100 to Watch
Join the Power & Motoryacht staff in the best seat in the house as we celebrate the influence and inspiration of the World’s 100 Largest Yachts. This year’s list adds nine new builds and 2,903 feet in length to its immeasurable capacity to inspire seagoing dreams. But it’s not the celebrities that grace (or disgrace) their decks, nor the illustrious ports of call they frequent (though they are terrific spots) that catch our eye. Instead it’s the incredible engineering and inventive design that make superyachts worth watching, and send our eyes searching for the nearest chart. So as the magazine’s 30th anniversary celebration continues, take a voyage through this year’s list and enjoy a closer look at how the genre has evolved over the past three decades.
A 190-foot Trinity is a shining example of large-yacht artistry.
The largest water dinosaur in Jurassic World—for which Steven Spielberg served as executive producer—was the hainosaurus. It could easily devour the largest great white shark in today’s oceans. The largest of them was 50 feet long, so if you lined up six of them, they’d be about the same size as Spielberg’s boat, Seven Seas (number 66).
Leslie Wexner owns Limitless (number 40) as well as Victoria’s Secret. At two separate Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, Giselle Bundchen and Heidi Klum, respectively, have worn bras worth $12.5 million—or about what you could expect to pay for a puny 100-foot yacht. Pfft, chump change.
1997 Limitless (number 40) slipped down the ways at Lürssen and into slot number 5 that year, while Savarona held on to number 1 at 408'0" and Away S brought up the rear at the number 100 slot at 162'7". Of the debut yacht, then-managing editor Diane Byrne wrote: “Limitless was shrouded in secrecy during construction at Lürssen, but, as is often the case in the yachting industry, bits and pieces of information leaked out from various other sources. She incorporates a diesel-electric propulsion package—unusual in a private vessel. To keep her profile clean and uncluttered, tenders and the crane that launches them are housed in a foredeck tender locker. That same crane, nicknamed “Robocrane” by its creator, Nautical Structures, telescopes out to 29 feet in length yet folds to take up only 14 feet of space when not in use.”
There are two undeniable trends in the realm of the world’s largest superyachts: The boats are growing in LOA and Germany is taking most of the business. In 2005 a respectable 28 percent of the 100 largest yachts were built in Germany. Over the last decade that nation’s production has grown so it’s now represented by a robust 43 percent of the list. The Netherlands has held its own over the years, declining only from a 26 percent share down to 23 for the same period. The remaining 34 percent is divided among 14 countries including the United States and Canada, which together only hold a 3 percent share. Like last year’s World Cup, will Germany continue its dominance or can another country swing the tide? Only time will tell. — Daniel Harding Jr.
2000: Indian Empress (ex Al Mirqab; number 44) made her debut on the list at number 7 in 2000, when Savarona still led our list at 408'0" and Ice Bear at 173'0" held the last position. As then-executive editor Diane Byrne wrote at the time: “Check out her propulsion package: Triple MTUs permit a top speed of 26.5 knots, with the central engine acting as a booster to provide 2.5 knots of that speed. Accommodations for 42 crew and 32 guests are spread throughout her six decks.”
Let’s be real. Roman Abramovich owns like, half the yachts on this list. He also owns a 30,000-square-foot “apartment” in London that is the country’s most expensive home.
2009 Vibrant Curiosity (number 70) built by Oceanco made her debut at number 31. In that year Dubai held the top spot at 531'5" and Wedge Too took number 100 at 213'3". Associate editor Catherine Pearson wrote: “For the first time since 2005 we’ve got a new number one. She’s not Eclipse, Roman Abramovich’s new Blohm & Voss that’s reportedly between 533 and 557 feet LOA. Though she just hit the water, Eclipse won’t be outfitted—and thus qualify for our list—until 2010. No, this year’s number one has graced our pages before, as the world’s largest state yacht, but after some serious sleuthing we learned she’s actually privately owned.”
David Geffen owns Rising Sun (number 11) formerly owned by Larry Ellison. He’s also a college dropout who started his career as a mailroom clerk at the William Morris Agency in LA—after lying about graduating from college on the application. (Yes, you read right, he also owns Pelorus).
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.