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The “crew” issue is a topic that interests many owners when designing their yacht. One wonders if a yacht without a crew is possible. However, to understand if this request is feasible, it is important to clarify these aspects with the Shipyard:

  • What will be one of your yachts? How long is everything going to use it?

Is the owner able to maneuver the yacht in complete autonomy?

  • How big is your boat? Will I be able to manage it autonomously safely?

For clarification, it is essential to consider that the crew can be divided between technical staff (captain, mechanical engineer, etc.) and service staff (steward, chef, hostess, etc.) – usually employed in larger yachts.

What will be the use of your yacht? How long are you going to use it per year?

At the time of design, it is already clear to its owner what the use of his boat will be.

There are those owners who love to steer their boat, others who only seek the pleasure of cruising. There are those who prefer to have the boat all to themselves, and those who prefer to have a crew at their service. There are also those who love to use the boat all year round and those who can use it only a few months a year.

The intended use of your boat also conditions the choices related to the crew.

A boat that will be used as a Charter Yacht will have to provide not only the technical personnel required by law but also the service personnel.

If instead, its use is personal, it will be possible to reserve less space for the crew members, as the guests will carry out the duties on board.

PLEASE NOTE: The rules on the number and type of personnel on board are dictated and imposed by the Navigation Class and the flag, as well as by the size of the boat. It will, therefore, be important to evaluate all these aspects well with the construction site during the design phase.

In order to navigate and maneuver the boat, you need a boat license and all the certifications suitable for cruising. It is also necessary to have a minimum of technical notions to be put into practice in case of a failure while in the middle of the sea. There are true sea enthusiasts who have all the knowledge necessary to steer their yacht in complete safety, but also those who see time on board as vacation and who prefer to have someone do things for them.

The bigger the yacht, the more the presence on board of technical figures with specific skills will be necessary. In addition, a large yacht also requires greater care also in terms of maintenance.

Shipyard Solutions

Division of flows as an optimal solution.

Pilothouse_CustomYacht_Navetta 26

The study of guest-crew flows, if done carefully, guarantees extreme discretion. A clever division of the spaces ensures that the work areas do not interfere with the spaces dedicated to guests.

When technology can help

During the design phase, the Shipyard can meet with ad hoc solutions.

Italian yacht_N26

Each station has been equipped with all the controls and displays necessary to have full control of the boat.

These solutions come in handy while sailing, but a Navetta 26 needs a fixed presence on board even when it is moored in the Port. A remote monitoring system has been installed on board to manage current onboard, space heating/cooling, etc.

Do you want to receive more information on how to manage your boat?

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Azimut 78 yacht tour: Inside the mother of all owner-operated boats

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The Azimut 78 sits at a crossroads in the market, you can run it by yourself, but many owners choose to employ a crew. Nick shows us around…

Walking around the Azimut 78 it’s easy to forget you’re still on a sub-24m boat, particularly in the three-cabin crew quarters, which is located in the bow – usually a hallmark of much bigger yachts.

This video, filmed at the most recent Cannes Yachting Festival , showcases the Azimut 78’s curvaceous Art Deco-inspired interior, as designed by Achille Salvagni.

It’s the little details that really raise the bar on this yacht, from the teak-lined guest showers to the indirect lighting behind the bedhead in the master cabin .

Article continues below…

Cranchi 78 yacht tour: Inside the Italian yard’s great glass flagship

Princess y78 yacht tour: the biggest boat you can run without crew.

Out on deck there are plenty of sociable spaces to soak up the sun, from the foredeck to flybridge .

However, Nick saves the best to last, with a look inside the Azimut 78’s engine room, which houses a triple IPS 1350 pod-drive set-up for a top speed of 33 knots.

Enjoy the tour…

Azimut 78 specification

LOA: 23.64m (77’6”) Beam: 5.75m (18’ 10”) Draft: 1.77m (5’ 10’’) Displacement (loaded): 58 tonnes (127,867lb) Engines: Triple 1,000hp Volvo Penta IPS 1350 Top speed: 33 knots Cruising speed: 27 knots Fuel capacity: 5,000l Water capacity: 1,100l Price: €3,150,000

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The world’s biggest yachts – what’s behind the growth of the gigayacht

Helen Fretter

  • Helen Fretter
  • March 14, 2017

The last few years have seen launches of some of the world's largest yachts, truly gigayachts. Helen Fretter delves into the world of the gigayacht

largest sailing yacht without crew

Dwarfing not only any other yacht that happened to be on the River Eider, but even the buildings along the foreshore, the monolithic Sailing Yacht A made quite an impression when she was launched from the Nobriskrug yard in Hamburg in the autumn of 2016.

The 142m, eight-deck behemoth is the archetypal ‘gigayacht’, phenomenal not just in her dimensions but also in her radicalism.

The Philippe Starck-designed Sailing Yacht A , with her 20m freeboard, begs the question: is she even a sailing yacht? The last yacht to divide opinion, and attract the shock and awe of the non-sailing public in the same manner was Maltese Falcon , the glossy, experimental megayacht designed for Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tom Perkins.

But the Falcon was launched a decade ago, and Sailing Yacht A is just one of a crop of extraordinary gigayachts, or sailing superyachts of 80, 90 or 100m plus, to touch the water in 2016.

Besides the 142m Sailing Yacht A , another three-masted design was launched from OceanCo this autumn, the 106m  Black Pearl , which looks set to become the largest sailing yacht in the world – for a while at least. Black Pearl represents a modern evolution of the rotating Dynarig pioneered by Maltese Falcon . Meanwhile in the spring, the largest Bermudan rigged yacht ever launched, the 86m ketch Aquijo , powered through sail trials in preparation for a global adventure.

There are more in the pipeline also. Royal Huisman announced this autumn that they had been commissioned to design and build the 86m Project 400 , another three masted design, this one more conventionally rigged. A proposal for the 114m Endurance has just been unveiled, an explorer concept designed to be able to cruise unassisted for three months. There is also the 86m Komorebi , an experimental wingsail-assisted hybrid trimaran design from the French multihull experts VPLP.

Rise and rise of the gigayacht

Why the sudden flurry of these stratospherically ambitious projects? In truth, it is not that sudden – initial pitches for what ultimately became Sailing Yacht A were invited back in 2008, and pre-studies began in 2011. A decade between projects seems rather shorter when design and build takes at least five years – gigayacht owners may be exacting, but they also have to be extraordinarily patient.

The 141m four-masted Dream Symphony is currently in build out of wood in Turkey, and includes vast living accommodation, and a swimming pool that converts to become a helipad platform

The 141m four-masted Dream Symphony is currently in build out of wood in Turkey, and includes vast living accommodation, and a swimming pool that converts to become a helipad platform.

What is remarkable, though, is how rapidly the yachts have grown in size – raising the upper ceiling from 88 to over 140m in a decade. Dutch naval architecture firm Dykstra has been instrumental in many of the world’s most innovative megayachts, including Sailing Yacht A , Black Pearl , and Maltese Falcon .

Managing director Thys Nikkels comments, “Ten years ago a big boat was a very different size than a big boat is now. I can still remember when I started working in ’91 a 40-metre yacht in those days was a big boat. In the mid-90s we started to design the yacht Athena , which we thought was the biggest boat we were ever going to see in our lives, as a sailing yacht she was 80 metres on the water.”

The largest single sloop rigged yacht in the world remains Mirabella V , launched back in 2003 and since renamed (and slightly lengthened during a refit) M5 at just over 77m. Rob Doyle, who worked on the project led by Ron Holland, recalls:

“We started designing her 17 years ago now. We hit a very natural sweet spot with Mirabella and that’s why it has taken so long for other boats to suddenly go over her length and over her rig height.

“ Mirabella still has the highest ‘P’ measurement [distance from boom to top of mast] and the longest boom in the world, though there are taller masts now.

“She set a bar and we didn’t realise we’d actually set it. It came down to a ratio of the rig weight to the draught and the keel weights, and everything else to be able to carry that amount of sail and that ballast to satisfy the rules.

“We pushed technology a lot – about 16 companies went bust over Mirabella  because the jump was so massive. We were jumping from a 64m to a 75m [yacht] and that jump was like learning to fly, then going to the moon!”

Article continues below

largest sailing yacht without crew

Video of Sailing Yacht A, the world’s largest sail-assisted vessel, during early sea trials

This video footage of Sailing Yacht A shows her with her towering free-standing masts and illustrates the jaw-dropping scale of the world’s…

largest sailing yacht without crew

A look on board the extraordinary 86m Aquijo, the world’s largest ketch

The largest Bermudan rigged ketch ever launched, the 86m Aquijo was designed by Bill Tripp and launched last year. The build came…

Ken Freivokh, who was responsible for the radical styling of Maltese Falcon , also points out that after the much publicised launch of the Falcon many buyers did not want to be seen to be emulating Tom Perkins’s unique style, preferring to wait, or opt for a conservative design. After the Falcon , Freivokh’s next radical Dynarig yacht was Black Pearl , which he began work on six years ago. At 106m Black Pearl dwarfs Maltese Falcon , with a 2,700GT volume that puts her just under the key 3,000GT limit.

Surprisingly, Dykstra’s Thys Nikkels says that the Dynarigs being built today are not markedly different to the one developed for Maltese Falcon a decade ago. “In concept it is not very different. In detail there are a number of improvements that have been made.

But Maltese Falcon was – for her time – years far ahead and she proved to be very successful in sail handling and sailing, so there are not many improvements to be done. Nowadays you just have different materials you can use, or different electronics and software systems that you can use for control.”

Maltese Falcon, launched in 2006, pioneered the Dynarig concept utilised on many of the next generation of larger gigayachts

Maltese Falcon, launched in 2006, pioneered the Dynarig concept utilised on many of the next generation of larger gigayachts.

Sail handling

Meanwhile a decade of development in superyacht rigs and sail systems, means that Aquijo ’s owner could opt for a conventional ketch rig, which can deploy over 3,000m2 of sails in around six minutes.

Sail handling routines are necessarily different – the jib is furled when tacking. “Vitters organised a nice system that keeps just a nice amount of tension on the jib sheets furling in and out so that they are not flailing about,” explains Aquijo ’s designer, Bill Tripp. “So it’s not a dinghy tack, but it is safe and orderly.

“The spinnaker is on a fast furler and furls up in 30 seconds, making gybes less complex. There is the ketch choreography of bringing the main and mizzen in, but the steering is precise and there is no need to put too much sail up for the conditions.”

Aquijo master cabin

Aquijo master cabin

The forces generated on yachts such as Aquijo may be enormous – mast compression can reach around 580 tons – but are no longer beyond the realms of riggers’ experience. “When we started building boats like Saudade [the 2009 45m Wally], 14 tonnes was a very big load. Once we understood racing these boats, and understood they were controllable, you can take another step.

“We were delighted when sailing Aquijo upwind in a lot of breeze that the load on the mainsheet was showing around 12 tonnes. It’s 2:1 so that’s 24 tonnes. I’m not saying that’s not a massive load, but it’s similar to what we have on Saudade ’s big sheet 1:1, and we have years of experience with handling that.” Custom built 40 ton carbon and alloy winches help manage the sheet loads.

Tripp notes that a Dynarig was never considered as an option. “What you’re really asking is do you want the ease of sailing or do you want to be able to access something exciting? And we wanted both of them.

“Sailors tend to like the more fundamental experiences, and when the technology allows them to access those more fundamental experiences, well that’s a great joy.”

Aquijo is the world’s largest ketch, with a mainsail that can be furled or unfurled in around four seconds

Aquijo is the world’s largest ketch, with a mainsail that can be furled or unfurled in around four seconds

Finding the limit

Just how big can a sailing yacht go? Five years ago plans were unveiled for a 101m sloop, with a single 125m carbon mast, which raised a few eyebrows and discussions over whether it might be possible. Malcolm McKeon worked on the proposal and says that it was the cost, rather than technical limitations, which put the brakes on the project.

“It was an evolving process. The owner has a 50m-plus sailing superyacht, and he wanted a new yacht big enough that he could put a reasonably sized chase boat on board. He wanted an explorer type sailboat that he could go to the Pacific on, and carry all his toys with him, and not have to have a support boat.

“The design started at 65 or 70m and it just grew and grew and grew until it got to 100m, and then it basically just got too expensive.

Recent sail trials on Sailing Yacht A saw the 1,464m2 mainsail unfurled from the 27.5m carbon U-shaped boom. Incredibly she is designed to heel up to a maximum angle of 12 degrees under full sail

Recent sail trials on Sailing Yacht A saw the 1,464m2 mainsail unfurled from the 27.5m carbon U-shaped boom. Incredibly she is designed to heel up to a maximum angle of 12 degrees under full sail.

“The big problem with the large sail boats is the mast price goes up by a bigger proportion to everything else so the rig price becomes a much bigger percentage of the overall build. Technically it can all be done, it’s just the value of that part becomes a much more significant part and sometimes more difficult for an owner to accept.

“If somebody came to me and said they wanted to build a boat with a 200m mast I would think well, is that really possible? Certainly rigs up to 100m and a bit more I think are possible today, but where we’re going to go after that I don’t know.”

Rob Doyle points out that sailing superyacht owners pay around a 30 per cent premium over opting for a motoryacht, yet the boats lose around a third of the equivalent interior volume. However, for him the biggest limitations are the humans onboard.

“I think we are coming to a stage where we need a new type of rig, to be honest, to be able to safely deploy these sails without killing people. I think we are getting very close to where the metal meets the flesh at the deck level where the people and the guests are hanging around.”

With the ever-increasing winch and line speeds needed to handle the huge loads, serious hand and limb injuries can happen in the blink of an eye. “There is a moral hazard there that keeps playing on my mind,” says Doyle. “We are building very dangerous machines and we have to be very careful of people.”

The newly announced Endurance concept design is a 114m four-masted explorer design with a 6,000 mile range under power

The newly announced Endurance concept design is a 114m four-masted explorer design with a 6,000 mile range under power.

More prosaically, the bigger your gigayacht, the bigger the challenge of just getting on and off it. “Once you are getting to a stage where you can’t get into anchorages you are in constant fear of drifting – even putting down an anchor you need a huge amount of space around you.

“So then you anchor further out into the slop and the big waves, so the owners find it difficult to get on and off the boat, and suddenly other problems can overwhelm the project,” Doyle points out. One increasingly popular solution to that particular problem is a luxury landing craft.

Too big for the Panama Canal

It might seem counter-intuitive, but it is Aquijo ’s owner’s focus on the sailing experience that has enabled the designers of the 86m ketch to push the size limits of a traditionally rigged yacht.

“ Aquijo is a sophisticated machine and brings most aspects of a 1,600GT motor yacht with her,” comments designer Bill Tripp. “But she does not aspire to helicopters or submarines, the feeling of the boat is one of use. She is for getting out there, and for going out sailing. In Greece this summer, she would go out for an afternoon of sailing in 35 knot Meltemi because it is so much fun to sail at 20 knots, as if on rails.

“We have always done sailboats that can get under the Panama Canal bridge, and the biggest we were happy to do and put under the bridge was really 46m because after that we didn’t have big enough sails for the boat.

“Then five years ago we launched A Better Place , and the owner said ‘I’ll go around, I don’t want to limit my boat because of the bridges.’ With Aquijo they said, we want to go to these places anyway, so let’s get the best sailboat we can. So suddenly, instead of having this 63m limit on the rig, that all opened up and we could start doing a sailing boat that had a gross tonnage like some of the bigger motoryachts.

“I think we’re going to see more of that. You can look at the Strait of Magellan [an alternative route to rounding Cape Horn ], as a place that’s a really long way away or a place you really want to go.”

The three- masted Y712 design has an angular ‘Pacman’ bow with a wave-piercing reverse sheer lower section, and extended traditional foredeck above

The three-masted Black Pearl  has an angular ‘Pacman’ bow with a wave-piercing reverse sheer lower section, and extended traditional foredeck above

The wish list

Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko is keeping his Sailing Yacht A tightly wrapped under non-disclosure agreements, but a few intriguing details have been released, including magnifying windows which appear larger inside than outside, and a gimballed crow’s nest, accessible by lift, 60m high in the curved mast.

An observation pod embedded in the keel with foot-thick glass gives a mesmerising – and frankly terrifying-sounding – view of the propellers, and there’s a three-man submarine.

Gigayacht designers have come up with some imaginative solutions to meet owners’ foibles and demands. Drawings for the 101m sloop incorporated an entirely retractable hardtop to the flybridge to give the owner his requested uninterrupted view of the sails and sky.

Plans for the Japanese-influenced Komorebi design feature a live tree on the aft deck. Watersports toys are old news – now tender garages are specified to house motorbikes, amphibious quad bikes, even custom-built marinised supercars.

On Aquijo , the headline feature is the ‘beach club’ on the lower deck. “For a sailing boat it is a huge area, they have a sauna, hamman [Turkish Bath], a rainfall shower, a relaxing area, this huge whirlpool in the middle, a little pantry, and enough space for gym equipment around the pool,” explains interior designer Robert Voges.

Beach club on Aquijo

Beach club on Aquijo.

Voges says the trickiest element on the yacht was the flawless high shine steel mast claddings which run through the interior. “It is like a piece of art. The mast was going through the main saloon and guest corridor, and we didn’t want to hide it. So we decided to make a feature out of it with seamless stainless steel cladding with integrated LED strip lights from top to bottom over two decks.”

One of the most radical projects in progress is the 141m Dream Symphony , a four-masted design currently in build in Turkey. Originally slated for launch this year, the project is progressing slowly – in part due to the fact the yacht is constructed of wood. Her design includes a large aft deck swimming pool that transforms into a raised helipad area.

This is the type of concept which seemed fantastical just a few years ago, but is now reality in the motoryachts world where designs like the 81m Alfa Nero have deployed it successfully.

“It’s a good solution because you usually have to drop down all the stanchions and any elements that are higher than the helipad itself, whereas if you lift the helipad you don’t have to lower the other elements,” explains Dream Symphony designer Ken Freivokh.

The 141m four-masted Dream Symphony

The 141m four-masted Dream Symphony

“The brief did not call for a resident helicopter that would have its own hanger – it’s just a ‘touch and go’. You don’t want to set aside space for a helicopter permanently that’s almost never there, so if you have a reasonably sized swimming pool why not use the base of a pool to just receive the helicopter, and then once the helicopter flies away you can put it back to normal operations?” Why not indeed?

No matter how grandiose your ideas, however, not even the vast volumes of a gigayacht can be entirely filled with art galleries and Reiki studios. Robert Voges explains that, like any other ship, “We have to start with all the emergency exits, the corridors, staircases . . . and from there we can work with the other areas which are left over.”

Ken Freivokh estimates that at least 20 per cent of the interior space has to be allocated to the back-of-house systems required to maintain the equivalent of a small hotel – air conditioning, waste, media, and other unglamorous elements behind the touch-screen luxury.

Edge of reason

At 12,700 GT, Sailing Yacht A has the vastest volume of all. But can she be called a sailing yacht? She carries three of the world’s largest carbon rigs – curved, unstayed, capable of rotating a maximum of 70 degrees – featuring in-boom furling that can deploy 3,747 square metres of sail area (67 per cent more than Maltese Falcon ) from a finger tip command. And yet she cannot help but look implausible.

The hull has a maximum beam of 24.8m and includes 24 shell doors

The hull has a maximum beam of 24.8m and includes 24 shell doors.

No matter how innovative the technology on board, or how vast the expense, the elements will not bend to the will of man or millionaire. Various estimates have put her cost at $400-500million, or in the region of £320 to £400 million – to put those sort of figures in context, the bill for the London Olympics Aquatics centre came in at under £300m.

Sailing Yacht A will be ‘sail-assisted’, not wind-powered. Confounding, aggressive in her styling, she’s a yacht that has attracted scathing opinions as often as wide-eyed wonder. But what is the point of creating a gigayacht that doesn’t?

“It is a creative process with the owner,” comments Aquijo ’s designer Bill Tripp, “They have this idea that they can make something that speaks to them. They don’t write symphonies, and they’re not great painters or sculptors, but on the other hand money is vital energy, and they can create these things that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

“It’s great when someone says, ‘Life’s short, I’m just going to do this.’”

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The world’s largest sailing yachts.

The world ranking of the largest sailing yachts has changed greatly in recent years, with six of the ten entries delivered in the last decade. By 2026, we can anticipate even more changes to the leaderboard. There are four serious large sailing yachts currently in build – three of which are under construction in the Netherlands at Royal Huisman.

As it stands today, the global list of the largest sailing yachts is a contentious topic. The point in question is the 142.8-metre behemoth SAILING YACHT A. Some argue that Nobiskrug’s sail-assisted motor yacht does not classify as a sailing yacht, while others do. We fall in the latter camp – she has sails, so she’s made our list!

Here is the rundown of the world’s ten largest sailing yachts:

142.81m | SAILING YACHT A | Nobiskrug | 2017

The world’s largest sailing yacht is German. Built by Nobiskrug to a design by Philippe Starck, with naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects, SAILING YACHT A is a true icon in the superyacht fleet.

SAILING YACHT A is huge; she boasts an epic 12,558 GT of interior volume. To put that into perspective, SAILING YACHT A is more voluminous than KORU, BLACK PEARL, EOS, ATHENA, MALTESE FALCON, and AQUIJO combined! Accommodation is available for 20 guests and 54 crew, and power is drawn from twin MTU hybrid engines for a top speed of 21 knots. Her carbon fibre masts are 100 metres tall.

largest sailing yacht without crew

127m | KORU | Oceanco | 2023

At 127 metres in length, KORU is not only the second largest sailing yacht in the world, but she’s also the largest private yacht ever built in the Netherlands, overshadowing even the largest Dutch-built motor yacht, LAUNCHPAD, by nine metres.

Built by Oceanco to a design by Dykstra Naval Architects for Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, KORU was kept a closely guarded secret throughout her build. Still, very little is known about the superyacht, aside from the fact that her timeless and contemporary interiors are the work of the residential and commercial design house Mlinaric, Henry & Zervudachi. The studio has just one other yacht in its portfolio: the 52.69-metre Feadship ADVENTURE.

The name KORU is Māori and means ‘new beginnings.’ KORU offers accommodation for 18 guests and 36 crew. Key highlights include three Jacuzzis and a swimming pool. She is believed to have nearly 3,500 GT of interior volume.

largest sailing yacht without crew

106.7m | BLACK PEARL | Oceanco | 2018

BLACK PEARL is the third-largest sailing yacht in the world, recently ousted from the second spot when Oceanco delivered the 127-metre KORU. She is also one of the very few sailing yachts designed by the award-winning Nuvolari Lenard. The Italian studio partnered with sailing yacht expert Ken Freivokh Design for the exterior lines and solely managed the interior spaces. BLACK PEARL’s naval architecture is by Dykstra Naval Architects.

BLACK PEARL is teeming with innovations, including a sophisticated energy-generation solar system and a high-tech DynaRig setup. She has a hybrid propulsion system, and highlights include a convertible beach club that doubles as a cinema. With six staterooms, up to 12 guests can be accommodated onboard.

largest sailing yacht without crew

92.92m | EOS | Lürssen | 2006

The German shipbuilder Lürssen has delivered just two sailing yachts, and true to nature, the most recent build ranks as one of the largest in the world. Lürssen built EOS for the venture capitalist and CEO of Twentieth Century-Fox, Barry Diller. EOS was designed by Langan Design Partners with interiors by Francois Catroux.

EOS has sailed the world, clocking up more than 200,000 nautical miles since her delivery. In 2011, following a refit at Royal Huisman, disaster struck when a fire broke out onboard while cruising the Norwegian fjords. She swiftly returned to Huisman for repairs. EOS has been regularly maintained and recently undertook substantial work at Lürssen Yacht Refit & Services.

largest sailing yacht without crew

90m | ATHENA | Royal Huisman | 2004

ATHENA, Royal Huisman’s flagship sailing yacht, was built for the US software developer Jim Clark. With three enclosed decks, ATHENA rivals motor yachts of the same size for interior space. Her exterior lines and clipper bow are the work of Pieter Beeldsnijder Design, while Rebecca Bradley Interior Design undertook the mammoth task of curating her 1,103 GT of interior volume.

Dykstra Naval Architects beautifully engineered ATHENA to ensure strong performance even in light conditions. Accommodation is available for 10 guests and 18 crew. She has been impeccably maintained, with regular refit appointments at Huisfit, a subsidiary of Royal Huisman, MB92, and Lürssen.

largest sailing yacht without crew

88m | MALTESE FALCON | Perini Navi | 2006

Commissioned by the late venture capitalist Tom Perkins, MALTESE FALCON is a towering feat of engineering. This sailing yacht is built to perform; she regularly competes in some of the world’s most esteemed regattas. Her performance comes from three free-standing rotating carbon-fibre masts, with a 25,800-square-foot sail plan.

MALTESE FALCON was delivered in 2006 and still, nearly two decades on, remains Italy’s largest sailing yacht to date. Designed by Ken Freivokh Design, with naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects, this super sailing yacht is high-tech and fashioned with industrial chic. Accommodation is available for 12 guests across six gorgeous staterooms. MALTESE FALCON is one of the most sought-after sailing yachts for charter.

largest sailing yacht without crew

86m | AQUIJO | Oceanco | 2016

When AQUIJO first hit the water in 2016, she was Oceanco’s flagship sailing yacht and the second-largest built in the Netherlands. Since then, Oceanco has superseded AQUIJO not once, but twice, with the delivery of BLACK PEARL and then KORU.

AQUIJO is the result of a collaboration between Oceanco and Vitters. The two Dutch shipyards worked together on this performance-driven sailing yacht, which still stands as the largest ketch-rigged yacht in the world. Her design and naval architecture are by Tripp Design Naval Architects, while Dölker + Voges GmbH oversaw her interiors. AQUIJO offers accommodation for 12 guests and draws power from twin Caterpillar engines.

largest sailing yacht without crew

81m | SEA EAGLE | Royal Huisman | 2020

SEA EAGLE, delivered in 2020, is the most voluminous superyacht built by Royal Huisman to date. The 81-metre vessel was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects and Mark Whiteley Design, with the latter also responsible for her interiors. The three-masted schooner boasts an impressive 2,580 square metre sail plan, and her carbon Panamax rig was constructed by the company’s sister firm, Rondal.

Before the keel was laid, Dykstra Naval Architects spent an intense year planning her engineering and design, optimising her waterline length for speed and handling. SEA EAGLE has six staterooms, accommodating 11 guests, and can host up to 14 crew members. This sailing yacht is built for unvetted freedom; she can cruise anywhere in the world and offers all the amenities one could desire on long, extended trips. SEA EAGLE is the world’s largest full aluminium sailing yacht.

largest sailing yacht without crew

77.6m | M5 | Vosper Thornycroft | 2004

When Southampton’s Vosper Thornycroft delivered M5 (formerly MIRABELLA V) in 2004, they underscored the revival of British shipbuilding. At 77.6 metres in length, M5 is not only the nation’s flagship sailing yacht; she is, in fact, the world’s largest sloop.

The super sailing yacht was designed by Ron Holland and built for Joe Vittoria, an American yachtsman who built his empire in the rental car business. However, it wasn’t until he sold her in 2014 that M5 achieved her current length. In 2013, M5 underwent a major refit at Pendennis, which, amongst the long list of works, included a stern extension of 3.2 metres. M5 offers accommodation for 16 guests and 17 crew and her unmissable feature is the towering 88.3-metre mast that can carry approximately 3,700 square metres of sail.

largest sailing yacht without crew

70m | BADIS I | Perini Navi | 2016

The second-largest Perini Navi sailing yacht was born from an ambitious commission by the lawyer-turned-software entrepreneur Bill Duker. While Duker is a serial yacht owner, this was his first new build – and he didn’t do things by half measures. When launched in 2016, BADIS I (then known as SYBARIS) was the world’s eighth-largest sailing yacht. After nearly a decade after delivery, she remains one of the 10 largest sailing yachts.

Her original name refers to the Ancient Greek civilisation of the Sybarites, famed for their self-indulgent lifestyle. In an interview with SuperYacht Times, Duker explains that the name is tongue-in-cheek, saying: “Sybaris is, if nothing else, a self-indulgence.”

Perini Navi designed the superyacht’s exterior, consulting with Philippe Briand for the naval architecture and sail plan. The Miami Beach-based design company PH Design curated the interior spaces. BADIS I has a total interior volume of 870 GT and offers accommodation for 12 guests and 11 crew. Twin MTU 16V 2000 M72 diesel engines deliver a top speed of 17.5 knots and a range of 5,000 nautical miles at 12.5 knots.

largest sailing yacht without crew

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Despite the pandemic, the superyacht world continues to welcome new entries. These are the world’s biggest yachts by length.

Even in a pandemic, the size of the global superyacht fleet keeps on growing. The top 25 largest yachts in the world now total a combined 11,849 feet, with the smallest yacht on the list,  Maryah , measuring a whopping 410 feet. Built by shipyards all over the world—from the Netherlands to the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, to name just a few—new launches and refits are delivered each year. The 2021 newcomers hail from Lürssen, Dream Ship Victory and Lloyd Werft. With many new gigayacht builds in the pipeline, the list will be much more competitive in the coming years. Here are the world’s top 25 yachts by size, from  Maryah  to  Azzam.

25. ‘Maryah’ (410 feet, 1 inch), Neorion

manuel hernández lafuente

Neorion’s  Maryah  Photo: Manuel Hernández LafuenteWATCH

This former Russian research vessel was originally launched by the Szczecinska yard in Poland. In 2010, it underwent a five-year rebuild at the Elefsis yard in Greece. The stodgy research vessel that went in reappeared in 2014 as a thoroughly modern custom-built superyacht. The UK-based  H2 Yacht Design  did both the interior and exterior, incorporating all the luxuries one would expect in a yacht this size. The swimming pool, spa, contemporary decor (including custom furniture, signature joinery, and bespoke details like fixtures and lighting), and generous interior space turned the ugly duckling into a swan.  Maryah , which reaches a top speed of 18 knots powered by a twin azipods propulsion system, has accommodation for 54 guests.

24. ‘Octopus’ (414 feet), Lürssen

Espen Øino Octopus yacht

Lürssen’s  Octopus  Elizabeth Withe

Originally built by Lürssen for Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, eight-decked  Octopus  is the world’s largest expedition yacht. Allen kept all the luxurious features of a superyacht, but wanted  Octopus  to be able to set anchor at the ends of the earth for exploration. The Lürssen, delivered in 2003, has storage for two helicopters, seven tenders, a large SUV and an internal dock that extends through the hull holding two submersibles. A glass-bottomed observation lounge makes for spectacular viewing when cruising. The yacht has been involved in multiple exploration discoveries, aided by its onboard dive centre and hyperbaric chamber. Espen Øino drew the exterior, including a full-sized basketball court on the aft deck, while Jonathan Quinn Barnett did the interior. The yacht underwent a refit in 2019. It reaches a top end of 20 knots.

23. ‘Al Mirqab’ (436 feet, 4 inches), Kusch Yachts

PIRAEUS - GREECE, JANUARY 27 2016: Al Mirqab Superyacht is one of the largest motor yachts ever built. Anchored at Marina Zeas in Piraeus - Greece.; Shutterstock ID 368381120; Notes: top 20 largest yachts in the world

Kusch Yachts’ Al Mirqab  Photo: Shutterstock / PitK

Launched in 2008,  Al Mirqab  was built for Qatar’s former prime minister under the supervision of  Kusch Yachts  in the  Peters Werft shipyard  in Wewelsfleth, Germany. The Tim Heywood exterior includes a long, navy-blue hull with a white superstructure. The yacht’s diesel-electric propulsion involves an azimuth pod drive and gives the 436.4-footer a top end of 21 knots. Its interior by Andrew Winch won several awards, with images showing Arabic-influenced motifs on the marble floors of large social areas. The yacht’s centerpiece is a stunning, complicated floating staircase encircled by custom-made glass panels.  Al Mirqab  has staterooms for 36, and crew quarters for 45.

22. ‘Serene’ (439 feet, 3 inches), Fincantieri

Fincantieri Serene superyacht

Fincantieri’s  Serene  Photo: Nick Wells

Serene  was  Fincantieri ’s launch into the superyacht segment, and what a debut it was. The largest yacht ever launched in Italy when it was delivered in 2011 (surpassed three years later by  Ocean Victory ), the Espen Øino seven-deck design features a long, sleek blue hull, crowned by a white superstructure. The somewhat racy curves serve as a nice counterpart to the more serious-looking sections of the yacht, which include cutouts along the main and upper decks to allow strong visibility from the saloon and staterooms. The curved balconies on three levels are a nice touch that work aesthetically—and practically for better views. The open stern area has a winter garden (enclosed glass house) that allows dining in all seasons.  Serene  also has two helipads and a hangar, a big swimming pool, and a tender garage large enough for a submarine. Pascale Reymond of Reymond Langton Design created the 43,056-square-foot interior for the Russian owner, though its details have remained closely guarded.

21. ‘Crescent’ (443 feet), Lürssen

Lürssen Crescent superyacht Larry Ellison

Lürssen’s  Crescent  Photo: Klaus Jordan

Espen Øino’s dark hull and tiered superstructure was one of the most exciting launches of 2018. Custom-built Project Thunder, as it was called internally at Lürssen, features cut-outs along the hull sides that allow full ocean views from the saloon on the primary deck, as part of  Crescent ’s distinctive curved superstructure. Its most noteworthy feature is the jaw-dropping bank of three-deck-high windows in the center of the yacht. This architectural feature serves as the centerpiece of a very compelling design. The yacht has accommodations for 18 guests in nine staterooms. Little is known about the François Zuretti-designed interior, other than Lürssen describes it as being “traditionally styled.” If it lives up to  Crescent ’s brash exterior, the complete yacht promises to be an entirely groundbreaking design.

20. ‘Savarona’ (446 feet, 2 inches), Blohm+Voss

Savarona superyacht 25 top yachgts

Blohm+Voss’s  Savarona  

Launched in 1931,  Savarona  was built for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwallader. The yacht was eventually acquired by Turkey to be the presidential yacht of Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey.  Jane’s Fighting Ships  described the yacht in 1949 as “probably the most sumptuously fitted yacht afloat.”  Savarona  was later converted to a training ship for the Turkish Navy and, in 1978, destroyed by fire. The yacht laid in tatters for 10 years. A Turkish businessman spent around $45 million refurbishing  Savarona , commissioning Donald Starkey for the interior and replacing the original steam-turbine engines with modern Caterpillar diesels. The yacht’s interior was refitted again in 2013, once again becoming the official presidential yacht in 2014.  Savarona  features a swimming pool, Turkish bath, 280-foot grand staircase, a movie theater, and a library dedicated to Atatürk.

19: ‘Flying Fox’ (446 feet, 2 inches), Lürssen

Lürssen's Flying Fox superyacht.

Lürssen’s  Flying Fox  Photo: Courtesy of SuperYachtTimes/Youtube

Delivered jointly by Imperial and Lürssen in 2019, 446.2-foot  Flying Fox  is the largest yacht available on the charter market. Key features of the Espen Øino-designed exterior are a curvaceous dove-gray hull and a 3.7-foot swimming pool that runs athwartship on the main aft deck, the largest ever found on board a yacht. A two-decked spa also gives guests access to a cryosauna, hammam and relaxation room with a fold-down balcony at sea level. Packed to the rafters with the latest amenities, the yacht holds a diving center, decompression chamber and two helipads.  Flying Fox  is PYC compliant and can accommodate 25 guests.

18. ‘Rising Sun’ (454 feet, 1 inch), Lürssen

Lürssen Rising Sun superyacht

Lürssen’s  Rising Sun  Photo: Courtesy of Lürssen

Designed by the original guru of yacht designers, Jon Bannenberg,  Rising Sun  was built by Lürssen for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, and is currently owned by billionaire David Geffen. The yacht was delivered in 2004 and last refitted in 2011. Defined by banks of windows across the superstructure,  Rising Sun  has 86,000 square feet of living space in 82 rooms. It can accommodate 18 guests in nine cabins, with the capacity to carry up to 46 crew. The interior by Seccombe Design includes a gym, cinema, and wine cellar. The rear cockpit deck was designed as a basketball court. Geffen received a global media backlash in 2020 for his “tone deaf” social media posts that pictured himself on board his yacht during Covid-19 lockdown.

17. ‘Al Salamah’ (456 feet), Lürssen

Lürssen Al Salamah gigayacht

Lürssen’s  Al Salamah  Lürssen

When Lürssen launched  Al Salamah  in 1999, it was the third-largest yacht in the world. Its ranking at number 14 shows how much has changed in the last 20 years. Code-named MIPOS, or Mission Possible, the yacht was designed by  Terence Disdale . The large imposing exterior is primarily protected space, with an upper deck exposed to the elements.  Al Salamah  has staterooms for 40 guests, including two owner suites, 11 VIP staterooms, and eight twin cabins. The yacht can carry up to 96 crew and has a top speed of 22 knots.  Al Salamah  was last refitted in 2009.

16. ‘Scheherazade’ (459 feet, 3 inches), Lürssen

Lürssen Project Lightning Yacht Launch

Lürssen’s  Scheherazade  Photo: SuperYacht Times/YouTube

The owner of 459.3-feet Lürssen-built  Scheherazade  (formerly known as Project Lightning) finally took delivery of the mega yacht in June 2020 after it was pictured during sea trials in November 2019. What can so far be deciphered from available photography includes two helipads, forward and aft, and a large beach club aft, as well as a reported seven-foot beam. Very few details have yet been released of the highly private vessel, including even the names of designers or naval architects involved with the build.

15: ‘Ocean Victory’ (459 feet, 3 inches), Fincantieri

Fincantieri Yachts’ 459-foot Ocean Victory Photo by Trevor Coppock /

Fincantieri’s  Ocean Victory  Photo: Trevor Coppock /

The largest motoryacht ever built in Italy, Fincantieri’s  Ocean Victory  was delivered to its owner in 2014. The seven-deck exterior by Espen Øino includes two helideck platforms and a hangar belowdecks, as well as exceptional outdoor social areas, and a floodable tender dock.  Ocean Victory  has accommodations for 28 guests as well as quarters for 56 crew.  Ocean Victory  also has six pools, a 3,300-square-foot spa, and an underwater observation room. The interior by Alberto Pinto remains a secret.

14: ‘Solaris’ (459 feet, 3 inches), Lloyd Werft

Solar is Part of the Top 25 Yachts in the world

Solaris  by Lloyd-Werft Courtesy Lloyd Werft

The 476-foot  Solaris  is one of the largest yachts to deliver in 2021, and yet still little is known about it. The highly private, vast explorer is built by German shipyard Lloyd Werft and undertook sea trials in the North Sea. The eight-deck exterior is by Australian designer Marc Newson and features a displacement steel hull with bulbous bow and steel superstructure with teak decks. Reportedly owned by Roman Abramovich, it houses a large helipad, sun deck and spacious beach club aft. Lloyd Werft built the Russian billionaire’s previous explorer yacht  Luna , which he reportedly sold for $360 million to his close friend Farkhad Akhmedov in 2014.

13. ‘Yas’ (462 feet, 6 inches), Abu Dhabi Mar

Superyacht Yas in Barcelona

Abu Dhabi Mar’s  Yas  Photo: Harvey Barrison

As a converted yacht,  Yas  is one of the most interesting vessels on this list. The dolphin-like exterior was originally a former Dutch Navy frigate that launched in 1978 and eventually sold to the navy of the United Arab Emirates, where it was renamed  Al Emirat . The yacht underwent its dramatic conversion in a facility in Abu Dhabi’s main port, emerging as a gleaming superyacht in 2011, with one of the most interesting profiles on the water. It was eventually delivered four years later. The design by the Paris-based Pierrejean Vision, defined by massive glass surfaces, can accommodate 60 guests and 58 crew members. Mated to a steel hull, the superstructure is the largest composite edifice ever built.  Yas  is capable of a 26-knot top speed and was last refitted in 2019.

12. ‘Dream Symphony’ (462 feet, 6 inches), Dream Ship Victory

Dream Symphony top 25 top superyachts

Dream Symphony  by Dream Ship Victory Courtesy Dream Ship Victory

Sailing yacht  Dream Symphony  is a magnificent 462.7-foot schooner built by the Turkish shipyard Dream Ship Victory. When delivered in 2021, she will become the largest private sailing yacht in the world, knocking current largest sailing yacht,  Black Pearl , off the podium. Featuring naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects and an exterior and interior by Ken Freivokh, she reunites the same team who were behind the legendary  Maltese Falcon ’s ground-breaking Falcon dynarig.  Dream  Symphony’s hull is being built in wood – glued and laminated using the latest epoxy and composite techniques. Wood, carbon and stainless-steel run throughout the contemporary interior, while the rig includes Hoyt booms for maximum control.  Dream Symphony  boasts a fully private owner’s duplex, with master suite, salon, and office at main deck level, and a further spa, gym and treatment rooms on the lower deck. A sheltered open deck between the owner’s facilities and the guest deck house can be closed off to bad weather, creating concealed channels for full protection. And when the sun is shining, a double-height glass swimming pool features a rising floor that can doubles up as a touch-and-go helipad or dancefloor.

11. ‘Nord’ (466 feet),  Lürssen

Lürssen OPUS Launch

Lürssen’s  Nord  (Project Opus) Photo: SuperYacht Times/Youtube

Nord  (Project Opus) has been a long time coming. She was announced in 2015 but didn’t hit the water until November 2020 when she conducted sea trials in the Baltic Sea. The 466-foot yacht features interior design by Italian studio Nuvolari Lenard and is Lürssen’s first yacht launched from its newly upgraded floating shed at its facility in Vegasack. Boasting many top tier amenities, the yacht includes a sports and diving center on the lower deck, multiple tenders ranging in size up to 50-feet and a large swimming pool. The two helipads support the yacht’s long-range cruising capabilities for autonomous remote exploration and a retractable hangar means the helicopter can slide neatly into the superstructure for storage when not in use. A generous 20 staterooms accommodate 36 guests across six decks, while a sleek aft-sloping superstructure gives Nord an individual profile on the water.

10. ‘A’ (468 feet, 5 inches), Nobiskrug

Nobiskrug Sailing Yacht A

Nobiskrug Sailing Yacht  A  Photo: Courtesy of Nobiskrug

Delivered in 2017, the futuristic look of sailing yacht  A  includes smooth, silver-metallic surfaces and windows that look nearly invisible, three composite masts that bend slightly, and a deck hidden by high bulwarks. The Philippe Starck-design is a wild fantasy yacht of the future. The 468-foot sailing yacht is a technical victory for German yard  Nobiskrug , which developed composite fashion plates to create the unusual shapes, without any compromises in strength or fluidity. It has the tallest freestanding composite masts on any sailing vessel, a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system and state-of-the-art navigation systems. The boat also reportedly has an underwater viewing platform in the keel. “Sailing yacht  A  is undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in,” said Holger Kahl, the firm’s then managing director. Starck’s interior remains a secret. The yard reports the yacht has a top speed of 21 knots. She remains today the world’s largest sailing yacht three years after her launch.

9. ‘El Mahrousa’ (478 feet, 1 inch), Samuda Brothers

"El Mahrousa" Yacht, Samuda Brothers

Egypt’s royal yacht,  El Mahrousa  Screengrab

El Mahrousa , which means “the protected” in Arabic, is currently Egypt’s presidential yacht, though the 478.1-footer has a separate history as that country’s royal yacht. The London-based Samuda Brothers began the build in 1863, and it was launched in 1865. It was originally built for the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Khedive Ismail, and later carried three Egyptian kings into exile. The yacht was also at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. The world’s oldest superyacht features external design by the British naval architect Sir Oliver Lang, and has had multiple modifications over the years, including a lengthening by 40 feet in 1872 and another 17 feet in 1905. During the second refit, the owners replaced its paddle-wheel engines with turbine-driven propellers. The yacht, in care of the Egyptian Navy, occasionally goes to sea for a day or two. In 2015, it was used to inaugurate the new Suez Canal.

8. ‘Prince Abdulaziz’ (482 feet, 3 inches), Helsingør Værft

IBIZA, BALEARIC ISLANDS, SPAIN - OCTOBER 26, 2016: Prince Abdulaziz, one of the largest motor yachts in the world, moored in harbor on October 26, 2016 in Ibiza, Balearic islands, Spain.; Shutterstock ID 516017752; Notes: top 20 largest yachts in the world

Helsingør Værft’s  Prince Abdulaziz  Photo: Shutterstock / Artesia Wells

This custom yacht, launched by Helsingør Værft in Denmark in 1984, was most recently refitted in 2005. The 5,200-tonne  Prince Abdulaziz  is one of the Saudi Royal family’s yachts, its first owner being King Fahd. Designed by Maierform, the yacht was the longest and tallest in the world at the time of its launch. At 482.3-feet,  Prince Abdulaziz  held the title for 22 years until  Dubai  launched in 2006. The late David Nightingale Hicks, known for his use of bright colors, was the interior designer. The lobby is said to be a replica of the  Titanic . Last refitted in 2005, it is rumored to be carrying surface-to-air missiles, though that may be an urban legend.

7. ‘A+’ (483 feet, 1 inch), Lürssen

Lürssen Topaz largest yachts in the world

Lürssen’s  A+  Photo: Klaus Jordan

Very little is known about  A+  (formerly  Topaz) , which was launched by Lürssen in 2012, other than it is the fourth-largest yacht ever built by the German shipyard. Tim Heywood Designs did the exterior, which features helipads on the foredeck and amidships on an upper deck. A lower aft deck includes a swimming pool. The German yard has not released any images of the Terence Disdale interior. Reported to be owned by Manchester City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahnan – Emirati royalty and deputy prime minister of the UAE –  A+  has a top speed of 22 knots, and can carry 62 guests and up to 79 crew.

6. ‘Al Saïd’ (508 feet, 5 inches), Lürssen

Al Saïd Lürssen

Lürssen’s  Al Saïd  Courtesy of Shutterstock

Another 500-plus-foot yacht from Lürssen, the original Project Sunflower gained its official name of  Al Saïd  following its launch in 2016. Espen Øino’s exterior is akin to a classic cruise liner, complete with the twin exhaust stacks in the center of the superstructure. Owned by the Sultan of Oman, six-decked  Al Saïd  can carry 154 crew and, according to some sources, 70 guests. Lürssen says  Al Saïd  has a top speed of 22 knots. The London-based Redman Whiteley Dixon studio designed the interior, which includes a concert hall that can hold a 50-piece orchestra.

5. ‘Dilbar’ (511 feet, 8 inches), Lürssen

Espen Øino Dilbar yacht

Lürssen’s  Dilbar  Photo: Josep Baresic

The 2016 launch of  Dilbar  gave Lürssen the distinction of not only building the longest yacht ever ( Azzam ), but also the largest in terms of volume. Espen Øino designed the exterior, creating a full-bodied superstructure of long, flowing decks, along with two helicopter pads.  Dilbar  also has an 82-foot swimming pool that can hold an incredible 6357-cubic-feet of water, and according to Lürssen, is the world’s longest on a yacht. The interior by Winch Design is defined by its “rare and exclusive luxury materials,” says the builder, declining to go into detail. Lürssen added that the world’s largest motor yacht was one of the most complex and challenging yachts ever built, because of its dimensions and technology. Despite  Dilbar ’s volume, the designers did a masterful job making the yacht look relatively svelte, with no obvious bulges along the length of the light ivory and bronze-accented hull. In June 2020, Dilbar returned to Lürssen for a significant refit, the details of which are yet to be revealed.

4. ‘Dubai’ (531 feet, 5 inches), Platinum Yachts

DUBAI UAE - DEC 16: Dubai - yacht of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. December 16 2014 in Dubai UAE

Sheikh Al Maktoum’s yacht,  Dubai  Bigstock

This Andrew Winch design was originally commissioned for Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei as a joint project between Blohm+Voss and Lürssen, before it was halted in 1998 with just a bare hull and skeletal superstructure. The hull was sold to the government of Dubai, and, under the direction of the country’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, work on the 531.5-footer began again, though this time by Platinum Yachts.  Dubai  delivered in 2006 and is now the sheikh’s royal yacht, with accommodations for 24 guests and quarters for 88 crew. The seven-decked yacht has an impressive 70-foot-wide atrium, landing pad for a Black Hawk helicopter, submarine garage, disco, and cinema. Full certification was obtained from Lloyd’s Register in October 2006, and it can reach a top speed of 26 knots.

3. ‘Eclipse’ (533 feet, 1 inch), Blohm+Voss

Private white luxury Superyacht Eclipse anchored off the beach. Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain. Summer, 05.07.2011; Shutterstock ID 1059530906; Notes: top 20 largest yachts in the world

Blohm+Voss’s  Eclipse  Photo: Shutterstock / R_Pilguj

Stately  Eclipse , the 533.1-foot yacht delivered to billionaire Roman Abramovich, took five years to design and build. When it left the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 2010, it was the world’s largest yacht. The interior has 17 staterooms and a palatial master suite, with the capacity to carry 85 crew. Both the interior and exterior are designed by Terence Disdale. A proportional profile is defined by tiered decks that sweep upward and bend ever so slightly at the aft ends.  Eclipse  has a 185-foot-long owner’s deck and, at the time of its launch, the largest swimming pool on any superyacht (the bottom raises and converts to a dance floor). Other features reflecting its stature: the capacity to hold three helicopters, including one in its belowdecks hangar, a sophisticated stabilization system, six tenders, and an enormous spa, gym, and beach club. Hybrid diesel-electric engines are connected to Azipod drives that give  Eclipse  a top-end speed of 21 knots, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles.

2. ‘Fulk Al Salamah’ (538 feet, 1 inch), Mariotti Yachts

"Fulk Al Salamah," Mariotti Yachts

Mariotti Yachts’  Fulk Al Salamah  Screengrab

Little information has ever been released about the world’s second-longest superyacht, custom-built  Fulk Al Salamah , and it has been shrouded in mystery since first announced in 2014. Even the overall length of 538.1 feet has been estimated from AIS data. However, built and delivered by Italian builder Mariotti Yachts in their Genoa shipyard in 2016, the imposing vessel is believed to be owned by the Omani royal family. Exterior design is by Studio de Jorio, and it is considered by some to resemble more of a support vessel than a superyacht. Nonetheless, aerial photography shows an impressively large helideck, raked masts and a bathing platform.

1: ‘Azzam’ (592 feet, 6 inches), Lürssen

Lürssen Azzam

Lürssen’s  Azzam  Screengrab

It’s not surprising that the world’s longest yacht hails from a shipyard with 13 out of the 25 top builds in the superyacht arena. Unfortunately,  Lürssen  could never really boast about  Azzam  after its launch in 2013 because of the owner’s penchant for privacy. Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi directed a team of designers and engineers who started with the bare concept, worked through the technical challenges of what might be the most complex superyacht ever, and finished with an unusually large vessel that can top the 30-knot mark. Nauta Yacht’s exterior features a long, sleek forward area, with well-proportioned tiers moving up to the skydeck. Lürssen describes the interior by Christophe Leoni as “sophisticated, with luxurious decor inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century.” Its gas turbines, connected to water jets, push  Azzam  to more than 30 knots, giving it the ability to operate at high speed in shallow waters. She also boasts an impressive build time for a yacht of her size, with construction taking only three years after one year of engineering.  Azzam  was last refit in 2020 at MB92 in Barcelona.

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Andrei Dragos


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The top 25 largest yachts in the world

Every year, shipyards from around the world push the boundaries of superyacht design to deliver bigger and better yachts. The Samuda-built El Mahrousa may have carried the title unchallenged for a remarkable 119 years, but in the 21st century, she has descended down the pecking order to make room for even larger and longer yachts. German shipyard Lürssen currently holds a near monopoly in the construction of supersized superyachts, having delivered 13 of the world’s top 25. But the list is ever-changing with the 158 metre Blue breaking into the top five in 2022. These yachts, all measuring over 100 metres, are impressive not only for their hull length but for what they carry above and below deck. From submarines and helicopters to swimming pools , cinemas and science labs, the onboard features of these superyachts show them to be truly ground-breaking pieces of engineering. Read on to discover our official list of the largest, privately owned yachts in the world.

1. Azzam | 180.6m

In October 2013, Lürssen delivered the largest privately owned superyacht in the world in the form Azzam . Originally, she was designed to be 145 metres, but in the process of optimisation grew to 180 metres. Other stunning facts about Azzam’s impressive design include her staggering 13,000 GT and accommodation for 36 guests and as many as 80 crew members. The behemoth was reportedly built for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, for use as a dayboat to reach his favourite diving grounds. The main saloon alone encompasses nearly 522m² and has a relaxed French Empire style and mother of pearl finishes, designed by Christophe Leoni . On board features include a gym, pool and a special ‘golf training room’.

Exteriors have been penned by Nauta Yacht Design , and the technical engineering was directed by Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi for the owner. The yacht has an impressive speed for her size owing to her innovative water-jet propulsion system (two fixed jets, two directional), which catapults her along at a staggering 31.5-plus knots. At 17.5 metres longer than Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse , this boat takes the prestigious title of the world’s largest yacht. The all-white superyacht has held her title unchallenged for nearly seven years, but this reign will come to an end with the expected delivery of 183 metre REV .

  • Builder: Lurssen
  • Country of build: Germany
  • Delivery year: 2013
  • Length Overall: 180.61 m
  • Gross Tonnage 13136 t

More about this yacht

More stories, 2. eclipse | 162.5m.

After five years of intensive design, development and construction, Eclipse left the Blohm + Voss yard in December 2010. She carried the title of world’s largest superyacht for just three years before being usurped by Azzam . Managed by Blue Ocean Yacht Management, Eclipse features a diesel-electric propulsion system with generators powering rotating Azipod drives, dramatic exterior styling and a stunning interior design by London-based Terence Disdale Design , which has been responsible for all aspects of aesthetic design and layout, including the superstructure design, deck layouts, interior design and construction supervision. Eclipse was voted Motor Yacht of the Year at the World Superyacht Awards in 2011 and Motor Yacht of the Decade at the 10th World Superyacht Awards in 2015.

Her accommodation includes an owner’s deck of 56 metres in length and facilities for up to 92 crew. Her interior boasts hundreds of custom finishes exclusively developed especially for this project, while her deck areas include a 16 metre swimming pool which can be transformed into a dance floor. The yacht can also accommodate three helicopters, one on each of the two helipads and the third in a storage hangar below the fore deck.

  • Builder: Blohm & Voss
  • Delivery year: 2010
  • Length Overall: 162.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 13564 t

3. Dubai | 162m

Dubai was originally commissioned by Prince Jefri of Brunei with exterior styling and interior design by Andrew Winch . The Blohm & Voss project was suspended in 1998 with just the bare hull and partially complete superstructure. It was eventually sold to the Dubai government, and responsibility passed to Kostis Antonopoulos of Platinum Yachts , which prepared a new in-house interior design completed in 2006.

The aptly named Dubai is the royal yacht of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai. The accommodation, styled by Nakheel Interiors , is designed for 24 guests and comprises an owner’s suite, five VIP suites and six guest suites, all with open balconies. Special features include a 21.3m-wide atrium, a swimming pool, barbecue area, cinema, disco, a landing platform for a Blackhawk helicopter, a gymnasium, and a garage for the yacht’s submarine and a vast array of water toys. Full certification was obtained from Lloyds Register of Shipping in October 2006 and she has since made several voyages. She can reach a maximum speed of 25 knots.

  • Builder: Platinum
  • Country of build: United Arab Emirates
  • Delivery year: 2006
  • Length Overall: 162 m
  • Gross Tonnage 12488 t

4. Blue | 158m

Taking her place at number four in the list of the world’s longest yachts, Lürssen’s Blue is so voluminous that she beats all the longer boats in terms of gross tonnage. Built for a Middle Eastern owner, she is exceeded for internal space only by those behemoths Dilbar (15,917GT) and Al Said (15,850GT). Terence Disdale has penned classic exterior lines with a sharply raked bow and gentle curves to the deep overhangs of the decks. The main helipad is positioned on the bow, with a smaller one aft. Other exterior features include a pool under cover on the main deck aft, a bathing platform at the stern and twin balconies flanking the owner’s cabin forward. Blue ’s interior is designed to be timeless and rich in “feminine elegance”, a deliberate contrast to the exterior. 

Blue is equipped with a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system that was developed in-house. An electric Azimuth pod drive can manoeuvre the boat alone or in conjunction with the twin propeller shafts. To reduce noise, vibration and NOx levels, Blue has a state-of-the-art exhaust treatment system. The boat is also equipped with new membrane technology that means her treated waste water achieves drinking water quality.

  • Delivery year: 2022
  • Length Overall: 160.6 m
  • Beam: 22.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 14785 t

5. Dilbar | 156m

With a total interior volume of over 15,000 GT, Dilbar is the largest yacht in the world by gross tonnage, if not by length. She was built in steel and aluminium by Lürssen to a design by Espen Øino . In 2016, she was delivered in the Mediterranean for her owner, the Uzbekistani billionaire Alisher Usmanov. She replaced Usmanov’s previous yacht of the same name, which has since been renamed Ona . She is usually spotted cruising around the South of France, northern Spain and sometimes Cyprus.

Record-breaking features on board this SOLAS-class superyacht include her 180 cubic metre swimming pool and her 30,000KW electric diesel power plant. Her interiors, styled by Winch Design, can accommodate up to 24 guests served by nearly 100 crew members. She also has two helipads, 3,800 square metres of living space amd an expansive garden complete with a specially developed variety of grass that tolerates salt air, according to its creator Axel Massmann. Dilbar has a single colour for her exterior, a buttery cream shade, that makes her instantly recognisable at sea and can reach a top speed of 21 knots.

  • Delivery year: 2016
  • Length Overall: 156 m
  • Beam: 23.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 15917 t

6. Al Said | 155m

This Lloyd’s-classed vessel, known as Project Sunflower during construction, was delivered by Lürssen’s Vegesack yard to her owner, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman, in March 2008. Measuring an impressive 155 metres, Al Said is the principle vessel of the Oman Royal Yacht Squadron. Designed by Espen Øino with the looks of a classic cruise liner, she sails under the Omani flag and her home port is Muttrah Harbour in Muscat. 

This Germanischer Lloyd-classed, 15,850GT yacht can reach a top speed of 25 knots and is reported to have a crew capacity of 150. Her panelled interiors, designed in a traditional style by Jonathan Quinn Barnett , offers huge entertaining spaces and accommodation for 65 guests. Her pièce de résistance is the on-board concert hall that can accommodate a 50-strong orchestra, but across her six decks she also has a helipad and a cinema.

  • Delivery year: 2008
  • Length Overall: 155 m
  • Gross Tonnage 15850 t

7. El Mahrousa | 150.6m

El Mahrousa was first delivered by the Samuda Brothers shipyard in 1865. She held on to the title of longest yacht in the world for over a century before finally being usurped by the delivery of Prince Abdulaziz in the 1980s. She was originally built for the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Khedive Ismail, receive visiting dignitaries. and was present at the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal in 1869, when she was used to receive visiting dignitaries. She was lengthened by 12.1 metres in 1872, when her paddle wheels were removed, and by a further 5.2 metres in 1905. Her last major rebuild was in 1950.

Significant moments in her lifetime include her participation in 1976 as the Egyptian representative at the Bicentennial Fleet Review in New York harbour. She slipped into disrepair after this while being used as a museum ship. In 1992, a major effort was put into making her seaworthy enough to travel to Italy for the Christopher Columbus Fleet Review. She now serves as the Egyptian Presidential Yacht but is seldom seen in public. She is usually berthed in Alexandria, where she is cared for by the Egyptian Navy, which lists her as a training ship. Powered by three Parsons steam turbines, she can achieve a top speed of 16 knots.

  • Builder: Samuda
  • Country of build: United Kingdom
  • Delivery year: 1865
  • Length Overall: 150.57 m
  • Beam: 12.98 m
  • Gross Tonnage 4560 t

8. A+ | 147.3m

Formerly known as Topaz , the Tim Heywood -designed A+ was launched by Lürssen in 2012 and uniquely features Heywood’s signature illuminated on her superstructure. Although she flies a Cayman flag, her owner is a member of the UAE elite – reportedly Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who also owns the UK’s Manchester City football club.

Having previously been chartered twice by Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, the 147.25 metre superyacht features a helicopter landing pad located at the bow and her interiors have been designed by Terence Disdale – but not much else is known about this superyacht, as many of her details are still shrouded in secrecy.

  • Delivery year: 2012
  • Length Overall: 147.25 m
  • Beam: 21.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 12532 t

9. Prince Abdulaziz | 147m

The 5,200-tonne Prince Abdulaziz was delivered by Danish shipyard Helsingor Vaerft in 1984 to her first owner, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Since then, she has continued to serve the Saudi royal family and is berthed beside the king’s palace in Jeddah. She has been refitted three times; in 1987, 1996 and in 2005.

Prince Abdulaziz was built at a reported cost of $184m to a design by Maierform . Her interior, designed by the late David Hicks , blends ancient and modern. One notable feature is the large lobby, said to be designed to mimic that of the Titanic . She includes a hospital, a mosque and a cinema, and there are also rumours of surface-to-air missiles and an underwater surveillance system on board. The mega yacht can accommodate as many as 64 guests and is manned by a crew of 65.

  • Builder: Helsingor Vaerft
  • Country of build: Denmark
  • Delivery year: 1984
  • Length Overall: 147.01 m
  • Beam: 18.3 m
  • Gross Tonnage 8233 t

10. Opera | 146.4m

Reportedly built for a senior Emirati royal, Opera 's size and gross tonnage catapult her directly into the ranks of the world's 10 biggest private yachts. The 146.4-metre yacht certainly has some of the hallmarks of a Middle Eastern boat, with deep overhangs between decks and lots of enclosed deck space hinting at use in an aggressive climate. Pictures taken during a maiden voyage from Bremen to Portsmouth last summer showed lots of floor-to-ceiling glass across six guest decks, as well as two helicopter landing spots and a beach club whose twin staircases must climb two decks to reach a 10-metre, stone-lined pool aft of the main deck. The pool rises to form a dance floor.

Lürssen has kept the project shrouded in secrecy, but designer Terence Disdale confirmed that interior facilities include a cinema and an extensive spa and wellness centre, plus other features that are being kept under wraps. He also mentioned an upper lounge with a 110-inch television and bay windows.

  • Delivery year: 2023
  • Length Overall: 146.35 m
  • Gross Tonnage 12518 t

11. OK | 146m

This unusual vessel spent decades plying the seas as a float-on yacht carrier for DYT Yacht Transport with the unglamorous moniker Super Servant 3 – and it is this carrying ability that caught the owner’s eye.

40 years after its original launch by Japan’s Oshima Shipbuilding , the yacht emerged from a root-and-branch refit at Karmarine in Turkey. The exterior has been smartened up, with a new matt-black paint job, gold-tinted glazing, teak decking at the bow, stern and sides and an expanse of artificial grass on the submersible aft deck – an idea of the owner’s, to enliven the guest cabins’ view. There are reports that this space doubles as a tennis court and, at 32 metres by 100 metres, there would certainly be the room for it.

With a strengthened hull, the boat’s original role as a yacht carrier has been enhanced. Pumping ballast into tanks under the aft deck allows the platform to lower so that the owner’s 46-metre ketch can be floated aboard and secured. There’s also a 40-tonne crane for positioning other toys – reportedly up to 70 of them, from launches and cars to a seaplane.

Under the direction of Bozca Design , Karmarine has stripped out and rebuilt the accommodation area at the front of the yacht. There are cabins for up to 20 guests, a glazed sundeck spa pool, a "botanical" garden and an outdoor cinema. The lift between decks runs through a glass tower outside the superstructure. 

  • Builder: Oshima Shipbuilding
  • Country of build: Japan
  • Delivery year: 1982
  • Length Overall: 146 m
  • Beam: 32.01 m
  • Gross Tonnage 11296 t

12. Sailing Yacht A | 142.8m

This Philippe Starck -designed vessel is the second superyacht commissioned by Russian businessman Andrey Melnichenko, after his first Motor Yacht A . She was built in Germany by the Nobiskrug yard and delivered in February 2017.

A sail-assisted yacht like no other, Sailing Yacht A comprises eight decks, and her rotating curved carbon fibre masts tower to 100 metres. She is made to set 3,747 square metres of sail and is manned by crew of 54. She sports an underwater viewing pod (moulded into the keel) and balconies enclosed by the largest pieces of curved glass ever. There are 24 shell doors in her hull, and she has a diesel-electric power plant controlled by computer. Records claimed by the Starck superyacht include the world's tallest carbon masts, with the tallest standing at 100 metres above sea level.

  • Builder: Nobiskrug
  • Delivery year: 2017
  • Length Overall: 142.81 m
  • Beam: 24.88 m
  • Gross Tonnage 12700 t

13. Nord | 142m

Nord started life as Project Redwood, then Opus. Everyone involved in her design and build has remained tight-lipped about the details, but build manager Rob Moran shared some exclusive insight with BOAT International .

First up, she has an Ice Class hull for real exploration. Her aluminium superstructure runs to four decks, contained within the dramatic sweep of a black-painted arch – a key part of the vision of designers Nuvolari Lenard . Not one but two helipads are in evidence, while a vast beach club and tender garage gives  "space to store a plethora of toys including 16 tenders, a submarine and an ROV", according to Moran. The largest tender reportedly measures 15 metres, and there is a watersports and dive centre on the lower deck. Nord has a generous touch-and-go helipad at its heavily flared aircraft carrier bow, but there is also a much bigger space aft up on the bridge deck that offers landing, parking and bunkering for the owner’s helicopter, as well as an entire hangar for protection during longer passages. 

Also visible to onlookers was the exceptional 25-metre-long swimming pool on the main deck aft, plus a spa pool on the upper deck. Her interior is reported to include a gym, spa, sauna and a whole deck devoted to the owner.

  • Delivery year: 2021
  • Length Overall: 141.6 m
  • Beam: 19.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 10154 t

14. Yas | 141m

Delivered in 1978 by De Schelde as a navy frigate, Yas was rebuilt in 2013 by Abu Dhabi MAR. Previously known under the project name Swift 141, she was completely modified with new machinery and electronic systems and outfitted with a luxurious interior. It has been suggested that her owner is a member of the Emirati royal family.

She has been designed inside and out by Pierrejean Design Studio of Paris . The unique superstructure of Yas is built in advanced composites and glass and was supposedly inspired by the profile shape of a dolphin. She is reportedly able to accommodate 60 guests and 56 crew, and on-board features include a heli-pad and al fresco dining spaces aft, and a Jacuzzi on her top deck. Her beach club Jacuzzi is complemented by a waterfall feature and a spiral staircase connects her the multiple decks. Powered by twin MTU diesels, Yas has a top speed of 26 knots.

  • Builder: De Schelde
  • Country of build: Netherlands
  • Length Overall: 141 m
  • Beam: 14.6 m
  • Gross Tonnage 5002 t

15. Ocean Victory | 140m

Ocean Victory was completed at Fincantieri’s Muggiano yard in Italy after launching in April 2014. This seven-deck yacht is based on a design by Espen Øino and her interior is by Alberto Pinto and Laura Sessa . She has internal seawater dockage for a 14-metre tender and six pools of up to 8 metres in length. There’s a certified helideck and a hangar to store the aircraft, while inside Ocean Victory boasts an underwater observation room and more than 300 square metres of spa facilities. She is SOLAS-classed and is the largest yacht ever built in Italy. 

In 2016, the superyacht world was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of one of Ocean Victory’ s crew members, who suffered critical leg injuries while setting the anchor off the coast of Mu Ko Similan National Park in Thailand. Little else is known about this top-secret yacht, which is kept much under wraps and away from prying eyes.

  • Builder: Fincantieri
  • Country of build: Italy
  • Delivery year: 2014
  • Length Overall: 140 m
  • Gross Tonnage 8506 t

16. Scheherazade | 140m

Another titan by Lürssen , Scheherazade carries the same name as the enigmatic story-teller of the Middle Eastern epic One Thousand and One nights . She hit the water in July 2019 and offers phenomenal volumes at 10,167 GT. Her Espen Øino exterior features a four-deck aluminium superstructure with elegant tapering roofs and an eclectic range of coloured LED exterior lighting. She also has two large helipads – one at the bow and one on the upper deck – plus a prominent beach club aft. 

There is very little information regarding her interior by François Zuretti , but if the work of the French design house on 106-metre Amadea is anything to go by, it is imperious and sophisticated. With the owner known to be a Middle Eastern billionaire, this yacht is designed with warmer climates in mind. Temperatures in excess of 45 degrees Celsius are quite normal in the region during the summer months, so Scheherazade has relatively little exterior space for a yacht of this size. There is limited covered deck space at the aft end of the main and upper decks, but it is well enclosed by glass sides for cooling. Even the sundeck is completely shaded by a hardtop, which all helps to give her an astonishing internal volume.

  • Delivery year: 2020
  • Beam: 23.3 m
  • Gross Tonnage 10167 t

17. Solaris | 140M

The 140-metre expedition yacht Solaris was launched in the city of Bremerhaven in February 2021 as the flagship model of German shipyard Lloyd Werft . She is the debut project of Australian designer Marc Newson , who has given her a dramatic grey and white superstructure which features a unique fashion plate which wraps around the mast and connects both sides of the hull. Spanning eight decks in total, Solaris has been constructed in aluminium and steel and offers a 26-metre beam. Little information has been shared about her interiors, but her exterior is equipped with a large helipad, a sun deck and a spacious beach club aft.

Turning to the technical elements, Solaris is reportedly outfitted with a power and energy management system from ABB and features two Azipods powered by nine megawatts – the most powerful propulsion system of its kind to ever be installed on a yacht. She runs on a total of eight MTU diesel engines, providing 19,040hp. Little else is known about the superyacht, on which construction first began in 2018.

  • Builder: Lloyd Werft
  • Length Overall: 139.7 m
  • Gross Tonnage 11247 t

18. Al Salamah | 139.3m

Built by the consortium of Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) in Kiel and the Lürssen shipyard in Germany, Al Salamah is often referred to as "Mipos", the code name used during the construction of this most secret of yachts. Mipos was short for "Mission Possible" – a statement proved correct by her delivery in 1999.

She has a length of 139.3 metres, a massive beam of 23.5 metres, and is reported to have a top speed of 21.5 knots. Both the interior design and the exterior styling are by the London-based Terence Disdale Design . Al Salamah was owned by the late Sultan bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia, who also owned 147 metre Prince Abdulaziz . She was refitted by Lürssen in 2007 and is rumoured to carry a hospital room with an underwater treadmill for physical therapy on board.

  • Delivery year: 1999
  • Length Overall: 139.29 m
  • Gross Tonnage 12234 t

19. Luminance | 138.8m

Espen Øino is repsonsible for this giant yacht's crisp exterior lines. Despite a traditional raked bow, she looks bang up to date with a gleaming hull and superstructure that counterpoise dark blue and silver to create a masculine look. Øino has played with the profile of the overhangs to give the illusion of reverse sheer amidships. The effect is especially striking when viewing the yacht from beam-on. Her twin helicopter pads – one on the foredeck and another high up aft – will make her capable of ambitious explorer programmes. She also boasts a large beach club and an infinity pool, with a private spa pool area on the foredeck of what may be an owner's deck.

Luminance was expected in 2023, but delivery has fallen back a fraction. It is a mammoth project, whose true length has only just been confirmed at 138.8 metres. Her Ukranian owner, mining and financial services mogul Rinat Akhmetov, told The New York Times last year that he was mulling the boat's sale following Russia's invasion of his homeland, but it's not known whether he followed through.

  • Delivery year: 2024
  • Length Overall: 138.8 m
  • Gross Tonnage 8999 t

20. Rising Sun | 138m

Rising Sun was built for Larry Ellison, co-founder and CEO of Oracle. She's the last yacht that ever came from designer Jon Bannenberg’s drawing board, with interiors styled by   Laura Seccombe . Rising Sun ’s naval architecture experimented with an extensive use of structural glass for a clean and stripped-down profile.

In 2006, Ellison sold half ownership to media mogul David Geffen, who bought the remaining half in 2010. Rising Sun is reported to have cost more than $290,000,000 and was extended by 18 metres in-build to ensure she was larger than the 126.2-metre Octopus , belonging to Microsoft’s co-founder, Paul Allen. Her 8,000 square metres of living space can accommodate 45 crew members, and includes a wine cellar and basketball court, plus accommodation for 16. One of her tenders, a catamaran, carries the yacht’s 4x4 vehicle ashore.

  • Delivery year: 2004
  • Length Overall: 138.01 m
  • Gross Tonnage 7600 t

21. Flying Fox | 136m

Formerly Project Shu, PYC-compliant Flying Fox was built by Lürssen for a serial charter yacht owner and completed her sea trials off the coast of Germany in May 2019. The 136-metre, six-deck yacht towers 32 metres above the waterline – as tall as three London buses balanced end on end. Her elegant, well-balanced profile by Espen Øino conceals an extraordinarily voluminous interior by Mark Berryman , including a double-height atrium that forms the main deck lobby. There are 11 cabins for 36 guests, all with private sea-view terraces, and expansive outdoor living spaces, such as a 12-metre swimming pool transversing the main deck aft, swim platforms and two helipads. The 400-square-metre spa is the stand-out feature. It has heated limestone floors, a Hammam, massage and beauty treatment rooms and the first cryosauna ever installed on a yacht, with a main chamber that reaches a chilly -110C. There’s also an on-board hospital.

One of the most expensive superyachts in the world available for charter , Flying Fox is crewed by an experienced team of 54. She boasts a toybox stuffed with jet skis and other Seabobs, hoverboards, room for a submarine and and nine different tenders. Plus, she even has her own dive centre and kite surf store on board.

  • Delivery year: 2019
  • Length Overall: 136 m
  • Beam: 20.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 9100 t

Yachts for charter

22. savarona | 135.9m.

Built by Blohm + Voss for American bridge cable heiress Emily Roebling Cadwalader in 1931, Savarona was sold in 1938 to the Turkish government and became the presidential yacht of Kemal Atatürk. In 1989, Kahraman Sadikoglu obtained a 50-year lease and, with investors, spent $35,000,000 on the refit of this classic superyacht, including a library suite dedicated to the memory of Atatürk and furnished with his personal artefacts. In 2010, after an alleged scandal, the Turkish government cancelled the lease and resumed ownership. In 2014, she was refurbished and now serves as the state yacht of Turkey. 

Savarona was, for a time, offered on the market for superyacht charters around Istanbul, although she is no longer available to the public. Key features onboard this superyacht include a marble-finished Turkish hammam bath that spans the entire 16-metre beam, a swimming pool, a gold-trimmed grand staircase and a private cinema. She is named after a type of black swan found in the Indian Ocean region.

  • Delivery year: 1931
  • Length Overall: 135.94 m
  • Beam: 16.12 m
  • Gross Tonnage 4701 t

23. Crescent | 135.5m

Crescent , formerly Project Thunder, has what the yard called a "traditionally-styled" interior by Zuretti , exterior design by Espen Øino and naval architecture by Lürssen . Øino went to great lengths to maximise what he calls the "vision lines" from the interior and the decks – especially from the centreline, which on such a beamy boat is a long way from the sides – by having full height windows and keeping the bulwarks as low as possible.

She has a steel hull and aluminium superstructure and was built to DNV GL standards. Her striking black hull is matched with a silver superstructure that has distinctive wing stations amidships. Just forward of the wing stations are three-deck windows, providing spectacular views for her 18-strong guest list.

  • Delivery year: 2018
  • Length Overall: 135.5 m
  • Gross Tonnage 9194 t

24. Serene | 133.9m

Built for a Russian owner, Serene was the first superyacht delivered by Italian yard Fincantieri . She can accommodate up to 24 guests and 52 crew, and boasts 4,500 square metres of interior space designed by Reymond Langton .

Serene has seven decks, two helipads and a hangar, carries a custom submarine certified to 100m depth and has underwater viewing ports in her Nemo room. A "snow room" can make up to four inches of snow, while the impressive spiral staircase rises through six decks and is lit by a large skylight. Serene won Best Motor Yacht of 3,000GT and Above at the 2012 World Superyacht Awards. Powered by a diesel engine, Serene can reach a top speed of 20 knots and has a maximum cruising range of 6000 nautical miles.

  • Delivery year: 2011
  • Length Overall: 133.9 m
  • Beam: 18.6 m
  • Gross Tonnage 8231 t

25. Al Mirqab | 133m

Al Mirqab was built by Peterswerft - Kusch for Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani – the former prime minister of Qatar. Her exterior design is by Tim Heywood and her interiors were styled by Winch Design . She is propelled by five generators that power two electric motors driving conventional shafts and a centrally positioned azimuthing electric pod drive. A grand staircase floats through four floors and surrounds suspended glass artwork by Dale Chihuly. 

Al Mirqab won Motor Yacht of the Year at the World Superyacht Awards 2009 and Best Interior Design among motor yachts. She can accommodate 60 guests and is manned by an equal number of crew.

  • Builder: Peterswerft - Kusch
  • Length Overall: 133 m
  • Gross Tonnage 5000 t

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Has the World Finally Had a Glimpse of Jeff Bezos’s $500 Million Mega-Yacht?

By Shivani Vora

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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is appears to be getting closer to welcoming the superyacht he reportedly commissioned in 2018: a fancy toy fitting for the world’s second-richest person, given that it costs a reported $500 million and breaks one world record after another.

Called Y721, this vessel of all vessels is being custom designed by Dutch builder Oceanco and was spotted at a shipyard last week in Zwijndrecht, a town in the western Netherlands. It’s reportedly heading to another Netherlands town, Alblasserdam, for a final fitting. With a length of 417 feet, Y721 is the biggest sailing yacht in the world and the longest vessel to be built in the Netherlands. Features include a black hull, classic shape, three large decks, and three masts.

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Boat Yacht Vessel and Watercraft

Superyacht Bravo Eugenia , belonging to the U.S. billionaire Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, was built by Oceanco, which is also rumored to be behind Bezos’s new massive vessel.

Y721 is going to totally change the world of yachting with its design and innovation, says Fernando Nicholson, a luxury yacht sales broker with the yachting company Camper & Nicholsons. “It’s a boat with the latest technology and bells and whistles that have never been seen,” he says. “This will be the standard for all superyachts to follow, but in years to come, when its features become more affordable. Right now, only someone with Bezos’s wealth can swing the cost.”

The superyacht is said to be modeled after Oceanco’s famous yacht, the Black Pearl , which the company site says , “is one of the largest and most ecological sailing yachts in the world. She can cross the Atlantic without burning even a liter of fossil fuel.” Y721 will go through sea trails following its fitting-out in Alblasserdam and is expected to be ready sometime next year.

Image may contain Transportation Vehicle Boat and Yacht

The Flying Fox , allegedly owned by Bezos.

However, it’s only one of two new boats for Bezos: He has also commissioned a shadow vessel called YS 7512 from builder Damen Yachts. This support ship measures 246 feet in length and accommodates 45 additional crew and guests. It will also feature a helipad and meeting space and have a vast amount of storage for Bezos’s endless number of water toys, with diving and snorkeling gear, jet and water skis, waterslides, and surfboards among the bunch. Shadow vessels are a growing phenomenon in the superyacht industry and one more extra toy that their owners want to have at the ready, says Nicholson. “You see them more and more now as an add-on to a superyacht purchase,” he says. “They’ve almost become a must.”

There’s no doubt that Bezos will be sailing the high seas in full panache and style come 2022. But really, is there any other way when you have more money than almost anyone else in the world and attract an endless amount of attention too?

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Jeff Bezos Yacht Koru, The Largest Sailing Yacht

Jeff Bezos' World's Largest Sailing Yacht: Koru

Jeff Bezos Yacht Koru A Controversial Start and a Symbolic Name

Jeff Bezos, the billionaire behind Amazon, is set to become the owner of the world's largest sailing vessel, S/Y Koru. The yacht, which measures 417 feet long, is currently undergoing open-seas testing before being delivered to its owner. The vessel has had a controversial start to its life, with a petition to dismantle a historic bridge in Rotterdam causing anger among the Dutch people. However, the boat was eventually moved to a different shipyard, and now it is almost ready to sail. In this editorial, we will look at S/Y Koru's design, its controversial start, and what the future holds for this massive sailing yacht.

The Largest Sailing Vessel in the World

Once S/Y Koru is delivered to Jeff Bezos, it will become the largest sailing vessel in the world. The yacht's sheer size is impressive, but its sailing capabilities are just as noteworthy. S/Y Koru has a hybrid propulsion system, which allows it to sail using wind power or a diesel engine. Crafted from cutting-edge materials, the yacht's sails are built to endure various weather conditions while delivering peak performance.

S/Y Koru's massive size and advanced technology come with a hefty price tag. It's been reported that constructing the yacht amounted to roughly $500 million, positioning it as one of the priciest vessels in existence. However, for Jeff Bezos, this is a drop in the bucket. The billionaire has a net worth of over $100 billion, making him one of the richest people in the world.

Symbolism and Design

The Jeff Bezos' Yacht Koru, which is not just a massive sailing yacht, but also a symbol of perpetual movement and the cycle of life, has a name inspired by the Māori symbol of the same name. The koru symbolizes the spiral of an unfurling fern frond and embodies the concept of how life both changes and remains constant, according to the New Zealand government's definition. Representing perpetual motion, the Koru's circular form with its inward coil signifies a return to the starting point.

The yacht's design is just as impressive as its symbolism. S/Y Koru was built by Oceanco, a Dutch yacht builder known for its high-end luxury vessels. The yacht has a sleek, modern design, with clean lines and a metallic grey finish. It features three masts and can accommodate up to 36 guests and 56 crew members. The yacht's interior is just as impressive, with a spa, gym, and even a climbing wall.

The Koru is not just a yacht; it's a statement. Its sheer size, advanced technology, and sleek design make it a testament to human innovation and engineering. It's the largest sailing vessel in the world, and it's a marvel to behold.

A Controversial Start

S/Y Koru's development process was not without controversy. In 2017, Oceanco petitioned the Rotterdam government to dismantle the Koningshavenbrug bridge so that the yacht could be moved to open water. The bridge, known locally as De Hef, is a symbol of local resistance against the invading forces during World War II. It was heavily damaged by Nazi shelling but managed to survive, becoming a testament to the city's resilience.

The Rotterdam city council refused the petition, causing anger among the Dutch people. Nearly 3,000 people signed up for a protest that involved throwing eggs at the yacht as it passed through town. However, the boat was eventually moved to a different shipyard without its masts early in the morning, avoiding any further controversy.

Top reasons why the Koru is a unique and impressive vessel:

Symbolic Design: The circular shape of the Koru represents perpetual motion, with its inward coil symbolizing a return to the starting point.

Cutting-Edge Materials: The yacht's sails are made from high-tech materials, designed to endure various weather conditions while delivering peak performance.

Advanced Technology: The Koru has a hybrid propulsion system, which allows it to sail using wind power or a diesel engine.

Impressive Size: Once delivered to Jeff Bezos, the Koru will become the largest sailing vessel in the world.

Luxurious Interior: The yacht can accommodate up to 36 guests and 56 crew members, with a spa, gym, and even a climbing wall.

Controversial Start: The yacht's development process was not without controversy, with a petition to dismantle a historic bridge in Rotterdam causing anger among the Dutch people.

Statement Piece: The Koru is not just a yacht; it's a statement. Its sheer size, advanced technology, and sleek design make it a testament to human innovation and engineering.

Jeff Bezos Yacht Koru is an impressive vessel, both in its size and design. The yacht's symbolism and modern features make it a unique addition to the luxury sailing world. While it may have had a controversial start, S/Y Koru is now ready to sail the open seas and embark on new adventures. Only time will tell what Jeff Bezos has planned for this magnificent yacht, but one thing is for sure - it will undoubtedly turn heads and be the envy of seafarers worldwide. S/Y Koru's advanced technology, sleek design, and exceptional performance make it a stunning feat of engineering and a true masterpiece on the water.

As of May 29, 2023 - Updated data

Superyacht koru technical specifications.

KORU is a three-masted sailing yacht, 127 meters (417 ft) in length. The superyacht is reported to have cost around $500 million, making it one of the most expensive yachts in the world. It is also noteworthy for being the second-largest sailing yacht globally, after Andrey Melnichenko's Sailing Yacht A​.

The vessel's exterior design is the work of Dykstra Naval Architects, while the interior was crafted by Mlinaric, Henry, and Zervudachi Interior Design and Decoration. The yacht's tonnage is 3,300 GT, and it can accommodate 18 passengers, looked after by a crew of 40.

Deck Layout and Amenities

KORU stands out with its classic elegance, boasting a midnight blue hull, canoe stern, and three masts, a design reminiscent of early 20th-century schooners. The deck space is ample, offering various locations to take in the surroundings, including three jacuzzis and a swimming pool.

The interior of KORU exudes opulence and sophistication, with each detail meticulously crafted to provide the utmost comfort and luxury. Fine wood finishes, marble accents, and plush furnishings create an atmosphere of elegance and refinement. The living areas, dining rooms, and lounges are vast, offering generous spaces for entertainment and relaxation​.

KORU primarily harnesses the wind for propulsion, making it a more ecologically friendly option compared to other mega yachts. Its luxurious offerings include an on-deck pool, complemented by spacious lounging and sunbathing areas. Inside, the yacht features a lavish spa and wellness center, complete with a fully equipped gym, sauna, and massage rooms. The yacht also boasts a world-class gourmet kitchen manned by a team of highly skilled chefs, providing elevated dining experiences both indoors and al fresco, with panoramic views of the ocean​.

Superyacht KORU Shadow Vessel ABEONA

The yacht is accompanied by a support vessel named Abeona, a 246-foot motor yacht. This "shadow" vessel carries additional amenities and recreational vehicles, like ATVs, supercars, seaplanes, motorcycles, smaller boats, scuba gear, personal submarines, and even helicopters, to enhance the luxurious and adventurous experience at sea​.

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What’s the Largest Boat One Person Can Operate?

So you're looking for something big, but want to go at it alone. Sailing single-handed (also known as short-handed) is perfectly doable, although not always ideal. As every 28-year old, I want something over 30 feet - but is it actually practical?

So what’s the largest boat one person can operate? Most experienced sailors seem to stay under 35 feet - anything over 50 feet is uncommon. But there really is no upper limit. It depends on skill, experience, and courage. Generally, if you're a reasonably skilled sailor, you'll be capable of sailing these boats alone:

  • Without systems: under 28 ft or 8 m
  • With systems: under 46 ft or 14 m
  • Typically, experienced sailors stay under 35 ft
  • Anything over 50 ft or 15m is uncommon

If the manufacturer bothered to include a crew cabin, it's probably a good idea to have a crew.

Length is not really the issue with short-handed cruising. There is no limit, except for your experience and ability. The real questions are: what do you feel comfortable with; and what's the amount of sailcloth you can safely handle?

Another factor is stability - bigger boats tend to be more stable, and can be operated from the cockpit entirely (with the lines running aft and having remote controls). Besides docking, there really isn't an issue, and larger boats might be more easy to handle on your own than smaller boats having the wrong configuration.

Sailor's point of view heeling into the sunset

On this page:

How many hands do you need, why do you want to go big, how much sail can you handle, the downside of sailing a large boat alone, preparing for passages, 3 incredible sailboats you can sail solo, related questions.

Apart from the question of whether it's technically possible to sail a boat solo, let's also check whether it's comfortable. Because you're probably not buying a boat to prove anything to anyone (or are you?), but to have a great experience. The following boat lengths are comfortable to sail ...

  • single-handed: under 35 feet
  • double-handed: 35 - 50 feet
  • crew: 50 feet and up

So why is it more comfortable to sail anything over 35 feet double-handed?

Sailing is the easy part - everything else gets more difficult with added length. The biggest limiting factor is how you're planning to dock. Get this right and you've lost your biggest bottleneck. Some marinas offer assisted docking to facilitate single-handed sailing, which can be of great help.

How much does it cost to own a sailboat? Read our complete sailboat ownership cost guide for a complete overview of all the ownership costs and the purchase cost of a new & used sailboat.

Docking aside, it helps to have someone to handle the lines while you helm the boat.

Another important factor is troubleshooting any (technical) problems when you're on your own. There should be enough people on board to address any problems that come up. If you're not comfortable with possibly having to deal with change in weather, emergency reefing, technical issues, and so on, you should probably consider getting your significant other, or a friend along.

Check what the specific boat is built for. Purpose-built solo racers can be very large (120 ft) and are easy to maneuver single-handed (which isn't to say they're all of a sudden easy to dock - anything big just isn't).

If it isn't about length ...

... then what's it about? I think more important then length is:

  • boat layout
  • systems and remote control availability - check out the full list of systems below
  • home berth conditions - if these are good (upwind, assisted docking, protected water) docking will be way easier

Think in displacement instead of length

Another way to go at it is by thinking in displacement instead of length. The amount of crew you need for the amount of displacement:

  • 12 - 30 tonnes: one experienced boat hand or two inexperienced ones
  • 30 tonnes and up: an experienced crew

Also, consider why you'd want to go big. I would encourage you to really think this through. It's perfectly possible to sail anything over 50 feet solo, but there's a point at which I start to wonder why. This is around the 42' mark. It simply becomes more uncomfortable quickly. So if you don't have any good reason to get a bigger boat besides ego, don't do it - you will probably come to regret it.

On the other end, if you do have a solid reason for needing more length, then please, go for it. Consult yourself to get to the bottom of it. Some legit reasons, I believe, are:

  • You're planning to live on the boat
  • You're doing multi-day trips and need a place to sleep
  • You really like to polish endless amounts of hull surface

One sailor can typically manage about 300 - 400 sq ft. of sail. Anything up to and it becomes unmanageable quickly, especially if the weather turns. Following this rule, you can increase your hull length a bit if you choose a boat with more and smaller sails. So you can sail a somewhat larger yawl or ketch.

Things that become difficult on your own:

You can do lots on your own, especially if you have some automation systems in place. But there are some jobs you just can't do without a helping hand.

  • getting in and out of the slip
  • docking - catching dock lines
  • standing watch / sleeping

Systems you probably want to consider:

If you're going to sail something over 35' alone you should definitely consider the following systems:

  • autopilot for steering
  • lines running aft (running to cockpit)
  • electric windlass
  • roller furling
  • hydraulic bow/stern thrusters with remote

Skills you want to develop and get right:

  • Docking: dock, dock again, dock some more. Practice until you can effortlessly maneuver in tight spaces while allowing yourself the time to walk up and down the entire hull length
  • Get the steering configuration right
  • Get the right cockpit layout

A great example of how to successfully sail solo:

Don't underestimate the power of the wind and tide. The forces you need to deal with are extreme. The longer the boat, the larger the grasp of the wind on your sails becomes. Longer boats are heavier as well, which is why they gain more momentum once they're set in motion. Stopping a 50-footer is difficult - not being able to do so very risky. A larger hull means the tide can get a better hold of you.

Single-handed sailing means that you're solely responsible to manage all of these forces. Also, if something breaks, you're on your own. It can get quite stressful at times. If you don't mind this kind of challenge, and you're in good physical shape, there's no reason to stop dreaming at a certain hull length. Just be aware of what you're signing up for.

Another thing to consider is that larger boats take longer to prepare to make way. You can get a small 26-footer up and running in half an hour, but a 46-footer can just as easily take you up to a week. The time you'll need to spend on maintenance will also increase exponentially.

We all know that anything that takes that too much effort will happen less often. If you want to get out there a lot, get something that's quick to set up.

With any passage, I believe it's best to have at least one other capable sailor on board. This way you have your backup, just in case anything happens; and you greatly reduce any possible (serious) risks.

If you need to go solo because you don't have any (sailing) friends or companions, I highly encourage you to find another (solo) boat and stay within the vicinity and stay in touch throughout. Having some form of backup is in my mind important with these kinds of prolonged trips.

  • Phocea - 246 ft or 75 m
  • Trimaran Spindrift 2 (Banque Populaire V) - 130 ft or 40 m
  • Macif - 100 ft or 30 m

Phocea large four masted yacht on backdrop of mountains

What’s the largest yacht for couples?

With the two of you, the sky is the limit. If you're planning on both learning all sailing skills, that is. With two fully capable sailors on board, there isn't any reason to limit yourself, other than what you're capable of handling based on your experience.

However, if one of you is doing all the work, I would regard it as having one sailor and one pair of helping hands on board. I'd stay in the 35 - 50 ft range at most.

What size boat requires a captain's license?

In the US there isn't a required license based on length, though it's smart to get your license. It allows you to take along paying passengers, which is a great way to earn some extra money and get the extra hands you need on board.

The captain's license consists of a comprehensive exam, helping you to understand coastal navigation, deck knowledge, and rules and regulations. It's a good way to increase your theoretical knowledge, increasing safety on every vessel you set foot on.

A license will cost you between $500 - $800 and lasts for five years. Think you can earn it back by taking some folk along for the weekend?

Also, if you own a large boat (say 50 ft and up) your insurance company may require you to get a license or hire a licensed captain.

How much does it cost to hire a boat captain?

On average, a boat captain cost about $1,000 per year per foot. If you're just hiring for the week, the price is more in the $300 - $400 ballpark. On average, a week trip will cost you:

length a week a year
35 ft $2,500 $35,000
40 ft $2,500 $40,000
50 ft $2,500 $50,000
65 ft $3,000 $65,000
80 ft $3,000 $80,000
100 ft $3,000 $100,000

Fernando Affonso

Hi, congratulations for your post. It was very clarifying. Rgds

Shawn, Your post and information was extremely helpful Thanks very much! Regards, Casey Milton Ontario Canada

Yes, you can sail 75 meter long Phocea single handed. Sailing it is the easy part. But can you enter (moor or dock her) or leave harbour with her single handed? That is the question.

Sonal joshi

Dear sir we are staying far drom sea and in life once saw sea but me and my husband wanr to sail in sea please gyide us how to start and which boat is suitabke fir us for sailing and living in budget , we are from India

thanks 🙏 great info!💪

Excellent. Well thought out and clear, with good examples. Thank you!

I tried to read this article. But stopped after 100 words cause stuff kept popping up.

Shawn great job explaining BUT ads kill the reading popping up and change screen from top to bottom and bc versa. I am out Ben

Tamika Ligar

Hello admin, Your posts are always well-balanced and objective.

Leave a comment

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The Alternative to Huge Cruises? 3 Masts, 28 Sails and Wind Power.

We checked out the 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit on a Mediterranean cruise. In this era of gargantuan ships, its elegant clipper design, wooden decks and relatively small size stands out.

largest sailing yacht without crew

By Ceylan Yeğinsu

From the bridge of the three-masted windjammer, the Sea Cloud Spirit , the captain called out the words we’d all been waiting for.

“Let’s set the sails!” he cried, after turning off the engines, while maneuvering to maintain an optimum angle for his 18 deckhands to climb into the shrouds and unfurl the ship’s 44,132 square feet of sails by hand.

Like acrobats, the crew scurried up the masts to the upper topgallant sails that rose nearly 200 feet above us. The ship’s captain, Vukota Stojanovic, later insisted that none of it was for show. “Whenever there is an opportunity to sail, we sail,” he said.

largest sailing yacht without crew

For the next hour, the crew hauled the ropes until the 28 sails were billowing in the wind, propelling the 452-foot-long ship — the world’s largest passenger sailing vessel on which the sails are raised by hand — toward its first port of call, Portofino, Italy.

At a time when cruise lines are packing their ever-more-gargantuan ships with water parks and basketball courts, the 136-passenger Sea Cloud Spirit, with its old-fashioned clipper design and wooden decks, stands out. It is the newest ship from the Hamburg-based Sea Cloud Cruises , and while it is the company’s biggest, Sea Cloud said it wanted to leave space for passengers to connect to the surrounding elements.

“Wherever you are on the ship, it feels like you are sitting on the water,” said Amelia Dominick, 71, a retired real estate agent from Cologne, Germany, who was on her third cruise onboard the Sea Cloud Spirit.

I had arrived for a four-night “taster sailing” from Nice, France, to the Ligurian region of Italy, designed to entice passengers to sign up for a longer cruise. Here’s what I found.

The ship and cabins

The Spirit has many comforts and luxuries, including a fitness center, library, hair salon and a spa with a Finnish sauna that overlooks the sea. The deck layouts are spacious, with nooks carved out for privacy and relaxation.

Sixty-nine spacious cabins have windows that open onto the sea. My room, a junior suite on the third deck, had two large arched windows, mahogany tables, a balcony and a comfortable couch and armchair. The marble bathroom was lavish, with a gold-plated sink and large jetted bathtub.

The elegant interior design is inspired by the original Sea Cloud, built in 1931 for Marjorie Merriweather Post, the American heiress of the General Foods Corporation, with glossy wooden panels and gold trimmings. The Sea Cloud was the largest private sailing yacht in the world before Post handed it over to the U.S. Navy for use as a weather-reporting vessel during World War II. The four-mast, 64-passenger ship has since been restored to its former glory and will sail across the Aegean and Adriatic this summer.

largest sailing yacht without crew

The experience felt authentic — even before the sails were set — with a detailed safety drill. On most cruises, the drill entails a safety video and signing in at an assembly point. But here, passengers put on their life jackets and walked through emergency scenarios that included rationing food supplies and fishing from the lifeboat.

Each day, the sails were set, even during heavy rain and wind speeds over 30 knots. Guests wanting to participate in the rigging are usually invited to do so, but the weather conditions made it too risky for this sailing.

“It was amazing to watch the work go into putting the sails up and down and to experience the wind power pulling the ship so fast without the engines,” said Malte Rahnenfuehrer, a 50-year-old psychologist from Zurich, who was traveling with his partner and two children.

A man with dark hair wears navy blue and white clothing as the captain of a large windjammer sailing vessel. He stands on deck, a walkie-talkie-like device in his hand, beneath the ropes and riggings of the vessel's sails.

The captain

It is rare for cruise passengers to see the ship’s captain after the initial welcome drinks or gala dinner. But Capt. Vukota Stojanovic was omnipresent throughout the cruise, from setting sails to lifeguarding to mingling with guests.

Originally from Montenegro, Captain Stojanovic piloted container ships for years. When he was asked to consider helming the original Sea Cloud nearly 10 years ago, he hesitated because he had no experience sailing. Even after he learned the ropes — and there are 340 ropes (known as running rigging) on the vessel — he was unsure. “I grew to love the sailings, the boats, the crew the lifestyle, but I still felt I belonged on container ships,” he said. “It would be a big adjustment, especially because I would have to shave every day,” he joked.

Eventually, he accepted the opportunity and worked tirelessly to learn how to sail and operate the ship. Today, he keeps an “open bridge” policy, allowing passengers to visit the control room, even when he is wrestling with the wind.

“The crew and the passengers are all part of the experience, and I like to meet people and receive their feedback,” Captain Stojanovic said.


Sea Cloud Cruises aspires to take a “gentle” approach, using wind power to drive its ships wherever possible, even if that means changing course for optimal weather conditions. When sailing is not possible, the Spirit has two diesel-electric engines that run on low-sulfur marine diesel fuel. The company is also working with ports that have shore power capabilities to plug into the local electric power.

Onboard, there is an emphasis on reusable bottles and paper straws, and crew members separate solid waste to be compacted and removed when in port.

Excursions and Activities

We made stops in Portofino, San Remo, Italy, and St.-Tropez, France, anchoring offshore and getting to land by tender — a contrast to the big cruise ships with their loud horns and thick plumes of exhaust spewing from their funnels.

For passengers wanting to take a dip (there is no pool), the crew marked an area in the water with floats and an inflatable slide. The water was frigid, but many passengers took the plunge from the swimming deck. Guests could also take “Zodiac Safaris” around the ship to get views of the vessel from the water.

largest sailing yacht without crew

Excursions ranged from food and wine tours to e-biking and beach trips. In Portofino, passengers were free to explore the sights independently, including the Castello Brown Fortress and the lighthouse on Punta del Capo rock. There was ample time to eat meals on shore as the ship did not depart until 11 p.m. Over the summer, the Sea Cloud Spirit will sail to Spain, Portugal, France and the Azores, among other destinations. On Nov. 11, she will depart for St. Maarten in the Caribbean for the winter.

Wherever the vessel goes, said Mirell Reyes, president of Sea Cloud Cruise for North America, the company tries to “stay away from the crowds and ports where big cruise ships spit out 6,000 passengers.”

Summer prices, which include food and beverages, range from $3,995 for a four-night sailing in a superior cabin to $9,420 for a veranda suite. Seven-night sailings cost between $6,995 and $16,495.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

Ceylan Yeginsu is a travel reporter for The Times who frequently writes about the cruise industry and Europe, where she is based. More about Ceylan Yeğinsu

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Largest Motor Yacht you can handle without a crew?

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largest sailing yacht without crew

Hexxen New Member

I want a boat but I don't want to hire a crew. What's the biggest/longest boat I can get?

Capt Ralph

Capt Ralph Senior Member

Hexxen said: ↑ I want a boat but I don't want to hire a crew. What's the biggest/longest boat I can get? Click to expand...


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Pascal Senior Member

Do you really expect intelligent answers without telling us what your boating experience is? With no experience 40’ is probably going to be as much as you can handle, if you can even get insurance for a boat that size with no experience It also depends on the boat layout. Some boats are easier to handle than others. Flybridge only boats for instance can be more challenging when single handling because it s a long way down from the helm to your lines


rtrafford Senior Member

Pascal said: ↑ Do you really expect intelligent answers without telling us what your boating experience is? With no experience 40’ is probably going to be as much as you can handle, if you can even get insurance for a boat that size with no experience It also depends on the boat layout. Some boats are easier to handle than others. Flybridge only boats for instance can be more challenging when single handling because it s a long way down from the helm to your lines Click to expand...
rtrafford said: ↑ Well, not if they're still tied up and dragging in the water from the last port. A dockhand can grab them on your approach. What could go wrong with that? Click to expand...


ranger58sb Senior member

ranger42c said: ↑ It depends. Largely on your experience and skill. Some 35' boats are more difficult than some 60' boats. A serious answer needs more info about you, about where and how you might use a boat, whether you'' usually have "non-hired" crew (and their experience), etc. -Chris Click to expand...
You nailed it about dockside help. So many times we ve had near misses because the dockhand doesn’t follow instructions and tie a line on the wrong cleat or piling, or just hold the line hoping to pull the boat in... this is usually the case at marinas where the staff is not used to larger boats. With crew I usually decline help unless we know the place and staff. I ve offended a few snowflakes boaters when we tell tell them we don’t need help.


MBevins Senior Member

Pascal said: ↑ You nailed it about dockside help. So many times we ve had near misses because the dockhand doesn’t follow instructions and tie a line on the wrong cleat or piling, or just hold the line hoping to pull the boat in... this is usually the case at marinas where the staff is not used to larger boats. With crew I usually decline help unless we know the place and staff. I ve offended a few snowflakes boaters when we tell tell them we don’t need help. Click to expand...
MBevins said: ↑ Often times my worst nightmare is when people want to help me. We're now to the point that we only send an eye ashore and keep the bitter end on the boat, that way we can control the spring lines. (end of thread hijack) Click to expand...
Pascal said: ↑ We now throw the night ashore and instruct whoever is trying to help to pass it behind a specific piling or clear. This way we re in control and when ready to leave lines are doubled up and ready to release from the boat Click to expand...
MBevins said: ↑ We're now to the point that we only send an eye ashore and keep the bitter end on the boat, that way we can control the spring lines. (end of thread hijack) Click to expand...


Prospective Senior Member

Since OP is silent and I am curious on folks opinions, let me be more specific in his stead... Let's assume competent husband and wife crew. Not new to boating, they've moved up from expresses, sportfish, etc. They now are looking at a traditional motor yacht with walk around side decks. Typical cruising is Atlantic ICW and Bahamas. Maybe Carib. Combination of Anchor, Moore, and some dock time. I tend to think the limit practical limit is somewhere in the 65ft range. Seems like the bigger limiting factor is the couple's ability to take care of the boat in terms of systems, cleaning, maintenance. Not so much the issue of them being able to physically handle the boat as long as they are prepared and the boat is suitable.
I disagree. Our personal boat is a 53 Hatteras MY and the office is an 84 Lazzara skylounge. There is very little difference in workload between both. Sure the lines and fenders are a little bigger and there is more boat to rinse but otherwise they both have the same number of system except for a second genset on the bigger boat and a few more air handlers The old hatt has excellent access to system otherwise I would argue that bigger boats are easier to maintain and handle routine cruising maintenance because of better access. I ve run smaller boats before the 84 and routine stuff while cruising is a lot easier and faster to handle than for instance in the 70 Johnson I ran before. Things like strainer cleaning, genset oil change, watermaker filters access to waterpump and air con pumps... less time, fewer bruises, ... we often spend a few weeks at a time on the Bahamas and the two of us is fine running the 84. We do have a third crew on charters or with owners on board but that’s just because of the larger number of people on board. In case of a couple owner / operator you can easily use a boat washer when at a marina and even an interior day worker to deep clean There is no difference in physical abilities between a 53, 70 or 84. If you rely on muscle to secure the boat you re doing it wrong...
Pascal said: ↑ I disagree. Our personal boat is a 53 Hatteras MY and the office is an 84 Lazzara skylounge. There is very little difference in workload between both. Sure the lines and fenders are a little bigger and there is more boat to rinse but otherwise they both have the same number of system except for a second genset on the bigger boat and a few more air handlers The old hatt has excellent access to system otherwise I would argue that bigger boats are easier to maintain and handle routine cruising maintenance because of better access. I ve run smaller boats before the 84 and routine stuff while cruising is a lot easier and faster to handle than for instance in the 70 Johnson I ran before. Things like strainer cleaning, genset oil change, watermaker filters access to waterpump and air con pumps... less time, fewer bruises, ... we often spend a few weeks at a time on the Bahamas and the two of us is fine running the 84. We do have a third crew on charters or with owners on board but that’s just because of the larger number of people on board. In case of a couple owner / operator you can easily use a boat washer when at a marina and even an interior day worker to deep clean There is no difference in physical abilities between a 53, 70 or 84. If you rely on muscle to secure the boat you re doing it wrong... Click to expand...
Hiring sub contractors is common at every level starting with divers to clean the bottom, refrigeration specialists or a cleaning lady (are we supposed to say cleaning person now?) Not much different from a home owner bring a lawn service or hedge trimmer. On a boat it is cheaper than having a full time extra crew member
Hard to tell what OP meant by "crew." Could have been only about operating the boat, docking, etc. Or could have also included cleaning, maintenance, and service chores... We don't count our washers/detailers or the yard guys who powerwash/paint/wax as "crew" but we've gotten to the point where I just don't want to do some of that stuff myself anymore. OTOH, that's not really a length-influenced decision, either. For actual operations and docking and so forth, given an experienced (and reasonably mobile) couple, I could see the upper range being anywhere from 40-80'... depending on the boat configuration. That said, inside cleaning alone could easily become a much more significant burden as size increases... -Chris


Beau Senior Member

IMMO, without a lot more context, the OP's question is unanswerable. Maybe he's thinking about a sailboat for instance
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