Size matters at Monaco yacht show
Anna Healy Fenton
You only have to take stroll around the Aberdeen Marina Club moorings to see that the trend for ever-larger gin palaces continues. With the cost of fuel to take a gas-guzzling Sunseekr on a weekend jaunt from Aberdeen to Lei Yi Mun and back Hk$22,000 to $25,000, depending on the model, you really do need to have money to burn.
The trend was much in evidence at the Monaco Yacht Show last week. The premier event of its kind saw a record six megayachts, with an average length of 80.11 metres (263 feet). These floating whoppers are double the size of the average 45-metre long superyacht. “Yachts are certainly increasing in length,” Ellie Brade, editor of Superyacht Intelligence at the Superyacht Group of publications, told AFP.
To date, the agency reported, there have been 88 yachts of 80 metres and over delivered worldwide, with19 currently under build, and according to Brade, the trend is set to continue. The problem for Hong Kong’s superyacht owning tycoons remains mooring space. These are difficult beasts to park and tying up in Macau just isn’t the same.
World’s Biggest Yacht
Completion nears for the world’s biggest yacht, codenamed Project Azzam, under wraps in Germany and set to become the world’s largest megayacht when afloat, ousting Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich’s 162-metre Eclipse from the top of the superyacht league table. Due for delivery in 2013, according to AFP, the new yacht will be 180 metres (590 feet), that’s longer than some cruise ships.
Being made at Germany’s Lurssen yard, its owner’s identity is a closely guarded secret. Size in yachts counts for a lot, industry experts confirmed at the four-day annual show. “There is definitely an element of “I’ve got a bigger boat than yours”, an executive at a leading yacht broker told AFP. “It’s boys with their toys. They want the biggest and the best.” No surprises there. One-upmanship aside, the appeal of a megayacht is the onboard volume they offer. Except that metre for metre, by comparison with a good old fashioned timber junk, they offer a fraction of the deck space. What’s the point of being cooped up inside on a show-off yacht?
These days the sky’s the limit – your yacht’s helipad can be converted into a platform for baseball, tennis or soccer, with a huge net that goes around the deck to catch the balls and stop them floating out to sea. A 3D cinema graces the brand new 88.5-metre Nirvana, along with two on-board vivariums, often home to a chameleon, water dragons, bearded lizards and turtles. One can only ask the question...why?
As with many things, if you can’t afford the whole thing, rent. AmMegayacht charter as it is correctly termed, is the thing for holidays or business, charter brokers say. “There is a lot of interest in the big, recent modern boats, particularly from Russian clients,” Fiona Maureso, head of charter at Monaco-based Yachting Partners International, told AFP. But before you dash off, remember these monsters are too big to berth at many of the world’s most beautiful ports and islands Portofino in Italy is too small for huge yachts, as are St Barts and other small Caribbean islands.
And brace yourself: a week’s charter on a superyachts will cost upwards of 800,000 euros (US$1 million). That’s correct, a week. Think what else you could do with a million bucks. And the biggest at this year’s show - the luxury 90-metre-long sailing yacht Athena, which is one of the world’s largest three-masted schooners - is on sale from Monaco-based broker Y.CO for 72 million euros. But does it have a karaoke lounge?