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World's largest yacht launched

by Sail-World Cruising on 14 Jun 2009
Eclipse just launched in Hamburg - photo by Carl Groll SW
On Friday the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg launched the world's largest superyacht Eclipse for Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich. The yacht will be used by Roman and his girlfriend Daria Schukowa for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He already has three other superyachts.

The luxury yacht is designed by Terence Disdale and will have a gross tonnage of approximately 13,000 and reportedly measures 170 metres, which would make her the world’s largest yacht. The yacht won't be ready for delivery before 2010 or late 2009, but what a surprise for the watching crowds in Hamburg.

Estimated to have cost around EU300 million, it has room for 24 guests, with a crew of 70. It is 13,000 tonnes, and can achieve a top speed of 33 knots. Its cruising speed is 22 knots.

Apart from the luxury fittings and indoor and outdoor pools, it has a military-grade missile defense system to keep the oligarch safe. At 170 metres, it will be longer than Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid's 530-ft. Dubai, currently ranked as the biggest yacht in the world.

Secrecy still surrounds the Eclipse, but an antiballistic missile defense system is being installed by AST, a company with close ties to both the Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, who have just launched it, and the German defense ministry.

The Eclipse is also being equipped with armor plating surrounding the bridge and Abramovich's master suite, as well as bullet-proof windows. There's also a submarine that can be launched underwater and dive to a depth of 160 ft. that doubles as an escape pod, as well as two helicopter pads.

Civilian ships are not allowed to carry weapons and so have to limit themselves to defense systems, but Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz gets around this by having his 482-ft. yacht registered as a Royal Saudi Navy vessel, said to be equipped with French-made Exocet missiles.

Pirate attacks on luxury craft are on the rise of late.

Abramovich's three other megayachts are the 377 ft. Pelorus, the 282 ft. Ecstasea and the 160 ft. Sussurro. Roman´s Super yacht Fleet will have a value in excess of € 500million by 2010, if he does not choose to sell one of his older yachts. Running cost will amount to about 10% of the value, which means 50 million euros a year.

Maybe none of his minders like to remind him too often that there's a Global Recession occurring right now.

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