Billionaire boats: Sailing on super-deluxe superyachts
Do you dream of your own gin palace on the waves? Summer is the perfect time to drool over these gorgeous gin palaces, especially when you're cooling off in your inflatable dinghy.
I'm a devotee of the Yacht Rock school of sailing, which means smooth music from the late 1970s with plenty of cocktails. Worrying about winds, sandbars, and fuel supplies is someone else's job.
I'm nearly useless as a crew member, but at least I can provide some ballast. That's why I'm hoping to sail the seas aboard a superyacht one day.
These ultra-luxurious vessels are enormous and enormously expensive. They're private mini cruise ships with the amenities of five-star hotels, and although the market for these floating gin palaces took a serious beating with the 2008 financial crisis, there are signs it's cruising back to life.
For instance, this year saw the launch of the no-holds-barred Azzam, the world's longest privately owned vessel. At 590 feet, it's two football fields long, outranking the 536-foot Eclipse owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich. Azzam cost an insane $609 million, and its owner is said to be a member of the Saudi royal family.
That sort of one-upmanship moves the industry forward. Azzam was constructed by renowned German yacht builder Lurssen, which has just launched another superyacht, the 279-foot Solandge, seen above.
Only the 64th largest yacht in the world, Solandge has a large swimming pool, a helicopter pad, and super-posh staterooms for 12 guests. The interiors, by Aileen Rodriguez, apparently feature design elements with 49 types of stone and 33 types of wood.
As with our recent Crave galleries on, , , and , this week we engage in more idle fantasizing, this time about seagoing dreams from the winged, space-age Adastra to Bill Gates' rectilinear Venus. Check them out in the gallery below.