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Mon 16 Jul 2007 02:48 PM

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Abramovich to pip Arabs in super yacht race

Arab royalty owns four of the world's largest super yachts. But Abramovich is about to Eclipse them all.

Four out of the top five luxury private yachts are owned by Middle East royalty, with the 525 foot Dubai, owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum leading the list.

The vessel is larger than a Royal Navy Type 42 Destroyer.

According to data compiled by the Wall Street Journal, the Saudi royal family's 482 foot Abdul Aziz is second. It topped the list for more than 20 years before Sheikh Mohammed's Dubai was launched down the slipway.

Third is the Egyptian presidential yacht, El Horriya, which measures 478 feet.

Fourth is the 459 foot Al Salamah, owned by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister Sultan Prince bin Abdul Aziz al Saud.

Larry Ellison, the founder of software giant Oracle, completes the top five with Rising Sun, a 455 foot yacht.

But everybody is going to be knocked down a notch in the near future when Russian billionaire Roman Abromovich, who already owns two super yachts - Pelorus at 377 feet and Ecstasea at 282 feet - launches Eclipse, rumoured to be at least 550 feet.

Eclipse is under construction in a Hamburg shipyard at an estimated cost of $300 million.

It is expected to have two helicopter pads, a swimming pool, three launch boats, and a private submarine. Newspapers report that the vessel will even have its own missile defense system.

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