October 08 2018
Lürssen: The Biggest Yacht in the World
When Lürssen Yachts launched the 591-foot Azzam in 2013, the superyacht world was stunned not only by the vessel’s size, but also by the fact that it had taken Lürssen just three years to build her. That length of time used to be common for fully custom yachts less than 200 feet long. With Azzam, the largest private yacht afloat, the German builder proved not only that it could build bigger than anyone else, but also that it could do so on a schedule most owners would find reasonable.
Anyone who needs further evidence that Lürssen is a superyacht powerhouse need only look at a list of the 10 largest superyachts in the world. Including Azzam, Lürssen either built, or helped to build, half of them.
Blohm+Voss: Biggest Yacht with Diesel-Electric Propulsion
Until the launch of Azzam in 2013, the 533-foot Eclipse held the distinction of being the largest private yacht in the world. Eclipse launched from the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Germany in 2010 as the largest yacht built with a diesel-electric propulsion system.
Basic specifications for Eclipse are mind-bending. She has quarters for (depending on whom you believe) 70 to 92 crew and the owner’s personal staff. A 52-foot swimming pool is on board. There is space for three helicopters, including one inside a storage hangar. Forbes reported that the estimated running costs alone for Eclipse are in the ballpark of a half-million dollars—per week.
Amels: Master of Series Design
Earlier this year, the Dutch yachtbuilder Amels delivered its largest-ever yacht, the Limited Editions 272 Here Comes the Sun. That yacht immediately became the crown jewel in the shipyard’s Limited Editions series, which has proved so popular as a design and construction concept that some other builders have changed their own manufacturing processes to try and copy Amels’ success.
The idea of the Amels Limited Editions series—which ranges from 180 to 272 feet length overall—is that owners get a yacht that feels fully custom, but in a fraction of the time that it takes to build a fully custom yacht. The hull platforms are fixed, while the interiors and exterior guest spaces become whatever owners desire. In the case of the 180-foot Limited Editions Lili, launched in April, the yacht was delivered just a little more than a year after the owner signed the contract, and had an extended sundeck along with a 13-foot-long swimming pool. Amels also continues to design and build fully custom yachts from scratch, and to offer all types of refit and yacht-management services.
Feadship: Heritage Lives On
Feadship is a brand synonymous with excellence, and that reputation has been earned during the course of a century. The Feadship Heritage Fleet —the only fleet of its kind, celebrating the builder’s yachts that are at least 30 years old—includes Nirmala, a yacht that dates to 1917. That the Feadship Heritage Fleet exists is a testament to the staying power of the iconic Dutch yard. And Feadship continues to turn out innovative superyachts today. The 239-foot Hasna is the latest, launched in early summer of this year with an unusual interior layout. The guest staterooms and engine room have switched their traditional positions, with the machinery space farther forward and the guests having direct access to the beach club aft.
Perhaps most astonishing is that Hasna is, according to Feadship, the first large yacht the owner has ever built. While the superyacht owners of yesteryear may not have even dreamed of a 239-footer, today, some owners nowadays consider that length of yacht to be entry level.
Oceanco: Dominant in Power and Sail
This past February, Oceanco launched the 360-foot Jubilee, squeezing the Dutch builder into the list of the world’s 25 largest superyachts. Jubilee’s debut followed the 2016 delivery of Aquijo, which, at 278 feet long and built in partnership with Vitters, became the world’s largest high-performance ketch. The back-to-back launches proved Oceanco’s prowess at the construction of large power and sailing yachts alike.
Perhaps the best-known superyacht to have emerged from the Oceanco yard is the 282-foot Seven Seas, whose owner, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg, adds a celebrity sparkle. (Read Steven Spielberg Goes Around the World on his Super-Mega-Yacht, to learn more). Seven Seas has a 16-by-6-foot projection screen in her main saloon plus two rows of raked seating, for spectacular film-watching experiences. Another projector plays films on a glass wall of the infinity pool aft, letting guests watch “Jurassic Park,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” or “Jaws” (okay, well, maybe not “Jaws”) while having a swim.
Nobiskrug: The Largest Sailing Yacht in the World
The 473-foot A is the largest sailing yacht in the world, or the largest sail-assisted motoryacht, depending on how you want to characterize her three-masted design. Holger Kahl, managing director of Nobiskrug, called her “undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in,” and she is almost always the most visually arresting yacht in any harbor where she drops anchor. Her designer, Philippe Starck, is known for pushing boundaries, and sailing yacht A does exactly that.
Nobiskrug also has a handful of motoryachts on the list of the world’s 200 largest, including the 303-foot Tatoosh (owned by Paul Allen) from 2000 and the 244-foot Mogambo from 2011.
Today, the yard is working on a 262-footer, whose keel was laid this past March. That yacht is scheduled for delivery in 2019.
Benetti: Orders Pouring In
The Azimut Benetti Group in Italy continues to outpace other builders in terms of orders for yachts 80 feet and longer. The brands in the group include Benetti, which launched its biggest superyacht to date, the 295-foot Lionheart, in 2016. She was the third yacht that the same owner has ordered from Benetti, a steel-and-aluminum testament to the level of customer retention the yard is achieving.
Several dozen yachts are on order with the Benetti brand alone, including a 351-foot superyacht that is expected to launch in 2019 and become Bennetti’s new flagship. Rumor has it that the new yacht will have a diesel-electric propulsion system. Her hull is so huge that it’s being built in three sections. Smaller-end motoryachts continue to be popular at Benetti as well. This past May, the builder launched the 121-foot Lady Lillian, which was the 35th hull in Benetti’s Classic 121 range.
Derecktor: Builder of America’s Largest Superyacht
In 2010, Derecktor Shipyards in Connecticut launched Cakewalk, a 280-footer that was the largest yacht built in the United States since 1930, and the largest yacht ever built in America in terms of volume. Today, that yacht is known as Aquila; last year, she became the largest yacht ever to undergo a refit in the United Kingdom, at Pendennis.
Derecktor has been in operation since 1947, when it was founded in Mamaroneck, New York, just north of Manhattan. The yard turned out yachts designed by Robert Derecktor as well as by the legendary drafting shop Sparkman & Stephens.
Perini Navi: The DynaRig
Italian sailing yacht powerhouse Perini Navi continues to turn out new hulls, but remains best known for the wildly innovative 289-footer The Maltese Falcon, (on our list of 10 Megayachts for Magnificent Charters) which launched in 2005. She has a DynaRig system of three self-standing and rotating masts that, combined, carry 15 sails for a total sail area of nearly 26,000 square feet. All of those sails are controlled from a dashboard with knobs as controls, a technological feat in the world of yacht design.
The most recent concept from Perini Navi is a 154-footer announced this past November. She would be built with the yard’s proprietary captive reel winches and furling systems, Perini Navi’s fly-by-wire steering and a keel design that allows drafts of 13 and 31 feet. Perini Navi’s most recent delivery is the 229-foot Sybaris, which brings the total number of Perinis launched to 61.
Silveryachts: Aluminum Expertise
The Silveryachts shipyard in Australia produced Silver Fast, which, at 252 feet length overall, is the world’s largest and fastest aluminum motoryacht with conventional propulsion. Silver Fast—which approaches the length of a football field—can hit 27 knots at top speed, and she has long-range cruising speeds of 20 to 22 knots. At 14 knots, she’s capable of a 6,000-nautical-mile range. As the crow flies, that’s nearly the distance from Los Angeles to Shanghai.
Silver Fast was the fourth yacht in in the Silveryachts series, with design by Espen Oeino. Plans have been released for the largest-ever yacht in the series, Silver Global, which would be 328 feet long with long-range features intended to let owners explore the planet.
Burgess Yachts is currently offering Silver Fast for sale, at an asking price of about $89.7 million. She’s chartering this summer in the West Mediterranean, taking 12 guests at a lowest weekly base rate of about $727,000.