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

7 significant superyacht destructions in recent years
With the recent loss of the 40-metre sailing superyacht My Song that has created a buzz in the media, Yacht Harbour takes a look over some of the major accidents resulting in superyachts destructions in the recent years.#1. 100-metre plus new build superyacht destroyed by fire at LürssenIn September 2018, a large fire broke out at Lürssen's Bremen shipyard in a floating dock and building unit where the over-100-metre yacht was under construction. Various social media posts pointed out the damaged new build, 3 decks of which at least have caught on fire, to be the 146-metre Project Sassi, which was reportedly due for delivery within several months.Over 110 firefighters were dispatched to the site, no one was injured during the incident but the new build reportedly took serious damage. The development was further set to hit the insurance sector with a group of marine insurers that could be facing a payment of up to €590 million over the fire.#2. Hundreds of luxury yachts destroyed by storm in Italian RappalloIn November 2018, coasts of Italy have been pounded by the waves of extreme weather, causing violent waves up to 10 metres and winds up to 180 km/h, breaking a lot of luxury yachts from their berths in Rapallo and killing at least 11 people. Local media described the landscape around the port of Rapallo as an apocalyptic. Marina's director told there were 390 yachts in the marina, with the half of them destroyed. There was storm barrier for 300 metres, rebuilt after the collapse in 2000, but it wasn't enough for such an extreme event. City of Venice is reported to be 75% submerged. Among others, the yacht of Silvio Berlusconi was also damaged in disaster.#3. 42-metre Benetti superyacht Lalibela destroyed by fireIn October 2018, a major fire broke out on board the 42 metre Benetti superyacht Lalibela built in 1972. The yacht was heavily damaged due to fire, which broke out at the night while she was docked near Cannes, France. The fire destroyed the top deck and cabins inside, reports Maritime Bulletin. Firefighters were called to the yacht, and worked for over 12 hours to extinguish the fire. The blaze was reported to have destroyed the top deck and cabins inside. Luckily, the two people on board at the time the fire broke out were safely evacuated.#4. Devastating fire on-board 40-metre superyacht KangaIn September 2018, he newly delivered CCN superyacht Kanga caught devastating fire, just days before her expected debut at the Cannes Yachting Festival. Kanga was heavily damaged, with the extent of the damage still unknown.The 40-metre superyacht caught fire while being between the isles of Olipa and Mali Vratnik in Croatia. All thirteen people - 9 guests and 4 crew members were successfully rescued from the vessel. #5. Hurricane Irma destroys numerous yachts and causes multiple fatalitiesThe biggest superyacht disaster of 2017, a category 4 Hurricane Irma caused severe damage to the Caribbean and Florida region. Yachts based in the region and moored in local marinas were also amongst the infrastructure ravaged in the area. Barbuda and St Maarten were among the worst affected areas, with multiple fatalities and declaring a state of emergency.With strong winds slamming yachts onto decks, snapping mooring lines and simply damaging some areas of yachts by themselves. Several yachts were reported destroyed, including the 40 metre Mondomarine superyacht Sierra Romeo, Benetti Delfino 93 and the 112 Westport, Pipe Dreams, built in 1999 by the American shipyard. In the months since, the superyacht community has come together to support Caribbean welfare and rebuilding efforts but it will be many months before the damage is fully repaired.#6. 71m The One and 52m Barbie damaged by fire in MarmarisIn January 2016, a major yacht fire broke out at Marmaris marina devastating two prominent superyachts. The blaze was understood to originate on-board the 70.68-metre Lürssen yacht The One, further spreading to a neighbouring vessel, the 52-metre Al Jadaf superyacht Barbie. Other yachts stationed in the harbor have left the harbor to escape the fire. London-based insurance firm Hiscox MGA later announced that Lloyd’s insurers had paid out $20 million to the owner of Barbie. Paul Miller, director of marine underwriting, said it was the largest superyacht claim that the insurance industry had dealt with in a long time.#7. 33m superyacht Aloha sunk in MykonosIn August 2015, shocking pictures of a superyacht sinking off of Mykonos, Greece rocked the web. The clarity of the water gave an unusually up-close glimpse at this sinking yacht, showing ever detail of the 33 metre yacht Aloha's demise. The yacht represented Navetta 33 custom line. According to the Mykonos Daily, the yacht hit a reef. Fortunately, the four guests on board when the Aloha grounded were able to escape unharmed.
Is a $450 million Leonardo da Vinci placed aboard 134m superyacht?
Sold in November 2017 at Christie's for $450.3 million, the painting Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci has become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. Nearly two years later, it is still unknown where the piece is located, while art market website Artnet has published an opinion piece by art dealer Kenny Schachter assuming that the painting is on-board the 134-metre superyacht Serene. Salvator Mundi, Leonardo da Vinci As it was first shared by The New York Times, the superyacht previously owned by Russian billionaire, Yuri Shefler, now supposedly belongs to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Reportedly, the oligarch sold his superyacht in July 2015 to Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince for $458 million. Built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, at the time of her delivery, Serene was the nineth largest yacht in the world. She features exterior lines drawn by Espen Oeino and series of interior innovations by British design studio Reymond Langton.Stretching over a beam of 18.5 meters, Serene is 6 decks tall and boasts a myriad of amenities that few five-star hotels have. One of her most noticeable features from the outside is her suppressed bathtub located aft of the sundeck. One of the seven pools onboard Serene, the Jacuzzi on the top deck is surrounded by lounging pad for sunbathing. Forward of the hot tub is a fully-stocked, wet bar underneath the yacht's observational deck that features an additional set of sun loungers.Inside, Serene incorporates a sophisticated mix of cream and dark colours with wooden fixtures. Offering views from any imaginable vantage point, Serene's sky lounge is equipped with a myriad of sofas, chairs and coffee tables for cocktails and tea.A more formal location designed for the entertainment of larger groups, the main lounge features white colours with dark tones. At the centre of the room is a piano with cocktail tables spread out across the room. Interestingly, this lounge sits just over the main dining room with its chandelier hanging through the two spaces and letting the music spread.Each space on Serene features a different set of colours, all coordinated across one central theme that spreads around the yacht with circles both on the floor and on the ceiling to create a sense of symmetry. Some of Serene's unique features include an indoor climbing wall as well as an underwater observation lounge.The 134-meter yacht can carry a total of 24 guests across 12 staterooms divided into one master suite with essentially an owner's deck, a VIP cabin, three twin cabins and seven double staterooms. Serene carries a crew of over 40 people onboard.Returning to the painting, it’s been long been believed that Saudi prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud who had placed the winning bid for Salvator Mundi, was acting on behalf of the crown prince, reports CNN Style. Despite an official denial from the Saudi embassy in late 2017, stating that Prince Badr had acted as an intermediary for the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism instead, bin Salman has never released a statement himself confirming or denying his role in the purchase.First supposed to go on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi last year, the painting would reportedly remain on-board Serene until the crown prince completes a new cultural hub in Al-Ula, according to Schachter. This could be not the first case of possible storage of highly expensive works of art on-board superyachts, with, for instance, British billionaire Joe Lewis keeping Francis Bacon’s $70 million ‘Triptych 1974 – 1977’, aboard the 98-metre superyacht Aviva, according to Bloomberg.
Russian billionaire’s 143m sailing yacht A spotted in Monaco harbour
Currently the 10th largest superyacht in the world and one of the most futuristic ones, the 142.8-metre sailing yacht A has been spotted in Monaco, reports The Sun. The vessel is owned by a Russian industrialist tycoon Andrey Melnichenko, whose net worth is estimated at $13.4 billion by Forbes.Photo Credit: BackGrid via The SunEstimated at about $500 million, the yacht was built by German yard Nobiskrug in 2017. Although her 142.8-metre LOA would give Melnichenko's new flagship the title of largest sailing yacht in the world, many experts rather consider her more of a hybrid between the two types due to her technical classification as a sail-assisted motor yacht.Part of the renowned A fleet, the yacht features exterior and interior designs by Philippe Starck. 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. Photo Credit: BackGrid via The SunS/Y A 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.The vessel offers accommodation to up to 20 guests as well as a crew of 54 across her eight floors. Shrouded in secrecy throughout her build and following her delivery, very little details are known about the amenities onboard the sailing yacht. Photo Credit: BackGrid via The SunAmong the yacht's key known features is an underwater observation pod and a large swimming pool with a retractable roof located towards the bow of the boat. She is also equipped with a helipad.Reportedly, Melnichenko also owns the $300 million motor yacht A, a custom Boeing 737 private jet as well as properties around the world, including a penthouse in New York City and a villa in the French Riviera. He lives a jet-setting lifestyle with his wife Aleksandra, former model and pop star from Serbia. The pair married in an opulent wedding in the south of France in 2005, which featured performances by Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera.
End game: 40m regatta superstar My Song is ‘beyond repair’
Mr. Pier Luigi Loro Piana, the owner of the 40-metre Baltic custom sailing yacht My Song, confirmed that his vessel was ‘not salvageable’. The yacht was hauled out to Palma de Mallorca earlier this month, after she had fallen from a cargo ship in the Atlantic.The incident took on May 26, when My Song fell from the 138-metre cargo ship Brattinsborg. Yacht transport company Peters & May that was responsible for the transportation, released an official statement in response, claiming that My Song might have fallen due to the collapse of her cradle. My Song was salvaged from the coast of Menorca by MCS Marine Claim Services Germany. Then, the vessel was towed into Palma's STP shipyard for assessment.Built in 2016, the 39.6-metre tall and 8.5-metre wide sailboat with sleek outline of designs by Nauta Design studio, was well-known for her racing achievements. The yacht has been owned by Pier Luigi Loro Piana (net worth $1.6 billion - Forbes), an heir to the high end clothing company Loro Piana and a host of eponymous yacht racing events.The owner’s spokesman shared with the The Times: The damage outside and to the interiors of the yacht mean it is not savable. It may have hit the side of the cargo ship as it fell.In an interview with Italian newspaper, the owner expressed: 'For anyone who loves the sea, his boat is like a second home, and it is as if my home has burnt down.'Photographs and videos taken showed extensive damage to the yacht, with several holes in the hull. in 2008, is expected to credit one of his assistants, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, in an upcoming book.
Feadship broadcasts the launch of 77m Project 818
Earlier today, Dutch builder Feadship launched its newest vessel, the 77.25-metre Project 818, at the Kaag facility. For the first time in its history, the yard fully broadcasted the ceremony.Project 818 represents design work by Finland-based Jarkko Jämsen who styled the yacht with a blend of classic and hyper-modern lines. It is known, that Project 818 features a beam of 11 metres and was built from a steel hull and aluminium superstructure.The three-deck superyacht is scheduled for delivery later this year. More information on the vessel will be revealed shortly.Photo via Dutch YachtingMeanwhile, has recently opened a brand new facility in Amsterdam during the official ceremony in the presence of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. The yard with its total volume of 425,000 cubic metres, was designed for construction and refit of Feadship superyachts of up to 160 metres in LOA.