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 91m Lady Lara listed for sale for the first time by Max Bulley of Y.CO. She was built by Lurssen in 2015, features interior and exterior that was made by Reymond Langton Design. Lady Lara stands out among yachts of her size with an extended range, a convenient touch-and-go helipad, and impeccable maintenance and upgrades since her launch, making her ready for immediate cruising.This vessel offers an array of amenities, catering to diverse guest preferences. Guests can relax in the dedicated spa area, work out in the gym, socialize by the teppanyaki grill on the sun deck, or enjoy a cozy night in the onboard cinema. For those seeking aquatic refreshment, there are two large pools. The main deck pool is perfect for daytime cooling and transforms into a dancefloor at night, accompanied by a bespoke music system.The sun deck boasts another pool with a swim-up bar, a teppanyaki grill, and ample space for lounging and sunbathing. An expansive beach club, complete with a sauna and steam room, offers on-the-water relaxation.On the bridge deck, a wellness area focuses on pampering, with a beauty salon, spa-treatment room, massage room, gym, and hammam.The owner’s deck features seamless indoor/outdoor dining with a glass enclosure that becomes part of the interior space. A large private terrace is accessible from the owner's suite, featuring a hot tub and a touch-and-go helipad for extended exploration.The interior is bright and spacious, filled with natural light from large windows. Multiple areas accommodate socializing or private relaxation, ensuring options for everyone. The owner’s deck includes a lounge with a bar, in addition to the owner’s private apartment. On the main deck, a large salon with a grand piano, a formal dining table, and a spacious lounge area await.A spacious glass elevator connects the guest decks up to the bridge deck for ease of access. Six remaining cabins on the main deck, two with fold-out balconies, offer ensuite accommodations. An additional ensuite guest cabin is located on the lower deck.Lady Lara is in turnkey condition, having undergone a €15 million refit in 2022/23, including a full paint job, IT and security system upgrades, new carpets, interior updates, tender refit, maintenance, tank coating replacement, and navigation system upgrade. This comprehensive investment ensures Lady Lara is ready for immediate voyages, setting her apart from yachts of similar size.The yacht’s asking price is EUR230,000,000 and will be displayed at the Monaco Yacht Show.Lürssen is a German shipyard with headquarters in Bremen-Vegesack and shipbuilding facilities in Lemwerder, Berne and Bremen-Aumund. Founded in 1875, Lürssen is one of the world's leading builders of custom luxury superyachts and has launched many of the largest yachts in the global fleet.Credits: Yacht Harbour archive; Y.CO
September 22, 2023
Dynamiq has unveiled the Global 550, a contemporary explorer yacht that seamlessly blends adventure with refined luxury. The Global 550's exterior design is credited to Monaco-based studio Dobroserdov Design, while Vripack Design, Dynamiq's long-term partner contributed to the design as well.It sets a new benchmark for efficiency, featuring a robust yet lightweight all-aluminum hull powered by two highly efficient 625 kW Volvo Penta heavy-duty engines. This powerhouse allows for an extended transatlantic range, surpassing 5,000 nautical miles on a single tank, making her a true explorer with remarkable autonomy. The yacht boasts immense freshwater tanks totaling 21,000 liters and ample storage spaces throughout.With four stabilizer fins, double the industry norm, and a Hull Vane, it offers exceptional pitch and roll minimization, ensuring a smooth cruising experience in all sea conditions. Furthermore, the yacht prioritizes environmental sustainability with smaller IMO Tier III engines, a battery system, and advanced exhaust gas filtration and water treatment solutions.One standout feature is the focus on nature observation, featuring panoramic lounges on each deck, including a crow's nest, underwater drones, and a telescope. The yacht also boasts a fully certified helipad, a lavish spa area with hammam and sauna, and a spacious owner's office that doubles as an observation lounge, all within the 500 GT limit.Notably, this project introduces Zrobim architects, renowned for their residential designs, to the world of superyacht interiors. They have adopted the concept of "quiet luxury," reflecting the shift towards eco-conscious and sustainable living. The interior design embraces "natural minimalism," incorporating elements like American oak, wenge, and dark Shimo ash to create a warm, tactile, and inviting atmosphere, especially important for long journeys in cold waters.The interior design draws inspiration from glaciers and remote mountain ranges, evident in details like illuminated Golden Queen onyx wash basins that resemble submerged glaciers. Various textured stones, including Arabescato Orobico Grigio and Spider green marbles, enhance the aesthetic.The interior's individuality is defined by art objects crafted from aged wood and textured wooden panels, serving both aesthetic and zoning functions. The full-height windows and expansive outdoor terraces seamlessly blend the interior and exterior, creating a modern and technologically advanced vessel for sea travel.Construction time for the Global 550 is 30 months from contract signing, and it's listed at EUR27,900,000, a price valid until the end of 2023. The world premiere of this project will take place at Dynamiq's stand during the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show.Dynamiq was founded in 2014 by experienced yacht broker and designer Sergei Dobroserdov. Dynamiq is the first company in the superyacht industry to introduce an online configurator, allowing the yacht to be easily and transparently customized down to the last detail. Dynamiq unveiled its first launch, 39m Spring (ex-Jetsetter), at the 2016 Monaco Yacht Show to wide acclaim. The following project, the GTT 115 M/Y Jaaber, was developed in conjunction with the renowned Studio F.A. Porsche design firm and successfully unveiled at the 2017 MYS. The latest addition to the Dynamiq fleet is the GTM 90 Beach Club and new Global series of long-range explorer yachts.Credits: Dynamiq
September 22, 2023
The 45m Gran Turismo is the latest project by ISA Yachts made for a client, who was introduced by Peter Redford and Eugenio Cannarsa of Fraser Yachts Australia. The naval engineering of UV II was handled by Palumbo Superyachts; Enrico Gobbi – Team for Design designed the exterior lines, and Luca Dini Design & Architecture penned the interior design.The interior spaces are defined by expansive windows on every deck and a harmonious color palette featuring gold, sand, and turquoise hues. Natural oak floors with an irregular pattern impart an airy feel to each area. Light oak wood slats set against bands of black lacquered wood embellish the walls and ceilings, adding richness to the interiors while maintaining a harmonious balance.Below deck, four VIP cabins await, including two with convertible twin beds and two with double beds, each with a private bathroom. The beach club at the stern is lavishly equipped with chaise lounges, armchairs, and a bathroom. Forward lies the crew area, accommodating up to eight individuals in four cabins, each with a private bathroom, along with a comfortable dining area and an adjacent laundry.The capacious full-beam owner's cabin is positioned at the forward end of the main deck. It features an entrance hall with a sofa and TV, a bathroom with double sinks, and a walk-in wardrobe. Notably, this area boasts direct access to the forward outdoor lounge via a private staircase.The UV II’s main saloon showcases a generously sized L-shaped sofa paired with two armchairs featuring golden aluminum structures and a coffee table. Two backlit metal sides adorned with a geometric motif lend a pop touch to the room. The expansive external cockpit on the main deck offers semicircular structural sofas with side tables, creating a youthful and vibrant ambiance in shades of gray complemented by emerald and acid green. The large swimming pool is adorned with silver-colored mosaic tiles.Moving to the forward upper deck, you'll find the helm station and the Captain's cabin. Amidships, a circular dining area with 180°-opening circular windows extends to the cockpit. The latter is furnished with structural sofas, armchairs, two coffee tables, and several poufs.The fly deck serves as a secondary, more casual dining area, complete with a bar, a round table extendable to seat up to 10 people, and a sundeck.Constructed with a steel hull and aluminum superstructure, the UV II is powered by 2 CAT C32 ACERT engines, each delivering 1300 hp for a top speed of 15.4 knots and a cruising speed of 14 knots. A 5-meter tender is stored in the starboard garage on the lower deck, which opens laterally. At the bow, there's a rescue boat, and in the hangar, two jet skis are easily launched with the hydraulic crane.ISA Yachts is part of Palumbo Superyachts network, which also includes: Columbus Yachts, Mondomarine and Extra Yachts. Currently in build are two 80-meter yachts which will serve as the new flagships models for ISA Yachts.Credits: ISA Yachts
September 22, 2023
Benetti presents the world premiere of two models of B.Now 50M, the family of steel mega yachts whose innovative and versatile DNA has been engineered for long cruises with an at-home feel: FantaSea and Alunya, the latter fitted with the revolutionary Oasis Deck® at the Monaco Yacht Show, from September 27 to 30, 2023. FantaseaM/Y Fantasea (B.Now 50m) beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its expansive 36 sq.m beach club, a main deck pool at the stern, and a forward sun deck hot tub. A notable addition, unlike its predecessors, is a luxurious steam room in the beach area for ultimate relaxation. All outdoor furnishings are custom-made to the owner's exact preferences, and the yacht's sizable glass doors create a seamless indoor-outdoor ambiance. Inside, the modern interiors, curated by Benetti's Interior Style Department, boast high-quality ceramic finishes. AlunyaAnother attention-grabber from Benetti at the Monaco Show is Alunya. This 50-meter yacht is the second in the B.Now family to showcase the Oasis Deck™, a groundbreaking solution that reimagines the conventional stern swim platform. It features hydraulically operated terraces that extend across the entire width of the deck, creating an expansive 110 sq. m beach club. The Oasis Deck™ provides an uninterrupted 270° view aft and includes a glass-walled infinity pool and multiple social areas.Founded in 1873, Benetti is the oldest Italian shipyard specializing in luxury yachts. They design, build and sell composite vessels from 29 to 44m and steel and aluminum boats from 37 to over 100m. Their fleet consists of five categories: Class, Oasis, B.Yond, B.Now and Custom, to meet all the needs of the market, and they belong to the Azimut|Benetti Group, the largest privately owned luxury yachting group in the world.Credits: Benetti
September 21, 2023
As the shipyard prepares for its 70th birthday, unit #3 of the Otam 70HT made its international debut at the 2023 Cannes Yachting Festival. The yacht was designed by Giuseppe Bagnardi of BG Design Firm with hull lines by Umberto Tagliavini Marine Design. On special request of the owner, Otam was able to further improve fuel efficiency at speeds in excess of 40 knots, thanks also to the lightweight yet rigid construction in Aramat, Kevlar and carbon fiber.Although the yacht shares some characteristics with its series counterparts, such as the absence of a tender garage and side-access to the aft cockpit, there are notable distinctions. The owner prioritized a spacious rigid sliding rooftop to maximize natural ventilation when at anchor or in motion. Furthermore, marble countertops were crafted from a single block of stone to maintain consistent veining throughout the yacht.The lower deck features three cabins, a galley, and crew quarters with separate access from the foredeck. On the main deck, a dinette and a secondary galley are situated.“Like every Otam, the Otam 70 HT is designed to exceed the expectations of our demanding owners,” says Matteo Belardinelli, Otam’s sales & communication manager. “Without exception they are looking for something unique and exclusive and that means we’re always pushing our own boundaries. This latest delivery is yet another example of our mission to build extraordinary, high-performance yachts that are tailored to every client’s personal requirements.”The shipyard’ history started in 1954 in Liguria. Its professionalism is what made it stand out, very quickly becoming the first authorized Riva yacht Service Center for the Med Sea. In the 80’s Otam fit around 25 yachts for an American builder before starting his own production of Otam 45’ and 55’, earning significant attention. Today Otam has produced around 90 yachts, becoming an Italian specialist, and, together with its custom range, offers a limitless choice between 45’ and 130’.Credits: сourtesy Alberto Cocchi & Alessandro Guerrieri/Otam
September 21, 2023