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.
Kiel-based shipyard, Nobiskrug has launched their new 80-meter Project 790, moving its hull from their Kiel facility to their superyacht hall in Rendsburg. The yacht is scheduled to be delivered in 2019.Project 790's keel was laid back in March of this year, the 80m is being built to a design by Gregory C. Marshall. The next stage for the development of the yacht, scheduled for delivery in 2019, will be interior fittings set to take place at Nobiskrug's Rendsburg facility.Nobiskrug has recently become most famous for their 141.8-meter S/Y A, which they delivered to Russian billionaire, Andrei Melnichenko, earlier this year.
October 17, 2017
Listed for sale back by New Zealand's richest man, Graeme Hart, back in 2016, the 107-meter explorer, Ulysses has now been sold after over a year on the market. Although the final price remains unknown, the yacht was asking $195 million at the time of the sale.Hart had placed the order for the 107-meter Ulysses back in 2013, with designers at the time saying that he had chosen Kleven due to its quality standards, delivery times and price point. Later in November 2014, Hart placed the order for the 116-meter.I am very pleased with the quality of the work that has been done by Kleven, and how our organizations have worked together to bring this exciting project to life.Graeme Hart in November 2014Capable of accommodating 30 guests in 15 cabins, the H2-designed yacht carries a crew of 40. Powered by Caterpillar engines, Ulysses has a maximum speed of 16.8 knots and can cruise at 15 knots.Amongst the yacht's key features are a 21m tender, lifted by specially designed cranes onto the foredeck, an 11m x 5m swimming pool, a large jacuzzi, a sauna, a gym and a massage room. Ulysses' garage is packed with toys from motorcycles to surfboards.Ulysses therefore becomes the largest brokerage yacht sold so far in 2017, overtaking the 85-meter Lurssen, Solandge sold earlier this year at an asking price of €155 million. The sale closed in a particularly competitive landscape for brokerage megayachts, with the 110-meter Jubilee currently looking for a buyer as well as the 110-meter Ona, formerly known as Dilbar.
October 16, 2017
Built to handle most challenging waters, the 39.3-meter superyacht Safira equipped with and ice-strenghened hull is ready to venture with her future owner almost anywhere in the world and with maximum comfort, according to Camper & Nicholsons' report. She is asking $18,9 million.Built in 2013 to comply to ABS and MCA standards of safety and pollution prevention, and last refitted in 2015, Safira is a high specification vessel that boasts a 8000 nautical mile range at a speed of 8.5 knots. Her powerful engines can run on 15% biodiesel and the decks are made of eco-friendly teak, which resembles teak. Furthermore, every single element of her contemporary and sophisticated interior design is elaborated in materials with a limited environmental impact, such as reclaimed oak and forest certified sapele. Even the stonework in her guest bathrooms is made from remnants from her owner’s previous projects. Safira is designed as an ideal yacht for socializing with family and friends thanks to her vast relaxation and dining areas throughout her communal guests spaces. The superyacht offers accommodation for up to 12 guests in five en suite cabins, including a full beam master. Her amenities include everything expected for long-range luxury cruising, like a fully equipped gym and and a choice of watertoys for the younger guests.
October 16, 2017
Dutch shipyard, Amels has confirmed that it will start building a 78-meter custom yacht designed by Espen Oeino. The yacht will become the shipyard's largest by gross tonnage and the first collaboration between Amels and Oeino.Acquired in 1991 by DAMEN Shipyards, Amels was established in 1918 and underwent several changes of ownership in the 1980s, including a brief period of time when it was owned by Donald Trump. The yard's most recent breakout success came with the Limited Edition series, made up of 6 models from 55 to 83 metres with exterior by Tim Heywood. The line became one of the most successful in the 50m+ range, with over 28 yachts sold.In 2014, Amels announced that it would create a Custom Yachts division, with the idea in mind to build bespoke yachts up to 110 meters in length. The first known iteration of this becomes the 78-meter Oeino-designed yacht that it plans to deliver in 2021.Although smaller in length than Amels' flagship 83,5m Here Comes The Sun, the new yacht will have an interior volume of over 2,850GT and therefore more than its flagship launched in 2016.
October 12, 2017
Launched in September of this year, the 69-meter Feadship, Samaya has now embarked on sea trials according to new social media footage. Designed by RWD, she will become one of the 200 largest yachts in the world upon her delivery.Accommodating up to 12 guests across a master suite, a VIP cabin and four guest staterooms, Samaya carries a crew of 16. Amongst her features are a diving center with a nitrox-enriched air system, several Seabobs and relevant equipment.Samaya was launched following nearly 3 years of development, following Asia-based broker Lee Marine introducing the client to Feadship, with the project growing by five meters during this stage.From a technical standpoint, Samaya is powered by a pair of CAT 312C engines that give her a maximum range of 5,000 nautical miles and a top speed of 16,4 knots.Photos via Feadship and Rudy Wijn
October 10, 2017