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

Twin superyacht design: 88m S/Y Lotus paired with 70m companion vessel
Dutch shipyard Royal Huisman partnered with ThirtyC design studio and Dykstra Naval Architects have introduced a 'double' superyacht concept during the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. The design concept complements the earlier revealed 88-metre sailing superyacht Lotus with a 70-metre companion vessel Lotus’ Shadow.A 'next-generation' twin project from the British design studio ThirtyC, ‘Lotus’ bridges the gap between the experience of sailing and the adventure of the motor yacht lifestyle. Designed with the combination of dual-mast DynaRig sailing yacht and rugged Support Vessel, Lotus aims at unbridled freedom for both the journey and the destination.The lightweight, high-tech 88-metre sailing yacht represents the primary vessel in this 'private armada', offering owners speed, precision sailing and the ability to cruise the world in comfort or compete in global superyacht regattas. This versatility is due to the world’s first twin-mast DynaRig structure, meaning Lotus has the potential to become one of the most technologically advanced and fastest sailing yacht of her kind on the water.Drawn with signature ThirtyC style, Lotus has been born out of collaboration with Royal Huisman and DynaRig specialists Dykstra Naval Architects. The project opts for complete customisation, open spaces, reduced complexity in terms of both rigging and crew as well as an engineering package that fits both luxury and agility on the water.Able to accommodate up to 16 guests across eight cabins and a master suite, Lotus features a 2,200 square-metre sail area and a top speed of 20 knots.As to the 70-metre support vessel Lotus’ Shadow, she is designed to prepare for the sailing yacht’s arrival at any given destination. She will be packed to the brim with toys, tenders, cars, helicopters and other items that enhance the experience of travelling the globe.The vessel is highlighted by a 1.312-square-foot space for housing tenders, toys, helicopters, cars and even a submarine upon request. Moreover, she would offer room for the crew of 18 and 8 guests across 4 cabins.The motor yacht side of the duo, the aggressively styled, futuristic and clean design of the support vessel works with the aesthetic of the sailing yacht to act as a complete package. On the water, the functionality of the support vessel also complements the lifestyle of the sailing yacht, bringing with it entourages, pilots, doctors, and any guides or team members to help make the journey more than unique.
Ferretti Group withdraws from listing on stock exchange
Italian superyacht builder Ferretti SpA has announced its withdrawal from public listing of 30% of the company’s shares on the Milan stock exchange. The decision has been altered from the earlier course on returning to the listing.The group already considered a return to the stock market back in 2008 but then the process was hindered by global financial crisis. The current change of plans is stipulated by no sufficient valuation under current market conditions, despite a number of positive applications, the company says.The first auction with the participation of Ferretti on the Milan Stock Exchange was to take place on October 21. The company planned to put up a 30% stake. However, by the end of the IPO period, which lasted first from October 1 to 10, and then prolonged until October 15.Alberto Galassi, CEO of Ferretti SpAFerretti saw lowering of its indicative price range for shares from the initial target of €2.50 to €3.70 per share to only between €2.00 and €2.50. That said, it would have meant a market valuation of € 581 million instead of aimed €1.08 billion.Ferretti was acquired by Chinese industrial conglomerate Weichai Group in 2012. Under the Chinese management, the company succeeded to return from the crisis stage back to profit in 2017, paying off the debts through the activity of Riva and Pershing brands.Currently, Weichai Group controls 75% of the company’s stake, with 13% bought by an heir of Enzo Ferrari, the founder of the iconic Italian supercar maker, in 2016.However, in the new prospective, Alberto Galassi, CEO of the company, said in 2020 a share of about 30% might be sold to some new investor from Europe, reported Reuters.For the moment, The Ferretti Group comprises eight brands: Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, CRN, Custom Line, Itama, Mochi Craft and Wally, the latest acquisition closed in April 2019. The brands portfolio is set to produce 43 models altogether. Meanwhile, the company revealed at the Cannes Yachting Festival 2019, it had received an equity injection of €250 million from Weichai Group and Piero Ferrari through F Investments.
Orignial James Bond superyacht Casino Royale on charter from EUR 65,000
If you have always dreamed of chartering genuine James-Bond-style vessel, there is a perfect value for money on charter market. The 33-metre Sunseeker Predator yacht Casino Royale that appeared in Casino Royale (2006) James Bond movie, is available for charter with Camper & Nicholsons for €65,000 (approx. $72,000) per week.The performance motor yacht from well-known Sunseeker Predator series was delivered in 2004. Casino Royale sports a navy blue hull with sweeping windows. Delivered in 2004 and refitted in 2016, Casino Royale actually featured in the 2006 James Bond movie, filmed in the Bahamas and appearing on multiple occasions.A shot from Casino Royale (2006)Casino Royale's minimal superstructure and narrow hull ensure her graceful and agile sliding on the water. With triple 16 cylinder MTU V16 2000 engines with Arneson drives, she boasts a maximum speed of 45 knots and comfortable cruising speed of 30-33 knots.The yacht’s open plan salon boasts features of larger yachts, thanks to her 2.7-metre headroom, non-typical for a yacht of her size. Immaculate and pristine, the main salon is furnished with warm woods and neutral undertones complimented with a retractable sun roof above the dining area.Aft of the main deck is a sumptuous lounging space with al fresco dining area, bar and very large sunpad. A Jacuzzi is laid forward, with a very generous space for sunbathing and lounging.On the lower deck, the yacht offers accommodation to up to eight guests across four cabins (owner’s cabin, one VIP and two twins), where each stateroom has its own en suite marble bathroom and television. Her master suite comprises a master study, a bathroom with a full-size bathtub and shower, and a walk-in wardrobe.Casino Royale's entertainment and leisure facilities comprise satellite TV system and a plethora of water toys such as a Sea Doo, stand-up paddleboards, water skis, snorkelling equipment and more.The vessel underwent extensive refit works in 2016, that cost EUR 1.5 million in total. Casino Royale is currently docked in Western Mediterranean.For other vessels spotted in movies, check our list of 10 most stunning superyachts ever featured in movies.
TOP-5 brand new gigayachts to charter in winter 2019
With superyacht charter activity smoothly transitioning from the summer period to winter 2019/2020, charter clients are going to benefit from broader vessels’ choice compared to the previous winter, thanks to the yachts launched and delivered in 2019. Yacht Harbour recalls brand new charter gigayachts not to overlook this winter.#1. MadsummerBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 95mCharter in winter: from $1,400,000 p/wThe 95-metre superyacht Madsummer is set to make her international debut at FLIBS 2019 after a recent delivery to her owner, a repeat client with Lürssen. First known as Project Fiji it took nearly 2.5 years to build her under supervision of the owner’s captain and brokerage company Moran Yacht & Ship.With a 14-metre beam, the exterior profile of Madsummer comes from a British designer Harrison Eidsgaard maintaining sleek and elegant lines within impressive volumes. The interior design aimed at up to 20 guests across 10 suites comes from drawing boards by Laura Sessa.The vessel's main trademarks are the 12-metre swimming pool and Jacuzzi laid on the aft deck, protected with glass bulwarks. Spacious beach club and spa zone with a sea terrace on the lower deck also belong on the list of Madsummer’s special features. The bow is equipped with a helipad, while the sun deck aft features hidden crane in the bulwark, able to handle an aeroboat.The superyacht is available for charter in Caribbean/Bahamas in winter.#2. TISBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 111mCharter in winter: not confirmedJust a month after her delivery, the 111.5-metre Lürssen superyacht TIS entered charter market in July 2019 asking € 2,200,000 per week via Moran. At the moment, however, she is not officially listed anymore.TIS was commissioned for a long-time charter client of Moran Yacht & Ship. The vessel boasts exterior and interior styling by UK-based design studio Winch Design and features 2 helicopter pads, a 12-metre swimming pool on the main deck aft, a resort inspired spa at beach club level, and opulent palatial staircases. TIS comes with the tender storage able to house two 13-metre tenders, two additional 10-metre tenders, a submarine and diverse watersports toys.With her impressive interior volume within a beam of 18.4 metres, TIS will accommodate up to 16 guests across a massive private owner’s deck and eight guests staterooms, served by the crew of 38. The featured top speed of the vessel makes 18 knots. #3. Flying FoxBuilder: Lürssen (2019)LOA: 136mCharter in winter: upon requestThe impressive 130-metre Lürssen superyacht Flying Fox was delivered to her owner in March 2019, later sensationally listed for charter with Imperial. The superyacht boasts the most elegant and graceful exterior design by Espen Oeino, maintaining striking looks despite her massive volume of 9,100 GT.This superyacht’s key features include two helipads, capable of hosting the largest helicopters and a generous swimming pool located aft of the main deck. Flying Fox also boasts vast sea terraces, swim platforms for watersports. She can accommodate up to 22 guests across 11 staterooms, along with a crew of 54. Flying Fox is available for charter in Indian Ocean in winter.#4. ExcellenceBuilder: Abeking & Rasmussen (2019)LOA: 80mCharter in winter: from $ 1,100,000 p/wThe sixth largest vessel of Abeking & Rasmussen, Excellence features both exteriors and interiors developed by Winch Design. Her framework relies on the same technical platform as the 81-metre Grace, featured with a 12.6-metre beam and a maximum draught of 3.5 metres.Key exterior trademark of Excellence is her striking and angular reverse bow, offering a silhouette comparable to a spaceship. Her exterior lines draw the eye to the bridge and owner’s decks surrounded by curved floor-to-ceiling mirrored glass, blurring the distinction between the upper deck and the panoramic skylounge.With accommodation capacity for 14 guests, Excellence offers a swimming pool and platform, as well as Jacuzzi and sprawling beach club and impressive limousine tenders.Excellence is available for charter in the Caribbean during winter season.#5. Syzygy 818Builder: Feadship (2019)LOA: 77.25mCharter in winter: not confirmedThe recently launched 77-metre Feadship Syzygy 818 made her international debut at the Monaco Yacht Show 2019, after successful sea trials in the North Sea and delivery. She is managed by KK Superyachts and is offered for charter. Little information has yet been revealed on the vessel. It is known, that her naval architecture is by Feadship De Voogt, exterior design is by Jamsen and interior design is by Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design.With a beam of 11 metres, Syzygy 818 features a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. The word "syzygy" meanwhile is used in astrology to reference a rare event in which three or more celestial bodies line up, such as a new moon or lunar eclipse.
Wider announces new range after changing owners
Italian builder Wider Yachts has introduced its new projects during the Monaco Yacht Show 2019. The presentation came two months after the brand’s shared acquisition by Zepter Group and two more companies: the Monegasque group Nautical Hybrid Tech and Hopafi Holding Srl.Most importantly, celebrating the beginning of a new era for Wider brand, the company has announced their current flagship, a 54-metre Project Wider 180 has already been under construction, with the first cut of the hull planned for the beginning of 2020 and a delivery foreseen in February 2022.“Clean and essential lines” of the vessel have been designed by Andrea Vallicelli and C Yacht Design, creating considerably huge volumes for a yacht of her size. For instance, the beach area covers 160 square metres, offering space for sunbathing and relaxation, fitted with a seawater swimming pool, a spa and a gym. Moreover, thanks to its Floating Launching System, the area can recover a 10-metre tender making entry and exit maneuvers considerably easier for the crew when launching.Wider 180 also represents a step towards a 100% electric technology. The vessel is equipped with one main generator and an emergency one leading to a weight reduction and thus lower fuel consumption.Marcello Maggi, Wider President, claimed:I am enthusiast of this project, either for the beautiful clean modern lines either for its green soul, which is something we strongly believe in. We opened the way of the electric propulsion applied on leisure superyachts and this is the right path to cover, without looking behind.Another project revealed by the company is a 41-metre all-aluminium Wider 135. Centro Stile, Wider's exterior styling department, has focused on the model’s close connection to the sea. Wider 135’ distinctive feature is her aft that can be completely unfolded creating a 90-square-metre multi-use platform with an infinity pool in the centre, all at the water level.What is more, Wider is also currently working on other custom projects of up to 200 feet in length and on renewed versions of Wider 32 and Wider 42, to be unveiled later. The builder is going to focus rather on quality than quantity, planning to build no more than two yachts at a time.The yard has confirmed the construction of the first Wider 180 to begin in June 2020 on speculation. Meanwhile, Philip Zepter, one of the yard’s new shareholders has also announced, Wider is to be listed in the stock exchange within three years.