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When is a yacht super?

Everybody knows what a yacht is. What about a superyacht? Is the term super just a superlative which has the sole purpose to big up the owner.


Poor people have yachts, the super rich have superyachts.

For a while, the term mega yacht was used to describe a vessel like Abramovich’s Eclipse or Larry Ellis’s Rising Sun- imposing, luxurious and a testament to extravagance.  The term mega was soon deprecated, associated with megabytes in computers,  not gigabytes, or even terabytes. We hear of giga yachts, not yet tera yacht.

A yottayacht is a lotta yacht

Believe it or not there is a yottabyte. Petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, yottabytes. In public consciousness, the term superyacht has stuck.

So how to define a superyacht from a common or garden lesser-spotted yacht? Two factors: size and cost. These tend to go hand in hand, but the cost of accessories and the splendour of the interior does up the price considerably. Does a superyacht require its own helipad to be truly super? What about infinity swimming pools, interior decor, and art work,  custom made IMAX theatre, a marble staircase, gold taps and crystal chandeliers? Not to mention the technology.

Let’s start with size. It’s never just about size. A 100-metre rust bucket is just that. A superyacht will start at 40 metres. Less will do, if the interior is palatial. The really big ones go up to 180 metres. Then there is the number of cabins and crew to consider. Under ten crew you are not so super; cabins should be a minimum of six allowing for 12 guests. Some of the largest yachts have over 50 crew.

Then we have the accessories, the interior, the tenders that transport guests to and from shore, the glitter, gold and bling. How splendiferous is the yacht? Does it scream money?
Also to consider are factors which are not so immediately evident: when did the yacht last have a refit? The superyacht Luna had a refit in 2015 in Germany that cost 50 million euros. A yacht which has not been touched apart from maintenance for several years may look the part but not pass the ‘super’ test.

A good indication is to check the charter price. 100,000 K plus a week is just about getting there but does not really cut the mustard. The Phoenix 2 which is most definitely in the realm of super charters for a million bucks a week.
Embed from Getty Images

Super is in the eye of the beholder

Ultimately, the term super is meaningless. It is all about showing off wealth and power. Superyachts are always a bad investment from a purely financial point of view but it’s never about relative cost efficiency and ROI. It’s about looking good at anchor off Namos, Antibes, Monaco, St Maarten, any of the yachting hot spots. Or just getting away from the madding crowd. Very few superyachts have any practical use in terms of functionality – except perhaps the new line of expedition superyachts such as the Planet Nine which can reach places that the average yacht just can’t reach.

The longest word in English is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.  ‘Super’ in that word is meaningless but in the context of the song, it means everything.
Same goes for superyachts. You can bet the house that a new term is coming soon. Quantumyachts? Or an acronym. ELX yachts. Extremely large and expensive. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious yachts?

Let’s stick to super for now

Photo by Tom Wheatley on Unsplash


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