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.
Jaime Botin, part of the Satander banking dynasty, had been caught transporting a Picasso painting on his 67-meter sailing yacht Adix back in 2015. Now Madrid courts have fined the Spanish billionaire for €52.4 million and sentenced him to 18 months in prison.Botin, an active art collector, purchased Picasso's "Head of a Young Woman" painting back in 1977 for his collection. In February 2013, he tried to sell the painting at a Christies' auction in London but the art work couldn't leave Spain at their culture ministry's decision.Spain has some of the strictest laws when it comes to national heritage. According to them, any work of art over 100 years old that is considered culturally important in the view of their culture ministry can be deemed a national treasure, requiring its owner to get a permit in order to transport it out of Spain. Botin's permit was denied back in 2012.In 2015, Botin, according to Bloomberg, had his driver transport the painting from his Madrid home to Valencia where his 67-meter sailing yacht Adix was docked. When setting sail in June 2015, her captain didn't include the artwork on the list of onboard items. Soon after it set sail for Corsica, from where Botin had chartered a jet to ferry it to Geneva where he intended to keep it according to the publication.Tipped off that Botin's permit for the export of the Picasso hadn't gone through earlier, they inspected the yacht and found the painting in the captain's cabin.Adix itself is currently in Australia, finishing up her refit programme at the yard Brisbane. The yacht is set to remain in the South Pacific up to the America's Cup in Auckland in 2021. The painting found onboard the yacht in 2015 had an estimated value of $27 million, with experts saying it could now be even more. It has since become the property of the Spanish State.With a net worth valued by Forbes at $1.7 billion, Jaime Botin is the largest shareholder of Spanish bank Bankinter and a member of Spain's most prominent banking families. His great grandfather had founded Spain's largest bank, Santander.
January 18, 2020
Richard Matthews, original founder of Oyster Yachts, has returned to its board as a non-executive director. This follows Richard Hadida buying the company in 2018. Matthews had founded the sailing yacht manufacturer back in 1973.Oyster Yachts built its first 32ft sailing boat in 1973. From there it gradually extended its range of sailing yachts finding its sweet spot in 56ft to 125ft units designed by Robert Humphreys. In 2008 the company was sold to private equity firm Balmoral Capital for £70 million, before the firm disposed of it to HTP Investments for £15 million in 2012.Following a failure of the internal hull structure on Polina Star III, an Oyster 825 model, which led to the yacht sinking in 2015. This led to a recall of 4 other units and a dent in the builder's cash flow despite a £83 million order book in 2017. The following year, the company went into administration, before being purchased by Richard Hadida.Hadida is mostly known for founding Evolution Gaming, a company that powers most online casino games and currently trades on the Swedish stock market with a market cap of near €5 billion. His fried, yacht owner and automotive mogul Eddie Jordan was formerly also involved in the takeover bid with Oyster but later backed out."It is hugely important to me personally that the founder of the brand [Richard Matthews] I hold so close to my heart has given it his seal of approval by joining our board." Hadida explained. "Having restored the company to its former glory with the support of a fantastic team – from talented craftsmen to dedicated management – this feels like confirmation that Oyster is once again synonymous with quality and excellence, just as it was when Richard founded it back in 1973".
January 18, 2020
Turkish shipyard Numarine has announced the sale of 5 yachts from its XP series, bringing the total in the series up to 10. Four of these will be 26-meters in length and one 32-meters."These achievements indicate the relevance and popularity of the series" commented Numarine founder Omer Malaz. "We are very pleased that five more international customers will be able to experience what high quality and impeccable Numarine style are."All built on the same platform with identical layouts, the four 26XP yachts will feature a spacious flybridge, a main salon on the main deck and 4 guest cabins on the lower deck. Interior designs and finishes will be customised to the owner's tastes.The only substantial difference between the units will be the hulls, with one of them being semi-displacement with MAN engines of 1,200hp each, whilst the remaining ones will be displacement units with engines of 560-800hp each also manufactured by MAN.The 26XP and 32XP series were both designed by Can Yalman with naval architecture by Umberto Tagliavini. The Numarine 32XP model was being marketed at just under €9.3 million whilst the 26XP was asking just over €3.8 million.
January 17, 2020
Italian shipyard Sanlorenzo has confirmed the launched of its 4th 52-meter yacht, Lady Lena. Purchased by her Russian owner in 2018, she is set to be delivered in late 2020. Another four units of the Steel 52 series are currently under construction at the yard.Coming in at 499 gross tons, the 52 Steel was formerly the flagship series of Sanlorenzo before the introduction of larger models to the mix. Designed by Mauro Micheli from Officina Italiana Design, the first unit launched was Seven Sins.Amongst Lady Lena key features, similarly to her sisterships, is a 94-square-meter beach club which features two fold-out platforms on both sides of the yacht. A lounge area is located directly underneath a pool with a glass bottom aft of the main deck. Sistership Seven SinsPowered by twin Caterpillar engines, Lady Lena will reach a top speed of 17 knots and cruise at 15 knots. At an economical speed of 11 knots, she will be able to cross the Atlantic with a 4,000 nm max range.One of the world's largest yacht shipyards, Sanlorenzo went public in December 2019 at a market cap of just over €550 million on the Italian stock exchange. In 2018, the group posted revenues of €327 million, a third of which came from its superyacht division.
January 17, 2020
In November 2019, Italian superyacht manufacturer Cantiere delle Marche has announced the recent sale of a 35-meter explorer superyacht. The Second 35 Meter Explorer Superyacht MG115 was sold to an Asian owner on December 24th.The project has a naval architecture, which was developed on its own in collaboration with long-time partner Cantiere delle Marche Hydro Tec, and has the exterior design of the famous Florentine designer Francesco Pashkovsky. All models in the MG line have similar styles that are characterized by bold masculine lines that have become associated with vessels that fall under the designation "explorer."Designed to travel to the most remote and secluded areas of the globe, the MG 115 is an elegant yet robust, reliable, environmentally friendly long range research vessel.Despite the fact that the MG115 is relatively compact, it is able to accommodate the spaces and luxurious amenities that can be expected from a large yacht. “We don’t produce ‘white yachts’ that look like explores just to follow a trend,” says Buonpensiere. “Throughout the years, we have showed the market that we are able to build true explorers that have both elegance and style of a white yacht. The solutions we have fielded to make the MG line meet all these requirements are once again driving CdM’s explorer yachts forward.”The yacht, located on four decks, will have a steel hull and an aluminum superstructure with spacious recreation areas, recreation and dining areas.The vessel will accommodate up to 10 guests, which will be served by six crew members. Accommodation on board a ship with full displacement in five suits; two VIPs and two twins on the lower deck and a master suite in front of the main deck. In accordance with modern trends, special emphasis was placed on large windows, natural light, outdoor areas and proximity to the ocean. However, only limited parts are available at this stage.Two 533 kW engines each provide a maximum speed of 13.5 knots and a flight range of more than 5000 nautical miles.
January 13, 2020