x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Boats fit for billionaires at the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show

What to look for in superyacht should you have a few billion burning a hole in your pocket.

Yachts such as the Trident are like floating palaces.
Yachts such as the Trident are like floating palaces.

If you're a billionaire looking for the ultimate home from home while sailing the oceans of the world, a helipad, swimming pool, jet skis and cinema now seem to come as standard features of your average superyacht.

At the very top end of the market, Roman Abramovich's Eclipse, the largest privately owned yacht in the world, which cost more than US$480 million (Dh1.76bn) to build and fit out, reportedly carries a mini-submarine.

Luxury yachts are getting bigger and more luxurious to keep up with the demands of the consumer and often seem to be more like high-end apartments, five-star hotels or even floating palaces. So-called superyachts and megayachts, typically costing up to $100m, are all the rage among the super-rich of the Middle East, according to industry insiders speaking at the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show on Yas Island last week.

Seven of the world's 10 largest superyachts belong to Middle Easterners.

"Partying and entertainment are built-in requirements," says Erwin Bamps, the chief operating officer of Gulf Craft, a boat builder in the UAE. "People want to entertain 30, 40, 50, 60 people. And at the same time they don't want all the complexity. They want all the machinery and all the toys, but they want to have one push button to switch it on. You want high technology, but you want ease of operation."

Gulf Craft said its global order book for this year indicates the greatest demand for superyachts is in the 70 to 100-foot category. Orders in that category have increased 34 per cent this year compared with 2007, when there were a similar number of global yacht orders.

On a tour of one luxury vessel for sale at the Abu Dhabi show, it was explained that the craft, the 46-metre Feadship-built yacht Jana, now 25-years-old, was on sale for $14m. It can be rented for €120,000 (Dh622,961) a week excluding the cost of fuel. The rental fee covers a crew of 10 including a chef and stewards. Jana has a jacuzzi and bar, and sleeps 12 guests.