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.

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The best in her class : 40-metre sailing yacht Rainbow
Rainbow is a 40-metre sailing yacht, built to an exceptional standard by Dutch masters at Holland Jachtbouw in 2012. She is a faithful and detailed reproduction of the original Rainbow built in 1930, who won the America's Cup four years later after the launch. Rainbow was built for the new J Class Rule and boasts high-tech features such as carbon rigging and hydraulic handling, which makes her a serious contender on the regatta circuit.Dykstra Naval Architechts developed Rainbow from the original plans of the 1934 America's Cup winner and slightly smoothed her lines, making her more hydrodynamic. She can be described as a modern classic, with the hybrid diesel/electric drive and electrical system, high modulus spar, carbon rigging and electrohydraulic sail and handling.Rainbow has been successful at the Porto Cervo Maxi Rolex Cup and Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta & Rendezvous, BVI. As well as being a strong regatta contender, Rainbow, with interiors by DeVosDeVries Design is ideal "silver service" charter yacht, with accommodation up to 6 guests. She is presented in immaculate condition following considerable investment in a 2016 refit. Below decks, Dykstra and deVosdeVries design have collaborated with the yard to make an Art Deco style interior.There is a beautiful dining saloon and good accommodation for the permanent crew forward. Outside of the races, Rainbow will offer a luxurious cruising experience for guests.Recently, YPI announced a price reduction of €1,750,000 on one of the best of today's J-Class yachts for sale. The yacht is now for sale at €8,750,000 (VAT Paid). Rainbow will be available to view at the upcoming Monaco Yacht Show at Berth C11. This is a unique opportunity to view the only J-Class yacht in the show.If you are interested in Rainbow contact YPI: Will BishopT. + 377 99 99 97 97M. +33 (0) 627 32 65 42E. william.bishop@ypiyachts.com
67-metre Bilgin 220 superyacht started construction
While constructing its largest model Bilgin 263-II, Bilgin Yachts is now getting ready to build a new 67m yacht at the shipyard's facility in West Istanbul MarinaBilgin Yacht is pleased to announce that it has recently started the construction process of a brandnew project: Bilgin 220. This 67m yacht's exterior lines and naval architecture were developed by Unique Yacht Design in association with H2 Yacht Design for interior living areas."Bilgin 220 is a superyacht that has been designed to offer the owner a well-considered relationship between external and internal living areas in addition to a life spent between sea and land" states Ismail Şengün, CEO of Bilgin Yacht. Its sleek and masculin exterior lines will be similar with her sisterships. Bilgin Yacht applies its trademarks on this new model of the superyacht line through extensive use of windows on the hull, while new features are added such as a touch-and-go helipad as a continuation of brand's philosophy. This philosophy of combining functional features and comfortable areas is also evident in the aerodynamic design, which is brought to life by the clean shapes and sleek lines. The hull design in particular takes the stylistic feature of large, vertical windows corresponding to the living areas and to the guest cabins.Emrecan Özgün, the CEO and the Founder of Unique Yacht Design, describes the design process as follows: "Bilgin 67m is a special project of us. We started with the idea of including all the necessities in tpractically large and comfortable living areas. This yacht offers a dolce vita to its guests while balancing interior and exterior concepts. The exterior lines can be described as sexy, sharp, masculen, modern and most importantly timeless. You can see large windows and portholes which are design standards in today’s world. This definitely reflects the freshness of the exterior area to the interior."The superyacht's sleek lines allowing large living areas are well-reflected in her interior design.Having six decks, Bilgin 220 will offer the owner and their guests alternative living areas while sailing in oceans. As well as a flybridge and sunbathing areas, the superyacht will have a lounge on the upper deck, a saloon with a bar section on the bridge deck and a living room including a 16- person dining table on the main deck. The owners suite located on the front part of the main deck will be available with a jakuzzi, working space and a private lounge. While a VIP cabin will be located by the owner's cabin, the layout includes four guests cabins located alongside the crew area on the lower deck.Bilgin 220 will be powered by twin 1,800 rpm MTU engines, allowing the yacht to reach 15 knots at cruising speed and touch 17 knots at top speed (preliminary data). There will be two Cummins generator sets both offering 1,500 rpm. Bilgin Yacht has started the construction of the yacht on June 2019. The yacht's planned launch date is 2021.
115-metre superyacht concept Art of Life by Sinot
Traditionally, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design presents its groundbreaking concepts at the Monaco Yacht Show. This year is no exception with Art of Life, a 115-meter concept yacht for art-loving and explorer-minded owners. Art of Life is a statement of elegance, a synthesis of beauty and functionality. Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design will reveal a detailed, over 1.5 meter (60 inch) long scale model of Art of Life at the Monaco Yacht Show 2018 (Parvis Piscine QP48). Art of Life is designed with an emphasis on esthetics and beauty, without compromising on functionality, space and technology. The striking exterior style, with its overhang at the stern and forward projecting bow, is reminiscent of a 16th century Dutch icon of shipbuilding, the schooner yacht. ’Schoon’, meaning both ‘good looking’ and ‘clean’ in Dutch, led to the term ‘schooner’ which stands for a fast, versatile and efficient hull. Sander Sinot explains: “For Art of Life, we augmented this classic yacht type to an innovative motor yacht concept for the present day and the years to come. For the interior, we choose to focus on things in life that really matter, such as spending time with your loved ones, beauty and art. The integrated architecture of the design offers the owner a haven of privacy and the sensorial stimuli for both inner peace and exploration of the beauty and richness of the world around us.”Sander Sinot: “Sometimes one can forget that our life has a limited amount of time, so one can question, how do we use the hours we live? There is no answer other than to invest as much time as possible towards the quality of living. Freedom, love and quality time with family and friends is key. With our yacht concept Art of Life, we want to address this as yacht architects and designers.” On board of Art of Life, the ocean and skies are always nearby given the huge aft window from the stern lounge, the large windows and multiple skylights, the toy garage with fold down hatch for amphibious launches and the vast outdoor spaces at the upper and bridge deck exterior.The spacious and refined design of Art of Life provides plenty of room to integrate all individual preferences of an owner. The architectural setup aboard is intuitive with a clear functional layout and a smart logic flow in the interior. This, combined with state-of-the-art and fully integrated technology, makes Art of Life a beacon of serenity. The entire design is about spaciousness, openness and freedom, as testified by the owner’s state room and private lounge on main deck and upper deck. The Owner’s lounge is reached by a private staircase and unfolds as a grand haven of light by multiple skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows, offering views all around.The panoramic stern lounge of Art of Life, with its large floor-to-ceiling slanted window,offers a grandiose view of the yacht’s wake as it disappears into the distance. The expansive upper deck lounge with full-glass facades and open decks and ever-changing views that will never cease to inspire. The indoor health & beauty center of Art of Life is located on the lower and main decks and features a connecting area with an open, architectural staircase for an exceptionally spacious effect. The flybridge atop of the bridge deck, unique by design and function, is perfect for enjoying expansive views of the surrounding world with family and friends. The vast exterior al fresco spaces are perfect for dining, lounging and partying at sea or in port. All four decks are designed based on fitness for purpose, resulting in maximum comfort for the body and soul thanks to the large indoor pool, sauna, treatment, hair & beauty and massage areas and stern lounge, which boasts a 384-inch retractable cinema screen. The gym and relax area at the health & beauty center feature fold-down hatches to the water level offering amazing views over the seascape outside. This all lends to a pure and aesthetic interior, using precious materials, rich detailing and superior craftmanship that result in serenity and balance. Luxury is inherent but never a statement in itself, merely a facilitator of onboard experiences.Like other concepts Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design has presented over the years, Art of Life is ready to be built. This concept is designed for discerning entrepreneurs, connoisseurs and explorers who want to express their individuality. Art of Life: full of art, full of life.”
Port Vauban : the future of yachting in one of Europe's oldest ports
Port Vauban in Antibes is shining a spotlight on its major redevelopment and unique long-term berth acquisition opportunities through a newly released promotional film.The French Riviera has long been a focal point of the yachting community in the Mediterranean, if not the world, and Antibes – located centrally between luxurious Monaco and festive St Tropez – is the beating heart of yachting on the French Riviera. One of the oldest port towns in Europe, Antibes can trace its roots back to before the Roman Empire, and it has held a position of nautical significance for millennia. With such history and heritage comes an unmistakeable cachet regarding the ownership of berths in this region.Being Europe’s largest leisure port, Antibes’ Port Vauban is now setting out its store as the future of yachting in the Mediterranean, illustrated through a newly released promotional film. Thanks to the redevelopment plans of Vauban 21, which recently acquired the prestigious Port Vauban operation, a unique new opportunity in the region to acquire long-term berths of up to 23 years’ duration is available to yacht owners of vessels from several metres up to over 170 metres.Port Vauban is a perennially popular location in which to base a yacht, offering convenience to yacht owners, guests and charterers, as well as captains and crew. Unlike the facilities available at other popular marinas on the Riviera, Port Vauban’s centrally located helipad provides instant access to the region’s key spots. It is just a two-minute flight to Nice Airport, delivering expedient international travel for yacht owners and guests.The port is a short car transfer or walk to some of the Riviera’s most celebrated and coveted social spots, from the quaint local restaurants of Antibes Old Town to the charming and historic Belle Rive Hotel to the high-society hangout of the Hotel du Cap Eden Roc.Port Vauban’s new promotional film also highlights the modernisation and redevelopment plans for the marina and its facilities, including a brand-new harbourmaster’s office with gourmet restaurants, as well as the Port Centre, which will be a hub for the local community as well as an exposition space and yachting campus. There will be a number of additional state-of-the-art security measures implemented across the site in the coming months, and guests will be given access to a fleet of golf carts to improve mobility around Port Vauban and the town.Antibes is a longstanding service hub for yachting companies and a convenient location for crew operations when not in guest mode. In addition to being easy to access from across Europe, Port Vauban is a year-round location for maintenance and operations. To bolster crew motivation, reduce turnover and a promote healthy lifestyle, a programme of activities targeted at crew will operate throughout the year, including the winter season.As one of the only marinas offering long-term contracts in the region, Port Vauban’s offering is truly unique for the French Riviera. Some 800 berths are now available to acquire through new right-of-use contracts of up to 23-years’ duration, including 17 long-term berths for sale between 60 and 100-plus metres (two having just been sold).Alongside the winter crew program, Port Vauban is now offering new winter berthing packages designed to deliver convenience and practicality to superyachts of 40 to 170 metres throughout the low season, from November to the end of April. This includes shorter minimum booking periods, the ability to carry out winter maintenance onsite (including provision of space for a container on the dock adjacent to the yacht) and the cheapest consumable rates in the Mediterranean.“We are excited to present our new offering at Port Vauban through this appealing promotional film. With limited availability of long-term berths between St Tropez and Monaco, and a redevelopment plan that will make our facilities unmatched in the region, we are certain that Port Vauban is the future of yachting not just on the French Riviera but for the whole of the Mediterranean,” said Eric de Saintdo, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer.Port Vauban is Europe’s leading marina in terms of volume, with 1,642 berths including 19 superyacht slips along the renowned IYCA, also known as “Billionaires’ Quay”. The port is conveniently located in the heart of the French Riviera, between Monaco and St Tropez and a short distance by water or road from Cannes, giving it an ideal position to be the capital of yachting in the Mediterranean.With deep-water access, the IYCA’s berths are available for vessels from 60 to 170 metres in length, with a low-tide draft of seven metres across the entire basin. All berths on the IYCA are equipped with appropriate shore power for large superyachts and a conveniently located helipad is available for guests of vessels on the quay. The IYCA is ISPS Code compliant and has restricted access with 24/7 security surveillance.Within Port Vauban there is a fuelling station next to the central capitainerie, and all yachts in the port are provided with high-speed broadband internet access as well as shore power and free pump-out of black and grey water. The port is currently monitored by 20 CCTV units, with plans for an additional 165 cameras to be installed, and there is onsite security covering the entire port.In 2017, Port Vauban was acquired by a triparty association and is now operated as part of the Riviera Ports network, which also runs marinas in Antibes-Juan Les Pins, Cannes, Nice and Golfe Juan. Under the new ownership structure, a large-scale redevelopment project is being carried out through Vauban 21 project, which will see an investment of 135 million euros over the next 24 years. The project will comprise a complete regeneration of the port’s facilities and amenities including a new capitainerie, restaurant and yacht club. There are also plans for an expansion of Port Vauban’s refit and maintenance shipyard infrastructure as well as installation of a 2,000m2 yachting campus for training courses, seminars and conferences.The current consignment of contracts that Port Vauban Antibes has for yachts of all sizes is due to expire on 31 December 2021. Consequently, the Port Vauban team is in the process of revising its layout and signing new berth contracts, which will come into effect on 1 January 2022. The contracts will have a 24-year term maximum with guarantee of use, and are available to new as well as existing clients.Approximately 800 berths are currently for sale, including 300 for yachts from 20 to 170 metres. As one of the only ports in the region offering long-term leases of this nature, it provides owners with a unique opportunity to secure a premium berth and enjoy the best yachting location in the Mediterranean.
Gulf Craft's Majesty 140 wins at the World Yachts Trophies during the Cannes Yachting Festival
Gulf Craft's superyacht the Majesty 140 wins the prestigious award for 'Best Yacht Layout' at the 17th edition of the coveted World Yacht Trophies. Competing with superyachts from leading top European yacht manufacturers, the Majesty 140 made her global debut at Dubai International Boat Show this year. One of the sought-after awards in the yachting sector, the famous World Yachts Trophies is held every year during the Cannes Yachting Festival. Organized by Yachts France, the entries were judged by a panel of experts made up of highly qualified members belonging to the steering committee of the publishing network. The panel was entrusted with the task of selecting and evaluating the boats and the winners for each category.A masterpiece created by Gulf Craft’s very own Design Studio, the Majesty 140 sets new standards in on-board space and entertainment features. In a class of its own, the luxurious tri-deck superyacht boasts a Gross Tonnage of 360 tons and features 6 staterooms with the option to increase up to 7 staterooms. The elegant 140-foot superyacht's extensive glass side windows allow plenty of sunlight inside and give the guests stunning panoramic views of the seascape around. Recently, the first hull renamed as C'est La Vie, which translates as "This is Life" was delivered to her owner. The Majesty 140 is the successor of the other award winning superyacht, Majesty 135. Notis Meneloau, VP of Sales and Mahmoud Itani, Marketing and Communications Manager received the prestigious award during the glittering ceremony that took place on Saturday, September 15, 2018 at the Intercontinental Carlton Hotel, Cannes.The invitation-only night is a great bonding evening for yachting professionals, owners, shipyards and media to meet and reward the best innovations of the luxury nautical industry of last season. Over 300 guests attended this exclusive cocktail gala night comprising a prestige dinner, yacht parade, awards ceremony, fireworks and party.