You know how it is. You head to the beach for one of the season’s last sunny days, so you can teach your kid how to eat sand and chase dogs. You grab a few family snaps and you coo and you frolic. And then all of a sudden, something more interesting catches your eye…
If you look into the middle distance over the shoulder of my firstborn in the top left-hand section of the image, that is none other than ‘Superyacht A’ - among the 25 largest and most expensive superyachts in the world. It had apparently made its way up and down the Thames and was at this particular moment stationed off my hometown of Margate while its owner, billionaire chemicals tycoon, Andrei Melnichenko, sought a buyer to take it off his hands while he looked forward to upsizing to a new eight-deck, 468-foot, wind-propelled megayacht known as ‘Sailing Yacht A’.
Taken from the drawing board of renowned designer Philippe Starck, with naval architecture from Francis Design and build from Blohm + Voss, this radically distinctive 390-foot yacht comes with seven cabins for 14 guests, along with additional space for around 40 crew. Powered by twin 6035hp MAN RK280 diesel engines, she is capable of around 23 knots and boasts an authentic ocean-crossing range in excess of 4,000 nautical miles.
On the inside, she features three swimming pools, one of which (for reasons best known to the designer) can be viewed from beneath, via a glass ceiling panel. She also offers bombproof windows, a convertible disco, a sliver-leaf staircase, a $60,000 banister, stingray hides on the walls, alligator-skin chairs, bath taps worth $40,000, several fold-out balconies, a pair of bespoke 11-metre tenders and a trio of personal watercraft.
Of course, this is a yacht that divides opinion in the most extreme fashion. Some find it downright ugly, others question the wisdom of commissioning a non-specialist designer to do a specialist job, and others dislike the restricted practicality of that acutely tapered shape. But if you are among the very select group of people who finds it glorious rather than grotesque; who can afford the $300 million asking price; and who isn’t put off by the fact that Melnichenko obviously finds it a touch poky, you should act fast before some other misguided narcissist beats you to the punch.
For more superyachts, see 10 of the world’s most expensive superyachts. To inspire your family or chidren to get boating, see Get your family boating in 6 steps and 25 best boating books for children.