Weekender

Size does matter

Written By : TAMARA ABRAHAM Daily Mail. When you have a fortune of billions, having the latest sports car or the largest house is child’s play. For the likes of
24 Jun 2011 12:00

image Written By : TAMARA ABRAHAM Daily Mail. When you have a fortune of billions, having the latest sports car or the largest house is child’s play.
For the likes of Roman Abramovich and the Sheikhs of the UAE, the real way to demonstrate one’s financial worth is to have the grandest yacht.
While size most definitely matters (no self-respecting tycoon would have a vessel less than 200ft), the mod-cons are no less impressive, with helicopter landing pads and even missile detection systems.
The largest, and most famous, is of course Mr Abramovich’s $500 million Eclipse, which, at 557ft, is the world’s largest boat.
It requires a team of 70 to run and comes complete with the aforementioned radar equipment and twin helicopter pads, as well as bullet-proof windows and armour plating on the bridge.
It even has its own submarine, which can dive to 160ft, and, in keeping with the safety-first theme, also functions as an escape pod.
The yacht joins a fleet owned by the oligarch, which includes the 377ft Pelorus, 282ft Ecstasea and 160ft Sussurro.
Its launch in 2009 caused outrage among fellow megayacht owners, who regularly compete to own the largest boat. It is believed to have particularly incensed UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, whose 531ft Dubai yacht had been the world’s largest prior to the Eclipse’s launch.
It was said to have cost over $300m when it launched in 2006 and is thought to have a full-sized cinema, squash court, gym, a helicopter pad, and a storage area for a submarine.
Sheikh Mohammed is now said to be building an even larger vessel to rival Mr Abramovich’s.
They are by no means the only megayacht owners. The Sultan of Oman launched the Al Said in 2008, a vast 508ft vessel that can reportedly host a crew of 154, 70 guests and a 50-piece orchestra.
According to Newsweek, Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz requires a crew of 96 on his 457ft Al Salamah boat – a mere little sister to the family’s other boat, the 482ft Prince Abdulaziz – while Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, spends his free time aboard the 436ft Al-Mirqab.
Egypt’s 478ft El Horriya, which ranks fifth in a list of the world’s largest boats, is steeped in history. The former presidential yacht, it was built in 1865 and was the first vessel to sail through the Suez Canal. It is now owned by the country’s navy.
The Republic of Turkey’s Savarona is equally impressive. At 442ft, it was ahead of its time when it was built in 1931 and boasts a spectacular staircase. Much of it was destroyed by a fire in 1979, but it was carefully restored over the following 13 years and continues to sail.
A-listers, of course, will be more familiar with Paul Allen’s Octopus, which, like the Eclipse, docks at Cannes for the annual film festival. Among the guests the Microsoft co-founder hosted this year were Bar Refaeli, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster and Ryan Gosling.
The 414ft cruiser, which requires a crew of 60 to run, may be smaller than the Eclipse, but is by no means less well-equipped, with two helicopters, seven boats, a submarine, and a remote controlled vehicle that crawls the ocean floor.
But its reign as the most lavish US-owned yacht was short-lived. Media tycoon David Geffen’s 452ft Rising Sun yacht is rumoured to have been commissioned in 2004 specifically to be larger than the Octopus.
Prior to the launch of Octopus, Limitless, owned by Limited Brands’ chief executive officer Lex Wexner, was the largest boat that sailed with a US flag. The Victoria’s Secret owner regularly takes his 315ft yacht across the Atlantic to the island of Mallorca in Spain.
Little is known about the Limitless, which was built in 1997, as Mr Wexner has never permitted interior photographs of the vessel.
The Atlantis II, which was built by the late Stavros Niarchos, is another celebrity magnet. The Greek shipping tycoon’s grandson, Stavros Niarchos III, has dated some of the world’s most famous women including Paris Hilton and Mary-Kate Olsen.
The 397ft yacht was built in 1981 and is now used by the Niarchos family.
The British-owned Enigma, is relatively small fry in contrast. But the 224ft yacht, owned by Ritz chairman and publishing heir Aidan Barclay is still considered one of the world’s most luxurious superyachts.
It is easily identifiable for its convex windows and has its own basketball court. It is usually docked in Sardinia, but is also regularly spotted in Mallorca.


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