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.
The brand new superyacht Olivia O has been recently seen on the French Riviera. Planning and engineering work began on the boat in November 2016 and earlier in 2020 the superyacht was finally delivered to her experienced owner.One of the largest explorer yachts in the world was designed and built by Ulstein Verft, which is known for commercial vessels, ferries, and workboats. Well-known superyacht designer Espen Oeino was chosen by the owner to develop the exterior lines and the general arrangement of Olivia O. The 88.5 m motor yacht is not typical in style, she features a trademarked reverse-bow design called the X-Bow.She is owned by Eyal Ofer, a Monaco based billionaire, active in shipping and real estate. He is not the last man in shipping indeed since in 2014 Eyal was ranked number 7 in Lloyd’s List 100 People in Shipping. With the net worth, which is estimated at US$ 9.4 billion, he definitely can afford this US$ 200 million luxury superyacht. Eyal is Chairman of Ofer Global, Zodiac Group, and Global Holdings. His father Sammy Offer was Israel’s richest man.Some of her impressive highlights are a large swimming pool on the main deck aft and a helicopter deck with a D-value of 16. Olivia O offers accommodation up to 20 guests in 8 cabins, including Pullman bunks while crew accommodation is for 30 people.
July 10, 2020
The 99.95 m superyacht Moonrise, the largest superyacht by waterline length built in the Netherlands to date, has been recently delivered after successful sea trials in the North Sea. Built by the Feadship yard in Makkum, she also has an impressive volume thanks to a 15.50-metre beam.The shipyard described the yacht's key features as “sleek, sensual lines” with a “modern masculine profile”. Some of the highlights of Moonrise are it's a large beach club, a gym, and the huge living space areas.Her stylish details, such as long hull windows, a glorious grey hull, and striking vertical bow add to the elegance of the design by Studio De Voogt. The interior of the boat was created by Remi Tessieir Design.Moonrise has a 15.5-meter beam and is equipped with a pair of MTU engines for a maximum speed of 19.5 knots and a cruising speed of 16 knots.Moonrise equipped with a pair of MTU engines for a top speed of 19.5 knots at top speed and she is designed to cruise comfortably at 16 knots. The dimensions of the yacht are impressive and can accommodate up to 16 guests in 8 staterooms. There are also exceptionally high-end crew accommodations for up to 32 crew members.
July 10, 2020
Lürssen's superyacht Opus, which was previously named Redwood, hit the sea for the first time. The 142m vessel featuring six decks was launched yesterday July 9th. The technical concept was launched in January 2019.The management of project Opus is done by Moran Yacht & Ship, overseeing the construction process. This project sets a new record as the largest project for the company to sell.Moran Yacht & Ship commented:She is feature-rich with high-end amenities to delight and cater to every imaginable whimThe motor yacht can accommodate 36 guests in 20 cabins. Opus was designed by Italian design studio Nuvolari & Lenard. After the sea trials are completed, Opus will be delivered to her owner later this year.
July 10, 2020
Madame Gu is a 99.00 m luxury motor yacht. She was built by Feadship in 2013. This week this majestic superyacht has been seen in Saint Tropez. With a beam of 16.50m and a draft of 4.60m, she has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. This adds up to a gross tonnage of 2900 tones.Madame Gu is powered by MTU 20V 4000 M73 engines of 4,828hp each, capable of reaching a maximum speed of 24 knots and cruise at 22 knots.She can accommodate 12 guests in 6 cabins including a master stateroom and five guest cabins. Both, an interior and exterior design by Andrew Winch make up one of Holland’s largest yachts ever built. The superyacht a fully enclosed helicopter hangar with a Eurocopter Dauphin AS 365N3, which costs around US$ 9 million. Also, there are two 11-metre tenders and scuba gear as well as a beach club, gym, and jacuzzi on deck.
July 9, 2020
Lürssen shipyard delivered 180 metre superyacht Azzam in 2013. With such an impressive length, she is the largest privately owned superyacht in the world and held its title unchallenged for nearly seven years. With a beam of 20.8 m and a draft of 4.3 m, she has a steel hull and aluminum superstructure. This adds up to a gross tonnage of 13136 tons. Azzam is powered by engines of 23,500 hp each giving her a maximum speed of 30 knots.The all-white motor yacht can accommodate guests in cabins with an interior design by Christophe Leoni and an exterior design by Italian studio Nauta Design.Mario Pedol, co-founder of Nauta Design commented:Azzam features balanced, modern architecture composed of straight lines and proportional volumes, which are some of the main design principles of Nauta Design When we were called to participate in pitching for the exterior styling of this yacht we knew it would be the most demanding work of our career, defined by the strictest and most challenging requests in terms of dimensions, performances, and technology. What made us confident to be able to deal with such a challenge was the interpretation of the client’s brief. The best technology was required in order to obtain the highest performance possible.There is not much information about her interior design, but it’s not a secret that the interior layout includes an open-plan main saloon measuring 29 metres by 18 metres.Pedol said about it:We’ve had a lot of compliments for Azzam. They all talk about elegance and balance, that she doesn’t look as big as she is, and I think this is a good achievement.
July 9, 2020