Azzam, the 180-metre giant of the royal family of Abu Dhabi, has been at the top of the recreational yacht ranking for the past five years. The manufacturer is the German shipyard Lürssen, “king of luxury” with 4 boats in the 10 largest in the world. There were no particular limits in the budget for the construction of Azzam, commissioned by the Emir of Abu Dhabi and President of the United Arab Emirates, Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, with a portfolio of around 21 billion dollars. But how many horses do you need to move a giant of 180 meters and 13,136 tons? Almost 100,000 – one hundred thousand (!) – horses, to be precise 94,000 MTU, with which the great and powerful Azzam easily reaches 30 knots, with a cruising speed of around 25. The construction took 4 years and 680 people were involved in an operation with a total value of 600 million dollars.
From Genoa comes Fulk Al Salamah, the yacht of the Sultan of Oman, Qabus Bin Said. Given the endless waiting list in the Lürssen sheds, the sultan turned in 2014 to the Italian shipyard Mariotti to have what at first glance may seem like a giant ferry built. Delivered in 2016, the 164-metre Royal Family yacht from Oman is the second largest in the world. Although it does not go unnoticed, it is shrouded in mystery about its actual motorization. It can reach a top speed of 19 knots with a weight of 11,000 tons. In this giant, the huge helicopter landing platform located on the penultimate aft deck certainly does not go unnoticed.
Since 2010, the year of construction, Eclipse, the mega yacht of Russian oil magnate Roman Abramovich, has dominated the world’s largest yacht rankings for almost five years, before being shipped to the bottom step of the podium by Azzam and Fulk Al Salamah. And many will remember that at the time of Azzam’s launch, the headlines focused almost more on Abramovich, ousted from first place, than on the emir’s yacht in Abu Dhabi. The Russian entrepreneur has never hidden his passion for extreme luxury and Eclipse, from the German shipyard Blohm & Voss, fully represents the style of its owner. At 162.50 metres in length, he is decidedly less powerful than his “rival” Azzam, relying “only” on a quadruple 10,000 horsepower MTU engine that still allows Eclipse to reach the not inconsiderable speed of 25 knots. Anti-missile systems, submarines, bulletproof glass and any other kind of luxury? Here you go, Eclipse!
In fourth place is Dubai, the yacht owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, emir, not to mention Dubai. Just 50 centimetres shorter than Eclipse, it was started in 1996 in Germany, at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in collaboration with Lürssen, for the Prince of Sultanate of Brunei, Jefri Bolkiah. In 2001, the hull arrived in Dubai, where Platinum Yachts, behind which is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, completed the work in 2005. The mosaic of stories and people who worked in the 9 years before the launch remains in the history of the yacht, whose interiors, curated by Andrew Winch, are the result of an intense work of research and refinement of detail with one peculiarity. The leitmotif of the decorations is precisely the mosaics, omnipresent on board. With a top speed of 26 knots and a cruising speed of 25, Dubai is able to travel up to 8,000 consecutive miles in autonomy, thanks to four 8450 hp MTU engines.
For the fifth position we find the famous Dilbar, mega yacht of another Russian entrepreneur like Abramovich and also in a top English football club – Arsenal. We are talking about Alisher Usmanov, the Russian-Uzbek “lord of metals”, the first producer with his Metalloinvest. But back to the yacht: Dilbar is 156 meters long, but by tonnage is the largest in the world with its 15917 tons, and not even Azzam can compete with this titan, built by the German Lürssen in 2016. The engine is an electric diesel engine of 30,000 kW, which runs Dilbar at 23 knots top speed and 18 knots cruising speed, considerable speed given the weight of this mega yacht.
Don’t be fooled by the two chimneys and Al Said’s superstructure: you’re not facing a ferry! The taste for the imposing and very “ferry” superstructures of the Oman family is also confirmed by Fulk Al Salamah’s “little sister” who, at 155 metres, is the sixth largest yacht in the world. Here, too, at the stern, there is an enormous platform for the landing of helicopters. This yacht, delivered in 2008 by the German Lürssen, with its 15,850 tons reaches almost the tonnage of Dilbar, weighing only 67 tons more. The very large interior volumes, designed by Redman Whiteley Dixon, are one of the characteristic features of Al Said, which is also equipped with two MTU engines of about 11,000 hp with which it can develop 22 knots of top speed.
In the year in which the first Mac was launched by Apple and Maradona began his career at Naples, the royal family of Arabia was delivered one of the largest units in the history of boating. His name is Prince Abdulaziz and from 1984 to 2001, thanks to its 147 meters in length, has maintained the title of the world’s largest yacht. Belonged to King of Arabia Fahd, it is now part of the royal Saudi fleet, continues to be frequently used. Built by the Danish shipyard Helsingor Vaerft is able to reach 22 knots, traveling at an average of 18 thanks to the 2 Pielstick 7800 horsepower engines. The interior was designed by David Kicks and on the first floor was placed the lobby, a faithful replica of the interior of the Titanic.
The last Lürssen in the top 10 is Topaz, and is 147 meters long as Prince Abdulaziz. It is owned by Mansour Ben Zayed Al Nayhan, half-brother of Azzam’s owner, Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan, and president of Manchester City. The boat has a weight of over 12,000 tons, two MTU engines of about 8,000 horses and reaches a maximum of 23 knots, sailing at about 19 knots on a cruise. Its value has been estimated at around £300 million and £400 million.
From its portholes one could have witnessed much of the modern history of Egypt, to whose government belongs El Mahroussa, also known as El Horriya – Freedom – after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952. It is not just a mega yacht, but is the oldest currently in circulation, used by the greatest Egyptian statesmen from its inception to the present day. Long 145.70 was built in England by Samuda Brothers in 1865 and has undergone several changes, including structural, over the years, as two extensions of the overall length of the hull and replacement of the motorization. Returning to El Mahrousa in 2000, it currently has 3 Parson 1037 horsepower engines that take it to a maximum of 16 knots, with 13 knots cruising speed. The internal and external design has been entirely taken care of by Oliver Lang.
Last but not least, here is one of the most talked about yachts of the summer. We’re talking about Sailing A, the giant sailing yacht designed by Philippe Starck that causes havoc in every landing place in which it passes. Aesthetically unconventional, Andrei Melnichenko’s maxi yacht is a 142-metre-long three mast (one of which is around 100 metres long) launched in 2017 by the German shipyard Nobiskrug. The owner, Melnichenko, is the Russian tycoon who in his “boat park” also boasts A, the 119-metre motor yacht which also came out of Starck’s hand. Sailing A is the world’s largest sailboat and has a double MTU engine of 4827 horsepower that takes it to 21 knots of maximum and 16 knots of cruising.