The World's Largest Yachts—2012
1. Eclipse • 534'8"
If you believe everything you read, then you’ll believe that Eclipse is outfitted with a missile-defense system, ready to shoot down incoming rockets at a moment’s notice. You’ll also believe that she has anti-paparazzi lasers, ready to ruin a too-curious cameraman’s lens (and, no doubt, vision). And if you believe that, we have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. Facts we can confirm are that Eclipse is more than double the length of the Great Sphinx, is outfitted with a swim platform and beach club combo that can swallow up a crowd, and has one heckuva master suite, spanning the full 72-foot beam. She also carries accommodations for 17 guests. You can check them out for yourself by chartering Eclipse, available through SuperYachtsMonaco, for a cool $2 million per week. Or can you? Some industry insiders think she’s really not all that available, listed for charter solely to take advantage of value-added-tax breaks. Sigh...The 13,000-gross-ton Eclipse belongs to Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, who owns a few ladies on our list.
2 Dubai • 531'5"
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister of Dubai, keeps his yacht in home waters. (If you’re wondering why the yacht is not on our State Yachts list, Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, plus the prime minister reports to a higher, federal authority.) Seven of her decks are devoted to his and his guests’ enjoyment, featuring multiple saloons and dining rooms, plus two master suites (on two different decks, of course). While there are some alfresco areas, there aren’t nearly as many as aboard some other yachts, due to the intense Middle East sun. But, with colorful carpets and intricate mosaics among the décor highlights, guests are hard-pressed to find more visual interest outdoors. An amusing rumor has been making the rounds of late: The Sheikh is upset that Dubai is smaller than Eclipse, so he wants to have her refitted to nab the top spot on everyone’s “world’s largest” list. (Even funnier, there’s a related rumor that Roman Abramovich is planning to extend Eclipse to prevent it.)
3. Yas • 462'6"
When Yas was commissioned, she was simply known as the Swift141 project. She’s a former Dutch naval frigate acquired purposely for conversion and has an interesting backstory. The United Arab Emirates Navy acquired the vessel, then 426 feet, in 1998 from the Royal Dutch Navy. A new corvette replaced it several years ago, but since the frigate was still structurally sound, she was sold instead of scrapped. The buyer was a citizen within the Gulf region, who decided to strip her down and use the hull as the basis for a fast megayacht. Yas is said to be capable of 26 knots, pretty remarkable. Also remarkable is the fact that the superstructure is all fiberglass, the largest ever to use the material.
4. Al Salamah • 456'10"
An indoor swimming pool is just one of the lavish amenities aboard Al Salamah. While code names are common these days for projects while under construction, they were rarities in Al Salamah’s day in the late 1990s, which makes her code name all the more memorable. It was Mipos, an acronym for Mission Possible. Why? Because Lürssen was charged with building her in just two years’ time. Mission accomplished. Her owner, Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz al Saud, who was his country’s deputy prime minister and apparent heir to the throne, died last October. Other members of the Saudi royal family will likely keep the yacht, if history is any indication.
5. Topaz • 482'3"
Not much is known about Topaz, though there are plenty of guessing games going on. Reliable and unreliable sources alike believe that she was commissioned by a member of the Saudi royal family. Then again, a certain yacht brokerage repeated rumors that a member of a different ruling family, the Abu Dhabi royals, is the owner. All we know is that Topaz is the largest new yacht delivered this year.
6. Rising Sun • 454'1"
Another yacht with a memorable code name, Rising Sun was known as LE120 while under construction. The numeral was said to stand for her original LOA, which was to be 120 meters, or about 394 feet. “LE” stood for the initials of her then-owner, Oracle software chief Larry Ellison. The rumor mill went into overdrive when she emerged longer than expected, with speculation running rampant that the goal was to build a bigger boat than that of Paul Allen, who had recently taken delivery of Octopus (see no. 10). Rising Sun presently belongs to media mogul David Geffen, who gets to enjoy the upper deck as a private owner’s area.
7. Savarona • 440'0"
For years, Savarona ruled as the world’s largest private yacht. She was originally built at a cost of $4 million, which in today’s dollars would be about $60.4 million. An authentic Turkish hamam, or steam room, is aboard, encompassing 860 square feet and outfitted with marble dating back more than two centuries. The guest suites—true suites, each with a private sitting area—bear creatively nautical names like Fair Wind, Sea Horse, Dolphin, Neptune, and Water Lily. Several are named after bodies of water, like Marmara Sea, Mediterranean Sea, and Black Sea, calling to mind Savarona’s Turkish past. In the late 1930s she served as a state yacht for Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic.
8. Serene • 439'6"
Serene is the first-ever yacht built by Fincantieri, a longstanding shipbuilder with thousands of cruise ships, ferries, and other projects to its name. She rises seven decks high and has more than 48,000 square feet of relaxation space inside and out. There’s also a saltwater pool/toy dock aboard. Due to her sheer size, made all the more dramatic with a deep-blue hull, Serene causes a stir wherever she goes. She even made ordinarily jaded New Yorkers stop and take a second look last November. She was docked adjacent to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, the only place in Manhattan large enough to hold her. Serene made another appearance stateside this past February, this time in Marina del Rey, California. Her owner is widely believed to be Yuri Shefler, the Russian CEO of SPI Group, which owns Stolichnaya vodka.
9. Al Mirqab • 436'4"
Al Mirqab was spotted in the U.S. Virgin Islands around Christmas and then Greece earlier this year. Reports have her belonging to Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani, the prime minister and minister of foreign affairs for Qatar. Her exterior styling bears the unmistakable signature of Tim Heywood. Not much else is known about the yacht, due to the sheikh’s wishes, though the interior is by Andrew Winch Designs.
10. Octopus • 414'0"
Octopus has had a pretty busy year. She was on site at the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean for film director James Cameron’s historic dive in March. Octopus’ owner, American billionaire Paul Allen, was aboard the yacht and sent updates via Twitter over the course of several hours. Cameron even came aboard Octopus a few days prior to the dive, to check weather conditions and, presumably, get a tour. (Wonder if he saw the yacht’s “marina dock,” where her custom Vikal tender Man of War and a mini sub rest?) Then, about a week later, Octopus joined the search in Palau for a plane that disappeared after it attempted to track a Chinese boat that was reportedly fishing illegally.