Russian billionaire splashes out on £292 million superyacht he designed himself to enjoy with his supermodel wife
- Mr Melnichenko spent €400 million (£292 million) on the luxury ship which will be named the ‘Sailing Yacht A’
- It boasts eight decks, a glass observation area, measures a roomy 468 feet and weighs 14,224 tons
- The ship will have a crew of around 54 people and will be the largest privately owned sailing yacht in the world
- The masts are taller than Big Ben’s tower and its sails are bigger than a football field when all are flying
Russian businessman Andrey Melnichenko has answered the billion-dollar question after building the world’s largest sailing yacht – at a cost of £292 million ($451 million).
The multi-billionaire already has one luxury home on the seas – the Motor Yacht A – but has this time turned his attention to sailing power.
Sailing Yacht A (illustrated) will be the world’s largest luxury sailing yacht when it is completed. It is about to undergo its first sea trials later this year with one mast before the others are attached
Grand designs: Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, pictured here with wife Aleksandra, has commissioned a £292 million sailing yacht
It will similarly be called ‘Sailing Yacht A’ and measure a roomy 468 feet (143 metres) from one end of the sumptuous craft to the other.
The epic vessel boasts a staggering eight decks and its keel incorporates one of the largest single pieces of curved glass ever made at 193 square feet and weighs a whopping 1.8 tons.
This has been used to create a stunning observation pod on the bottom of the vessel so Mr Melnichenko and Serbian model wife Aleksandra, can enjoy stunning views of the sea.
The founder of MDM Bank who ranked 97th in the Forbes World’s billionaires list, hired master ship designer Philippe Starck, whose credentials include Steve Jobs’ famous yacht and Mr Melnichenko’s first opulent vessel.
With its three masts standing taller than the tower which houses Big Ben, it will dwarf other famous super-yachts like The Maltese Falcon, owned by American venture capitalist Tom Perkins.
The super yacht will weigh 14,224 tons and have sails that are larger than a football field, when placed side-by-side.
The yacht, which Mr Melnichenko is thought to have named ‘A’ to ensure it is listed first in shipping registers, is due to begin its first sea trials later this year.
Initially it will be tested with one mast before the others are fixed in place.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO KEEP A SUPERYACHT ON THE WATER?
From Russian oligarchs to Middle Eastern royalty to Hollywood producers, it takes a certain type of person to own a superyacht – crucially, they must be super rich.
Andrey Milnichenko has invested $451 million into his new vessel Sailing Yacht A.
However, the initial cost is only part of owning such a luxurious vessel.
For wealthy owners like Roman Abramovich and UAE president Khalifa Al Nahyan, owners of two of the costliest private vessels in the world, the costs associated with keeping such big boats on the water are staggering.
Insurance company Towergate estimates that 10 per cent of the initial value of a superyacht goes on operating costs.
For Chelsea Football Club owner Abramovich’s Eclipse, a 162.5m vessel with a missile defence system that cost the billionaire an astronomical $500milion (£332), that means $50m (£33m) a year.
The standard fuel usage for a 71m yacht is 500 litres an hour, meaning an average of $400,000 (£265m) is spent on petrol every year per vessel.
The Value Added Tax (VAT) works out at 15-25 per cent of the vessel’s value while docking costs are an average $350,000 (£232,000) and $240,000 (£159,000) the standard for insurance sees the costs soar.
Add to that the expected $1million (£664,000) per year for maintenance and repairs and the wages for an average $1.4m (£930,000) for an on-board crew – which can range from less than 20 to 154 staff on the Sultan of Oman’s mysterious Al Said superyacht – and it’s a significant outlay.
Melnichenko, whose net worth is estimated at £6billion, founded the fertilizer producer EuroChem, the coal producer Suek, the power generator SGK, and the pipe exporter TMK along with Sergei Popov.
Mr Melnichenko was also keen to pack the yacht with the latest technology and sailing engineering.
Although it will have room for a crew of around 54, the yacht will have a high-tech digital control system operated using a touch sensitive sheet of black glass in the bridge.
This will allow the crew to raise and lower the sails and even drop the anchor with a brush of their fingers.
A spokesman for Mr Melnichenko told Mail Online it ‘pushed the boundaries.;
‘This project was a considerable financial risk for him as he had to fund massive R&D to see if he could achieve his vision.
Andrew Melnichenko is known in the sailing world as a pioneering owner after he commissioned his first vessel Motor Yacht A, which featured a unique hull design for cutting through the water leaving little wake. His latest project Sailing Yacht A is expected to bring similar innovations to luxury motor sailing vessels
‘But he is a man to always push the boundaries and to challenge the industries he works with to think out of the box so he can achieve something new and exciting as well as beautiful.
‘Sailing Yacht A is a monument to invention.’
With an 26ft (8 metres) keel and width of around 81 feet (24.88 metres), Sailing Yacht A had to be built in one of the largest shipyards in the world in Nobiskrug in Germany.
The masts were built by Magma Structures from carbon fibre and will be the largest and most highly loaded composite freestanding structures in the world.
The main mast is so large that it contains a small room inside.
Special booms also had to be built to hold the enormous sails, the largest of which is 19,019 square feet (1,767 square metres).
Hamburg-based GL Yachtverglasgun GmbH had to develop new techniques to create the glass hull and then tested it in Geneva in water up to 393 feet (120m) to ensure it could withstand the water pressure.
Boat International, which has been given exclusive access to Sailing Yacht A, said: ‘Andrey Melnichenko is a man with exceptional vision.
‘Where other yacht owners like to blend into the background, he wants his superyachts to push the boundaries of design, creativity and technology as well as make a statement.
‘His first superyacht, Motor Yacht A, rocked the superyacht world with its radical design and now he’s done it again.’
It will be powered by two diesel engines and two electric motors which drive five-bladed adjustable pitch propellers.
The vessel is expected to have a top speed of 21 knots (24mph) and to cruise under power at 16 knots (18mph) with an expected range of 5,320 nautical miles.
All the windows on the yacht have been designed to be flush while a helicopter pad has also been built onto the sixth deck of the yacht to drop off and pick up passengers.
The interior itself is being kept strictly under wraps, although if it is similar to the 394-foot Motor Yacht A it will combine luxury with the latest technology.
Motor Yacht A can accommodate up to 14 guests and was decorated with Baccarat crystal and mirrored surfaces.
It also used bomb proof glass and 40 CCTV cameras to ensure security.
Speaking to Boat International about his latest project for Mr Melnichenko, Philippe Starck said: ‘I am honoured and happy to bring to life the owner’s dream of what will be the summit of high technology and poetry.’