The first superyacht ever built by Italian shipyard Fincantieri, the 134-meter Serene was delivered in 2011 to Russian billionaire, Yuri Scheffler. As was later revealed, the oligarch sold his superyacht in July 2015 to Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The royal spent $458 million to acquire the former largest yacht in Italy.
Featuring a salt-water swimming pool, a supersized hot tub, a sauna in front of the sea and a fully-operational helipad, Serene became known in yachting as one of the most inspiring superyachts ever completed.
At the time of her delivery, Serene was the 9th largest yacht in the world, barely topping the Emir of Qatar's 133-meter Al Mirqab and outdone by David Geffen's 138-meter Lurssen, Rising Sun. For the state-controlled Italian shipyard, Fincantieri, Serene was, however, the first yacht the company ever built, having primarily focused on commercial ships before.
Currently the 15th largest yacht, Serene turns heads anywhere she goes, not only due to her giant-like size, but also her exterior lines drawn by Espen Oeino and series of innovations in the interior.
Following the sale, her former owner, Scheffler claimed that Fincantieri's second yacht, the 140-meter Ocean Victory built for Russian billionaire, Viktor Rashnikov, had infringed on his intellectual property by building the superyacht on the same platform as Serene. As a result, Scheffler filled a suit against Fincantieri claiming €20,9 million from the shipyard in damages.
Whereas it is unknown how much exactly Scheffler spent building the 134-meter Serene at Fincantieri, it is widely believed in the superyacht sector that the vessel was sold at a profit by Scheffler to the Saudi Arabian deputy crown prince. As revealed by media as part of the Paradise papers, Serene was sold for €420 million.
At the time of the sale, some publications had reported that the sale was closed within several hours with the buyer having asked Scheffler to vacate the yacht within hours of the purchase. The new documentation that emerged through the Paradise papers leaks, however, tells a different story as the sale took at least 10 days to close. Before it could change hands, Serene had to cruise into international waters.
Stretching over a beam of 18.5 meters, Serene is 6 decks tall and boasts a myriad of amenities that few five-star hotels have. One of her most noticeable features from the outside is her supersized bathtub located aft of the sundeck.
One of the seven pools onboard Serene, the Jacuzzi on the top deck is surrounded by lounging pad for sunbathing. Forward of the hot tub is a fully-stocked, wet bar underneath the yacht's observational deck that features an additional set of sun loungers.
Up on the sundeck is yet another spa pool surrounded by lounging pads, located forward of the deck. This particular pool features bar stools and is connected to a fully stocked bar surrounded by two additional hot tubs. A table for casual dining can also be found in the shaded area of the sundeck.
Serene's interior was designed by British design studio Reymond Langton, incorporating a sophisticated mix of cream and dark colors with wooden fixtures. Offering views from any imaginable vantage point, Serene's sky lounge is equipped with a myriad of sofas, chairs and coffee tables for cocktails and tea.
A more formal location designed for the entertainment of larger groups, the main lounge features white colors with dark tones. At the center of the room is a piano with cocktail tables spread out across the room. Interestingly, this lounge sits just over the main dining room with its chandelier hanging through the two spaces and letting the music spread.
The formal dining area features two tables, capable of each accommodating up to 12 guests, bringing the total to 24 guests. Its layout, however, allows for the possibility to extend the table in order to hold larger banquets. On both sides of the room are floor-to-ceiling windows. In terms of food, Serene features a fire pizza oven as well as a teppanyaki grill.
Each space on Serene features a different set of colors, all coordinated across one central theme that spreads around the yacht with circles both on the floor and on the ceiling to create a sense of symmetry. Some of Serene's unique features include an indoor climbing wall as well as an underwater observation lounge.
The 134-meter yacht can carry a total of 24 guests across 12 staterooms divided into one master suite with essentially an owner's deck, a VIP cabin, three twin cabins and seven double staterooms. Serene carries a crew of over 40 people onboard.
Prior to the yacht being sold to the Saudi Arabian crown prince, Serene was made available for charter to select guests by Scheffler. These have included Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, who reportedly chartered Serene at a price tag of $5 million per week during the summer of 2014.
In addition to her vast interior spaces, Serene's exterior lounging spots have been optimized to best utilize the space onboard the 134-meter superyacht. Forward on the bow, for example, forward of the commercial-grade helipad can be found a lounging spot on the bow of the yacht. Although a long walk from the aft deck, these spaces are often used for maximum privacy when moored in a harbor.
Perhaps the most unique space onboard Serene is her swimming pool located aft of the main deck under a retractable glass roof. Up on the main deck, this opening can be closed with glass panels and is surrounded by lounging areas.
One of the most advanced swimming pools ever built on board a superyacht, it is the key element of the beach club that stretches for a large portion of the yacht's lower deck. Within the pool area are two additional Jacuzzis for the yacht's guests to relax in. On both sides of the yacht are lounging areas with access to the sea through foldable platforms.
Serene's beach club facilities, however, do not stop just with its pool. The superyacht features a full-sized spa with a sauna room with glass doors looking out onto the sea through a foldable platform. Next to the sauna are a hammam as well as a snow room.
Lighting systems were installed throughout Serene's exterior to ensure that the yacht could boast a sleek look at night as well as during the day. During the summer, the yacht could previously often have been seen lighting up Monaco and the Côte d'Azur.
Photo by Julien Hubert
Following her sale to the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, the yacht started spending time in the Persian Gulf. During the summer of this year, Serene ran aground on a reef near Tiran Island in the Red Sea. Some damage is believed to have been sustained to her bow at the time, although the superyacht has been repaired since. Several days ago, she cruised to a shipyard in the Netherlands for maintenance work.
Currently valued at $1,6 billion by Forbes, Yuri Sheffler made his fortune in the alcohol business. Venturing into business in 1993, Sheffler made a series of moves that got him the rights to brands of vodka such as Stolichnaya, which was previously owned by a state-owned corporation. This has put him at the center of long litigations with the Russian government over the ownership of the brand.
Having left Russia for Switzerland and the United Kingdom during the early 2000s, Sheffler is currently the main shareholder in SPI Group, a conglomerate that sells alcohol under 380 brands in 160 countries. Earlier this year he acquired an estate in Scotland at an asking price of £25 million.
In 2014, Fincantieri launched its second megayacht, the 140-meter Ocean Victory which was commissioned by another Russian oligarch, Viktor Rashnikov, whose net worth is estimated at $4.8 billion. Prior to its launch in December 2014 however, Fincantieri was ordered to pay €20.9 million to Serena Equity Limited (the company controlled by Shefler that owned Serene) by London courts.
Shefler's main claim was that Fincantieri had used Serene, on which the billionaire says he holds intellectual property, to develop Ocean Victory which he says is a near sistership. In fact, both superyachts boast an exterior design by Espen Oeino and seem to have similar technical characteristics.
As such, English courts have granted Shefler €13,2 million for the violation of his intellectual property and €7.7 million for late deliveries, which were to be paid by Fincantieri where the Italian government holds a 70% controlling stake. Fincantieri, however, filed a motion in Trieste's Court of Appeals in 2015 to dismiss the fact that London's ruling applied.
Mohammad bin Salman, born in 1985, is the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia and currently sits as the youngest defense minister in the world and the first deputy Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia.
From a technical standpoint, Serene can reach a top speed of 25 knots and cruise at 15 knots. Reportedly, her interior volume comes in at 8,231GT, ie, half of Dilbar, the world's largest yacht by gross tonnage.
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Rodriguez Design Studio in collaboration with Spanish shipyard Atollvic has presented a new 55-metre aluminium superyacht concept named Project Saona.The exterior design of Project Saona has been described as sporty yet elegant, featuring a sharp and aggressive bow. The vessel is fitted with an oversized swim platform, beach club and foldable balconies for maximised access to the sea. Dedicated tender storage spacious enough to house a Williams Dieseljet 625 tender and jet skis sits forward of the beach club. The latter is also equipped with a day head and storage for diving equipment.Other features on-board comprise a private owner’s terrace on the upper deck, large sunpads on the main deck and a large saloon flooded with natural light. A Jacuzzi with a sunpad would sit on the foredeck, shaded by carbon fibre awnings.Project Saona would offer accommodation to up to 10 guests across five cabins, including a 60-square-metre master suite. Other cabins lay on the lower deck, with two full-beam VIPs and two doubles.Propelled by two MTU 20V 4000 M93L, the yacht will be capable of a top speed of 22 knots and a range of 4,500 nautical miles at 12 knots. The studio’s founder Josh Rodriguez believes, that with her draught of only 2.1 metres, Project Soana would come out as an ideal yacht for Bahamas.
June 26, 2019
The first Venice Boat Show took place from June 18 to June 23, proving to be a reference for the world of recreational boating, strong of its dual commercial and cultural nature. The show reportedly received over 27,000 visitors.The objectives of the premises, summarised as “The Naval Art Back to Home”, were achieved. According to the organisers, the atmosphere amazed visitors, with multiple dedicated activities. During the Salone, 43 meetings were held to discuss all aspects of navigation: from the environment to sustainability and yacht design, accompanied by 8 exhibitions on the themes of boating, sea and transport.The Mayor of the city Luigi Brugnaro declared: Venice has returned as the queen of the seas in the widest cultural sense. <…> As a municipal administration, we have already financed the Salone for two more years. The goal we have set, is that the event becomes a fixed appointment and we have already started to collect registrations for the next edition. We want to have the whole supply chain, from small boats to big ones. During the show, the Ferretti Group deployed the Arsenal for the inaugural party of the 50-metre Riva flagship “Race” and for the world premiere of the motoryacht Custom Line 106.In future, the venue aims to respond to the needs of the shipyards that have their production units in the Adriatic and to those who sail along the tourist corridor that leads from Venice to Istanbul via Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Greece.
June 26, 2019
Legendary heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko and his family were rescued by the coastguards after the superyacht they were on-board had caught fire. The incident took place in the early hours of Monday about 11km off the coast of Mallorca, Spain.The Ukrainian sportsmen who had retired in 2017, tweeted a video of the rescue operation. The video depicts firefighters aboard the yacht, covered with firefighting foam. Fortunately, no one got hurt, stated Klitchko.Klitschko could be heard saying in the video:It's 3 in the morning. We're in the sea getting rescued from the Mallorcan/Spanish fire department. The boat was on fire, we're hanging out outside."Be careful what you wish for: fate took my wish for “some #adrenalin” a bit too literally and our boat-trip Sunday night ended up in our boat #igniting and family & friends being evacuated by coast guard and fire rescue-team. No worries: we are all fine!" - he wrote.According to German media Spiegel, the damaged vessel could have been a 28.14-metre Sunseeker yacht UM7.Palma's Maritime Rescue spokesman Miguel Chicon told CNN, the yacht's crew asked for urgent assistance once the incident occured. A coastguard rescue boat was sent for help and, once the fire was gone, they towed the damaged vessel to Port Adriano. However, during the towing further smoke came out from the engine room, forcing the crew to evacuate the passengers.The Maritime Rescue Service confirmed they evacuated nine people following the fire in the boat's engine room. No medical assistance was needed for the yacht's occupants, Miguel Chicon said.Klitschko, aged 43, was the world's most dominant heavyweight for a decade, reeling off 20 straight title bout wins. He retained his heavyweight title for over nine years, winning 64 out of his 69 fights. His last match took place in April 2017, finished with a knockout defeat by his rival Anthony Joshua.
June 26, 2019
Cristiano Ronaldo, a living legend of the football world and one of the highest-paid athletes ever, has shared pictures of his family holidays aboard a 47-metre Benetti superyacht Africa in the French Riviera. The photos were posted on the social media accounts of an athlete, whose yearly earnings were estimated at $109 million (Forbes). Africa is Benetti's FB501 hull, launched in Italy in 2010 and christened Imagination by her original owner. Two years later, she was put on the market through Camper & Nicholsons asking € 22,000,000. After price reduction up to €16,500,000, the yacht was sold through Camper in 2014 and renamed Africa. In 2016, she was listed for sale once again, with the deal closed in January 2018 at the asking price of € 16,750,000. The ownership meanwhile has not been officially confirmed. With a beam of 8.5 metres and a draft of 2.8 metres, the yacht boasts interior volume of of 492 GT. Built to an aluminium hull and aluminium superstructure, Africa features exteriors by Stefano Natucci and interiors by Francois Zuretti.The motor yacht can accommodate up to 12 guests across 6 cabins, including a master suite, four doubles and a twin cabin. As to the amenities on-board, Africa is fitted with a spacious Jacuzzi on the sun deck and a fully-equipped gym.According to The Sun, the yacht comes equipped with multiple water toys including two Seadoo RXP-X RS 300 Waverunners jet skis, one Seadoo 260 HP Waverunner jet ski, two F5S Seabobs, paddle board, wake board, and snorkelling equipment.Two MTU engines propel the yacht to a maximum speed of 24 knots and a cruising speed of 20 knots. Africa's maximum range is estimated at 3,400 nautical miles.
June 25, 2019
Benetti has announced the sale of the first superyacht to fly under Chinese flag, with a certificate issued by the China Classification Society. The 65-metre custom yacht FB270 continues the group’s success in the Asia Pacific area, following the recent sales of a Mediterraneo 116, Fast 125 and 50M custom yachts.Mr. Fu Buming, Port Administration Chief at the Department of Commerce of Hainan province, explains:Hainan is striving to become an international tourist centre, in accordance with the state’s general guidelines and requirements, in order to further develop the city as a first-class port tourism destination with a window to display world-class yachts and innovation within the global yachting industry.FB270 is a custom yacht with a steel hull and an aluminium superstructure. She features exteriors by Giorgio M. Cassetta in collaboration with Benetti in-house design team and Pierluigi Ausonio. The interiors present colourways reminiscent of the sea, beaches and tropical islands, with a design developed entirely in-house by Maria Rosa Remedi of the Benetti Interior Style Department.Some distinctive features on-board FB270 include the service bathrooms on every deck and a wealth of technical spaces and storage areas. Special care has been taken to separate crew flows from the guest areas to ensure maximum guest privacy.Peter Mahony, General Manager Benetti Yachts Asia, commented:The sale of FB270 shows that an evolution is taking place and that a market will adapt to its new environment if an open mind, hard work and can do attitude is shared by all parties involved.FB270 has been scheduled for delivery in the first half of 2021. Meanwhile, the sale represents more of an uncommon trend among the Chinese rich, who are keen to avoid buying private yachts. The same cannot be said for American customers, with just a recent order of a 67-metre superyacht from Benetti.
June 25, 2019