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 68m Abeking & Rasmussen superyacht Soaring ready for delivery to her owner after the sea trials.Launched in January, the custom-built motor yacht returned to the German shipyard in Lemwerder for a handover, having left the yard in March to undergo sea trials in the North Sea. Due to the current circumstances, the delivery celebration was held on a "far smaller scale" than first planned.The shipyard faced unprecedented challenges in the final phase of delivery due to the corona crisis. The shipyard itself has taken extensive measures to protect everyone working at the shipyard. Work plans were adjusted and overlap in individual rooms was largely excluded. Protective masks were also made available for work onboard. In addition, numerous opportunities for working in the home office were created.In this last phase of the construction process, the owner representative with Andy Tree from “Superyacht Technical Services” was once again distinguished by the professionalism with which it accompanied the delivery to the owner.Named after the soar of an eagle, the elegant exterior and modern interiors of the Soaring are the design work of the German studio Focus Yacht Design. They can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins, including a master suite on the aft upper deck and an additional five cabins on the main deck. On the owner’s deck, there is also a library and a private aft deck with seating areas.The upper deck of Soaring has a master suite with a private owner's aft deck and library. The remaining 5 guest yacht cabins will be located on the main deck and served by a team of 17 people. Soaring's sundeck meanwhile plays host to a bar and Jacuzzi while a beach club, gym, steam room and swim platform can be found on the lower deck. Power will come from two 2000hp MTU 12V4000 diesel engines.
April 6, 2020
Sunreef Yachts (Poland) has delivered the latest Sunreef 80 sailing superyacht to its Chinese owner. The yacht was named Double Happiness after a traditional Chinese ornament symbolising marriage.With a bold, contemporary hull styling, the 80 Sunreef Power incorporates classic stainless steel portlights, teak sole decks, high bulwarks and subtle ambience lighting.Her massive garage combined with an aft platform allows the 80 Sunreef Power to take her dinghy, numerous water toys and jet-ski anywhere she goes.Easily accessed from the saloon, the yacht’s full-beam bow terrace is a vast, soothing retreat with amazing amounts of space for sunning and lounging. The 80 Sunreef Power’s immense flybridge offers enough breadth to house a spa pool, a wet bar and generous seating all around.One of the most spectacular features onboard the 80 Sunreef Power is the master suite which can be set up in the bow section of the main deck.With a double bed facing the bow terrace, a bathroom with a walk-in shower, dressing and desk, the suite is bathed in sun from the skylight glazing. The same space can also be used to install a large lounge with ample seating and access to the foredeck.The main saloon opens wide onto the ample aft cockpit to combine the yacht’s interior dining space with the outdoor relaxation areas, where more seating is available along with a wet bar.The fully customizable saloon can also accommodate a large galley, depending on the layout selected and houses an elevated interior navigation station.The crew quarters along with the galley and crew mess can be accessed directly from the aft cockpit for more privacy on board.The Sunreef 80 features a 200 square metre mainsail, 340 square metre gennaker, 135 square metre genoa and 70 square metre staysail. Power also comes from two 280HP engines.
April 3, 2020
Gulf Craft's production is continued at both its facilities in the UAE and the Maldives.Shipyard comments that it is taking all of the precautionary measures necessary in terms of physical distancing and hygiene requirements to ensure the safety of employees, visitors and contractors such as disinfection, tests and daily health checks. Mostly, the majority of administrative staff are working from home.Monaco Marine announced the temporary closure of their shipyards since March 19, 2020. This includes the shutdown of certain subcontractors and suppliers and closure of ports. In spite of this, the management teams will remain operational to answer clients’ concerns.
April 3, 2020
German design studio Beiderbeck Designs relieved the 65-meter explorer superyacht concept.The design studio was founded in the 1990s by its eponym Jörg Beiderbeck. In 2010 Immo Lüdeling and Tim Ulrich took over the studio as owner and the team now includes 8 designers, interior designers and engineers.The five-deck explorer concept is fully SOLAS certified and features a diesel-electric propulsion system. Key features include “outstanding sea-going, stability and manoeuvring characteristics.”Accommodation onboard has the owner's deck (the master cabin with a large saloon and bathroom), two lounges and a private terrace, six double guest cabins, a saloon large enough to accommodate 12 people and an alfresco lounge area also four single cabins and two twins on the main deck, gym, spa, galley and pantry. Crew accommodation comprises nine twin cabins for a staff of 18. The 65m explorer has a helipad and hangar, car garage and storage for three tenders.Other technical details include a 14-metre beam, draught of 4.2 metres and a top speed of 12.8 knots.
April 3, 2020
Turkish yard Mengi Yay shares an update on the 42.5m sailing yacht L'Aquila II, which is approaching to the end of hull construction.The builder says its production capabilities were reduced by 30% due to the safety measures because of COVID-19.Key features of L'Aquila II include a steel hull and aluminium superstructure with naval architecture and an exterior design by Ginton Naval Architects and interiors by BTA Design.Accommodation will be for up to 10 guests in five cabins, with a further three cabins sleeping up to six crew members.Technical characteristics include 911hp Yanmar engine with a maximum speed of 14.6 knots and a cruising speed of 13.5 knots. The sailing yacht will have a beam of nine metres and a four-metre draft.Her construction is set to take 24 months with the delivery planned for 2021.
April 2, 2020