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.
Recently delivered superyacht Vertigo has been spotted in Gibraltar yesterday. Two weeks ago we have also seen her arriving to Amsterdam for the final sea trials and fitting out, after which Feadship 96.6m yacht left Holland en route to Gibraltar. In December 2016, the official pictures from the yacht undergoing her sea trials on the North Sea were released. Last year Vertigo has also been spotted in Lelystad, the Netherlands on her way to Amsterdam and the sea.Vertigo saw the light of day on Wednesday 23 November, which is when this 96.55-metre superyacht left the construction hall at the Dutch yard in Makkum. She measures 96.55m/ 316.8ft and has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. Redman Whiteley Dixon was responsible for the exterior design, Chahan Interior for the interior and De Voogt Naval Architects for the naval architecture. With a gross tonnage of 2,999GT, Vertigo was built to Lloyds +100A1 class and will fly the Cayman Islands flag. Powered by twin MTU engines of 3,004hp each, Vertigo will be able to reach a maximum speed of 17 knots and cruise for 5,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.Vertigo accommodates 18 guests in 7 double cabins and 2 twins, as well as a crew of 34. The owner's cabin is located on its own private deck with floor to ceiling windows throughout. Amenities include a spa pool aft of Vertigo's main deck, an extensive beach club with a bar located under the pool, a private cinema and a spa.Vertigo will further have two 10-meter custom Feadship tenders. You can take a closer look at the third largest Feadship superyacht here and find the first official images here.Photos by @superyachts_gibraltar
March 30, 2017
Azimut Yachts has presented its new carbon fiber motor yacht Azimut S7. Measuring 21m, she is offered in Coupé and Sportfly versions featuring a propulsion system with three Volvo IPS units. The Azimut S7 will make its official debut at the 2017 Cannes Yachting Festival.The use of carbon fiber in the superstructure and the pivoting platform has made it possible to increase the volume of the boat without affecting its overall weight, optimizing performance. And the triple IPS technology also provides an additional benefit in the form of even more below deck space. The result is a below deck area that is 13 meters in length, plus a garage with space for both a 3.25 meter tender and a jet ski. This solution leaves the stern clear when the garage is closed, while the pivoting platform creates a terrace on the sea.The exteriors are designed by Stefano Righini, whilst the interiors are the work of Francesco Guida. The heart of the S7 is a 19 m2 owner’s suite, which is organized in four different areas, each with its own function and separated by partitions, mirrors and translucent materials. Also below deck are three more cabins, all with extremely generous proportions. The galley has been moved to the main deck, in the bow, to ensure ease of use without penalizing the big living area. There are two lounging areas, an interior one served by two coffee tables that can be transformed into a big table seating eight and a stand for a 55-inch TV, and a large exterior cabinet with bar counter.The interior styling also stands out from the crowd, combining elegance with a masculine personality. There are two versions, the first warmer and the second more high-tech. This latter style was chosen for the first unit, which features a series of variations on grey and uses materials like glossy black flamed oak and tay wood.The S7 is fitted with three Volvo IPS 1,050 propulsion units, each equipped with an 800 hp engine, that drive the yacht to a maximum speed of more than 35 knots when fully fitted out. On a technical level, the ACS (Advanced Cruising Solutions) program introduces a series of solutions to deliver the best product experience: active trim control to automatically adjust the yacht’s longitudinal trim, the driving joystick, the integrated onboard control and monitoring system, and the auto balance system that transfers fuel from tank to tank to adjust transverse trim in changing load conditions.The Azimut S7 is designed and built to the highest standards applied in the sector and has been issued with the shipyard’s HTS High Technical Standard declaration. The yacht is also eligible for CE A and NMMA certification for boats under 24 meters.Azimut Yachts division, which specializes in yachts in the 12 to 35-meter range and generates about 50% of the Azimut Benetti Group’s total turnover, grew twice as fast as the market average in the four months from September to December 2016.
March 30, 2017
Adastra - Jonno OakeyThe 42.5m Adastra is a three-hulled made-to-order vessel styled by UK yacht designer John Shuttleworth. He was tasked with combining "offshore seaworthiness, comfort, economy of operation and shallow draught". Equipped with the latest and most advanced technology, the superyacht belongs to Hong Kong shipping magnate Anto Marden. Adastra's shape has been specially developed to cut through waves as it glides across the high seas. She can even be controlled remotely at the touch of an Ipad as long as you are not further away than 50 m. Octopus - @_Christo303_Built by Lurssen Yachts in 2003 to a famous Espen Oeino exterior design, Octopus is a 126m megayacht. Capable of accommodating 26 guests in total, she is catered by a crew of 57. Innovating in the art of inner docks, a 20 meter dock can be found through the yacht which can accommodate a large tender or submarine. Owned by Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, the yacht is often found in Antibes where she has a permanent yard which Allen obtained through the merge of several of his maritime assets. Allen bought the 55m Hanse to obtain this berth, immediately selling the yacht after that. Le Grand Bleu - julien Hubert Built by Kusch Yachts in 2000 with a Bannenberg & Rowell interior design, Le Grand Bleu was commissioned by John McCaw, US telecom magnate, but then sold to Roman Abramovitch who enhanced it with a 16ft swimming platform. Le Grand Bleu was then passed to Eugene Shvidler, friend of Abramovich and business partner, in 2006. With a draft of 4.6m and a beam of 17.68m, Le Grand Bleu is powered by twin diesel Deutz engines of 4,570 hp each which give the yacht a cruising speed of 15 knots and a maximum speed of 17 knots. She accommodates up to 20 guests and carries multitude of toys including a Dubois sailing yacht, a 21m planning yacht named Beatrix and built by Sunseeker, two 11m speedboats and a Land Rover.Vertigo - @Yachts_on_the_rockVertigo is a 96.55m motor yacht built by Feadship in 2016. She has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. She is powered by MTU engines of 3000 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 17 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots. The motor yacht can accommodate 18 guests in 9 cabins and an exterior design by Redman Whiteley Dixon.Excellence V - @Superyacht_stylesExcellence V is a 60m motor yacht built by Abeking & Rasmussen in 2012. With a beam of 12.8 m and a draft of 3.4 m, she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. This adds up to a gross tonnage of 1632 tons. She is powered by engines of 2005 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 16 knots and a cruising speed of 13 knots. The motor yacht can accommodate 12 guests in 6 cabins. The yacht was designed by Reymond Langton Design.
March 30, 2017
Icon Yachts together with Bristow Holmes brokerage firm unveiled 46m Project Gotham last November. Now the Dutch shipyard has revealed the interiors, created by Ivan Erdevicki. Built by the Dutch shipyard and designed in partnership with ER Yacht Design, she promises to be one of the most iconic yachts of the future. Ivan Erdevicki styled both the exterior and interior, whilst Icon Yachts and Van Oossanen were responsible for the naval architecture.The Gotham Project is able to accommodate 10 guests in 5 cabins, as well as a crew of 10.Powered by twin 2000hp MTU engines and capable of up to 26 knots utilizing traditional shaft drives ensures she boasts the performance to match her striking exterior. Her custom glass wine cellar, gymnasium and symmetrical entertainment areas are just a few of her truly unique features.The Gotham Project is due for delivery in Spring 2019, with keel laying in October 2017.
March 29, 2017
92-meter Aquarius (Project Touchdown) was launched by Feadship in September 2016. @Superyacht_stylesSince then the Dutch shipyard has released official images of its new yacht and at the end of November we saw the superyacht leaving Holland. And now we've been informed that Aquarius has been spotted in Fort Lauderdale, the USA.92m Aquarius was initially built at Scheepswerft Slob and then was relocated to the Dutch shipyard's finishing facilities in June 2015. The superyacht features a resolutely contemporary exterior design with a number of archetypal Feadship elements, such as a conventional bow and raked superstructure shape. @Yachts_newyorkThe profile comes from the boards of the Dutch company Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design, which was also responsible for the interior design together with the owner's design team in close cooperation with Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects.Aquarius' key features include a helipad on the bow, a beauty salon, a large pool on the aft main deck, a gym, massage and therapy room, jacuzzi and large outdoor deck spaces. As for the accommodation, 14 guests can be carried on board in 7 suites, including 6 VIP-suites forward on the main deck and an owner's suite on the upper deck.
March 29, 2017