural light. Full height starboard windows are also sliding doors with a 2 meters opening that provides an open layout with an additional entrance to the boat. On the front deck, there is a convertible dining area for six people with an additional sunbathing area on the very front of the boat. The most exclusive feature of the yacht is expanding aft swimming platform that can give an additional 2 meters of a platform area right next to the water. There are two garages at the aft deck that can fit surfboards, 2x Seabob, wetsuits, and diving equipment with easy access from the swimming platform.Credits: Azurite Yacht Design
July 23, 2021
Heesen has delivered YN 19550 MY Ela, formerly known as Project Altea. The yacht set sail from the Netherlands in July with her crew, and after meeting her owners in Gibraltar, will spend the summer cruising in the Mediterranean. Primarily intended for family use, Ela will also join the charter fleet of Zarpo Yachts to be available for selected clients.Ela has a lightweight, aluminium, fast-displacement hull, she is the second in Heesen's sub-500GT Nova Plus class. Ela was available with a very short delivery time when she caught the attention of her owners. With just three months between purchase and delivery they worked with interior designer Cristiano Gatto and the Heesen team to personalize the yacht to suit their family requirements. "Together with the client, we revisited all the loose furniture, inside and out, selecting new materials for all the upholstery and the key items from Paola Lenti, B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, and Promemoria," said Cristiano. "But more importantly, we designed bespoke pieces, such as tables, sofas, and lamps, all beautifully crafted by Italian ateliers, who delivered them in record time." Ela can accommodate twelve guests in six staterooms, with the owners' suite on the main deck forward and the remaining five cabins – a full beam VIP, two doubles and two twins – on the lower deck."Ela is a magnificent addition to the Heesen fleet. We are very strong in this particular segment of the market – 50m all-aluminium yachts below 500 GT – and ours are recognized as the best in this market sector. Our delivery team worked seamlessly with Captain Antonio Gerini and Tony Lovec Management to deliver the yacht without fuss and on time for the summer season. On behalf of everyone at Heesen, I would like to wish the owners and their crew many happy days with family and friends wherever they may cruise!" says Friso Visser, Heesen CCO.Ela is powered by twin MTU 2000-series M72 V12s. She has a maximum speed of just under 20 knots, frugal fuel consumption, and a draft of just 2.15 meters, which makes her the most efficient yacht of her type built in the Netherlands.Heesen Yachts is a Dutch ship building company that specializes in custom-built superyachts in aluminium and steel from 30m to 70m in size. Founded in 1978, it has launched more than 170 yachts since its inception.Credits: Heesen Yachts
July 23, 2021
Design studio Lazzarini shared the new Saturnia 100m superyacht concept made from dry carbon fiber. She is estimated to be 50% lighter than other yachts of similar sizes and will be able to reach a top speed of 30 knots.Her main feature is the middle entrance of the yacht, which allows tenders with a draft of up to 1.5 meters to moor inside the private port/garage.Saturnia can be configured to different layouts to obtain 10 or 20 suites for passengers and up to 20 crew members. Several pools and alfresco dining areas and a glass-bottom lounge will be also located on board.The five-deck concept is imagined to have a hybrid propulsion system, consisting of twin side diesel engines and a central electronic water jet device.Pagurus is one more nature-inspired concept by Lazzarini Design Studio. The futuristic swan-shaped Avanguardia is another. Credits: Lazzarini
July 22, 2021