The super-yacht super-league: inside the billionaire big boat club – Evening Standard


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It’s a serious case of the haves and the have-yachts. If you think a holiday in St Ives feels exotic this summer, (perhaps don’t) spare a thought for the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, who’s just been revealed as the soon-to-be owner of one of the most exquisite and expensive super-yachts ever to take to the high seas. The Bond-style vessel is estimated to cost upwards of $500 million and will be as long as the Great Pyramid at Giza is tall. It’s so exquisite it reportedly comes with a second yacht for landing Bezos’ girlfriend Lauren Sanchez’ helicopter, according to leaked documents. A boat must be longer than 24 metres - more than two London buses - to officially qualify as a super-yacht and Bezos and his girlfriend aren’t the only VIPs joining this exclusive super-squad in time for summer. Luxury super-yacht services firm GYG says it’s seen a “record level” of orders in recent months as the mega-rich invest in their own floating isolation stations amid the pandemic. And buoy, do these boats rock. Movie mogul David Geffen is reportedly gearing up for another summer of A-list shipmates onboard his £481 million mega-vessel, and tennis star Rafael Nadal has bought himself a Covid-safe catamaran for sailing round the Balaerics after Wimbledon. From Karlie Kloss’ favourite state-of-the-art sailboat to the floating party palace popular with the Primrose Hill set, these are the (really) big boats rocking summer. Bezos’ $500m Bond vesselName: Y721Price-tag: £354m USP: Its own support yacht Jeff Bezos has long dreamt of conquering space, but now his attentions have turned to the sea. Precise plans for his luxury sailboat are still under wraps, but details leaked via the yacht’s Netherlands-based manufacturer Oceanco suggest it may be modelled on another of the firm’s creations, the world’s largest and most technically advanced sailing yacht called the Black Pearl. Naturally, Bezos isn’t a man to be beaten. While the Black Pearl is 106 metres long, his craft - known currently by its project name Y721 - will reportedly trump it at 127 metres, the height of Giza’s Great Pyramid and the same length as Britain’s first ironclad warship, HMS Warrior. APLike the black Pearl, Y721 is expected to stretch across several decks and be powered by three giant masts, meaning there won’t be space to land a helicopter. Only one option left, then, given his girlfriend’s pilot background: according to sources, Bezos has gone full 007 and commissioned a separate support yacht with a dedicated landing facility. The suped-up sailboat is also rumoured to feature an in-deck swimming pool and ‘ambient’ cinema and the billioniare will also be expected to foot an estimated $50 million bill to keep up its running costs on top of the upfront cost. Barry Diller and Diane von Furstenberg’s state-of-the art sailboat Name: EosPrice-tag: £142mUSP: At 93 metres long, it was long the largest private sailing yacht in the world WikipediaWhile Bezos’ super-sailboat shares an uncanny resemblance to the Black Pearl, the tech mogul probably drew a fair amount of inspiration from his visits onboard Eos, the triple-masted sailing yacht owned by film and Fox TV mogul Barry Diller and his fashion designer wife Diane Von Furstenberg. The New York power couple bought the Bermuda rigged schooner in 2009 and at one point it was the largest private sailing yacht in the world, measuring 93 metres in length with accommodation for 16 guests and 21 crew. The billionaire businessman clearly likes to keep a close eye on his beloved ship. He was once reported to be paying $2,000 a day to moor the yacht directly opposite his InterActiveCorp HQ in Manhattan and since then, he and his wife have been spotted on sailing holidays in Sweden, Scotland and St Barts in the Caribbean. Not that you have to hit a celebrity hotspot to catch a glimpse. If you’re in the south-west this summer, keep an eye out. In recent years, tourists in Devon have spied Diller’s luxury vessel towering over fishing trawlers in the sleepy seaside town of Dartmouth. David Geffen’s VIP mega-vesselName: Rising SunPrice-tag: £420mUSP: On-board wine cellars and a basketball court that doubles up as a helipad Bezos has also spent time aboard another celebrity mega-yacht: a 450-foot, five-storey beast - the world’s 10th largest - owned by American business magnate, film producer and philanthropist David Geffen (it was originally built for Oracle founder Lary Ellison, but Ellison found her “too big”). The DreamWorks co-founder, 78, might not be as much of a household name as some of his super-yacht rivals, but his inner circle blows Bezos’ and Diller’s out of the water. Big names on board include Karlie Kloss and Orlando Bloom, and everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Barack Obama has been spotted sipping rosé on the deck from islands in the Balaerics and Caribbean.Geffen’s Instagram is a conveyor belt of barefooted A-listers enjoying the ship in loose linen shirts, but his activity has slowed since the start of the pandemic after he sparked outrage last year by posting photos of himself and friends “avoiding the virus” aboard Rising Sun, or RS, as he likes to call her. He has since deleted the posts.Elton John’s family-friendly dreamboat Name: Wabi SabiPrice-tag: £21mA-list crew: David and Victoria Beckham USP: Top-deck fire-pits and an indoor library Unlike Geffen, Elton John doesn’t go in for the linen trousers. He and his husband David Furnish prefer to wear jazzy floral shirts for trips on their luxury motor yacht, which last made it onto his Instagram in 2019 when they invited the Beckham family on board for a week cruising around the French Riviera. Registered in the Cayman Islands, the 164-foot cruiser features eight lavish en-suite rooms, plus enough space for 12 crew members. The boat comes with an alfresco fire-pit and an inbuilt Jacuzzi with its own bar, while below-deck, guests can enjoy an entertainment centre with its own library and a 50-inch plasma screen - perfect for keeping Brooklyn, 20, Romeo, 16, Cruz, 14 and Harper, eight, amused while the adults party upstairs. Green’s £100m mega-cruiser Name: LionheartPrice-tag: £100mA-list crew: Kate Moss and Simon Cowell USP: Super-staff. Green’s boat comes with an onboard hairdresser and a permanent dog-walker Daily MailA £100 million floating quarantine hotel might sound tempting, but Philip Green recently discovered that not even a three-deck mega-yacht can shelter you from the realities of a pandemic. The retail tycoon and his wife recently had to put their family holiday on hold after two members of their crew onboard their boat Lionheart tested positive for Covid.Lionheart is the third and largest yacht Green has commissioned over the last three decades and features space for 12 guests and 16 crew, from a personal chef to a permanent dog walker who looks after the family’s pets. Alongide the pool, helipad and gold-plated lifts, there’s also an on-board beauty salon with a personal trainer, masseuse and hairdresser available 24/7 - no wonder daughter Chloe Green manages to sport such a tanned, toned appearance in front of the paparazzi in Monaco. Kylie Jenner’s £1m-a-week birthday boatName: TranquilityPrice-tag: £143mUSP: Jenner-worthy glam-points. The party boat comes with Turkish baths and interiors made of “bamboo, marble and gold leaf”As the youngest self-made billionaire for two years in a row, it’s only natural that Kylie Jenner chose to turn 22 by joining the billionaires boat club. The TV star recently treated the Kardashian clan and 22 friends to a trip around the Med for her pre-pandemic birthday, chartering a 300-foot, £1 million-a-week mega-yacht to sail them between hotspots from Capri to Positano. The influencer-ready dreamboat is just shy of the length of a football field, with 29 staff and featuring a helipad, gym, cinema and high-spec spa featuring massage rooms, steam room, sauna and beauty salon. Rafa’s Balearic big cat Name: Great WhitePrice-tag: £4.4mUSP: Double trouble. Nadal’s beloved new boat has two hulls and two 1,200hp engines - inspired by his two-handed serve?It’s no secret where Rafael Nadal gets his tan lines, but sunbathing on his catamaran can’t help but add a nice little top-up. “I do have a real passion for [superyachts],” the Wimbledon ace told Boat International on the purchase of his own birthday boat, a Sunreef 80 Power superyacht. “It is rare that I see a superyacht from a distance and I don’t know its name. I know them all!”The azure-blue vessel is Nadal’s second yacht and arrived in time for his 34th birthday last summer, with nearly 4,000 square-feet of living space, from a fully equipped wet bar and barbecue to a garage with jet skis. The 80-foot boat itself can reach speeds of up to 24 knots - that’s five times the speed of its owner’s serve. Queen Bey’s £160m party palaceName: KismetPrice-tag: £160mA-list crew: Beyonce and Jay ZUSP: Hosting fit for Hollywood. Kismet comes with an outdoor fireplace and specially designed club roomThe word Kismet means “destiny” in the native language of its Pakistani-American owner Shahid Khan - a fitting name for its most famous guest and former Destiny’s Child star Beyoncé Knowles. The singer and her rapper husband Jay-Z holidayed onboard the 300-foot vessel with their three children in 2018, enjoying its spa, gym rooms and 12-guest lounge areas off the coast of Capri. The boat bears many of the hallmarks of super-yacht status: an on-deck cinema screen, floor-to-ceiling TV screens and a marble lift. But the yacht’s USP was no doubt the clincher: a bespoke ‘club room’ specially designed for hosting. Moss’ supermodel super-yachtName: 86’ DominoPrice-tag: £4mA-list crew: Kate Moss, Sadie Frost and Lady Mary CharterisUSP: Paddle-boarding and a live-in chef They might have spent lockdown in Primrose Hill, but it surely won’t be long before Kate Moss returns to her favourite holiday spot with pals Sadie Frost and Lady Mary Charteris. The former cover star and her north London party set were spotted chartering the £4 million super-yacht in St Tropez before the pandemic and it’s built for the life of a former supermodel: the palatial cruiser sleeps eight guests and comes with paddle-boarding, scuba gear and a live-in chef. At 47, Moss and co should have had their Covid jabs by the time the borders open up - let the hot girl vaccine summer begin.
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