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The Gold Standard of Hyper-yachts: S/Y ‘A’

Saturday 2nd June 2018

In every industry there is the one person or item that sets the gold standard. When it comes to the world of yachts, Sailing Yacht ‘A’ (S/Y ‘A’) is just that. This master piece of design and engineering has redefined what can be done when you push the boundaries of the impossible. Featuring three 100 meter (300 foot) carbon masts (the tallest in the world), with the tallest one making the S/Y ‘A’ taller than Big Ben, and a 2-tonne underwater observation deck, she shatters numerous records in the yacht industry. And that’s just the beginning.

S/Y ‘A’ was built in 2015 by shipbuilder Nobiskrug in Kiel, Germany, for Russian Billionaire Andrey Melnichenko who is also the owner of the spectacularly beautiful M/Y ‘A’. She was handed over by the project leader, Dirk Kloosterman, to Melnichenko on May 4, 2017, right in-front of the offices of 209 Mare. S/Y ‘A’ was made to replace M/Y ‘A’, we are guessing that is because the 12,000 horsepower, 119-meter M/Y ‘A’ was getting too cramped? There is no disclosed price on the S/Y ‘A’ but a confidential source who personally worked on her development told 209 Mare that her price was north of €800 million. If true, it would make her the most expensive private yacht in the world, blowing far past the +€400 million that M/Y ‘Dilbar’ cost.

This masterpiece, like M/Y ‘A’, was designed by renowned French designer Philippe Starck, whose futuristic vision for both ‘A’s is a departure from his typical democratic design that he is known for. Like the M/Y ‘Savannah’, which was the 209 Yacht of May 2018, S/Y ‘A’ also features a hybrid propulsion system. Power comes from a hybrid-diesel electric package made up of two MT 3,600kW diesel engines and two 4,300kW electric motors. This enables her to have a cruise speed of 16 knots with a top speed of 21 knots and a range of about 5000 nautical miles.


This 142-meter-long beauty has a unique silhouette, thanks to her metallic paint and invisible windows that have been covered in a special film for privacy and to blend them into the custom metallic finish. The windows may not seem large, but each one is about 2.5 meters wide. By covering them in this special film, Philippe Stark has achieved a futuristic sailing yacht look in which the entire design is seamless. This can also be seen throughout the entire hull. It is almost impossible to see any doors, balconies or openings. This trend is reflected on the bridge deck where the world’s longest piece of glass ever made has been installed – a 15-meter 1.8-tone piece of glass that makes the entire bridge have a completely seamless look. Of course, for security, all glass on the S/Y ‘A’ is bulletproof, as is customary for yachts of this class.

The three masts themselves are a marvel of engineering. They house sails that combined have a larger surface area than a football field. They are the tallest carbon composite structures in the world, making the S/Y ‘A’ break yet another record. The middle mast is the tallest one and is more than 100 meters (300 feet) tall from the water line. Being the biggest one, it also features a small room inside, to which you can rise in a small elevator, giving way to some of the most spectacular horizon views on the seas. It took a team of 70 people more than 3 years to design, develop, test, and construct these masts which can withstand a maximum wind speed of 90 knots, equivalent to a category 2 hurricane. Just in front of the first mast is a touch and go helipad that can be used to transport the VVIP’s to this nirvana on the seas.

Melnichenko is a very private man and the entire project is very secretive so not much is know about the exterior and even less about the interior. There are no photos available of S/Y ‘A’s interior and no reports of what she contains. We do however know that the interior was also decorated by Philippe Stark. Her 8 decks can accommodate 20 VVIP’s and she requires a crew of 54 to keep her running year-round. In addition to a garage for 4 luxury tenders, she also has a garage for 4 cars and one submarine. The entire yacht is operated from the bridge via touchscreen, however the sails are operated by touch-sensitive sheet of black glass – something we didn’t even know existed.


The piece de resistance of the interior (that we know about) is the underwater observation pod at the keel. It is shaped like an egg and has 30 cm (12 in.) thick glass so that the occupants can enjoy an unobstructed view of not only the massive propellers on the S/Y ‘A’, but also the underwater sea-life.


Like 209 Mare with the Beach Blazer, S/Y ‘A’ is redefining its industry. She shows the world what marvels of technology and design can be achieved when you think outside the box. And the result is absolutely stunning. Those who get to see her in the water are incredibly lucky to see this masterpiece in the flesh, but the select chosen few that get to board her will have a life-changing experience.

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