Race for biggest mega-yacht: Emirati royals dethrone Russia billionaire
NICE (France) - The Emirati royal family has dethroned Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in the race to own the world's biggest mega-yacht, Yachts France magazine has reported.
The 180-metre (590-foot) "Azzam" built for Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the president of the United Arab Emirates and emir of Abu Dhabi, has ousted Abramovich's 163.5-metre (536-foot) "Eclipse" from the top of the yacht league table, the magazine said in its annual survey of the world's 100 biggest yachts.
After holding the top spot for three years, the "Eclipse" was pushed into second place by the "Azzam" after its delivery this year by German builder Lurssen Yachts.
The floating palace features six bridges and a 550-square-metre (6,000-square-foot) lounge decorated in the opulent turn-of-the-century Empire style, the magazine reported.
Despite its size, the behemoth can also move at a top speed of 31.5 knots (58 kilometres per hour/36 miles per hour), making it the third-fastest yacht among the top 100.
The magazine did not divulge its price but previous media reports suggested the "Azzam" cost between $400 million and $600 million (300-450 million euros) to build.
The race to build larger mega-yachts has been intense in recent years, with industry experts saying the trend is for ever-bigger and more luxurious ships.
The yachts are often available for charter -- at costs of several million dollars per week -- and frequently navigate along France's Cote d'Azur between Monaco and Saint-Tropez.
Of the 100 top yachts profiled by the magazine, 31 were owned by people from the Middle East, 19 by Russians and 17 by Americans.
Among this year's eight new entries to the top 100 was also Steve Jobs' "Venus" -- a Philippe Starck-designed 78-metre (256-foot) superyacht ordered by the Apple co-founder before his death in 2011. It ranked 88th.
The Dutch-built yacht, which features a control panel made up of an array of iMac computers, was only allowed to leave Amsterdam in December after Jobs's estate paid a deposit to resolve a dispute with Starck over payment for the design.
The top-ranked American yacht on the list was the 138-metre (453-foot) "Rising Sun" owned by music and film magnate David Geffen, at 10th.
Director Steven Spielberg's 85-metre (279-foot) "Seven Seas" was 54th on the list.
The biggest British-owned yacht on the list was the 91-metre (299-foot) Nahlin, belonging to inventor and entrepreneur James Dyson, which ranked 36th.