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.
Fincantieri, the major Italian shipbuilding company, truly impresses by its numbers throughout the long history of presence in the industry. It is based in Trieste, the capital of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, northeast Italian region at the Adriatic Sea. Photo: FincantieriThe group is multinational and has twenty shipyards across the world - in Europe, the Americas and Asia. 60% of its approximately 19,000 employees work outside Italy. With a turnover of over 4 billion euros, the company builds both commercial and military vessels.Photo: FincantieriHere is a short chronological overview of this major shipbuilder’s milestones:Fincantieri was founded in 1959 as a State financial holding aimed at overseeing the main shipyards of Italy. In those times it included 8 different companies involved in ship building, repair and engine construction.Later on, in 1984, all these companies along with the holding itself converted into an operating company, the only one to have preserved the old traditions of Italian shipyards. In the 1990’s Fincantieri delivered the Crown Princess, its first cruise ship, to the Carnival Group, and, thus, began its work in the cruise industry. Photo: FincantieriIn 1991 the 67-metre Destriero was build at the Muggiano yard in La Spezia - the yacht that, almost immediately - in 1992, set the world record for the fastest transatlantic crossing with no refueling. Photo: FincantieriBefore 2001 the company focused mostly on designing and manufacturing of high value-added products which, along with cruise ships, included ferries and naval vessels. Over 50 ships were delivered over this period, 13 of them were for the Italian Navy.The Mega Yachts sector appeared among Fincantieri’s business areas after 2005. The “Fincantieri Yachts” line is aimed at the creation of large luxury yachts, specializing in both design and construction. Photo: FincantieriWith the acquisition of Manitowoc Marine Group in the USA (which became Fincantieri Marine Group) in late 2008 and the foundation of Etihad Ship Building LLC in 2010 the company confidently went on with global development and joined the US defence market. Serene, Fincantieri’s first 134-metre mega yacht, was delivered in 2012. A true masterpiece of luxury, quality and technical innovation, it deservedly won the “World Superyacht Award”Photo: FincantieriIn 2013, after the acquisition of the Norwegian group Vard, Fincantieri group doubled in size and became the fourth largest in the world (as per 2014).Photo: FincantieriThe group was quoted on the Italian Stock Exchange in 2014. The company Marine Interiors was created In the same year. It specializes in design, refitting and turnkey cabins delivery. Photo: FincantieriFurther on, in 2015, Fincantieri SI and Fincantieri (Shanghai) trading Co. Ltd. were established.
October 20, 2020
Douce France, also known as ‘the Gentle giant’, is the largest schooner sailing catamaran in the world. This luxurious and exquisite vessel has been introduced to potential buyers - for the first time in more than 15 years.The catamaran is 42.2-metre long, with a beam of 15.4 metres, and features 6 cabins to comfortably accommodate up to 12 guests. Built in 1998 by Alumarine, Douce France has an aluminium hull and aluminium superstructure. The maximal range is estimated at 3,500 nautical miles.Refitted in 2015 the yacht has been continuously upgraded and is unbelievably well-maintained. Designed for adventure, yet she has a warm and intimate feel. The schooner can achieve 13-knot speed under engine thanks to her new main engines. Newly installed feathering Maxprop propellers improve the ship’s performances even more. The new headsail furlers and renewal of the running rigging, including the lazy jack system, are part of the recent upgrades. Her shallow draft and fine line on the water means she allows you to set sail to discover the world's most beautiful and unspoiled places. Douce France’s sleek lines reveal just how fast she is. Douce France graces the tropical blue waters with her gentle yet impressive appearance. Designed by world-renowned naval architects and multi-hull specialists VPLP (Van Peteghem and Lauriot Prevost), she is an elegant, sophisticated and sexy catamaran. Her shallow draft allows you to set sail to unspoiled places, and her sleek lines mean that she can achieve high speeds under sail.Her latest upgrades include 3 new silent Kohler generators, new headsail furlers, autopilot and the latest VSAT satellite connection. These upgrades, combined with great maintenance, makes her readier than ever for long and off the beaten path adventures.Douce France has been under Exmar Yachting’s professional technical management since 2004. This means the new buyer has the unique opportunity to receive years worth of information and insight about her history, specifications as well as previous itineraries. She’s proven to be very popular on the charter market, a potentially interesting feature for her new owners. Douce France’s interior is the essence of elegance. Guests appreciate her spaciousness: with her large deck spaces and six air-conditioned staterooms, Douce France’s layout is perfectly catered towards hosting large groups or families.The galley, situated below deck, leaves room for a spacious saloon. This incredibly generous saloon has a private office space and library to enjoy. The wooden floors are smooth to the touch, creating a warm and inviting feel throughout the interior. As Douce France has incredibly spacious decks, guests have a choice of multiple lounge areas where they can wine and dine, enjoy a cocktail or simply sit back and relax. There is the spacious cockpit, pleasantly shaded by the overhang of the flybridge; the flybridge itself, perfect for enjoying a cocktail while observing the captain; the intimate lounge to retreat to on cooler evenings; the aft deck, where you can dine under the night sky in the warm breeze; and the trampolines, which lend themselves as an exquisite sunbathing area while enjoying the refreshing ocean spray.Douce France has plenty to offer to active guests. With a large selection of water sports equipment, you can enjoy a range of activities such as water-skiing, kayaking, sailing, fishing and windsurfing. She also has all the diving equipment to explore life below the waterline. The large, hidden swimming platform drops below the waterline, allowing you easy access back on board.
October 16, 2020
Bold is a 85-metre luxury explorer yacht which was launched in 2019 by SilverYachts. The yacht sails under the Flag Of The Marshall Islands and accommodates up to 16 guests in its 8 spacious en-suite cabins, as well as 21 crew-members.The yacht exterior was designed by Espen Oeino, and the interior - by Vain Interiors. The vessel can reach a maximum speed of 23 knots, while its engines guarantee a range of 7,000 nautical miles at the cruising speed of 14 knots. After the success of the 70-metre motor yachts of the Silver Line, Bold is equipped with the same hydrodynamic and eco-friendly technologies but provides almost twice the volume at 1,600 GT. Most of the accommodation for guests is located on the main deck. Owner's deck with the Owner's suite and the spacious main salon can be reached from a central staircase. Beautiful handmade silk carpets by TaiPing, cosy coffee tables with plush armchairs and sofas can be found in the area within. The zone behind the main salon features the winter garden, where most of the guests may gather for sophisticated dining at a 14-seat table covered with marble. Utmost comfort and delight are guaranteed by the possibility to cordon off by closing up glass panels and enjoy panoramic views in full climate-control.The exterior of this huge vessel, which might even seem a warship at first sight, features a helideck convertible into a disco zone. If a party is to be thrown, even a wedding or a ball, the ship can easily fit around 200 people.Bold is the 5th largest superyacht built by the SilverYachts shipyard. It is owned by the German businessman Guido Krass.
October 15, 2020
The Turkish manufacturer Numarine, which is among the country’s and region’s leaders in the industry, has launched a new superyacht of the 32XP series at its yard in Istanbul. The vessel is ready for sea trials which will take place in the Bosphorus in the nearest time - before the eventual delivery to the owner.The interior, with the predominance of white colour, has been designed by the famous Italian Hot Lab, whilst the exteriors Can Yalman, naval architecture Umberto Tagliavini. With a crew of five, the yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests in her six en-suite cabins.Photo: NumarineBuilt from a steel hull and GRP superstructure, the yacht has a bright modern appearance with the contrast of vivid aquamarine and discreet creamy colours of the hull and superstructure respectively.Photo: NumarineThe new 32XP’s maximal speed is of 14 knots with a cruising speed of 12 knots and a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 8 knots. Numarine’s Chairman, Omer Malaz, emphasized that he is proud of the company’s efforts made to create “such a strong product”.
October 15, 2020
The Dutch manufacturer has launched the new 36-metre motor yacht which continued the Martinique line. Back in summer is was bought by a middle Eastern client, and trials will be started soon. Photo: Tom van Oossanen“I have always wanted a Moonen, but it was unclear when,” as the newly made happy proprietor has stated. “It’s, in fact, a smaller size yacht, but can easily compare with the largest superyachts in the world quality and style-wise”.Photo: Tom van OossanenThe vessel is indeed an efficient and enviable solution for a yachtman: she can cross the ocean and, thus, take the travellers onto an unforgettable world cruising in a small package. The range in nautical miles is 4,000 with the cruising speed of 10 knots, reaching 16.5 knots when at her full power.The yacht’s designers are the outstanding René van der Velden, Studio Indigo and Diana Yacht Design.Photo: Tom van OossanenKokoro is perfect for luxurious and relaxing pastime - she has got a large saloon on her vast main deck, a roomy master suite, dining area and an up-to-date galley. There is also a swimming platform and nice relaxation areas at the aft deck. What’s more - there’s a true winter garden in the second lounge area at the bridge deck which transforms into an entertainment room, either indoor or outdoor.The sun deck is equipped with a sound system and makes a great chilling zone for a nice company to seat, sunbathe, enjoy the bar and grill.The boat can accommodate guests in its 4 additional staterooms on the lower deck, all equipped with private bathrooms.
October 14, 2020