How does one live a life of luxury? How about by spending your vacation lounging around in the Mediterranean while aboard the largest yacht in the world? That was exactly what Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was thinking when he had a yacht that measures 533 feet in length built for his own use.
It was a perfect boat. After spending millions buying the best football players and manager that money can buy for his Chelsea team, he deserved to have some fun of his own. After all, he has been making the fans of the London team happy with titles and trophies that they could only dream of before he arrived on the scene. So certainly, it would not hurt to spend a couple of hundred millions to buy a luxury boat and lay claim to the title as the owner of the biggest yacht in the world.
He gave it the appropriate name of Eclipse. Anytime it passes by, nearby boats or ports would feel something similar to an eclipse because of its sheer size. It also eclipsed the size of the previous yachts that had laid claim to the title as the largest in the world. Prior to Abramovich, the Saudi royal family had the largest yacht with its Prince Abdulaziz, which measures 482 feet in length. It was a record it safely kept for 22 years. Before that, the American businessman Larry Ellison had splashed over $200 million for The Rising Sun, which measures 454 feet. By today’s standard, that size is tiny when compared with the new yachts being built.
Too bad for Abramovich because even his monster of a boat now looks small when compared with the newest super yacht on the block.
2 Eclipsing the Eclipse
Making other yachts look pathetically small is exactly what Lurssen Yachts, a German shipbuilding firm based in Bremen Vegesack, did. The shipbuilding giant has recently come out with the Azzam, which at 590 feet, easily eclipsed the size of Abramovich’s Eclipse.
Consider the following: the Azzam is so huge that it is actually 57 feet longer than Abramovich’s boat. It is bigger than some cruise ships. It is even larger than the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer being run by the United States Navy. Or putting it another way, it can actually fit an entire football field with plenty of room to spare.
Even its interiors are said to surpass the luxury accommodation of the Eclipse. That’s saying a lot, because Abramovich’s boat is outfitted with a couple of helipads, two swimming pools, a movie house, disco, and even a mini-submarine that will allow you to explore the ocean floor. The submarine can go down up to a depth of 150 feet. Its safety and security includes features that are fit for presidents and royalty. The master bedroom has armor plating lines and bullet-proof glass. The boat even has its very own missile defense system as part of its arsenal.
Just the idea of outdoing these features can boggle the mind. Lurssen Yachts, however, has refused to comment except to say that it will have a theme inspired by the style and design of the turn of the century. The interior is being designed by the noted French interior decorator named Christophe Leoni, who has promised that the yacht will exceed even the highest expectations of the owner. While Leoni is not really known for yacht interior design, the offer was just too good to turn down.
1 Azzam Under Wraps
The yacht’s construction started three years ago, but it was kept under wraps by the German maker. How it was able to hide something so huge is already an achievement in itself.
Even the Azzam’s owner is unknown. While there has been talk and speculation that it was commissioned by a billionaire from the Middle East, the real owner remains a mystery. Some strong rumors have it that the yacht was built for Al Waleed bin Talal, a powerful billionaire from Saudi Arabia, who also owns the super yacht called the Kingdom 5KR.
Azzam was built for $605 million. The yacht has the ability to travel up to 31.5 knots in warm and shallow waters based on sea trials, making it the fastest super yacht ever. It is about the size of a British destroyer and it will be powered by a combination of two gas turbines and two diesel engines. These four power sources will have a total output of 94 thousand horsepower, or 70 MW, through four pump jets. Two of the pump jets will have non-moveable round water outlets in the middle of the stern, while the other two will have thrust vectoring capabilities. The latter will make use of moveable duct water outlets placed on the sides of the non-moveable ones.
Maintaining the Azzam
The yacht’s size first inspired awe when Lurssen took it out of the Bremen shipyard. Several powerful tugboats ushered the Azzam to open waters and observers saw how they were dwarfed by the size of the new yacht.
Azzam has a beam that measures 68 feet and four inches. The yacht’s draught is also unusually shallow at only 14 feet and an inch.
The team that built the boat already commanded millions of dollars by their mere presence and contribution. Aside from Lurssen and Leoni, Nauta Yachts was also involved as it did the Azzam’s exterior design.
Aside from the money spent to build the yacht, how much will it cost the new owner to maintain the Azzam? Experts say that the upkeep and maintenance of a yacht usually amounts to around 10 percent of its actual cost. That would mean an astounding amount of $60 million per year.
Of course, the fact that the owner was able to set aside an amount to even commission the yacht in the first place means that the maintenance fee won’t be much of a hindrance for him. The Azzam is sleek and elegant, and its new owner will now stand at the top of the yachting world.
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