Russian Tycoon Builds World’s Biggest Yacht

This article originally appeared in the Daily Mail

The vessel, which cost Mr Melnichenko €400 million (£292 million or $451 million) to build, is one of the most advanced yachts of its kind.

Mr Melnichenko, however, is expected to recover some of the costs by licensing the technology developed for the vessel for commercial applications.

It is thought to build on the pioneering use of nautical engineering used in Mr Melnichenko’s first luxury yacht, Motor Yacht A, which used a knife like hull shape to leave almost no wake.

Sailing Yacht A has eight decks and its keel incorporates one of the largest single pieces of curved glass ever made, measuring 193 square feet and weighing 1.8 tons.

The glass is used to create an observation pod on the bottom of the vessel in part of the keel known as the skeg, where it extends backwards towards the rudder.

Each of its three masts tower more than 328ft (100 metres) above the water line and carry sails that when placed side-by-side are larger than a football field.

By comparison, the height of the Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben is 314ft (96 metres). 

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. 

It will dwarf other famous super-yachts like The Maltese Falcon, which is 298ft (88 metres) and weighs 1,367 tons. 

By comparison, Sailing Yacht A will weigh 14,224 tons.

Mr Melnichenko was also keen to pack the yacht with the latest technology and sailing engineering.

He hired master ship designer Philippe Starck, who also created Motor Yacht A, to oversee the project.

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: ‘This project was a considerable financial risk for him as he had to fund massive RD to see if he could achieve his vision.

‘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 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.’

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