Business Insider Edition

Photos show how obsessed the wealthy are with blinged-out superyachts

Katie Canales , Business Insider US
 Nov 09, 2019, 12:22 PM
The world's billionaires are taking to the seas to live lavishly on larger-than-life yachts.
Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
  • Multi-million-dollar homes for the 1% are nothing new.
  • Neither is using luxury yachts for a getaway. But these floating homes have gotten more and more massive in recent years.
  • The world's billionaires are turning to massive multi-million-dollar superyachts measuring at least 90 feet (roughly 27 metres) in length as a home away from home.
  • The globalelite has taken to the seas to live lavishly on these mega-crafts, some for 30 weeks out of the year, according to The New York Times.
  • Here's how obsessed the super-wealthy have become with superyachts.
  • For more stories go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

When you have a lot of cash to burn, beachfront abodes and underground mansions as a means of vacationing is only scratching the surface.

Source: CNN


The world's uber-wealthy are taking their millions to the seas to live lavishly on massive luxury yachts.

Source: CNN


These vessels have been aptly dubbed superyachts.

Sabri Kesen/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


They're defined as measuring at least 90 feet (roughly 27 metres) long. Some of the world's most expensive range from 200 to 500 feet (60 - 150 metres) long, with the largest superyacht in the world clocking in at 600 feet (roughly 182 metres) long.

Osman Uras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider and The New York Times


Owners dock their floating castles in bays around the world, from San Francisco and New York to the Mediterranean Sea and beyond, taking to them for both extravagant parties and for relaxing seabound vacations.

GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: CNBC and Yachting Harbour and SF Gate


But the 1% don't just use these vessels for the occasional long weekend on the water.

Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Source: The New York Times


Some owners use them as their fifth or sixth vacation home and liveaboard for 30 weeks out of the year in some cases, as reported by The New York Times.

GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


And so these mega-crafts provide not only every creature comfort in the book but also some of the most luxurious means of entertainment to keep busy during long stays on board.

Source: Business Insider and Business Insider


Many superyachts come outfitted with guest suites, swimming pools, basketball courts, concert halls, Turkish baths, helicopter pads, recording studios, movie theatres, and plenty of other features suitable for the global elite.

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider and Business Insider


The late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's 414-foot (roughly 126 metres) yacht Octopus, for example, comes with 41 suites, a glass-bottom pool, two helicopter landing pads, and two submarines available for guests to explore the water's depths.

CARL COURT/AFP/GettyImages

Source: Business Insider


There's also a recording studio inside the Octopus that has reportedly been used by Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger.

Source: Business Insider


Allen paid $200 million (R2.9 billion) to build the Octopus, and it's currently listed for sale for a cool $325 million.

Ibrahim Uzun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Geekwire


On the pricier end of the spectrum, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich spent $500 million (R7.4 billion) on the 533-foot (roughly 162 metres) Eclipse.

Source: Business Insider


The Eclipse comes with several hot tubs and a disco hall, among other luxury amenities. It's one of the most recognizable superyachts in the world.

Levent Kisi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Allen isn't the only tech mogul to have also taken to purchasing his own private luxury yacht.


Seven iMacs are used to help control the Venus, the 256-foot yacht commissioned by late Apple CEO Steve Jobs for $129 million. The glass exterior of the vessel was designed to resemble a Mac store.

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Mac Rumors


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos doesn't own the 454-foot (roughly 138 metres) Rising Sun superyacht, but he was seen partying aboard with girlfriend Lauren Sanchez during the summer of 2019 following his highly-publicized divorce. It's owned by entertainment mogul David Geffen and is valued at $590 million (R8.7 billion).

Source: Business Insider and Business Insider


Bezos was rumored to have owned the $400 million (R5.9 billion) superyacht the Flying Fox, but an Amazon spokesperson said the yacht does not belong to him.

Osman Uras/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images


The Flying Fox was recently spotted in Datça, a popular port of call in Turkey.


The late venture capitalist Tom Perkins sold his yacht The Maltese Falcon to Greek hedge fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou for a reported $86 million (R1.2 billion) in 2009.

Kos/Kos Picture Source/Getty Images

Source: Yacht Harbour


The 289-foot (roughly 88 metres) Falcon can host up to 12 people and boasts a full-deck master cabin, a Jacuzzi, and an inflatable water slide.

Source: Yacht Harbour


The yacht is distinguished by its trio of sails that are capable of rotating depending on which direction the wind is blowing, which was an innovative feat for the industry at the time that it was built.

Kos/Kos Picture Source/Getty Images

Source: Yacht Harbour


And new advancements aboard superyachts are still being made. Billionaire Dan Snyder, the owner of the NFL team the Washington Redskins, outfitted his $100 million (R1.4 billion) Lady S superyacht with the world's first floating IMAX movie theatre.

Source: Forbes


Lady S may be the first superyacht with an IMAX, but others have historically come with some sort of movie theatre, like the 300-foot (roughly 91 metres) Equanimity.

Source: Business Insider


The Equanimity, which has since been renamed Tranquility, is one of the most recognizable megayachts in the world, and it was even before it became embroiled in a multibillion-dollar scandal involving the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB.)

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


The yacht used to belong to Malaysian banker Low Taek Jho, who the US government believed to be behind the scheme to swindle $4.5 billion (R66 billion) from the 1MDB fund.

Source: Business Insider


The Malaysian government finally sold the confiscated vessel earlier this year for $126 million (R1.8 billion), about half of its purchase price, as reported by The Guardian.

Source: The Guardian and Charter World


The newly-branded superyacht was recently chartered by billionaire and cosmetics mogul Kylie Jenner for her 22nd birthday celebration. The Tranquility costs about $1.2 million (R17.8 million) a week to charter.

Ore Huiying/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Before the investigation led to the vessel being impounded, the Equanimity, as it was called then, was a regular at the annual Monaco Yacht Show, the most prestigious yachting event in the world that showcases the best of these mega-vessels.

Source: Business Insider and Yacht Charter Fleet


The yacht show is also where the billionaire yacht owners throw their flashy after-party extravaganzas.

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Yacht Charter Fleet


The annual Cannes Film Festival in the Côte d'Azur is another star-studded event that brings these superyachts together for lavish yacht parties that attract billionaire A-listers from around the world.

Venturelli/WireImage


With such luxury afforded in owning a superyacht comes an exorbitantly high price tag, though it's likely a drop in the bucket for those seeking to own one.

GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The Telegraph


Even so, purchasing a superyacht is still a decision not to be taken lightly. Mark Duncan, a former commercial and marketing director for Yachting Partners International, told The Telegraph in 2017 that buying a superyacht is "not an investment, neither is it an essential."

Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: The Telegraph


"It's a pure plaything, and the ultimate reward for all the hard work, the late nights, and the lack of quality time you've had with your family for however many years," Duncan told The Telegraph.

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The Telegraph


And the turnover rate for yacht ownership is high — many owners will only keep their superyacht for three years before selling, according to a Towergate Insurance report.

GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: Towergate Insurance


The same report found that a 328-foot (100 meter) superyacht with a top speed of 25 knots and 50 crew members will cost around $275 million (R4 billion) on average.

Source: Towergate Insurance


But, of course, there are yachts on the low and high ends of the spectrum.

Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Qatar's former Prime Minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, for example, owns the $250 million (R3.7 billion) Al Mirqab.

Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


While the 590-foot (179 meter) Azzam, on the other hand, cost $600 million (R8.9 billion) to build and belongs to Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates.

Ingo Wagner/picture alliance via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


But it's not just the yacht alone that comes with a high price tag — millions more are needed for annual maintenance, crew salaries, fuel, docking fees, and insurance.

Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


On average, owners can expect to pay about 10% of what they initially paid for the watercraft alone.

Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


For example, Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft, shelled out $200 million (R2.9 billion) to build the Octopus, which means he was tasked with paying $384,000 (R5.7 million) a week just to operate the yacht.

Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Insurance can cost about $240,000 (R3.5 million) a year, according to a report by Towergate Insurance.

Source: Towergate Insurance


Dockage fees for superyacht owners sit at about $350,000 (R5.2 million) a year. Fuel on the sea can be pricey too — expect to pay about $400,000 (R5.9 million) a year just to gas up.

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


And crew wages can add up to $1.4 million (R20.8 million) a year, especially when captains' salaries are taken into account. They make on average $7,750 to $19,961 (roughly R115,000 to R296,000)  a month.

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Crew members are also tasked with protecting the priceless art that the superrich keeps aboard their yachts. Destructive incidents have become such a big issue that there's now a course that teaches the crew how to tend to the art.

Phil Walter/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


Crew member count varies from yacht to yacht. The Octopus, for example, employed 60 crew members at one point while the Maltese Falcon reportedly employs about 20 people.

Osman Uras/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider and Forbes


But one way that owners can likely compensate for these expenses is by listing their superyachts for rent — that is, if you have the pocketbook to match.

Levent Kisi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Daily Mail


The Kismet, owned by the billionaire owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars Shahid Khan, has a weekly charter rate of about $1.3 million (R19.3 million) and has been rented by Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Philip Ramey/Corbis via Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


And the Maltese Falcon can be rented for $400,000 (R5.9 million) a week.

Kos/Kos Picture Source/Getty Images

Source: Yacht Harbour


So if owning a superyacht is completely out of your budget, maybe renting one is a possibility.

Levent Kisi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Source: Boat International

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