Azzam in numbers

Azzam in numbers


Azzam: the measure of the world's largest superyacht

Bigger than a Royal Navy Type-45 Destroyer, Azzam may be immense but the superyacht industry now says going bigger is no longer better

By John O'Ceallaigh

January 14, 2015 16:25

Viewing on mobile? Click here to see how Azzam compares to a Royal Navy Type-45 Destroyer

In what has become one of the superyacht industry’s social highlights, last night’s London countdown of the largest superyachts in the world confirmed what everyone in the capital’s ME London hotel already knew. The 590ft (180m) Azzam remains the superyacht that surpasses all others.

Built by German shipyard Lurssen, the vessel was launched in 2013 – up until that point the largest superyacht was Roman Abramovich’s 538ft (164m) Eclipse – and it is believed to be owned by the Saudi royal family.

The list was released by the industry portal and yacht brokerage and chartering company Y.Co, following a day of press briefings with some of the yacht world’s most influential companies. While the focus was on Azzam, they were unanimous in saying that the days of one newly constructed superyacht usurping another in terms of length are coming to an end.

Despite their role in constructing Azzam, Peter Lurssen, Lurssen’s CEO, confirmed that “length is no longer a driving factor” when it comes to the types of yacht they are asked to build. Instead the focus is on developing interiors that best serve their owners’ lifestyles and hobbies. Lurssen is seeing increased requests for indoor pools, often measuring up to 25 metres in length, and the integration of advanced, streamlined home-entertainment systems that can all be controlled via iPad. For a 90-metre ship the most advanced systems cost between €3-5 million.

Britain’s Andrew Winch Designs, a London-based studio that designs yachts, homes and private aircraft, has also noticed a growing interest in highly personalised interiors. The company regularly sources artworks to decorate its clients’ boats – Matisses, Hirsts and sculptures by Dale Chihuly have all proven popular recently – but specially commissioned original pieces are also frequently requested.

An American client recently enlisted the agency to create a towering, mahogany "tree of life" that would incorporate elements of his country’s wildlife and natural history and act as a learning tool for his grandchildren. Rising through a vast atrium over many levels of the yacht, the tree was decorated with carved butterflies, eagles, cougars and more. It took a team of master craftsmen the equivalent of seven man-years to create the piece.

But perhaps most unexpected of all for those who aren’t part of this world were the assembled representatives’ insistence that sustainability is set to be one of the industry’s main driving factors in the years to come. Peter Lurssen encapsulated this increased sense of environmental awareness by saying that superyacht owners realise that "when the oceans aren’t pretty there’s nowhere for them to go".  

It was for that reason that last night’s key speaker wasn’t a yachting magnate but Charles Clover, the chairman of the Blue Marine Foundation charity. Informing the crowd that some 85 per cent of the global fish stock is "depleted, fully exploited, over-exploited or in recovery from exploitation", he sought the influential crowd’s support in the development of international marine reserves where sea life would be protected from overfishing. Just 2.8 per cent of the world’s oceans are currently protected and it’s the charity’s aim to increase that to 10 per cent by 2020, going some way to better protect this endangered habitat for the years to come.