Special Report: Super Yachts
As a way of measuring the global economy, this has got to be the coolest. From Abramovich’s Eclipse to a simple $250,000 a week charter, Kipp looks at the industry.
August 8, 2010 12:36 by Liz Peek
Azure shoots are bubbling up in the yachting industry. Just in the past few weeks, Brazilian shipyard MCP, Turkey’s Sunrise Yachts, and Italy’s Benetti have all announced orders for boats above 40 meters.
Even better, Christensen Yachts in Vancouver announced the first North America contract signed since the financial crisis – for a pair of identical 50-meter yachts, each costing roughly $30 million. Why two? Apparently, for the anonymous buyer, one was not enough. This is not the first time an owner has treated himself to two identical boats; after all, when you jet from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean you don’t want the stress of having to learn a whole new deck plan. What if you’re taking a romantic moonlight walk? You certainly don’t want to bark your shin on an unexpected outcropping.
It’s easy to poke fun at the excesses built into the luxury yacht trade. There is perhaps no market on earth where men compete more aggressively in measuring their… equipment. (I actually have never heard of a woman ordering a super-yacht. These days, in America, women who have shattered the glass ceiling seem content to spend their fortunes on more humdrum opportunities like campaigning for the Senate.) Like skyscrapers, yachts continue to grow in size, with the newly affluent happily pushing the envelope.
Recently, the envelope soared from letter to legal size, as the latest, greatest super-yacht ever built steamed out of the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Germany. The Eclipse, commissioned by Chelsea Football Club’s owner Roman Abramovich, is all of 557 feet long, surpassing by 36 feet the record previously held by the 532-foot Dubai, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Because the Eclipse project has been carried out under the strictest security, descriptions of the boat (ship?) have bordered on the incredible, or possibly the ludicrous. The cost had been originally estimated by Huffington Post at between $400 million and $1.2 billion; even to a former stock analyst, that seems like a large range. The current betting is $486 million.