1. AL SALAMAH 456'10"
If you’ve been following this list for a few years, the reappearance of this yacht under her real name—instead of Mipos, her code name during her build—may surprise you. Well, our own investigation over the past year surprised us, too. We’d originally seen her registered under the ownership of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, which would make her ineligible for our list, since we exclude yachts maintained for heads of state. But since that time, we’ve found documentation showing her owner is actually the king’s son, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz. (While the prince has been fulfilling his father’s duties due to the king’s failing health, he has not been named head of state.) So back onto the top of the “The World’s 100 Largest Yachts” she goes. Befitting such a huge yacht, she’s not outfitted with just ordinary things like Jacuzzis—she has an actual swimming pool inside, sheltered by a glass roof.
Y: 1999; B: Lürssen, Germany; N: Builder; H: Steel; E: 2/8,046-hp MTUs
2. RISING SUN 452'8"
Since making her debut on the world’s oceans last year, Rising Sun hasn’t ceased turning heads. Her sheer size has a lot to do with it, but more than that, many people just can’t seem to get enough of her aggressive styling. In fact, despite the fact that it showed her topside windows still covered with protective sheeting, a photo we posted on our Megayachts forum in June last year was downloaded nearly 3,200 times. Of course, not everyone’s a fan. One yacht-spotter remarked that Rising Sun resembles an upside-down wedding cake sitting on a navy ship hull, and yet another commented that the expanse of glass in the superstructure makes her look like a greenhouse. Whatever your opinion, there’s no denying that this yacht has several fascinating features. For one, her beam is a little more than 60 feet. For another, she carries a virtual armada of toys, including custom mahogany tenders built in New Zealand and a landing craft specially designed to tote a Jeep-like vehicle to land. And of course, she holds the distinction of being nearly 40 feet longer than the next largest private yacht in the world, Octopus (see next listing). So with all of these bragging rights at his disposal, why on earth would her owner, Larry Ellison of Oracle Corporation, reportedly want to sell her? If you believe the stories that have been appearing in the British press in recent months, it’s because Ellison is unhappy with having to berth Rising Sun at commercial marinas due to her size and having to spend thousands of dollars in port fees while she’s there. The number of potential owners willing—and, equally important, able—to spend the $200 million for the rumored asking price is quite small, but there’s speculation a British steel magnate by the name of Lakshmi Mittal is interested. As for Ellison, he won’t be yacht-less; he’ll still have the 192-foot Ronin to cruise the seas.
Y: 2004; B: Lürssen, Germany; N: Builder; H: Steel; E: 4/12,000-hp MTUs
3. OCTOPUS 414'0"
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, then you already know Octopus is owned by Paul Allen, the American who cofounded Microsoft, who kicked in million of his own money to build a new stadium for the Seattle Seahawks, and who spent a few other million to build the Experience Music Project music museum in Seattle. And of course you know Allen owns a few other yachts on our list, Tatoosh and Méduse (see no. 15 and 84, respectively). If you’ve ever seen the globetrotting Octopus in person, then you realize just how towering her presence is. In case you haven’t, this should put it into perspective: While in the Bahamas aboard a cruise ship docked alongside the yacht a few months ago, a yacht-spotter took some photos from his eighth-floor balcony, and he could practically reach out and touch her nameboard. If you think her size is exciting, then wait ‘til you find out about some of her interior features. A professionally outfitted recording studio and a cinema top the list of our favorites. (Wonder if Allen got a sneak preview at the new Star Wars movie in that cinema, seeing as he hosted filmmaker George Lucas during the Cannes Film Festival in May.) But then again, the glass-bottom lounge on her lower deck is pretty cool, too. Talk about the ultimate floor show: It lets guests seated in the plush sofas take in all sorts of marine life swimming below the yacht.
Y: 2003; B: Lürssen, Germany; N: Espen Øino Naval Architects; H: Steel; E: 8/2,400-hp NO Mercedes Benzes
4. SAVARONA 408'0"
Seventy-four years old and still going in the western Mediterranean, Savarona is a classic in every sense of the word, right down to her 38-foot-long bowsprit. And to think that the world almost lost her to an intense fire in the late 1970’s. Thankfully a prominent Turkish businessman, Kahraman Sadikoglu, saved her from the scrap heap and hired interior designer Donald Starkey and more than 400 craftsmen to restore her for the charter market. A solid-brass staircase that was crafted and shaped entirely by hand transports you and your guests nearly 300 feet from the shelter deck to the upper deck. For your viewing pleasure, there are more than 2,500 movies and computer games in her theater’s library. If you’ve spent a full day on the watertoys, consider spending some quality time in the authentic hammam, a heated Turkish bath with floor-to-ceiling marble (260 tons of it, to be exact). There’s even a hospital onboard, in case of emergencies. To learn more about her, including how to charter her for $65,000 per day (plus food and fuel expenses), visit her official Web site, www.mysavarona.com.
Y: 1931/1992; B: Blohm & Voss, Germany; N: Cox & Stevens; H: Steel; E: 2/3,500-hp Caterpillars
5. ALEXANDER 400'2"
With accommodations like the “Starlight” Discotheque and Bar and the “Gazebo” Lounge, Alexander makes it clear she’s no ordinary yacht. Fifty-seven crew cater to discerning charterers’ needs; on cruises, 60 guests can stay aboard, but Alexander can actually accommodate hundreds of people for dockside parties. In fact, she was chartered by a Chinese corporation a few months ago for a one-night gala, which was attended by a reported 800 guests. Out of her 27 staterooms, 14 have two double bedrooms, two baths, and a lounge area. Two different dining rooms ensure guests can take in varying scenery with their meals. A boardroom is ideal for business meetings, while a beauty salon takes care of those in favor of a little more pampering. What’s truly unusual, however, is the fact that the small set isn’t left out of the equation. There’s a children’s playroom complete with a corner set up like a ship, right down to walls that mimic hull sides (though there are also Sony PlayStation video games for the big kids).
Y: 1965/1988; B: Luebecker Flender-Werke, Germany; N: Builder; H: Steel; E: 2/4,025-hp MANs
6. TURAMA 381'9"
To address the growing desire for super-size charter yachts, this former cruise ship, once known as the Columbus Caravelle, was converted under the watch of Sete Yachts, which manages several yachts on our list, including the members of the Latsis fleet (see no. 5, Alexander). Her styling leaves a lot to be desired by yachting standards, but that’s not stopping people from booking her. Former President George H. Bush was aboard last August for the Olympics in Greece.
Y: 1990/2004; B: Rauma, Finland/Sete Yachts; N: Builder; H: Steel; E: unknown
7. ATLANTIS II 379'7"
Stop the presses! Atlantis II actually left Monaco harbor this year! Yes, you read that right—and it wasn’t just to let her helicopter take off or land. (Helicopters are prohibited from doing so within the confines of the marina.) We could hardly believe it ourselves, given how the yacht is practically a permanent fixture in Port Hercule. It seems her owners, the Niarchos family of Greece, decided it was time for some maintenance work, so in late April the yacht not only departed the marina—backwards, as the basin isn’t big enough for her to turn around in—but she headed for Malta Super Yacht Services in Malta. The yacht was reportedly set to head to the yard earlier that month, but due to the death of Monaco’s Prince Rainier, the family decided to wait until the funeral was over.
Y: 1981; B: Hellenic Shipyards, Greece; N: Maierform GmbH; H: Steel; E: 2/4,800-hp S.E.M.T. Pielsticks
8. PELORUS 377'3"
Thirty-eight-year-old Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought this yacht from a Saudi two years ago. Abramovich, who also owns the Chelsea Football Club (the famous English soccer team), has kept the yacht on the go, taking her everywhere from Sweden to England to Monaco. She spent several months in Blohm & Voss’ facility in Germany late last year through early this year getting extensive refit work done, including the installation of a new helipad forward. Since the yacht already had another helipad aft, speculation was that Abramovich wanted the foredeck one for himself, given its reported proximity to his stateroom. No one associated with the project has been permitted to comment publicly, though Blohm & Voss was able to reveal that the exhaust system was converted, four new zero-speed stabilizers were installed, and the mast and the stern were both modified. In fact, in reference to the stern, the yacht now has fold-down stairs that permit guests to more easily enter the water or board PWCs.
Y: 2003; B: Lürssen, Germany; N: Tim Heywood; H: Steel; E: 2/3,600-hp Wartsillas
9. LE GRAND BLEU 370'0"
Here’s the second of three yachts on our list that are owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich (see nos. 8 and 20). From New York City last July to Virgin Gorda in the BVI over the holidays, Le Grand Bleu has certainly been making the rounds. But when she showed up in English Bay in Vancouver, British Columbia, last April, she really caught people’s attention. And it wasn’t just because she was among the largest yachts ever in that area; it was also because Abramovich wasn’t onboard. He was attending a Chelsea Football Club match in London. This gave rise to speculation that he’d loaned the yacht to a friend, as he’d often had Le Grand Bleu (and, indeed, many of his yachts) stationed either in the same country or nearby where a match was being played. But soon the truth came out: The yacht was in town for some repair work that was expected to keep her dry docked until June (around the same time we were going to press). Her next stop after that was expected to be Alaska.
Y: 2000; B: Vulkan, Germany; N: Kusch Yachtagentur; H: Steel; E: 2/4,570-hp Deutz-MWMs
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