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World’s Richest Man Joins “Superyacht Club”

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 24 January 2021 | 0 Comments

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24 January 2021
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It cost double the $250m he paid for the Washington Post newspaper in 2013, but owning a superyacht isn’t about investment for the affluent elite like Jeff Bezos, it’s the ultimate in guaranteed privacy and seclusion. 

 

For uber-wealth globetrotters who value absolute privacy, the only way to holiday is aboard the ultimate status symbol. Superyachts offer seclusion like no hotel can, which is why the superyacht industry has been booming for years, even during the global economic slowdown caused by the pandemic. Privacy is believed to have been a major attraction to camera-shy billionaires Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, both now proud yacht owners. Privacy offers security protections, not an insignificant consideration for the richest people in the world. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the the world's richest man, has seen his personal wealth roughly double since 2017, helped by the recent unprecedented boom in online shopping. And he is just one of the latest billionaires to snap up a million-dollar mega yacht and enter the “Superyacht Club”. 

According to experts and brokers, 2020 saw more yachts sold than ever before, with 2021 set to again break sales records. Bezos' yacht cost about $500m (£350m), a mere drop in the ocean for a man with an estimated net worth of nearly $200bn. His vessel is a 417ft (127m) yacht built in the Netherlands by Oceanco that will come with a small motorised support yacht, which isn’t included in the price tag. The smaller yacht features a helicopter landing pad - Bezos' girlfriend, TV host Lauren Sanchez, is a trained helicopter pilot - and will come loaded with other decadent extras such as cars, luxury speedboats, and probably even a submarine.

The exact details and spec of Bezos' order is top secret and the Dutch yacht maker has remained silent on the project. The company built the 350ft Black Pearl, the second largest sailing yacht in the world, so they are the no stranger to headline-grabbing projects. However at over 400ft, Bezos' yacht is almost as big as the Great Pyramid of Giza (if the vessel was laid out vertically). It's just under half as long as the Eiffel Tower. 

According to the US National Marine Manufacturers Association, boat sales reached a 13-year high in 2020, reflecting how people were turning to the water for safe, socially distanced activities during pandemic lockdown. From a very small sector in 2001, the Superyacht market has gathered huge momentum over the past two decades, reaching fever pitch in 2020 when over 9,357 yachts over 65ft long sailed the world’s seas.  About 85 per cent of those are motorised and 15 per cent are sailing yachts like the one Bezos has ordered. 

During the pandemic the level of demand grew by two or threefold what it had been before, possibly due to the difficult in organising charter vessels. All over the world, from the Middle East to the USA, demand is currently outstripping supply with the market hopeful that the easing of coronavirus travel restrictions will soon make it possible to travel to Europe to source more second-hand yachts to make up the shortfall. New, bespoke vessels are the ultimate but even the speediest yacht builders take around five years to create a high-end superyacht from scratch. 

Still toying with the idea of joining the “Superyacht Club?”. Remember to budget for operating costs that amount to about 10% of the purchase price. Not that Jeff Bezos is likely to worry about the minutiae of this - In 2020, he witnessed his wealth jump $13bn in a single day. 

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