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 SussurroEcstaseaLe Grand BleuLunaPelorus 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.

Latest News

Heesen 56-meter Project Neptune in details and photos
Heesen has released the details of the fully-custom project YN 18556, now that the steel hull and superstructure were joined together at the shipyard’s facility in Oss. The yacht that is rapidly taking shape after the laying the keel in January, was christened Neptune. British studio H2 worked on the Heesen pre-engineered FDHF platform to create a contemporary profile that retains the Dutch yard’s family look. The subtle paint scheme has a silver nuance on the transom, wing station and mast. On the functional side, the exterior design includes tenders conveniently stored on the forward deck under hatch covers on the foredeck. The lower beach club houses water toys. A 3.5-meter long fixed platform provides easy access to the water. Warm teak, blue backlit panels and bamboo finishing of the outdoor lounge areas blend with the ocean beyond. The owner appointed Reymond Langton to create a bright and elegant interior, making the most of the boat’s 770 GT. His 85-square-meter apartment is set forward on the main deck, comprising a private gym with steam room, office, full-beam bedroom and bathroom. The interior architecture throughout the main deck and upper deck saloons is in sycamore combined with understated geometric motifs. The delicate fabrics and soft furnishings interplay with artworks in glass, gypsum, resin and bronze. Accommodation for eight guests is split across four suites on the lower deck, all with king-size beds and private bathrooms. The fifth cabin is located on the bridge deck. Both owners and guests will be discreetly serviced by the 13 crew thanks to separate crew corridors and stairs. Project Neptune complies with Lloyds 100A1 SSC Yacht LMC, Large Commercial Yacht LY3 and IMO Tier III exhaust emission regulations. Powered by twin MTU 8V 4000 M63 engines, the boat will reach a maximum speed of 15.5 knots with a cruising range at 13 knots of 4.300 nautical miles.Neptune is due for delivery in 2019.
5 reasons to invest in Fast Support Vessel 6711
Delivered in 2014 by Damen, parent company of Amels, and Monaco-based Imperial Yachts acting as owner's representative and build-supervisor throughout the process, Fast Support Vessel 6711 is part of the Dutch shipyard's Sea Axe series, dedicated to building support vessels for superyachts. Now looking for a new owner through Imperial, here are some of the main reasons why she's worth investing in.Any superyacht, no matter how large it is, ultimately faces constraints as to what it can carry onboard due to a finite amount of space. To adapt to this, compromises are often made with regards to the tenders used and the toys found onboard. Having the 6711 as a Fast Support Vessel however, lets its owner no longer compromise and get the best possible tenders and toys thanks to the 6711's 275 square meters of open deck space.Not only can the 6711 expand the mothership's arsenal of tenders, it can also welcome a set of toys that the vast majority of superyachts could never accommodate. One example of such a toy is, for example, a 3-person Triton submarine that the 67-meter support vessel is able to gracefully carry and quickly launch when needed.Helicopter operations are often an afterthought for superyachts, this is however not the case with this Sea Axe. Amongst the 6711's key features is commercial-grade helipad (D-value: 14m and 5,000kg) located aft of its upper deck, which can accommodate the largest helicopters on the market. A refueling station is also built into the yacht with a capacity to carry up to 5,000l of Jet A-1 fuel.Sea Axe support vessels are by nature impressive, the 6711 takes this to another level. One of the key, custom features on this 67-meter yacht is her dedicated dive center, with a built-in decompression chamber, an amenity that was built on purpose for the 6711, making it a unique support vessel on the market.From a technical standpoint, the 6711 is powered by 4 incredibly powerful MTU 16V 4000 engines, which give the yacht a maximum speed of 19 knots and allow her to cruise for up to 8,720 nautical miles at 15 knots, consuming just 660 liters of fuel per hour. This makes her an ideal option to send ahead of the mothership and explore bays and secluded areas ahead of the mothership's arrival.Project managed and commissioned by Imperial Yachts, the 67.15-meter support yacht is now looking for a new owner with her asking price available upon request.Sponsored by Imperial YachtsC. Johan Kaasjager E. j.kaasjager@imperial-yachts.com T. +33 607 93 09 09
Top 5 sunsets of the week
#1. Dilbar Known throughout its highly secretive build as Project Omar, the 156-meter yacht was launched at Lurssen facility in 2015. Upon her delivery to the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov the following year, the boat was christened Dilbar after her owner’s mother. With her gross tonnage of 15.917 tons, she has officially become the world's largest yacht by volume. The mega-yacht boasts exterior design by Espen Oeino and interior styling by Andrew Winch. Dilbar features a combined 3.800 square meters of living space, being able to host up to 40 guests and a crew of 80.Photo courtesy of Julien Hubert. #2. Mayan Queen IV Owned by Mexican mining magnate, Alberto Bailleres, the 93-meter Mayan Queen IV was delivered by Blohm + Voss in 2008. The superyacht boasts a distinctive two-toned hull structure designed by Tim Heywood, though very little is known about her interior, except that it was designed by Terence Disdale. She has a touch-and-go helipad on the foredeck and two small craft garages, one forward and one on the aft, the latter being convertible into a beach club when the tender is launched. Bought at an estimated price between $140 and $150 million, the yacht costs approximately $15 million a year to operate, according to yachting publications, which apparently isn't a problem for her owner, who regularly cruises around the world. #3. Blues Built in GRP by South African yard Southern Wind. The saiboat was delivered in 2010, with Nauta Design responsible for the general concept, interior design and exterior styling. Her wardrobe of carbon fiber sails is from Quantum Sails in South Africa, while, under power, a 305hp diesel engine gives her a cruising speed of 10 knots. As for accommodation, guest quarters comprise a master suite, VIP suite and two twin cabins, all with en-suite shower facilities. This year Blues was put up for sale, asking €5,400,000. #4. Radiant Built by Lurssen in 2009 to Tim Heywood exterior design, Radiant has a length of 110 meters, a beam of 16.2 meters and a 4.6-meter draft. Commissioned by Boris Berezovsky, Russian billionaire, who died in London in 2013 after having lost a huge lawsuit against his former partner Roman Abramovich, this yacht was supposed to rival Abramovich's Pelorus. The mega-yacht was sold for € 240 million to Abdulla al Futtaim, owner of the Dubai-based conglomerate active in retail, automotive, technology and real estate. Edmiston claimed a sales commission on the purchase, which Berezovsky denied to pay. In 2011 a commission of € 6.0 million was finally rewarded to the brokerage firm by London court decision. #5. S/Y A The 142.8-meter S/Y A by Nobiskrug is the largest sail-assisted motor yacht in the world. She was built in 2017 for Andrey Melnichenko to the design by Philippe Starck, who was also responsible for the Russian billionaire's M/Y A exterior. With masts taller than Big Ben at nearly 100 meters in height, S/Y A reaches a top speed of 20 knots without using her sails. She boasts a digital control system that has a touch-sensitive sheet of black glass, allowing the crew to raise and lower sails and the anchor with a simple swipe. Among the yacht's key features is also an underwater observation pod and a large swimming pool with a retractable roof located towards the bow of the boat. Photo by David Parody.
Oyster says, their new sailing yacht will be Aston Martin on water
Light and fast, the carbon fiber 33-meter S/Y Alpha promises to be the Aston Martin on the water, claims the British shipyard that has teamed up with the US-based Reichel-Pugh studio to deliver their latest project to a repeat owner. David Tydeman, Oyster Yachts CEO, explains the difference between the sporty sloop-rigged Alpha and the yard’s in-build flagship Oyster 118 that with its solid structure is meant to venture far offshore: “The choice is perhaps akin to a decision about whether to use the Range Rover [Oyster 118] or the Aston Martin [Alpha]. One is definitely fun for the blast to the golf club, but the other you’d choose for the longer drive up to the Scottish Highlands.” The sailboat is offered in two design versions: one with a wedge deck (left) and the other with a more traditional deck (right), the choice being left to the discretion of the customer. Alpha will be able to accommodate up to eight guests in her four en-suite staterooms, including a full-beam master-suite in the bow, and six members of crew. The flagship 36-meter Oyster 118, developed in partnership with Humphreys Yacht Design, is due for delivery in spring 2020.
Evolution of classics: Codecasa new 65-meter flagship takes shape
The Italian yard has released the first photos of the ongoing 65-meter project from Codecasa facility in Pisa. This is the fourth modification of the iconic model, ordered in 2008 by the fashion designer Giorgio Armani. Also known as Hull 74, it reviews and highlights the distinctive features of the three previous versions. The construction of the superyacht started in April this year, after the project was signed by the owner. Her steel hull already complete, the boat undergoes hot works on her superstructure. Codecasa engineers and the in-house design team in tandem with the designers appointed by the owner have also joined the project at this stage, so that the yacht can be delivered as scheduled in the summer of 2019. Although further technical specifications will follow later, Codecasa exterior stylist, Dominico Gozzani summarized the essence of the new model: “The new Codecasa 65 is a sober and elegant yacht that conveys a feeling of solidity without appearing too rigorous. Its intentionally “masculine” profile, balanced between classic and trendy lines, captivates thanks to a natural and thoughtful synthesis of the Codecasa nautical tradition with the classic lines evolution, achieving the new classic style by subtraction.” In comparison with the first 65-meter flagship, this enhanced version is set to meet the contemporary requirements, with its windows and portholes enlarged, and glazing on the upper deck covering all the surface, from floor to ceiling. As for the layout, it most notably features a dedicated owner’s area, occupying the entire upper deck. It comprises a salon, a larger owner’s suite with contiguous VIP cabins and a direct access to a private external living area forward. The guest quarters on the lower deck include four cabins, while the main deck is devoted to reception and hospitality thanks to a vast salon and dining room. The boat’s vital statistics, however, remained the same as those of her predecessors’. With a beam of 11.2 meters, the 65-meter superyacht will be able to reach a top speed of 17 knots.Among other projects under development at Codecasa Shipyards is the Hull C122 of the Vintage Series unveiled in 2011 with the 42-meter motor yacht Magari.