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.
On June 20, the hull of Feadship’s project 700 was launched by subsidiary Slob in Papendrecht today. The 87m yacht will be moved to Feadship's Aalsmeer yard to complete her construction. Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design is responsible for both the exterior and interior of the twin-screw diesel motor yacht. Feadship has launched 73-metre Hasna for an Australian owner on Saturday, June 3, making it the first yacht ordered by an Australian customer in the Dutch shipyard's history. The superyacht left Feadship Kaag yard yesterday and was on her way to Rotterdam.Photos by Dutch Yachting
June 23, 2017
Recently delivered CRN Yachts vessel Cloud 9 has been spotted in Bonifacio after being seen in Portofino, Italy, a couple of days ago. Launched in January 2017, the 74-meter Cloud 9 becomes the shipyard's second largest yacht to date, outranked only by the 80-meter Chopi Chopi. Burgess acted as Owner’s Representatives throughout the project.With an exterior by Zuccon and an interior by Winch Design, Cloud 9 is able to accommodate up to 16 guests (12 when chartering) in a master suite, a VIP suite and 6 guest cabins catered to by a crew of 22. Focused on a free interior-exterior flow, Cloud 9 boasts over 1,000 square meters of liveable space. Amongst the yacht's key amenities are a private deck, complete with an intimate lounging area, forward of the master cabin, an extensive beach club with an extended platform. From a technical standpoint, the yacht is featured by twin Caterpillar 3516C engines of 2,680 hp each, giving Cloud 9 a maximum speed of 16.5 knots and a cruising speed of 15 knots.The owner's previous Cloud 9 was a 60-meter CMN built in 2009 and sold in June 2015 at an asking price of €34,900,000. She has since been renamed to Ice Angel, a name previously held by a 50-meter Heesen, which is currently on the market asking €22,500,000.Photo by Julien Hubert
June 23, 2017
Hull four of the Horizon Yachts RP110 yacht model has been launched earlier this month in Taiwan. 33.53m yacht will be delivered to the U.S. as an inventory yacht for sale with Horizon Yacht USA.The Horizon RP110 features naval architecture by Horizon and Donald Blount and exterior styling by J.C. Espinosa. A spacious salon and dining area accommodates 8 to 10 guests, and her spacious 25’ beam and interior layout provides five staterooms – with an on-deck Master – plus separate crew quarters forward in the bow. The interior design features mahogany as the main wood and accents of santos rose and camel-colored leather.Also found on board the RP110 are extensive outdoor areas, including a tender garage that can serve as a beach club, large aft deck settee, and flybridge with a full bar, dinette seating and Jacuzzi. Additionally, the RP110's innovative double-chine hull design provides stability and shallow draft, along with enhanced hydrodynamics to minimize drag and improve overall performance.Since the debut of the Horizon RP110 superyacht in 2013, three hulls – including hull one that delivered to a repeat U.S. owner – have since been sold to the owners around the world, and hull four will mark the second RP110 in the U.S. Horizon Yachts has recently delivered hull one of its new E98 motoryacht series that has been launched in February this year. The Taiwanese shipyard also announced the signing of a CC115 superyacht order for new owners from Mexico with the delivery in 2018.
June 23, 2017
Yachting tends to be associated with its early Mediterranean roots, yet recent accelerating growth in the superyacht sector in Norway may indicate the beginning of a shift to new yachting hubs. From Espen Oeino's influence on yacht design to the largest yacht in the world to be built in Norway, the country's mark on yachting continues to strengthen as capacity in Northern Europe starts to lack.Monaco-based Espen Oeino has been designing yachts since 1986, penning the lines of many of the the world's leading shipyards' flagships including Lurssen's 156-meter Dilbar, Heesen's 70-meter Galactica Super Nova and Fincantieri's 140-meter Ocean Victory. The Norwegian designer's most ambitious projects may however be the 181.6-meter REV to be built by Vard for Norwegian billionaire, Kjell Inge Røkke valued by Forbes at $2,7 billion and primarily known in the business world as the majority stakeholder in Aker, a shipping and offshore drilling conglomerate.Scheduled for delivery in 2020, the 181.6-meter yacht, set to be the world's largest, will be built by Norwegian shipyard, Vard, topping Azzam's length by almost 2 meters. "The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge", explained Kjell Inge Røkke, "I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas".Operated for scientific excursions in tandem with WWF Norway, the Research Expedition Vessel should also be made available for charters of up to 36 guests to help fund more scientific work. Vard was chosen for the build as Mr Røkke's first large trawler came from the shipyard, from which continued a 30-year long working relationship between the two.The REV won't however be the first significant megayacht coming out of Norway. Indeed in 2013, Graeme Hart, New Zealand's richest man, ordered a 107-meter explorer from Norway-based commercial shipyard, Kleven. In November 2014, as the first Ulysses was under build, Hart commissioned a second 116-meter explorer from the yard.Delivered in 2016, the 107-meter Ulysses was dubbed by many as the ultimate explorer due to her 22-meter tender on her bow, launched by two special cranes. Amongst her stand-out attributes are a 8,500nm range, an 11-meter swimming pool on the upper deck and a helicopter garage on the top deck."I am very pleased with the quality of the work that has been done by Kleven, and how our organization have worked together to bring this exciting project to life', commented Graeme Hart in November 2014 on Kleven's work on the first Ulysses.Soon after her delivery, the explorer designed by Norwegian firm, Marin Teknikk, was put on the market asking $195 million ahead of the delivery of the new 116-meter Ulysses scheduled later this year.Amidst growing development coming from the Norwegian superyacht ecosystem, a new player announced it was diversifying into the sector in November 2016. Ulstein Verft, a commercial shipyard based in Norway, then confirmed it was building a 88.5-meter yacht, designed by Espen Oeino, for one of the world's biggest ship owners.With the marine platform and hull line design being developed by Ulstein itself and the general arrangement and exterior being penned by Oeino's Monaco-based studio, the 88.5-meter is set to be delivered already in the first quarter of 2018, a significant advantage of Norwegian upstarts compared to established superyacht yards in Northern Europe where waiting lists typically extend for several years for builds of this size.Yacht construction and design is however not the only thriving part of the Norwegian superyacht ecosystem. In recent years, an increasingly important number of superyachts have started coming to visit Norway and its fjords amidst a thirst for new destinations. This uptick has become so significant that an association called Superyacht Norway was even established by local players to promote the destination.Although still in an embryonic stage compared to the Med or the Caribbean, the May through September charter season in Norway is attracting more and more yachts. Recently, these have included visitors such as the 33.5-meter Feadships Kamino and Moon Sand Too and the 73.69-meter Ilona.Popular destinations in Norway for superyacht cruises include Rosendal, a port at the foot of the Folgefonna glacier, near ski slopes, trek paths and waterfalls as well as Lofthus, a small privately-run port deep within a fjord with its own five-star hotel often visited by Norway's Queen and other high-profile visitors.Although still in its very early stages, Norway's superyacht scene could soon start to rival the more established yachting hubs in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, perhaps unlocking areas in Norway and Scandinavia as new yachting destinations.
June 22, 2017
On April 7, 38.25m motoryacht Soprano has been launched at Hakvoort. Now it has been confirmed that the yacht has been delivered to her owner.This project is the result of collaboration between the Dutch shipyard, naval architects Diana Yacht Design and interior designers Felix Buytendijk Yacht Design. Designed with a displacement-type hull shape, she features flared V-sections in the bow, large overhangs, a moderate deadrise amidships and a canoe stern. Suitable for global bluewater cruising, the yacht provides accommodation for 8 guests and 7 crew members. Located on the main deck, the owner’s suite includes a stateroom with a king-size bed and bathroom forward. The main lounge contains two sofas in an open plan arrangement with the dining area, which centers on a table for 10 guests. The open aft area will have a built-in seating with teak table. A foldout platform amidships will be recessed into the side the hull giving access to the water for boarding and swimming.On the bridge deck is another lounge, which leads out on to an open aft area with al fresco dining table for 10 guests. The aft deck also houses the main tender while the fore deck hosts a laser sailboat and the MOB tender. The captain’s cabin can be found aft of the the wheelhouse. The accommodation is found on the lower deck, which will contain two double guest staterooms and a VIP stateroom. Crew quarters include a well-equipped mess, three comfortable cabins and smart connections to storage areas and technical spaces. The sun deck features a wealth of open space for sunbathing as well as another built-in seating with teak table. A large whirlpool bathtub forward is able to accommodate four to six people and a BBQ grill is installed in the bar.Soprano is a real gentleman’s yacht, blending the timeless beauty of our maritime tradition with lots of modern touches. She provides an excellent performance at sea, is exceptionally quiet and is superbly finished: the quality of the materials – the finest marbles and woods – is as important as the seamless way in which they have been fitted together. The owners asked us to create the full package for them – and Soprano certainly deliversDirector Albert Hakvoort jrHakvoort has launched its biggest yacht to date, 61m Just J's in November 2015.
June 22, 2017