Back in March, we wrote about the mysterious A, the 394-ft motoryacht that is as staggeringly different from all previous motoryachts as Tom Perkins 289-ft Maltese Falcon was to all previous sailing yachts.
Today’s Wall Street Journal answered some of the questions about the boat and her ultra-secretive owner:
- She’s owned by Andrey Melnichenko, a 38-year old Russian billionaire who has made his money in banking, steel and fertilizer. He and his supermodel wife, Aleksandra — A & A, and hence the boat name A — rarely entertain onboard.
- The megayacht cost $300 million when launched in ’08. The bath knobs cost $40,000, but are custom, so don’t go looking for them at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
- The master suite is 2,583 square feet, and is surrounded by bomb proof 44 millimeter glass. The company that built the glass, like a lot of the subcontractors, went bankrupt because of the novelty of the orders. The total living space is 23,600 square feet.
- Like most Russian-owned yachts, A has extensive security, and is rumored to have an escape pod.
- Two high-speed diesels power the 5,556-gross ton ship at up to 24 knots, at least double the speed of most yachts her size. It costs half a mil to fill the tanks.
- A has a crew of 35 to 37.
- The Wall Street Journal quotes designer Philippe Starck as saying that, while most mega yachts are vulgar statements of wealth and power, A was designed to be in harmony with the sea and nature. "The boat has an elegance and intelligence. It is not trying to show the money," he claims.
The look and style of A is extremely controversial. Having spent a couple of weeks anchored near her in the Caribbean in February, our opinion is that, once you get over the initial shock, she makes all other yachts seem boring and terribly dated. As such, it’s time for Larry Ellison to update his 450-ft Rising Sun, which to be honest, looked pretty dated the day she was launched.
While the market for most yachts has declined, the 250-ft and larger market is said to have grown by 20%. Next up on the megayacht launch list? Eclipse, the 540-ft addition to Roman Abramovich’s already large megayacht fleet.