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.
The Ritz-Carlton Hotel has announced itineraries and shore excursions for its Luxury Yacht Collection. Three luxury cruising yachts are scheduled to sail in 2020. Ritz-Carlton will start taking reservation from May 21 from its loyalty members and those of its parent company Marriott International. The very first voyage will sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Feb. 1, 2020, for a 8-night cruise in the Caribbean. The yacht will travel to Bimini, Bahamas, and Key West, Florida, before returning to Fort Lauderdale.In its inaugural season, The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection will offer 40 different voyages, most ranging from 7 to 10 nights. Number of experiences will be available, such as visiting a renowned winery in Bordeaux, France, learning how baby oysters are grown in a private farm in Sete, France or even emeeting with a spiritual shaman in the Grenadines. The shore excursions will be grouped into five categories: Iconic Sights (art and culture); Stirring the Senses (wellness); Cultural Connections (wild life); Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences. The trips “illustrate our commitment to providing rare opportunities to today’s luxury traveler,” said Lisa Holladay, global brand leader for The Ritz-Carlton, in a statement.The unique designed yachts will measure 190 meters, with 149 suites accommodating up to 298 passengers, which is more like superyacht than an actual cruise ship. Each stateroom has its own private terrace. The yachts will also feature two 158-square-meter penthouses, each with its own private whirlpool, modern craftsmanship and interior finishes jointly designed by The Ritz-Carlton and design firm Tillberg Design of Sweden. Prices have not yet been released.
April 19, 2018
Equanimity is 91.5-metre yacht built by Oceanco and delivered in 2014. Her owner is Malaysian financier, Jho Low. Previously, Equanimity was seized by the request of the US Government and then was in the spotlight of the US Government. Recently, an Indonesian court blocked U.S. efforts control a $250 million yacht connected to fraud scandal, on the basis that its arrest off the resort island of Bali was invalid and saying the vessel should be returned to its owner. The U.S. Justice Department contends that the Equanimity was acquired with money stolen in fraudulent schemes linked to the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd. The Indonesian judge said that the seizure of the yacht in Bali by Indonesian police acting at the request of U.S. authorities was “invalid and legally baseless.” The judge ruled the seizure was invalid on a technicality. He said the U.S. request didn’t follow a 2006 law on mutual legal assistance because it didn’t go to the Justice Ministry, but directly to police. The ruling can’t be appealed.Equanimity is owned by a trust that is controlled by a Malaysian financier, Jho Low, who the Justice Department alleges is a central player in a $4.5 billion fraud that involved siphoning money from 1MDB. The fund was set up by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in 2009 and is the focus of investigations in half a dozen countries. Both 1MDB and Mr. Najib have denied wrongdoing and said they would cooperate with any lawful international investigation. Multiple investigations in Malaysia into 1MDB closed without finding wrongdoing. Indonesian police said they accept the verdict and will soon turn over the 300-foot, Cayman Islands-flagged vessel to its owner, Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta referred queries to the Justice Department. The department didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a statement to Yacht Harbour, a spokeswoman for Equanimity's owner said:"Claimants, the owners of Equanimity, welcome the Indonesian court's ruling, which upholds the rule of law and confirms that the FBI-instigated seizure of the vessel was improper and unlawful. The incident is yet another example of the unjustified global overreach by the U.S. Government, which has gone to extreme and improper lengths to seize assets around the world while steadfastly avoiding having to prove that there are any merits to its case."Indonesian police came aboard the Equanimity in Bali on Feb. 28 after the vessel had cruised Southeast Asian waters for months. FBI agents and Indonesian police searched the vessel and its computers and interrogated crew members. The boat has stayed in Bali with a crew on board while the case moved through the courts. Lawyers for Equanimity (Cayman) Ltd. said that the seizure didn’t follow Indonesian law on providing mutual assistance to foreign law-enforcement agencies. The U.S. has sought via civil lawsuits in California, since mid-2016, to seize almost $2 billion in assets allegedly bought with money stolen from 1MDB, including mansions, a Bombardier jet and royalties from the film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The Equanimity is the largest single asset. The U.S. has asserted in court filings that U.S. laws were broken in the larger 1MDB case, and that gives it rights to those assets. The Justice Department had hoped to quickly transport the boat to the U.S. to sell. In the U.S., the government has filed a civil asset forfeiture case against the Equanimity, which means that the asset cannot be sold until the case is resolved. To take possession of the boat, the government has to prove it was bought with stolen money. All asset forfeitures tied to the 1MDB case are technically on hold, because the government asked for a temporary stay on all 17 cases while it completes a parallel criminal investigation into 1MDB affair and all dealings related.
April 19, 2018
Tactical 77 is 23.47-metre new-build project recently sold to American client by Canadian yard Tactical Custom Boats. With unique hull shape design, aggressive pseudo-military exterior styling and luxurious accommodations inside by American studio Bill Prince Yacht Design, this go-anywhere all-aluminium yacht will be built at Tactical’s shipyard in British Columbia, focusing on speed and comfort. Key features will include gyroscopic stabilisers, a folding transom that allows superyacht water toys launch without the davit crane, the most modern electronics and lightweight carbon fibre in the interior. Tactical Custom Boats is a brand of Platinum Marine and Crescent Custom Yachts, specializing in high performance aluminum boats designed for speed, comfort, and safety in all operating conditions . Tactical 77 is due to be delivered in 2019.
April 18, 2018
Luna is a 114.2-metre superyacht built by Lloyd Werft and delivered to Roman Abramovich in 2010. In 2014 the yacht was sold to Azerbaijani billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov at an asking price reported at €240 million. In 2015-2016 Luna had a refit with an alleged value of near €50 million. Works included a new paint job, fairing of the hull for the first time, 2 meter lengthening to improve the balance of the yacht. The spa area and beach club were also refitted, larger windows were added for more light coming in. All the engines were overhauled, plus all the tenders were replaced. In February 2016 Luna left Bremerhaven, with first destination Norway. In the winter of 2017/2018 Luna was sent to Dubai for additional works. Recently, Luna has been impounded in the Dubai, United Arab Emirates by the authorities as billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov and his ex-wife Tatiana Akhmedova are fighting for control of the asset. It follows a British court ruling that Akhmedov owes his ex-spouse $567 million and as she seeks his global assets to get her share of the settlement. She claims that he has been hiding his money to avoid paying her. Forbes says the net worth of Akhmedov, who started his business career selling sable furs, was $1.4 billion which he made after he sold shares in the Russian company ZAO Northgas in 2012. He was included last year on the U.S. Treasury blacklist of Russian businessmen and companies that had close links to Vladimir Putin.However, Straight Establishment, which is the family trust for Akhmedov, is appealing for the vessel to be released after a ruling by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts, Reuters reported on Thursday. Akhmedova’s lawyer, Dakis Hagen Q.C., said the yacht had its flag transferred to the Cayman Islands and then to a Panamanian company in 2014. The previous year, the couple’s marriage had broken down. The seizing is now being appealed in Dubai by Straight Establishment according to local media.Luna has the world’s largest swimming pool on a superyacht as well as two helipads. It can host 18 guests. Luna’s seven generators output a total of 15,000hp and the power electric motors are coupled to each shaft. There are more than 80 TVs on board. She can cut through ice on speed of 21 knots and has such generators power that they can run a town of 25,000 people.
April 18, 2018
Italian yard Fincantieri has revealed their latest concept at the 2018 Singapore Yacht Show - 66-metre superyacht Griffin 66. The project is a result of a collaboration between Fincantieri, Castlemaine International, Christopher Seymour Designs and Guido de Groot Design.A little is known about the project, excepting that her beam will be 12.3-metres, a draught of 3.8-metres, will have an interior volume of 1,575 GT and a top speed of 17 knots. Accomodation will be for 12 guests across 6 cabins and crew quarters for staff up to 15 people and a garage space for an 8-metre tender. Versilia Yachting Rendez Vous will see the release of more information about this superyacht project.
April 17, 2018