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Who Owns Which Superyacht? (A Complete Guide)

who owns high cotton yacht

Have you ever wondered who owns the most luxurious, extravagant, and expensive superyachts? Or how much these lavish vessels are worth? In this complete guide, we’ll explore who owns these magnificent vessels, what amenities they hold, and the cost of these incredible yachts.

We’ll also take a look at some of the most expensive superyachts in the world and the notable people behind them.

Get ready to explore the world of superyachts and the people who own them!

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Short Answer

The ownership of superyachts is generally private, so the exact answer to who owns which superyacht is not always publicly available.

However, there are some notable superyacht owners that are known.

For example, Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle, owns the Rising Sun, which is the 11th largest superyacht in the world.

Other notable owners include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

Overview of Superyachts

The term superyacht refers to a large, expensive recreational boat that is typically owned by the worlds wealthy elite.

These vessels are designed for luxury cruising and typically range in size from 24 meters to over 150 meters, with some even larger.

Superyachts usually feature extensive amenities and creature comforts, such as swimming pools, outdoor bars, movie theaters, helipads, and spas.

Superyachts can range in price from $30 million to an astonishingly high $400 million.

Like most luxury items, the ownership of a superyacht is a status symbol for those who can afford it.

The list of superyacht owners reads like a whos who of billionaires, with names like Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The most expensive superyacht in the world is owned by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

While some superyacht owners prefer to keep their vessels out of the public eye, others have made headlines with their extravagant amenities.

Some of the most famous superyachts feature swimming pools, private beaches, helicopter pads, on-board cinemas, and luxurious spas.

In conclusion, owning a superyacht is an exclusive status symbol for the world’s wealthy elite.

These vessels come with hefty price tags that can range from $30 million to over $400 million, and feature some of the most luxurious amenities imaginable.

Notable owners include the Emir of Qatar, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Who are the Owners of Superyachts?

who owns high cotton yacht

From Hollywood celebrities to tech billionaires, superyacht owners come from all walks of life.

Many of the most well-known owners are billionaires, including Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

Other notable owners include Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp.

However, not all superyacht owners are wealthy.

Many are everyday people who have worked hard and saved up to purchase their dream vessel.

Other notable billionaire owners include Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and former US President Donald Trump.

These luxurious vessels come with hefty price tags that can range from $30 million to over $400 million.

For many superyacht owners, their vessels serve as a status symbol of wealth and luxury.

Some owners prefer to keep their yachts out of the public eye, while others have made headlines with their extensive amenities – from swimming pools and helicopter pads to on-board cinemas and spas.

Many of these yachts are designed to the owner’s exact specifications, ensuring that each one is totally unique and reflects the owner’s individual tastes and personality.

Owning a superyacht is an exclusive club, reserved for those with the means and the desire to experience the ultimate in luxury.

Whether they are billionaires or everyday people, superyacht owners are all united in their love of the sea and their appreciation for the finer things in life.

The Most Expensive Superyacht in the World

When it comes to superyachts, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, certainly knows how to make a statement.

His luxury vessel, the 463-foot Al Mirqab, holds the title of the world’s most expensive superyacht.

Built in 2008 by German shipbuilder Peters Werft, this impressive yacht is complete with 10 luxurious cabins, a conference room, cinema, and all the amenities one would expect from a vessel of this magnitude.

In addition, the Al Mirqab features a helipad, swimming pool, and even an outdoor Jacuzzi.

With a price tag of over $400 million, the Al Mirqab is one of the most expensive yachts in the world.

In addition to the Emir of Qatar, there are several other notable owners of superyachts.

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos all own luxurious vessels.

Bezos yacht, the aptly named The Flying Fox, is one of the longest superyachts in the world at a staggering 414 feet in length.

The Flying Fox also comes with a host of amenities, such as a helipad, swimming pool, spa, and multiple outdoor entertaining areas.

Bezos also reportedly spent over $400 million on the vessel.

Other notable owners of superyachts include Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns the $200 million Kingdom 5KR, and Oracle founder Larry Ellison, who owns the $200 million Rising Sun.

There are also many lesser-known owners, such as hedge-fund manager Ken Griffin, who owns the $150 million Aviva, and investor Sir Philip Green, who owns the $100 million Lionheart.

No matter who owns them, superyachts are sure to turn heads.

With their impressive size, luxurious amenities, and hefty price tags, these vessels have become a symbol of wealth and prestige.

Whether its the Emir of Qatar or a lesser-known owner, the worlds superyacht owners are sure to make a statement.

Notable Superyacht Owners

who owns high cotton yacht

When it comes to the wealthiest and most luxurious owners of superyachts, the list reads like a whos who of the worlds billionaires.

At the top of the list is the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, who holds the distinction of owning the most expensive superyacht in the world.

Aside from the Emir, other notable owners include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

All of these owners have made headlines with their extravagant vessels, which are typically priced between $30 million and $400 million.

The amenities that come with these vessels vary greatly from owner to owner, but they almost always include luxurious swimming pools, helicopter pads, on-board cinemas, and spas.

Some owners opt for more extravagant features, such as submarines, personal submarines, and even their own personal submarines! Other owners prefer to keep their vessels out of the public eye, but for those who prefer a more showy approach, they can certainly make a statement with a superyacht.

No matter who owns the vessel, it’s no surprise that these superyachts are a status symbol among the world’s wealthiest.

Whether you’re trying to impress your peers or just looking to enjoy a luxurious outing, owning a superyacht is the ultimate way to show off your wealth.

What Amenities are Included on Superyachts?

Owning a superyacht is a sign of wealth and prestige, and many of the worlds most prominent billionaires have their own vessels.

The most expensive superyacht in the world is owned by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, while other notable owners include Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

The cost of a superyacht can range from $30 million to over $400 million, but the price tag doesnt quite capture the sheer extravagance and amenities of these vessels.

Superyachts come with all the comforts of home, and then some.

Many owners will equip their vessels with swimming pools, helicopter pads, on-board cinemas, spas, and other luxury amenities.

The interior of a superyacht can be custom-designed to the owners specifications.

Some owners opt for modern, sleek designs, while others prefer a more traditional look.

Many of the most luxurious yachts feature marble floors, walk-in closets, and custom-made furniture.

Some vessels even come with a full-service gym, complete with exercise equipment and trained professionals.

Other amenities may include a library, casino, media room, and private bar.

When it comes to outdoor amenities, superyachts have some of the most impressive features in the world.

Many yachts come with outdoor entertainment areas, complete with full kitchens, dining rooms, and lounge areas.

Some owners even opt for hot tubs or jacuzzis for relaxing afternoons in the sun.

And, of course, there are the jet skis, water slides, and other exciting water activities that come with many of these vessels.

No matter what amenities a superyacht has, it is sure to be an experience like no other.

From the sleek interiors to the luxurious outdoor features, these vessels provide a unique, luxurious experience that is unrivaled on land.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing escape or an exciting adventure, a superyacht is sure to provide.

How Much Do Superyachts Cost?

who owns high cotton yacht

When it comes to superyachts, the sky is the limit when it comes to cost.

These luxury vessels come with hefty price tags that can range from anywhere between $30 million to over $400 million.

So, if youre in the market for a superyacht, youre looking at an investment that could easily break the bank.

The cost of a superyacht is driven by a variety of factors, including size, amenities, and customization.

Generally, the larger the yacht, the more expensive it will be.

Superyachts typically range in size from 100 feet to over 200 feet, and they can be as wide as 40 feet.

The bigger the yacht, the more luxurious features and amenities it will have.

Amenities also play a significant role in the cost of a superyacht.

While some owners prefer to keep their yachts out of the public eye, others have made headlines with their extensive amenities.

From swimming pools and helicopter pads to on-board cinemas and spas, the sky is the limit when it comes to customizing a superyacht.

The more amenities a superyacht has, the more expensive it will be.

Finally, customization is another major factor that will drive up the cost of a superyacht.

Many luxury vessels have custom-designed interiors that are tailored to the owners tastes.

From custom furniture and artwork to lighting and audio systems, the cost of a superyacht can quickly escalate depending on the level of customization.

In short, the cost of a superyacht can vary widely depending on its size, amenities, and customization.

While some may be able to get away with spending a few million dollars, others may end up spending hundreds of millions of dollars on their dream yacht.

No matter what your budget is, its important to do your research and find out exactly what youre getting for your money before signing on the dotted line.

Keeping Superyachts Out of the Public Eye

When it comes to owning a superyacht, some owners prefer to keep their vessels out of the public eye.

Understandably, these individuals are concerned with privacy and discretion, and therefore tend to take measures to ensure their yachts are not visible to outsiders.

For instance, some superyacht owners opt to keep their vessels in private marinas, away from the public areas of larger ports.

Additionally, some yacht owners may choose to hire security guards to patrol and protect their vessels while they are moored or sailing.

In addition to physical security, some superyacht owners also use technology to keep their vessels out of the public eye.

For example, a yacht owner may choose to install a satellite-based communications system that allows them to keep their vessel completely off-radar.

This system works by bouncing signals off satellites rather than transmitting them, making it virtually impossible for anyone to track the yachts movements.

Finally, some superyacht owners also choose to limit the number of people who have access to their vessels.

For instance, the owner may only allow family members and close friends to board the yacht.

Additionally, the owner may choose to employ a limited number of staff to help maintain the vessel and keep it running smoothly.

These individuals may be required to sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure they do not disclose any information about the yacht or its owner.

Overall, while some superyacht owners may choose to keep their vessels out of the public eye, there are still plenty of other ways to show off the opulence associated with owning a superyacht.

From swimming pools and helicopter pads to on-board cinemas and spas, there are many luxurious amenities that can make a superyacht the envy of any jet setter.

Final Thoughts

Superyachts are a symbol of luxury and status, and the list of yacht owners reads like a who’s who of billionaires.

From the Emir of Qatar’s world-record breaking $400 million yacht to Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s vessel with a helicopter pad and on-board spa, the amenities of these luxury vessels are truly stunning.

With prices ranging from $30 million to over $400 million, owning a superyacht is an expensive endeavor.

Whether you’re looking to purchase one or just curious to learn more about the owners and their amenities, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to stay up to date with the superyacht scene.

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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HIGH COTTON Westport | From US$ 49,950/wk

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HIGH COTTON Westport | From US$ 49,950 /wk

Luxury motor yacht HIGH COTTON was delivered by Westport Yachts in 2008; she is the respected work of naval architect Jack Sarin and measures 34.14m (112ft). HIGH COTTON received a full interior refit in 2013; she offers accommodation for up to 8 charter guests and is available in Florida, the Bahamas and New England.

M/Y HIGH COTTON features an elegant interior décor. The salon and dining is an open plan surrounded by panoramic windows, offering a generous lounge, games table, full entertainment and formal dining table for 8. A contemporary colour scheme of soothing neutral creams, combined with cooling sea blues, rich high gloss woods and spectacular views create a welcome classy ambiance. Forward of the salon and dining, is a large country style galley with less formal dining area, perfect for a snack, coffee or simply relaxing. Guest accommodation is below decks, in 4 spacious en-suite cabins.

HIGH COTTON Specifications

Crewed charter yacht HIGH COTTON is the ideal yacht for enjoying the outdoors, boasting fabulous exterior living areas. On the main deck, adjacent to the salon is a large shaded aft deck, with seating, alfresco dining option, wet bar and drop down TV, perfect for casual and formal entertaining. The foredeck features a circular seating space, great for a quiet moment. Above, the sundeck features plenty of seating, wet bar with swivel stools, BBQ service station, drop down TV, deluxe Spa Pool tub, sunpads and optional shade.

The HIGH COTTON motor yacht is powered by 2 MTU 2000hp engines capable of 17 – 24 knots. She has a beam of 7.32 (24ft) and a draft of 1.65m (5.5ft). Fitting with stabilizers, HIGH COTTON ensures comfort and stability.

Yacht Charter Accommodation

Luxury yacht HIGH COTTON has 4 generous en-suite cabins for up to 8 charter guests. The master stateroom is amidships and full beam of the yacht with a king size center lined bed, sofa, vanity and full beam dual access facilities, with walk through shower. The VIP cabin is forward and full beam of the yacht with a queen size center lined bed. A further 2 guest cabins offer one with a double bed, the other 2 side by side twin beds. All cabins are equipped with TV entertainment.

Charter Amenities and Extras

Tenders & Toys onboard the HIGH COTTON yacht include a 39' SEA VEE TRIPLE MERCURY 300'S, 15' AB INFLATABLE 90HP YAMAHA, 2 YAMAHA SUPERCHARGED FX CRUISERS, 2SEA BOBS, 2 INFLATABLE PADDLE BOARDS, ASSORTMENT OF INFLATABLE TOYS, COMPLETE COMPLIMENT OF FISHING TACKLE, Communications include VOIP, VSAT WiFi, Ships computer, Audio Visual Equipment and Deck Facilities include 42" pop down HD Toshiba TV over helm station, HDTV throughout, iPod connections throughout, Kaleidoscope, Bluray players in each cabin, Surround sound interior/exterior.

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This document is not contractual. The yacht charters and their particulars displayed in the results above are displayed in good faith and whilst believed to be correct are not guaranteed. CharterWorld Limited does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information and/or images displayed. All information is subject to change without notice and is without warrantee. A professional CharterWorld yacht charter consultant will discuss each charter during your charter selection process. Starting prices are shown in a range of currencies for a one-week charter, unless otherwise marked. Exact pricing and other details will be confirmed on the particular charter contract. Just follow the "reserve this yacht charter" link for your chosen yacht charter or contact us and someone from the CharterWorld team will be in touch shortly.


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5 things to know about North Palm Beach mega-yacht owner, billionaire Michael Bozzuto

who owns high cotton yacht

Billionaire Michael Bozzuto is fighting for the right to moor his 164-foot mega-yacht behind a waterfront house he owns at 932 Shore Dr. in North Palm Beach.

But the Village of North Palm Beach has told Bozzuto he doesn't have this right.

It's the latest example of how big money landing in Florida is running up against Old Florida residents who want their communities to stay low-key.

After years of disputes over the yacht, Bozzuto recently filed a lawsuit against the municipality, asking a judge to agree that he has the right to the use of his house and his dock.

Who is Michael Bozzuto, and why is he suing the Village of North Palm Beach?

Here are five things to know:

1. Billionaire Michael Bozzuto is a longtime North Palm Beach resident

Bozzuto is the billionaire owner of a privately held, family-owned supermarket wholesaler in Connecticut called Bozzuto's Inc. The company is a distributor of food and household products to retailers in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Bozzuto's was founded by Michael's late father, Adam.

Even though Bozzuto's Inc. is based in Connecticut, Bozzuto has lived in the Village of North Palm Beach, population 13,000, for 20 years.

2. Besides owning a yacht, what are Michael Bozzuto's hobbies?

In addition to being a businessman, Bozzuto is an investor and philanthropist. He is a longtime supporter of the Special Olympics.

He is also an under-the-radar resident who likes to collect houses and yachts, said his lawyer, former Florida Bar president Gregory Coleman.

Bozzuto bought the motor yacht, Honey, about 10 years ago for an undisclosed sum. The Westport mega-yacht was built in 2007 and is the largest of several yachts Bozzuto owns.

More: Cannonsport Marina sells for $58.5 million in big deal for tiny Palm Beach Shores

Bozzuto also owns four houses in the Village of North Palm Beach. This includes the house at 932 Shore Dr., where he wants to dock Honey. In 2014, Bozzuto paid $840,247 for the house, which was built in 1961, according to Palm Beach County property records.

The property is on a rare corner bordered on the north and east by navigable waters that provide access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Lake Worth Inlet. The east-facing dock is large enough to accommodate Honey.

Bozzuto's residence is in another part of North Palm Beach, on Harbour Isles Court.

More: Illegal boat slips are popping near Palm Beach Gardens. Residents want regulators to act

3. Michael Bozzuto's net worth isn't known but billionaire owns property outside of North Palm Beach, too

Bozzuto made waves recently when in January he paid $31.1 million for a waterfront house in nearby Palm Beach Shores.

The Singer Island house with two docks stretches into the Intracoastal Waterway just north of the Palm Beach/Lake Worth Inlet. The three-lot parcel on 1.5 acres has about 200 feet of waterfront.

The property was bought from an owner whose family had owned it for decades. It's unclear if Bozzuto will make any changes to the property.

In a brief interview in February, Bozzuto said: “It’s a house, and it will probably be a house."

Twin City Mall: North Palm clears way for redevelopment, taller buildings at landmark site

4. Why can't Bozzuto park his yacht behind his North Palm Beach house?

The Village of North Palm Beach rules say that a private dock or pier can only be used by the occupant of the house. But the village doesn't define the word "occupant."

Bozzuto's lawsuit said while the village has discussed whether to define an occupant as a resident, it never has done so.

Hundreds of other property owners dock a boat behind their North Palm Beach house but do not live there year-round.

Therefore Bozzuto said he's being singled out because neighbors just don't like his boat's big size. This selective enforcement is wrong, his lawsuit said.

Show me the money? Here it is: West Palm and Palm Beach rank in top 5 as cities with fastest growth in millionaires

5. What does North Palm Beach think about the lawsuit?

Unfortunately, this is a mystery until the village responds to Bozzuto's lawsuit in public court records.

The village's longtime lawyer, Lenard Rubin, who knows the municipality's history with boats and houses, did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did the village's manager, Chuck Huff.

Alexandra Clough is a business writer and columnist at  The Palm Beach Post . You can reach her at  [email protected] . Twitter:  @acloughpbp .  Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

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68m charter yacht ICON sold and renamed LOON

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By Steph Loseby   11 May 2023

Delivered by Icon Yachts in 2010, the 68m (221ft) superyacht ICON has recently been sold and renamed LOON . Built for ocean-going cruising, the luxury motor yacht  is offering once-in-a-lifetime charter vacations in the  Mediterranean this summer.

Sporting an attractive exterior designed by RWD and naval architecture from Jouke van der Baan, the yacht is home to an abundance of spacious social areas that are perfect for relaxing, socializing and entertaining. 

Characterized by her clean exterior lines and anthracite-gray paintwork, the 1,295 GT yacht LOON offers accommodation for 12 guests across 7 well-appointed cabins. 

who owns high cotton yacht

Key features onboard the impressive four-deck superyacht include her aft deck infinity swimming pool, her whirlpool on the bridge deck, a fully-equipped gym, a massage room, and sauna.

Motor yacht LOON is also renowned for its exceptional watersports program so guests can look forward to thrilling activities such as kitesurfing, wakeboarding, e-foiling and diving activities during their vacation.

In terms of performance, motor yacht LOON is equipped with twin MTU engines, comfortably cruising at 13 knots and reaching a maximum speed of 16 knots with a range of up to 6,000 nautical miles. 

Interested in a Mediterranean yacht charter?

The sun-dappled gems of the Mediterranean are simply beautiful all year round. Whether you're exploring the glistening isles of Greece or the sophisticated and elegant  St Tropez  or  Cannes , a superyacht charter allows you to see serene anchorages, beautiful bays and glittering cities fizzing with life in total private luxury. 

beautiful landscape in the Mediterranean

To find out more about chartering in the region, check out our  Mediterranean yacht charter guide . For some inspiration, browse our  selection of itineraries  handpicked by experts with in-depth knowledge of the region.

If you’d like to learn more about chartering superyacht LOON this summer, please speak with a recommended  yacht charter broker .

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  • May 9, 2023

Jimmy Buffett's 'Last Mango' is a Yacht Rock Dream Machine

Jimmy Buffett Last Mango Freeman boat

Last Mango Boatworks , the team behind the custom catamaran built for legendary singer Jimmy Buffett , has released a video depicting the boat's evolution.

The custom-built 42' Freeman was built in collaboration with Freeman Boatworks , Merritt Boatworks , and Pipewelders Marine . It was named Last Mango in homage to Buffett's 1985 country-tinged album " Last Mango in Paris ."

The hull comes courtesy of South Carolina's Freeman Boatworks, who built the one-of-a-kind platform to give Buffett additional creature comforts and performance compared to smaller boats he'd previously run. The hull was also reshaped to accommodate a custom pilothouse built by Merrit Boatworks in Pompano Beach, Florida. A custom tuna tower courtesy of Pipewelders Marine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida was added on top to make the 42-foot offshore fishing boat a truly unique vessel.

For those unaware, Buffett is a longtime boater while his music has been a staple of yacht rock playlists since the early 70's. The "Margaritaville" singer has spent his downtime aboard a number of boats over the years, most recently a 50-foot (15.25 m) Pacific Seacraft sailboat named Drifter .

But the Last Mango was several years in the making.

"So this project starts three years ago," says Scott Cothran, Director of Sales & Marketing for Freeman Boatworks. "This very educated guy named Vinny calls, very educated boat talker asking very educated questions about doing some kind of pilothouse and wanting design information. I got off the phone and looked at one of the guys I work with and said: 'that guy is fishing for information. He is a competitor. Don't answer calls from that guy.'"

That 'Vinny' was Captain Vinny LaSorsa, Buffett's longtime boatswain.

For Vinny, chauffeuring Buffett around Charleson, South Carolina four years earlier was the inspiration for reaching out to Freeman.

"So four years ago, a few of my friends had ridden on Freeman boats, and I actually saw a 33' Freeman zooming around Charleston Harbour, and they got my attention."

With Buffett's approval, LaSorsa reached out to Freeman, only to be rebuffed as the company was wary of the seemingly knowledgeable 'captain' who implied having a mysterious boss.

According to Cothran, "Then I get a phone call from one of the guys in South Florida, saying: 'you need to quit blowing this Vinny guy off.' I asked who does he work for, because he's gotta be a competitor. He knows way too much about boatbuilding and about the marine industry. And he's got some mysterious boss that clearly doesn't exist. He goes: 'his boss is Jimmy Buffett. Answer the dang phone call.'"

(Photos courtesy Captain Jimmy LaSorsa)

After confirming that LaSorsa and Buffett were indeed real, and serious buyers, Freeman began putting their team into order.

It all began with Buffett explaining his vision.

"We met Jimmy Buffett when he came to my house to talk about the build for his awesome new Last Mango," says company president Sally Freeman . "What was so great was that he bought a boat from us when he could have bought a boat from anyone in the whole wide world, and he chose a Freeman. That's pretty darn cool."

With Cothran leading the charge, and the ultra-knowledgeable LaSorsa watching over his shoulder, the growing team began allocating plans for a custom 42-foot Freeman catamaran that would utilize a pilothouse rather than a centre console.

"You don't understand the stuff that's gotta come together," says Cothran. "We gotta get with Yamaha, we gotta get with Garmin, we've gotta get JL (Audio). All these parts have gotta come together, they've gotta be perfect, and they've gotta happen very quickly. Doing a boat in record time, we've got to involve every bit of our team, our best of our best. They're gonna do it in a short amount of time, and we're still running full production on everything else. We're racking our brain trying to think of how we're going to do all this while still keeping the quality of everything along the way."

The pilothouse would prove to be one of several features requiring outside expertise. To fabricate a pilothouse for a hull that had never had one, the team added Roy Merritt of Merritt Boatworks to the mix.

"Jimmy Buffett came to us about a project," said Merritt. "I wasn't too keen on the idea, but between Vinny and Jimmy there's always a certain amount of arm twisting that goes on, if you know what I mean. When you're a builder you like doing different things, and that's what interests me. So we agreed to do it. Jimmy went ahead and purchased the boat, and we went ahead designing the pilothouse and what was going to go in it. We mocked it up, and we built it."

The final touch came from Pipewelders Marine, who added a custom stainless steel tuna tower, effectively turning the Last Mango into a fully customized offshore dream machine.

"Probably the highlight of the build was that so many people poured their heart and soul into it, and then Jimmy flies in to meet everybody at the plant," said Cothran. "It was a really cool experience. He signed stuff and hung out with everybody. It shows the common touch he has. That was fun."

"This was a great build," added Mark Hanke of Merritt Boatworks. "It was a one-off build. It's one of the projects that brought a lot of the guys together to show the quality and craftsmanship and trades, from your carpenters, to your painters, to your electricians, to your mechanics."

Captain Vinny summed it up nicely: "You're only as good as who you work with. I took an idea and a dream of Jimmy's and was fortunate to have him believe in me enough to carry out his vision. Throughout carrying out that vision we've had so many people willing to be right there for me, to help me make sure that I succeed. I don't think it can get any better than that."

You can check out the story of the Last Mango below:

#news #culture #freemanboatworks

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From a normally educateded Canadian... Get out yer Whipper Snappin Constitutional assault weapons n complain while your joke has been/ wanna be president runs away from his perverted Anti woman/human rights sins. Sorry about speed limits n manatees you effin loser. Happy trial Trumpy McTrumpster

Yup ... It's all the manatees fault. Pretty sure there is more than enough free waters for idjits like you to speed boat around n probably dynamite 🧨 fish. Crocodile Dum Dum.

Jimmy Buffett sings songs of the joys of boating in Margaritaville Florida. Yet when you come to Florida you find that boating is difficult, if not illegal, throughout the state. Why? Because of a big fraud Buffett started called The Save The Manatee Club. Restricted waterway access, heavy speed zones and millions in fines for attempting to use a boat in a normal manner. All Buffett's handiwork. He doesn't care; he raises his middle finger to Florida's boaters and can take his yachts to the Bahamas where he's not affected like all of them.

Boat speed zones ? All of the actual (and promptly buried) scientific studies on manatee hearing has proven that manatees cannot hear slow moving boats and…

If that's the case, here on the north end of Broward there are many illegal signs.

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How San Diego became a player in the super-glitzy world of superyachts

The 145-foot superyacht Dumb Luck, center, is docked in Shelter Island basin.

For superyacht owners, no extravagance is too extreme, no port too glamorous

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If you doubt that the super-rich are a different breed, tour their superyachts.

Take, for instance, Golden Shadow. Launched in 1995 by San Diego’s Campbell Shipyard, the 219-foot vessel has luxurious staterooms for 16 guests, more modest quarters for 22 crew members, a 50-square-foot dive chamber and an exterior elevator platform, powerful enough to hoist aboard a seaplane and spacious enough to set down a helicopter.

Impressed? Don’t be. Golden Shadow was built as a floating garage for Golden Odyssey, a Saudi prince’s 404-foot superyacht.

“These big yachts have so many helicopters and toys aboard,” said Neal Esterly, a San Diego salesman for Fraser, a premier superyacht broker. “They are building 200-foot shadow boats to carry the submarine, the helicopter, the dirt bikes.”

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In the world of superyachts, no extravagance is too extreme, no port too glamorous. These palatial vessels anchor off Cannes, roam the Windward Islands, explore Norwegian fjords, wander across the Pacific. The owners — Russian oligarchs, Middle Eastern sheikhs, American tech titans — travel in royal splendor with Cordon Bleu-trained chefs, masseuses, dive masters, pilots, tutors for the kids. On board, they are surrounded by African hardwood cabinets, spas fed by waterfalls, herb gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, basketball courts, hot tubs, Dale Chihuly glass chandeliers and Keith Haring originals.

Size alone doesn’t define a superyacht, but everything in this category is at least 75 feet from stem to stern. The largest, the 600-footer REV Ocean, is almost 100 feet longer than a U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.

“They are very much for the 1%,” said San Diego’s Kate Pearson, chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association. “Well, the .1%.”

During a leisurely voyage — from Alaskan glaciers to Costa Rican rainforests, say — these vessels often need to pause in a safe harbor for repairs and replenishment. That’s San Diego’s role in this glitzy world, offering shipyards, sheltered dock space and an army of woodworkers, welders, engineers, sailmakers, even specialists in the surprisingly delicate task of on-board carpet cleaning.

All of this, fans note, pumps money into the local economy. So do the live-aboard crew members who take advantage of our waterfront’s proximity to bars, restaurants, nightclubs.

“Most of them are 35 and younger. They pay no rent, no monthly bills, they’re not paying for food,” said Steve Brownsea, captain of the 145-foot Dumb Luck, moored at Shelter Island. “All they do is go and party.”

Like all industries, this business is sensitive to the market’s ebbs and flows. Orders for new vessels slipped during the Great Recession and brokers like Esterly keep a wary eye on signs that the global economy is weakening. As the gap between the .1% and everyone else widens, some superyachters fret about the “optics” of their seagoing displays of super-wealth.

Perhaps the greatest hazard, though, is also this lifestyle’s greatest attraction: the beautiful and unforgiving sea.

Port for all reasons

San Diego arrived late to the party. Massive pleasure yachts have been enjoyed by European royal families for centuries, while the ostentatious vessels of 19th century American tycoons commonly cruised near the Gilded Age mansions of Newport, R.I., and Long Island, N.Y.

In 1947, David Fraser founded a yacht brokerage house in Newport Beach. About 20 years later, he opened a branch office San Diego. Despite these deep Southern California roots, Fraser now has an Old World feel — in the 1990s, it merged with Europe’s United Yachting, and the company’s headquarters moved to Monaco. With Burgess and Y.Co, Fraser is one of superyachting’s Big Three brokers.

While Fraser maintains an office here, San Diego is home port for only a handful of superyachts.

“We don’t have the cruising grounds like you have in Florida, the Bahamas, the Caribbean or Europe,” Esterly said. “From San Diego, Cabo and Seattle are each 1,000 miles away. Between those two, there just isn’t any place to go cruising. You can only go to Catalina Island so many times.”

To this super-wealthy crowd, though, San Diego markets itself as the destination between destinations.

“We are not Monaco or the Bahamas,” said Todd Roberts, president of Fifth Avenue Landing, the superyacht anchorage south of Seaport Village. “We are effectively a transit port. But we are doing a pretty good job of giving the superyacht the whole package.”

The landing’s 12 slips can accommodate mid-size superyachts, up to about 300 feet in length. Vessels that moor here can hook up to shore power, pump out “blackwater” — yachtspeak for sewage — unload food, drink and other supplies straight off the dock. Fifth Avenue also owns the Marine Group Boat Works, which operates shipyards in National City and Chula Vista.

San Diego’s naval heritage guarantees plenty of people trained in ship maintenance. Brownsea, the captain of Dumb Luck, recalls the dismay of another superyacht’s owner, when he learned his vessel needed new parts that were only available in Europe. His sailing date would have been delayed — if he hadn’t stumbled upon a San Diegan able to machine the parts.

“They were delivered within 24 hours,” Brownsea said. “The owner couldn’t believe it.”

Geography, too, works in San Diego’s favor. For southbound sailors waiting for the Mexican hurricane season to blow itself out, this bay is a comfortable place to spend days or weeks while monitoring satellite weather maps.

“The captains that go down to the Sea of Cortez, they all stop in San Diego,” said Scott Whittaker, the Puget Sound-based skipper of Gayle Force, a 99-foot expedition boat. “Everybody does.”

Changing trends in sailing also benefit San Diego, as long voyages — to Costa Rica and Peru, say, then across the Pacific to New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, Micronesia and finally back to the U.S. — appeal to a certain class of well-heeled wanderer.

“The boats we get in San Diego, the vessels you see on our waterfront that blow your mind, that owner is more adventurous,” said Fifth Avenue’s Roberts. “The yacht owner who wants to sit on the deck with a margarita and wave at his friends, those aren’t the owners we get. We get the more expeditionary owner.”

Expeditionary or sedentary, owners value their privacy. Typical is Robert Mercer, a New York tech millionaire and major financial contributor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. On Sept. 11, his superyacht tried to enter San Diego Bay incognito, with tarps draped over her name.

Might as well put sunglasses on the Mona Lisa. One of the world’s most photographed vessels, this 203-foot floating mansion is instantly recognizable, thanks to her forest green hull and cream-colored decks. Few, though, have been invited aboard to marvel at the carved mahogany “tree” rising through four decks, the frescoes saluting Darwin and Newton, the hand-knotted carpet of Nepalese wool and silk.

During Sea Owl’s eight-week stay at Fifth Avenue, a sign dangled over her gangway: “Private yacht — no boarding.”

Peril on the sea

Like a garage full of Maseratis or a closet full of Valentino gowns, superyachts are a sure sign of wealth. TV’s Judge Judy owns a 152-foot cruiser, Triumphant Lady, while Tiger Woods’s Privacy is slightly larger, 155 feet. Steven Spielberg’s Seven Seas is grander still, a 282-foot home-away-from-his-other-homes-away-from-home, with crew of 23, flotilla of tenders and on-board movie theater.

San Diego has enjoyed occasional visits by ocean-going glitterati, such as Luna, the 377-foot vessel owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, and Tatoosh, a 303-foot wonder built for the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. The latter’s five decks house a cinema, gym, massage room, swimming pool, 11 staterooms and a crew of 35. Fraser now charters Tatoosh — a week in the Caribbean this winter will run $650,000.

Attessa IV also made a big splash here, mooring in San Diego Bay often between 2016 and 2018. Her most recent visit ended in tragedy — while cruising off Imperial Beach on Oct. 26, 2018, Attessa IV slammed into the Prowler, a 65-foot sportfishing boat. One passenger, Richard Neff, was killed and another, John Schmit, critically injured.

Schmit, who suffered a fractured skull, vertebra, rib and sternum, sued the owners of Attessa IV and Prowler. A hearing in this case is scheduled for Dec. 6.

Both vessels reported poor visibility due to heavy fog, just one of the many hazards superyachts must navigate. A partial listing of recent victims: in 2015, Hurricane Carlos sank the 127-foot Bellissima near Acapulco; in 2017, Hurricane Irma sank the 131-foot Sierra Romeo in the Caribbean; and in 2018, heavy seas capsized the 124-foot Suegno off the Italian port of Genoa.

Some danger can be avoided by staying in port. Dumb Luck, the 145-foot tri-level motor yacht skippered by Brownsea, rarely leaves her Shelter Island dock. Even so, the usually absent owner is hit hard in his pocketbook.

“Just to keep her in port costs about $750,000 a year,” said Brownsea, citing the crew’s salary, docking fees, fuel, insurance and property tax, the latter levied on vessels that remain here at least six months a year. “If we were active, going more places, it would be about $1.5 million.”

That’s a lot of money — unless you are a superyachter. Fifth Avenue’s Roberts once priced repairs for an owner. The job wasn’t cheap, and Roberts advised the owner that expenses would climb astronomically if had to be done quickly.

“I’m old, Todd,” the owner responded. “I have way more money than time. Just make it happen.”

Super budget

If superyachts are for the .1%, the Nerissa is for the other 99.9% — or at least those with a decent amount of disposable income. A 73-foot motor yacht going to seed on the Gulf Shore, Nerissa was purchased by San Diego’s Shari and Amos Zolna, who restored it as a party vessel with a well-stocked bar and a hot tub.

Now docked on Shelter Island and Coast Guard-certified for 49 passengers, Nerissa specializes in day cruises on San Diego Bay. Summer is her high season, but year-round she is booked by bachelor and bachelorette parties, sightseers, sunset cruisers and others. Two hours on the water for 40 people, with a caterer and an open bar, runs about $5,000, or $125 a head.

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The experience, Amas Zolna said, is priceless: “There’s nothing like sitting out there in the hot tub with a cold beer or a glass of wine.”

The true superyacht experience will always be far out of reach for most people. Kate Pearson, the U.S. Superyacht Association’s chair, laughs when asked if she owns one.

“No,” said Pearson, who is vice president of Safe Harbors Marina, the world’s largest owner and operator of marinas. “We are a boating family, but on a much more subdued level.”

While she has been a guest aboard numerous superyachts, she views them the way most people view the stars — something beautiful, magnificent and unattainable. When Pearson is sailing with guests and they see a superyacht, she quickly alters course.

“We take them up close,” she said.

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The Truth Behind Who Really Owns the Yachts on Below Deck


If you're a fan of reality TV, you've probably heard of the show "Below Deck." This popular series follows the lives of crew members who work on luxury yachts as they cater to the needs of wealthy guests. But have you ever wondered who actually owns these yachts? Before we dive into the truth behind yacht ownership on the show, let's take a brief look at the yacht industry as a whole. Yachts are typically associated with luxury and extravagance, and for good reason. These vessels are often equipped with state-of-the-art technology, high-end amenities, and top-notch service. But owning a yacht is not just about showing off wealth. For many, it's a way to escape the stresses of everyday life and enjoy some much-needed relaxation. And for those who can afford it, chartering a yacht is a popular way to experience the luxury lifestyle without the commitment of ownership. So, who really owns the yachts on "Below Deck"? Are they owned by the guests who charter them, or by the production company behind the show? We'll explore these questions and more in the following sections. Get ready to uncover the truth behind the glitz and glamour of the yacht industry.

Table of Content

The yachts on below deck, chartering a yacht, the owners of the yachts on below deck, celebrity yacht owners, the future of yacht ownership.

The yachts featured on the show "Below Deck" are some of the most luxurious and impressive vessels in the world. From the 185-foot "My Seanna" to the 160-foot "Valor," these yachts are equipped with every amenity imaginable, including hot tubs, gourmet kitchens, and spacious staterooms. Each yacht is unique in its design and features, but they all have one thing in common: they are used to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience for charter guests. The yachts are typically chartered by wealthy individuals or groups who are looking for a luxurious vacation experience. During the charter, the guests have access to all of the amenities on the yacht, as well as a crew of experienced professionals who are there to cater to their every need. The crew includes a captain, chef, stewardesses, and deckhands, all of whom work together to ensure that the guests have an unforgettable experience. The yachts on "Below Deck" are not just impressive vessels, they are also an important part of the show's storyline. The crew members are often faced with challenging situations, such as demanding guests or unexpected mechanical issues, which add drama and excitement to the show. Overall, the yachts on "Below Deck" are a testament to the luxury and opulence of the yacht industry. They provide a glimpse into a world that most people can only dream of, and they serve as a reminder of the incredible experiences that can be had on the open sea.

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Chartering a yacht is a unique and luxurious experience that many people dream of. It allows you to explore some of the most beautiful destinations in the world while enjoying the comfort and privacy of your own yacht. However, chartering a yacht is not a cheap endeavor. The cost of chartering a yacht can vary greatly depending on the size, type, and location of the yacht, as well as the duration of the charter. The Process of Chartering a Yacht The process of chartering a yacht typically begins with selecting a yacht charter company. There are many companies that specialize in yacht charters, and it is important to choose a reputable company that has experience in the industry. Once you have selected a company, you will work with a charter broker to select the yacht that best fits your needs and budget. The next step is to choose your destination and itinerary. Yacht charters can take you to some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. Your charter broker can help you choose the best destination and itinerary based on your preferences. Once you have selected your yacht and itinerary, you will need to sign a charter agreement and pay a deposit. The charter agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the charter, including the duration of the charter, the cost, and any additional fees or expenses. The Cost of Chartering a Yacht The cost of chartering a yacht can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. The size and type of yacht, as well as the location and duration of the charter, are all factors that can impact the cost. In addition to the cost of the charter itself, there are also additional expenses to consider, such as fuel, food and beverages, and crew gratuities. The Types of People Who Typically Charter Yachts Yacht charters are popular among a wide range of people, from families and groups of friends to corporate executives and celebrities. Many people choose to charter a yacht for special occasions, such as weddings or anniversaries, while others simply want to experience the luxury and adventure of yacht travel. In conclusion, chartering a yacht is a unique and luxurious experience that is well worth the cost for those who can afford it. With the help of a reputable yacht charter company and a knowledgeable charter broker, you can enjoy the comfort and privacy of your own yacht while exploring some of the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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When it comes to the yachts featured on Below Deck, many viewers may wonder who actually owns these luxurious vessels. In most cases, the yachts are not owned by the crew members or the charter guests, but rather by wealthy individuals who choose to invest in these high-end boats. Typically, the owners of the yachts on Below Deck are individuals who have a high net worth and a passion for yachting. They may be entrepreneurs, business executives, or even celebrities who have the financial means to invest in a yacht. Some owners may use their yachts for personal use, while others may choose to charter them out to offset the costs of ownership. While owning a yacht may seem like a luxury reserved for the ultra-wealthy, there are actually a variety of reasons why someone may choose to invest in a yacht. For some, it may be a status symbol or a way to entertain clients and friends. For others, it may be a way to travel the world in style and comfort. Regardless of the reasons behind yacht ownership, it's clear that the yachts featured on Below Deck are owned by individuals who have a deep appreciation for the finer things in life. And while most viewers may never have the opportunity to step aboard one of these luxurious vessels, the show offers a glimpse into the world of yacht ownership and the lifestyle that comes with it.

this image is about The Owners of the Yachts on Below Deck

Celebrities are known for their lavish lifestyles and extravagant purchases, and owning a yacht is no exception. Many famous individuals have been spotted on their luxurious vessels, cruising around the world's most beautiful destinations. One of the most famous celebrity yacht owners is billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Bill Gates. His yacht, the "Aqua," is a 370-foot-long vessel equipped with a gym, a cinema, and a helicopter pad. Another notable celebrity yacht owner is media mogul Oprah Winfrey, who owns the "Sea Ray," a 56-foot-long yacht that she uses to escape from her busy schedule and enjoy some downtime. Other famous yacht owners include musician Jay-Z, who owns the "Galactica Star," a 213-foot-long yacht with a swimming pool and a helipad. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren also owns a yacht, the "Boadicea," which is 76 meters long and features a gym, a sauna, and a cinema. It's not just Hollywood stars and business tycoons who own yachts, however. Famous athletes such as soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball player Michael Jordan also own yachts. Ronaldo's yacht, the "Aya London," is a 88-foot-long vessel with a jacuzzi and a barbecue area, while Jordan's yacht, the "Mr. Terrible," is a 155-foot-long vessel with a gym and a cinema. So why do celebrities choose to own yachts? For many, it's a way to escape the paparazzi and enjoy some privacy. Yachts offer a level of luxury and exclusivity that can't be found anywhere else, and they allow celebrities to travel in style and comfort. In conclusion, owning a yacht is a status symbol that many celebrities aspire to. From media moguls to sports stars, famous individuals around the world are investing in these luxurious vessels to enjoy some downtime and escape from the public eye.

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The future of yacht ownership is an interesting topic to explore. With the advancements in technology and the changing attitudes towards luxury, it's important to consider what the future holds for this industry. One trend that is already emerging is the rise of eco-friendly yachts. Yacht owners are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment and are seeking out ways to reduce their carbon footprint. This includes using alternative energy sources such as solar power and hybrid engines, as well as implementing sustainable practices on board. Another trend is the increasing demand for experiential travel. People are no longer content with simply lounging on a yacht, they want to have unique and immersive experiences while on board. This has led to the rise of themed charters, such as wellness retreats, culinary tours, and adventure expeditions. Technology is also playing a big role in the future of yacht ownership. Smart technology is being integrated into yachts to provide a more seamless and convenient experience for owners and guests. This includes features such as voice-activated controls, automated lighting and temperature systems, and advanced entertainment systems. Finally, the changing attitudes towards luxury are also impacting the future of yacht ownership. People are becoming more conscious of their spending habits and are seeking out more meaningful and authentic experiences. This has led to a rise in the popularity of smaller, more intimate yachts that offer a more personalized and authentic experience. Overall, the future of yacht ownership is looking bright. With the rise of eco-friendly yachts, experiential travel, smart technology, and changing attitudes towards luxury, there are plenty of exciting developments on the horizon.

this image is about The Future of Yacht Ownership

In conclusion, the world of yacht ownership is a fascinating and complex one, and the show "Below Deck" offers a glimpse into this exclusive world. We have explored the yachts featured on the show, the process of chartering a yacht, and the types of people who typically own yachts. We have also delved into the world of celebrity yacht owners and the future of yacht ownership. One thing that is clear is that yacht ownership is not just about luxury and extravagance. It is also about the freedom to explore the world's oceans and the ability to create unforgettable memories with friends and family. While yacht ownership may seem out of reach for most people, the rise of fractional ownership and yacht sharing programs is making it more accessible than ever before. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more changes in the world of yacht ownership. From eco-friendly yachts to virtual reality yacht tours, the possibilities are endless. However, one thing that will never change is the allure of the open sea and the sense of adventure that comes with yacht ownership. Overall, "Below Deck" offers a fascinating look into the world of yacht ownership, and we hope that this blog post has provided you with some insight into this exclusive and exciting industry. Whether you are a seasoned yacht owner or simply a fan of the show, there is no denying the appeal of life on the open sea.

Adam Keen

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Inside Florida's 'Little Moscow,' where Russian money flows thanks to 'rich daddies' snapping up real estate

  • "Little Moscow" is the nickname for Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, which is flowing with Russian money.
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Insider Today

Welcome to "Little Moscow."

Like its namesake city, it's home to many Russian elites. Unlike it's namesake city, it's located on a small strip of land near Miami: Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

"They love to be here, and they like to spend their money and enjoy their life," Lana Bell, a real-estate agent, recently told the News Nation correspondent Brian Entin , referring to her wealthy Russian clientele.

Russian money has brought a real-estate boom to the region over the years, but now these power players are afraid they might not be able to enjoy the Miami sunshine much longer. As Entin reported, they're worried the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict will blacklist them from buying American real estate, although Bell said it hasn't been a problem so far.

However, existing sanctions from past political events already slowed their buying efforts in recent years, and Biden has said the US will seize luxury apartments from Russian oligarchs with wealth parked in the country. But not all of Little Moscow's residents are wealthy, and not all of them support the war. 

Here's a look at the rise of Little Moscow and the lives of the Russians who made it happen.

Sunny Isles Beach is a 1.5-mile strip of island that sits between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway in South Florida. It's about a 40-minute drive to downtown Miami, depending on traffic.

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Sunny Isles Beach is located in northeastern Miami-Dade county. As of 2020, it's home to 22,342 people . The most recent data from the Census' American Community Survey that tracked population from 2015 to 2019 shows that there are 1,079 Russian-born residents living there — more than any country in Europe or Asia.

It's a place where beachfront high-rise hotels and condos dot the coastline, towering over an idyllic scene of white-sand beaches and sparkling turquoise water. Compared to the dark and brutal winters of Russia, it's a slice of paradise.

Before becoming a Russian luxury hot spot, the city was full of quirk and charm thanks to beachfront motels and tourists.

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Fred Grimm wrote in the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the city was "once a linear tableau of South Florida kitsch, a seaside strip of themed motels, offering homage to ancient Egypt, Rome, the wild west, Polynesia, American Indians and so many nautical motifs, including Neptune and his water nymphs."

"Motel Row," a strip of 30 motels along the beach, was built in the 1950s and 1960s, when the city was known as Sunny Isles (before that it was called North Miami Beach). Tourism slowed its roll in the 1970s, resuming some 20 years later when most of the motels were replaced with luxury hotels, and Sunny Isles was renamed Sunny Isles Beach.

The city's luxury-development boom that first began in the 1990s revitalized the city's economy, which began to see an influx of wealth.

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The median home value in Sunny Isles is $555,042 , higher than the $469,562 median home value in Miami. The most expensive home in the area currently listed on Sotheby's is $13.9 million , and condos can cost as much as  $35 million . 

It's a place of well-known luxury. Consider the Porsche Design Tower , where residents can use an elevator for their cars. And the iconic Acqualina Resort was named the country's best continental resort four years in a row by US News & World Report . Nightly rates at the five-star resort start at $2,500 a night . 

Among these developments are several Trump Towers, a brand that has held a huge appeal among Russian investors looking to move their money in the post-Soviet economy.

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Trump doesn't actually own the buildings but licensed the use of his name there, The Washington Post reported . Real-estate agents told the Post in 2016 that Trump's name carries weight among the European, South American, and Asian elite, but especially among Russian oligarchs.

"When Russians get here, the first thing they ask is, 'Where is the Trump building?'" Ilya Masarsky, real-estate developer who has worked with Russian investors in the US, told The Post. 

Jose Lima, a salesperson for the company that developed the region's Trump towers, said at the time that Russian speakers bought about one-third of the 500 units he sold. 

A 2017 Reuters investigation found that at least 63 members of Russia's elite spent nearly $100 million buying property in Trump buildings in the region, including the nearby city of Hollywood. Reuters called some of the buyers "politically connected businessmen," adding that none seemed to be part of Putin's inner circle.

"Russian patriots are happy here; Sunny Isles is a happy place," Bell, the real-estate agent, told The Daily Beast in 2019 . "Russian men make money at home, they visit their Miami property just for a few months in winter. Some of these rich daddies are in their fifties or older, while their women are in their twenties; the beach is packed with really young pregnant Russian girls, girls with babies." 

A past Miami Herald investigation found that some of these buyers were the targets of US government investigations. Experts in illicit financing said Russian money gave the city its nickname of Little Moscow.

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The Miami Herald found in 2016 that at least 13 personal or company buyers in the Trump Towers were investigated by the government, including a Russian-American organized-crime group and a Mexican banker accused of robbing investors. It also found that about 60% of the units are owned by shell companies, which only hold assets like real estate and can be involved in money laundering.

Experts more recently told the Herald's Michael Wilner that illicit financing has helped Russians spend years snapping up properties along Florida's southeastern coast. They estimated that Russia's elite had more than $1 trillion in offshore accounts, which they said was disproportionally held in South Florida property.

As Julia Friedlander, director of the Atlantic Council's Economic Statecraft Initiative, told the publication, "We know what's happening based on patterns of behavior and observations from various sources, just like parts of Manhattan and parts of London. They're known as places where real estate will reliably retain its value."

The greater Miami region that Sunny Isles Beach is part of is also a popular place for birth tourism. Russian women have fueled a baby boom there in recent years.

A post shared by alesiaasta (@alesiaasta)

As NBC News reported in 2018 , having a baby in Miami is considered a status symbol in Moscow. Russian birth tourists told the publication that giving birth there means getting an American passport and better medical care. It's a legal act, as long as documents are filled out honestly, that allows their children the right to American citizenship and to sponsor their parents for a green card once they turn 21.

Wealthier Russians even hire agencies that offer birth-tourism packages that cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000, according to NBC News. Some of these companies offer Trump apartments as part of the package, the Daily Beast's Katie Zavadski reported . For $84,700, expectant Russian mothers can get an apartment in a Trump Tower with a gold-tiled bathtub and chauffeured Mercedes-Benz. 

Not all of the money flowing into Little Moscow is from Russia, nor is it all "dirty." And not all of the people who live there are wealthy.

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The Herald's Wilner reported that the area has also seen investments by overseas buyers in Europe and Latin America.

And, as Ari Odzer reported for local outlet NBC Miami , Sunny Isles Beach is also a sanctuary for refugees from the old Soviet Union and Russians on tourist visas. For this reason, he said, it's also known as Little Kyiv, Little Odessa, and Little Minsk. 

Locals told Odzer that the Russia-Ukraine conflict is dividing residents, with some supporting Putin and others who don't but are too afraid to say anything. Odzer wrote "the fear of Putin is a real phenomenon," considering he could barely get any Russians to speak on the record about their president.

Russian real-estate purchasing has been slowing down in recent years because of sanctions.

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Tightened US sanctions in light of Moscow's interference in the US elections, as well as the Kremlin banning thousands of rich Russian law-enforcement officials from traveling abroad, left many Russians renting or selling their Sunny Isles Beach condos, the Daily Beast's Anna Nemstova reported in 2019 . 

"Russians can be easily recognized by their Bentleys and Rolls-Royces," Bell, the Russian real-estate agent, told Nemstova at the time. "But this year the sales have gone down. It is becoming problematic for the Russian elite to take their money out of the country; and here the rules demand full disclosure, the name of the buyer and the source of money."

However, Little Moscow still held the attention of "Russian corrupt bureaucrats," Ilya Shumanov, the deputy head of Transparency International, added. Those who could still travel came during the winter and conducted deals at restaurants in the Bal Harbor mall before returning home to conduct business again, Nemstova wrote.

Brokers also recently told Wilner that Russian purchases have dwindled in the past few years, but said that could change with new developments like the Bentley Tower and the St. Regis Sunny Isles.

Now, Russian elites in the area are worried new sanctions stemming from the Russia-Ukraine conflict could prevent them from buying real estate.

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President Joe Biden issued sanctions last week targeting Russia's elite and their families and restricting the Kremlin's ability to access Western financial institutions.

"We are extending the reach of US sanctions to prevent the elites close to Putin from using their kids to hide assets, evade costs, and squander the resources of the Russian people," a National Security Council official told Wilner. "This is a new approach."

While Little Moscow's elites are worried future sanctions will threaten their lifestyle, experts told Wilner the sanctions currently in place were unlikely to have a strong effect in South Florida. 

Anders Åslund, a Swedish economist and the author of "Russia's Crony Capitalism: The Path From Market Economy to Kleptocracy," doesn't think this will affect the Russian rich in the greater Miami region that Little Moscow is in. He told Wilner that the Miami Russians weren't powerful enough to feel the sanction burn.

As he put it, "These are comfortable people, rather than the top people."

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Laurentia: The 55m superyacht built with the help of Whatsapp

A busy prospective owner, a nearly finished Heesen and hundreds of WhatsApp messages. Cécile Gauert tells the very modern story of the making of Laurentia ...

Although it’s not unheard of, it is still rare for a client to buy a superyacht sight unseen. Laurentia , a 55 metre Heesen started on spec and resold in the late stages of construction, is a great example of how this can happen, and with happy results.

“In all my years as a broker this is the first time when everything was done via WhatsApp messaging,” says Barin Cardenas, founder and president of The New Yachts Company . “The buyer never once visited the yard or visited the boat in person.”

The future owner, a fiercely private person, was not uninterested in the outcome; quite the opposite. He had a lot of knowledge and contributed many of his ideas, Cardenas says. He had narrowed down the search to a new, finished (or nearly so) yacht built at a northern European yard.

As the new yacht market recovered after years of sluggish growth, it was not an easy task. Cardenas and the principal of Miami-based design firm Radyca , who acted as owner’s rep, searched for good options for about 30 months until an “Aha” moment at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in 2016. Heesen’s 70 metre Galactica Super Nova caught the client’s attention. Unfortunately, she was not for sale and there were no projects of that size available within a short delivery window at Heesen.

The owner’s team began discussing other options with Heesen’s commercial team. The yard’s new 55 metre series offered some of the features the client wanted – room for toys, six cabins and long-range capability among them. So when Project Alida (hull No 2 of Heesen’s 55 metre series) became available, somewhat unexpectedly, the owner’s team went to the shipyard in Oss, the Netherlands, to investigate. “Within an hour our client was reviewing a properly edited film on a private link,” Cardenas says.

The yacht was still in dry dock but nearly finished. All that was needed from the builder’s point of view was to open the water valves and float the yacht out. But it was not to be – at least not right away. “He liked the layout and the bones of the boat. What he did not particularly like was the interior,” Cardenas says. “Boats are supposed to be fun, a place to escape the corporate environment.”

When the client conveyed that he did not like the décor, the team went to work layering different fabrics and finishes, and sketched over photographs they’d just shot to show how Project Alida could become Laurentia , all the while communicating via WhatsApp as the client ran in and out of meetings.

Radyca is a new name in the yachting world, but its team has already designed yacht and aircraft interiors, in addition to several high-end residential and commercial projects. Its office, in one of Miami’s glittering high rises, has been at the heart of the transformation of the financial centre into a vibrant liveable part of the city. The firm’s portfolio includes a vast luxury entertainment centre, which opened recently near Brickell Avenue.

The interior of Laurentia , as it exists now, is the confluence of its lead designer’s and the client’s visions. “The common denominator is that we try to create sophisticated, simple designs, but always warm, cosy and relaxing, which is the purpose of a boat, at least for the clientele that we have,” says the lead designer on the team. “We have never worked with a client who expected a more formal use of the boat.”

An interior rethink is a common experience when stepping into a build at such a late stage. The yacht’s interior had been done for someone else. “It was nice but busy, but it had extremely good bones. We told our client, ‘We think we can make it work’ and he said, ‘OK, make a list of everything you would change without hesitation’. To our huge list he added his own changes. Then he said, ‘Go back to Heesen. If they can deliver that in time for me to use this summer, we have a deal.’ And ‘that’ included relocating the [spa pool], adding awnings, changing a bulkhead on the sky lounge. It was huge surgery.”

The white oak with wenge accents on the surrounding bulkheads remained, as did taps, mirrors and vanity units. But “we changed all the flooring, ceiling panels, fabrics, all the leathers, all the wallpapers, any feature wall and all loose furniture.” The large and beautiful master suite, the largest of six cabins on board, was stripped of its finishes almost entirely. “What was dark we made light, what was light we made dark,” the designer says with a laugh. “We were just stubborn.”

One of the biggest jobs, which involved metal work, was the reconfiguration of the sundeck and the spa pool, which was rotated to create a huge, private sunbed area and carve out space “for a champagne or tapas bar”. More changes happened on the main deck aft, where the seating area was expanded and reconfigured to accommodate an outdoor cinema , and the lower deck, where the large beach club had gym equipment added. One of the most complex tasks, surprisingly, was fitting a copper light fixture to the curved walls of the redesigned staircase. “This whole thing [the staircase] was the most challenging for Heesen. That and the bulkhead in the sky lounge [which was redone to take out a secondary crew passage and install a 2.2 metre mirror television in the reconfigured upper saloon],” the designer says.

“The structure of the stairs was there, but they had to take the whole thing out and rebuild every single step, do the millwork and the wall panels again; it was like a puzzle. We added stainless steel overhead, added the lighting underneath. They had to do electricity, wood, metal, leather, bringing all the trades in this tiny spot.” And it all had to be done in a compressed time period. After the first meeting – “a long day in Oss,” as Cardenas describes it – there followed two months of negotiating and drawing and four months of work. “It was extremely quick,” Radyca’s lead designer says.

To the credit of the builders, by August Laurentia was on her way. “It demonstrates the flexibility of the yard to be able to react in a quick manner and give the owner what he’s looking for,” says Thom Conboy, Heesen’s director of sales for North America. “It’s not ideal for the yard; the ideal situation is to have the boat sold a year or more before delivery so the client still gets all personalisation.” But the silver lining is that Heesen got two 55 metre yachts sold within a few weeks – Project Alida’s former owner decided to buy a later hull to have more breathing room in the construction schedule. “It was luck and great timing,” Conboy says.

What made this possible is that Heesen does nearly all of its own yacht interiors from two large furniture shops, including one off site near the German border, enabling the yard to keep control over its usually aggressive production schedule. Her unconventional story, and an interior by a design firm with a track record as impressive as its public profile is low, made Laurentia intriguing but she proved elusive. It was the end of the Caribbean season by the time I caught up with Laurentia and her crew of 13 in St Lucia’s Marigot Bay. The yacht was easy to spot against the backdrop of the emerald bay and a colourful local flotilla of fishing and excursion craft.

While resort dwellers craned their necks for a better look of the very private beauty from the nearby Capella resort, the crew was in full prep mode for the imminent trek north-west to Bermuda, then across to the Azores, Gibraltar and eventually to southern France. The captain had already brought Laurentia across the Atlantic and was looking forward to his “20th or so” transatlantic journey.

“She is designed for long-distance cruising,” he says. “She is very comfortable, very stable.” The naval architecture is by Van Oossanen, which made use of its patented Fast Displacement Hull Form. The 55 metre series is the first application of this hull to a full displacement yacht. “A traditional full displacement hull, while efficient at cruising speed, becomes very inefficient at hull speed,” Perry van Oossanen says. “When we tried the fast displacement hull, we discovered we could extend the top speed a bit without stretching the engines too much.”

This hull form resulted from an extensive parametric study that used computational fluid dynamics (CFD), this time “aimed more at efficient cruising than a high maximum speed”. Besides efficiency and low resistance, the studies also focused on comfort, especially roll at anchor. The yacht has large fins by Naiad, installed forward of centre, but Van Oossanen prefers not to reveal the details of what makes the hull so efficient. “There are some secrets of the trade in the fine tuning of the round bilge displacement hull, the bow, how you distribute the volume; it’s subtle differences with big advantages,” he says.

Some exterior features were streamlined from the first 55 metre for more efficient construction. “It’s a typical Omega design,” says Frank Laupman, the firm’s CEO, “because basically she is very simple. There is not a lot of engineering the yard needs to do – no wing door, no hatches – so she can be efficiently built. My background is from industry and, while I really like to create to owners’ ideas, I am passionate when it comes to shipbuilder requirements. I thrive for efficiency and rational design.”

The biggest difference from hull No 1 is the layout. There’s an open tender bay on the foredeck instead of an enclosed tender garage on the lower deck, which allowed for a large beach club. “Like any of our platform boats, the design continues to evolve,” Conboy says. The mast, which lowers from view when the boat is at anchor, doubles as a crane to lift off two 6.2 metre Castoldi tenders. And then there is deep storage for jet skis and other toys.  Laurentia , which will be selectively available for charter, has plenty.

The tweaking was a success from all angles. The owner, who finally got to see the yacht about six weeks after the contract’s signature, is reportedly very happy and the yacht’s relaxed and elegant interior was even nominated World Superyacht Award . But it is nearly as satisfying to witness how the confluence of technology and of a streamlined yacht-building process can change the way business is done. “Technology, if used correctly, might just save this old-school industry,” Cardenas says.

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