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.
Construction of the Alia Sea Club 53m full custom yacht is progressing smoothly and on schedule at the shipyard in Antalya. Having started metal-cutting in November last year, by the end of August the steel hull and aluminum superstructure were complete. The latter was built in two blocks because of the huge helideck, which had to be built separately. Following sandblasting and priming, the hull and superstructure were ready to be joined nine months after the keel had been laid. This operation was carried out with military precision by 40 workers and five cranes with a total 800-tonne capacity. “The joining operation marked a major milestone in the construction process and was completed in just one day,” says Ömer Koray, Managing Director of Alia Yachts. “With the steel and aluminum hot works finished, we’re now completing the fitting out of the floating floors, tank connections, machinery foundations, pipe and cable penetrations, and exterior fitted furniture.” With insulation, painting, electrical and piping materials already purchased and on site, the installation teams have started working on board. Alia’s in-house carpentry and design facility have already built the crew quarters and are currently constructing the guest areas that will be ready for assembly in the coming weeks. The 499GT yacht’s exterior design and general arrangement is by Azure Yacht Design & Naval Architecture, while Diana Yacht Design handled her naval architecture.The yacht features a large covered tender bay on the main deck for tenders and toys, a fully certified heli-deck, a water sport center, and accommodation for six guests across two cabins and a master suite. The Alia Sea Club 53m is due to be delivered in the fall of 2023.Alia Yachts was founded in 2008 by Gokhan Çelik and Omer Koray. Located in the port of Antalya on the beautiful Turkish Riviera, Alia Yachts shipyard currently occupies approximately 8,000 sq. m, including three construction halls with their suites of specialist workshops and a dedicated interiors facility. With an additional 16,000 sq. m under development for 2019, Alia Yachts will rank among the top facilities in the region.Credits: Alia Yachts
October 6, 2022
The 26th hull of the Otam 58, restyled by Giuseppe Bagnardi of BG Design Firm and named Bad Boy, made its World debut at Cannes Yachting Festival 2022. The updated exterior styling offers a semi-open deck house with a sharply raked windscreen and wraparound glazing for the en plein air feel of a true open combined with the protection from the sun and wind of a hardtop. It also provides a more aerodynamic profile and less turbulence for better performance and more onboard comfort at high speed. Integrated into the hardtop are two air intakes (another two are positioned to port and starboard on the foredeck) that funnel air directly into the aft engine compartment underneath the two large sunpads either side of the central walkway. These can be raised hydraulically for easy access to the engines and other equipment. The covered cockpit is equipped with a bar unit, corner sofa and a comfortable dining area.The swim platform and exhaust grilles in the transom have also been redesigned with the latter now integrated and disguised in the nameplate. Below deck, the OTAM 58 GTS features two ensuite double cabins, an open-space galley and third single cabin with bathroom for an extra guest or crew member.The 58 GTS powered by twin MTU 1825hp engines coupled to ASD14 Arneson surface drives, has a top speed of 55 plus knots and cruises comfortably at 48 knots. Bad Boy was built to the specific brief of her owner, who has also requested a bespoke Böning console for the pilot station. The shipyard’s 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 Mediterranean 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: Alberto Cocchi/Otam
October 5, 2022
Tankoa’s latest superyacht concept was unveiled at this year’s Monaco Yacht Show. The 68m Fenice is the product of a collaboration between the Genoa-based yard and Venetian studio Enrico Gobbi of Team For Design and named after the famous opera house in Venice. “We understood each other immediately with Enrico and it was a pleasure to develop this project together,” says Giuseppe Mazza, Tankoa Sales and Marketing Manager. “With the T680 we continue to expand the range of Tankoa yachts in order to offer the market an ever-increasing choice of unique projects. Like her namesake, the T680 Fenice is a triumph of poise, rhythm and grace.”T680 Fenice exterior aerodynamic lines and curves are inspired by automotive and aeronautical design, the overall effect is beauty in motion. The outdoor and indoor spaces are made to make the transition between the two as seamless and natural as possible. The open-air aft lounge on the main deck is the yacht’s astounding centerpiece. Covering an area of 100 sq. m, this multi-level beach club comprises an infinity pool, gym, spa and lounge. A glass-covered portion of the pool integrated into the center of the deck leads guests directly to a protected terrace, before entering the beach club proper. Folding balconies on both sides of the hull increase the interior area. The main saloon offers full-height glass windows for panoramic views of the sea. The two VIP suites and four ensuite guest cabins located forward of the main saloon. The lower deck is dedicated to the crew accommodation and services, including a pro-spec galley, hospital room and side-loading tender garage. The upper deck features a circular dining area, which thanks to full-height sliding glass doors can be enclosed or semi-open to the sun and sea breeze. This dining room is linked to the sky lounge that has side balconies that can extend outwards over the sea. The master stateroom is an exquisite 90 sq. m space of privacy and comfort with floor-to-ceiling windows offering 270-degree panoramic views. The suite has direct access to a private foredeck with sun loungers and a glass-fronted hot tub. The deck area doubles as a touch-and-go helipad for those grand entrances or dramatic exits.“This new project is the result of our desire to be recognised for who we are: a boutique shipyard able to offer a range of unique yachts designed by the best designers,” comments Eva Orsi, President of Tankoa. “We are proud of this collaboration with Enrico Gobbi that highlights the unmistakable style, quality, beauty and know-how that goes into making our customers' dreams come true.”Tankoa was founded in 2007 and began production in 2008. A true “boutique shipyard”, focused on building semi-custom and custom constructions 45-meter and up.Credits: Tankoa
October 5, 2022
Admiral has announced the keel laying of the new Admiral Galileo 82 meters mega yacht. The sale of this motor yacht, completed in December 2021 through the US broker FGI Yachts, marked The Italian Sea Group’s official entrance in the US market for large yachts, consolidating the Group’s position as a reference global player in the sector.The expansion of The Italian Sea Group’s commercial presence in the States has continued with the opening of the first flagship store in East Hampton – Long Island and with the inauguration, in September, of the first After Sales point in Miami, Florida, at the time of delivery of the first Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 in the US.The new Admiral Galileo mega yacht, in steel and aluminum, has been designed by The Italian Sea Group’s own Centro Stile in collaboration with Bannenberg Rowell Design, who curated the interior design.Exteriors are characterized by elegant and sinuous lines, big spaces on four decks and large windows. She can accommodate 12 guests and 28 crew members on board. A 130 sq. m upper deck entirely dedicated to the owner’s cabin. She also features the living rooms for over 100 sq. m on each deck, a waterfall linking two of the four pools on board, one of which is 7.5x3.5 meters long, one underwater cinema lounge and a beach area with gym, spa, and massage room.Another unique element of innovation is represented by the long glass corridor which goes through the engine room, making it an integral part of the environment and enhancing its engineering beauty, as well as connecting the spa area with the upper deck foyer.“The keel laying ceremony is always a special moment in the construction of a yacht, especially for a custom-made project of such dimensions and such innovative characteristics, both from an aesthetic and an engineering point of view,” commented Giovanni Costantino, Founder & CEO of The Italian Sea Group.The delivery of the new Admiral Galileo is scheduled for July 2025.Admiral Yachts – flagship brand of The Italian Sea Group, global operator of the international nautical industry, specialized in the construction of yachts and ships up to 100 meters. Present in the yacht market, Admiral has launched 147 yachts over the years. Since 1966 The Italian Sea Group has launched over 583 yachts.Credits: The Italian Sea Group
October 5, 2022
During the Monaco Yacht Show Benetti presented an 85 meter concept Project Oro with the exterior and interior made by Giorgio M Cassetta and hybrid propulsion. The fully custom concept was developed to meet a range of design requests made by Benetti's clients. Project OroThe yacht spreads across five decks and offers an abundance of alfresco entertaining areas, a 400 sq. m sundeck and a large beach club with unfolding sea terraces on both sides and terraces. The main deck and the beach club are connected by two staircases. The transverse swimming pool is located in the aft. Project OroWith 85m LOA and an interior volume of around 2,500 GT Project Oro would be Benetti’s sixth largest custom vessel ever built by Benetti. During the 31st edition of the Monaco Yacht Show, Benetti also unveiled the new B.Now 50M M/Y Iryna and Custom 65M M/Y Triumph.IrynaM/Y Iryna FB602, the first unit of the B.Now 50M, combines modernity, innovation and functionality, inaugurating a range that includes, in addition to the 50-meter, three models of 60, 67 and 72 meters. The yacht was made by Benetti with the RWD design studio, responsible for the exteriors. The external lines, in a visual harmony of the decks from stern to bow, develop in constant contact with the sea.TriumphCustom 65M M/Y Triumph FB270 is one of the most recent megayachts launched by Benetti. Developed over 65 meters in length, it features 5 enclosed decks plus a sundeck extending in an extremely balanced ratio between volumes and length. The exterior lines are the work of Cassetta Yacht Designers, Benetti’s style office took care of the interiors and the Green & Mingarelli Design studio handled the decoration. Triumph offers high hull efficiency and ensures quiet sailing for long-range travel. Founded in 1873, Benetti is the oldest Italian shipyard specializing in luxury yachts. Benetti designs, builds and sells composite vessels from 29m to 44m and steel and aluminum boats from 37 to over 100m. The fleet consists of five categories: Class, Oasis, B.Yond, B.Now and Custom to meet all the needs of the market. Benetti belongs to the Azimut|Benetti Group, the largest privately owned luxury yachting group in the world.Credits: Benetti
October 4, 2022