Written by Staff Writer at CNN Hong Kong, Written by Yolande Knell
Superyachts, as so often, inspire in their owners far more admiration than awe.
While their function has, of course, always impressed — airships, hospitals, steamships and some of the earliest ferries — their sleek, scaled-up form has matured to a level that transcends even their functional applications.
1 / 10 Commissioned by Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in 2010, the Eclipse is 100 feet long and the second-largest private yacht in the world. It holds over 300 guests and can accommodate a jet ski or a helicopter while simultaneously plying the waves of the Gulf. Credit: Eclipse
Conceived as a luxury playground for the superrich, the humble superyacht has evolved to accommodate adventurous travelers of many shapes and sizes, all empowered with the memory of polished decks packed with eating, sleeping and reading spaces.
As with automobiles, the possibilities have only grown further since their earliest beginnings in the 1930s and 1940s. Today, they rarely set sail with a crew or owner onboard, each able to hold as many as 100 guests in a world-class operation capable of transporting a yacht two miles offshore — all while maintaining a speed of 35 knots.
The growing superyacht market has prompted some boutique builders to step up their game, offering larger vessels with bigger guest decks, mini-lanes, ancillary spaces and lounges, so that their work can be marketed to an even wider demographic. Meanwhile, Bentleys, Ferraris and Mercedes cars line the stern and bow of some of the larger projects, as luxury yacht designs have become almost indistinguishable from the fashions of the last decade.
But what’s perhaps most remarkable is how quickly projects have matured, from largely uncharted waters to virtual monsters of the sea.
1 / 10 On the East Coast of Africa in 2011, Yacht Parc Jet obtained a “NOTICE TO BOATERS” from the United States Coast Guard. The order to evacuate the 426-foot-long Sambili Littoral Expedition Carriers included requiring the vessel be removed from “waters that could be unsafe to enter due to overgrown weeds,” according to the notice. Credit: Yacht Parc Jet
For example, Aida Luna, a cruise ship made to commemorate singer Paul Anka’s 98th birthday, arrived in October 2016 on a scale not seen in the container industry since a giant Panamax container ship broke loose off China.
According to the company, the world’s largest helipad weighs 2,082 tons. On top of that, the ship’s owner kept one on board for added entertainment, including dining and photo opportunities with its top executive.
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