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.
Casper Marelis, one of the three finalists in Boat International Media’s “Young Designer of the Year Awards", has introduced project Equal. The design of MY Equal is based on the owners request of having a yacht with two equally looking tenders. The tenders should complement the exterior styling of the yacht so that’s where Marelis started this design task. The result is a low profile 80 metre yacht with dedicated decks for (water) sports, parties, relaxing and an evening around the fireplace. The owner will be able to get to this luxury with a limousine tender and board in comfort and safety due to the easy access boarding system. The second sporty general tender can be used for fishing and day long exploring. All bring their equal shares to the owners yachting experience.Earlier the concepts of Harun Kemali, Dani Santa, Alexander Fogg and Ricardo Pilguj were presented.
May 23, 2017
Previously spotted in Barcelona, Lurssen megayacht Dilbar has now been seen cruising in the South of France.She became Alisher Usmanov's, one of the Russian billionaires shaping the yachting industry, third yacht.156m Dilbar, launched at Lurssen facility in November 2015, has officially become the world's largest yacht by volume with a gross tonnage of 15,917 tons, toping Al Said's 15,850 tons and Azzam's 13,136 tons.With a beam of 23 meters and a deep draft of 6 meters, the yacht's exterior was designed by Espen Oeino. Cabling used on board stretches over 1,100km with guests and owner's spaces totaling a combined 3,800 square meters of living space.The displacement yacht has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure, her interior was styled by Andrew Winch Design. Photos by Raphael Belly
May 23, 2017
Dominator has launched 27.5m Ilumen series yacht Kalliente. Alberto Mancini is responsible for both exterior and interior, whilst the naval architecture has been kept in-house at Dominator Yachts in collaboration with engineers from Navalhead. The shipyard has revealed that once the sea trials are completed, the yacht will make an appearance at at the 2017 Cannes Yachting Festival and then the Monaco Yacht Show (MYS). Kalliente is capable of accommodating 10 guests in 5 cabins, as well as a crew of 3, in modern interior with the use of prized woods and natural stone. Performance wise the yacht is powered by 1,200 HP engines that can push her to a 21-knot top speed.
May 23, 2017
ISA Yachts has teamed up with Enrico Gobbi’s Team For Design for a new range of designs, the largest of which is a 67m superyacht GT67.As the Italian yard says in a statement, "typical ISA Yachts features have been revisited with an even stronger appeal. The design of this unique and sports yachts shows a well balanced and pure exterior, with sleek, strong lines and a slender silhouette".The volume of the superstructure is purposely drawn back to imitate the proportions and extended front hood of a large sports coupè. The superyacht's alluring amenities include a helipad, aft deck pool with U-shaped glass panel and an option to have a gym on the sundeck.GT67 has sleep up to 12 guests in 6 cabins and is expected to be launched before the end of 2019. In July 2016 ISA Yachts has been purchased by the Palumbo Group for €11 million. The acquisition represents the latest addition to Palumbo’s portfolio of yards in Naples, Messina, Malta, the former ITM yard in Marseilles and the Santa Cruz shipyard in Tenerife.
May 22, 2017
Dutch shipbuilder Damen has launched Game Changer, its latest 70-metre yacht support vessel with helicopter hangar, in March 2017. Last week she has spent three days in London to promote the Yacht Support range of vessels.Game Changer is the fourth yacht support vessel in the 70-metre segment following the delivery of Intrepid, 6711 and Garcon. This latest launch also follows last year’s delivery and sale of the 55-metre showcase vessel Fast & Furious. With its yacht support range, Damen is now the established leader in this rapidly developing niche. In total 11 vessels have been delivered or are in build.The vessel features a fully certified helideck so owners can take larger helicopters on long range flights to their mother yachts and land safely in a wider weather window. Lowering the helicopter into the hangar protects it from the elements so it is refuelled and available for take-off without causing hassle, disruption and noise on the mother yacht.Michal BaginskyIn addition, Game Changer has 250 square metres of open deck space for tenders and toys. The large deck crane makes logistics and handling simple, fast and safe. Below deck there is a further 110 square-metre storage space/dive centre. The YS 6911 has offices, facilities and accommodation for 22 crew and staff. It can carry a huge amount of extra provisions, fuel (marine, aviation and petrol), luggage and spare parts.
May 22, 2017