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.
Listed for sale by Peter Thompson at Thompson, Westwood & White, the buyer in the deal was introduced by Superyacht Sales& Charter. "Spectre" was asking €65,000,000."Spectre" is a 69-meter Full Custom Mega Yacht with a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure on five decks. The name pays tribute once again to James Bond after “Quantum of Solace” and “Diamonds Are Forever”. It’s first owner John Staluppi fell in love with the leading character in the series of films inspired by the novels of Ian Fleming.This original superyacht was developed around the latest marine technologies and combining different styles and philosophies of interior decoration. References to Art Nouveau in France mixed with modern details designed by Giorgio M. Cassetta. He said that he was very fond and proud of this project. As it was the perfect example of the ideas of the owner and the shipyard. John and Jeanette Staluppi, with their outstanding energy, pulled us together on to imagine and develop with everything that could be desired on a boat this size.The style of the interiors, created by Benetti’s Interior Style Department, feel of some French hotels and boutiques, standing out from Staluppi’s previous yachts in a more classical way. For example, the floor in the main lounge draws inspiration from the Art Nouveau style flooring in a Paris resort, with symmetrical forms and clean-cut geometrical patterns. Other references to French taste are the windows, a reminiscent of Paris’ typical Art Nouveau shops.The megayacht features with a swimming pool and touch and go helipad. Accommodating 12 guests in unforgettable comfort, the layout has two owner’s cabins: one has a private terrace, a sun lounging area and a hydromassage tub; two VIP cabins on the Main Deck and two guest cabins on the lower deck.Benetti’s most advanced construction technologies is the Ride Control technology by Naiad Dynamics - the system significantly increases stability during navigation and improves comfort on board with the help of four stabilising fins and three vertically-adjustable blades.The lines of the hi speed cruising hull by Dutch firm Mulder Design, deliver maximum navigation efficiency, with a range of 6,500 nautical miles at 12 knots and a top speed of 21.2 knots, which is 30% more than a traditional displacement hull.A seven Full Custom yachts planned in 2018/2019, including 3 giga yachts over 100 meters each, now are building in parallel at the Benetti’s Livorno shipyard.
February 20, 2019
Italian builder Codecasa has launched a 43-metre Project 122, the latest superyacht in their Vintage series featuring a 43 meter hull. The yacht was initially launched in summer 2018 at the company’s Viareggio facility, and is to be delivered to her owner in May 2019, after sea trials.The yacht with a beam of 9 metres and a maximum draft of 2,6 metres attributes a steel hull and aluminium superstructure. Engined by two Caterpillar 3512C of 1,650 HP, she reaches her maximum speed at 16,5 knots. At the same time, with a comfortable cruising speed of 11 knots, she boasts a cruising range of 4,000 nautical miles thanks to her fuel capacity of 65,000 litres.Project 122’ interior design concept was developed by the Codecasa team. The concept implements a combination of elegance and modernity, with predominance of light and neutral colours applied to natural materials.The yacht’s accommodation capacity amounts to ten guests within 5 cabins, including the owner’s full-beam suite. The latter is located on the main deck, featuring two en-suites. As to the staff, there is accommodation space for up to 9 crew members on-board.In contrast to previous 42-metre versions, Project 122 boasts a Sun Deck Jacuzzi and a Captain’s Cabin situated on the upper deck. The yacht’s on-board tender storage holds a Zodiac rescue boat and a Castoldi 21 jet tender. Codecasa is planning to display the yacht at the upcoming Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous, held in Viareggio in May. Meanwhile, the company's yard is busy constructing two more vessels, a 55-metre and a 65-metre projects to be finished later this year.
February 19, 2019
During the recent Miami International Boat Show 2019, a new product from the series of collaborations between Mercedes-AMG and Miami builder Cigarette Racing Team was released. This year’s model was inspired by Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S Coupe, featuring the same colour patterns and design motifs.This 12,5-metre racing boat has been christened 41 AMG Carbon Edition. One of her most significant features is carbon-fibre construction developed by Cigarette engineers in order to resonate with Mercedes model. It is evident, that Carbon fibre becomes a new trend among fast boats structure materials, for instance, as it is in the latest Pershing 8X. Still, the constructors claim, their new model is one of a few boats of that kind, where carbon is used as not complementary but major constructing material.Cigarette Racing Team’s president Skip Braver emphasises that from his point of view there are not so many differences between cars and boats. “Just as they did with the car, we lightened the boat without sacrificing performance. We modified the design by lowering the centre of gravity and used carbon fibre across the whole boat,” he said.The innovations introduced in hull construction enabled the builders to make the new boat 227 kg lighter than previous 50 Marauder AMG powerboat built in collaboration. 41 AMG Carbon Edition lays on sandwich construction with carbon-fiber structural layers around the boat’s lightweight hull. The deck and hardtop are also made of carbon fibre.Daimler AG and Cigarette work together on design concepts of all AMG boats. This year’s edition transmits the colour patterns of Mercedes saloon, easily recognisable in the boat cabin, with a prevalence of red and black. It is noticeable, that normally dark colours, especially black, are avoided in boat upholstery design, as they easily get hot in the sun. Within this boat, the dark colours can be used due to upholstery materials featuring cooling ability, that can decrease heat up to 30 percent.AMG 41 is equipped with Mercury Racing 400R engine of 1,600 horses. Thus, the boat is capable of reaching her maximum speed of 72 knots with 8 passengers on-board. Meanwhile, she cruises comfortably at around 55 knots with a maximum capacity of 20 passengers. Due to carbon materials used in the construction, a hull becomes firmer, lowering the boat’s flexibility and the “feeling of ship motions” even at the highest speed.Hull construction for such models normally takes about 8 months, including 2 months set aside for painting. Hand-stitched upholstering also takes more than a month. During the process, the project goes through multiple approval stages, so that it would finally satisfy both parties involved in the process.According to Braver, the two brands have already started working on their next joint project. “It feels like mutual admiration and when we hear them talking, it seems like they feel the same. It’s an honor to be partnering with them,” he concludes.
February 19, 2019
Italian builder CRN has recently announced sale of their new project, a 60-metre superyacht with custom aluminium hull yet assigned to number 141. She is going to become the newest project produced from CRN’s partnership with Nuvolari & Lenard design studio, that has been lasting for more than 50 years.CRN Ancona facilityThe design of the model was developed by the yard’s technicians, while interior and exterior concepts were finalised by the studio. Thus, CRN Project 141 is conceived to feature advanced high-tech solutions and dynamic lines in design concept. The new vessel will be built at CRN’s Livorno facility. She is scheduled for delivery to the owner in 2023. Further details and renderings of the project will be released as soon as they become available.CRN Ancona facilityCRN, being a part of the Ferretti Group, specialises in design and construction of fully custom aluminium and steel yachts with LOA of up to 100 metres. The company’s Ancona facility, where all the CRN megayachts have been built, occupies almost 80,000 square metres. At the moment, the yard is busy building four fully custom CRN yachts, including recently sold 70-metre CRN 139 yacht devised by Vallicelli Design. At the same time, 18 custom line models of 30 to 42 metres in length, two 50-metre Riva and two Pershing 140 units are currently being constructed at the yard.
February 18, 2019
Italian yacht builder Viareggio Super Yachts (VSY) has released new renderings of their 63,8-metre superyacht Project 003, currently being under construction at the company’s facility in Viareggio. The vessel sold in 2016 is now going through final constructing processes, while the delivery first planned for September 2018, has been rescheduled to the beginning of 2019.The yacht’s exterior design has been developed by Espin Oeino. With a beam of 11 metres and a draft of 3,15 metres, Project 003 features total 915 square metres of guest areas. Within that space, she offers accommodation to up to 12 guests, with the staff of up to 16 members on-board. There are six cabins, including the master suite with panoramic views and outdoor terraces.Interior design concept was commissioned to Darnet Design studio based in France. The design was inspired by the owner’s previous yacht, with the focus put on spacious rooms and warm colours, visible in leather panels and polished marble. Key interior motif is implemented in decorative steel and nickel panels resembling coral reefs, that will reflect the owner’s passion for scuba diving. Furthermore, Project 003 is equipped with on-board diving centre for 12 people at a lower deck. At the same time, the sundeck will be equipped with bar area, infinity pool and fire pit.Project 003 will be powered by a pair of 2,682 HP Caterpillar 3516B engines. Thus, she will reach her maximum speed at 17 knots, and cruise with a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 12 knots. The naval architecture by Laurent Giles studio is featured with bulbous bow, for better seakeeping under rough weather conditions.Although this yacht is named Project 003, it is in fact the fourth VSY superyacht. However, number 3 represents the conceived evolution of similar models Candyscape II and Roma. At the moment, the yard is also busy working with Siemens and Lloyd’s Register on hydrogen fuel cells technology for their 65-metre project Waterecho.
February 18, 2019