By Shane McGinley
British designers tout Grand Prix- and island-themed yachts to rich Arab buyers
If the idea of a standard $1m luxury yacht has always struck
you as too boring a symbol of wealth, perhaps one that comes complete with its
own waterfall, volcano and palm tree might appeal.
Welcome to the world of themed yachts – luxury boats with
designs inspired by subjects as varied as the Monaco Grand Prix to the five-star
Hotel de Paris. The company behind these designs, UK-based Yacht Island Design,
offers wealthy buyers the chance to create their yacht from scratch. Now they’re
bringing their skills to the Middle East market.
“We’re hoping clients will be inspired by our current
concepts and come to us with their own ideas,” said Rob McPherson, director of
Yacht Island Design. “We hope Arabian clients will be able to see our flair and
design flexibility which could be applied to their specific tastes.”
The company’s first design was a 155m yacht themed around
the streets of Monaco. The anchor for the boat is a recreation of the Monaco
race circuit, accompanied by a version of the Hotel de Paris, and a replica of
the Prince’s Palace – to house the owner’s private apartments.
The ‘Tropical Island Paradise’ yacht, meanwhile, includes a
private beach with a waterfall cascading from the main swimming pool, and a
The yachts typically come attached to multi-million dollar
price tags, but Yacht Island Design said it is “very difficult” to put an
estimated cost on their themed designs.
“The cost of production will vary heavily dependent upon
final specification and also which ship yard is chosen by the owner to build
the yacht,” said McPherson. “Generally this figure is kept confidentially between
the owner and the ship yard.”
The world’s largest yacht is the 557-foot “Eclipse,” built
for Russian oil billionaire Roman Abramovich, at a reported cost of $484m. Until
2011, the world’s longest yacht was owned by
HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai,
and reportedly includes a helipad, a submarine berth and a glass spiral
staircase connecting its VIP suites.
Other luxury yachts include the 453ft Rising Sun, owned by
US media mogul David Geffen and reportedly worth at least $200m. The boat
includes a wine cellar, basketball court and movie theatre.
Other notable luxury yacht owners include Sheikh Hamad bin
Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar, whose 473ft boat includes
bespoke artwork by American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.