It wasn’t so long ago that owning a luxury yacht with just one helipad was status symbol enough. These days, the truly decadent insist on having two. Over the past 20 years or so, Germany has carved out a niche for itself as the global capital of the luxury yacht-building industry, according to a report in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. And even after the recent economic downturn, the luxury yacht-building business is cruising along.
Shipbuilders Lürssen and Blohm & Voss have made a name for themselves by catering to their clients’ every demand, from on-board recording studios to showers that spray both water and champagne. In December, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s 536-foot yacht, Eclipse, set sail from Hamburg, where Blohm & Voss is based. Its building costs were pegged at $1.2 billion. The Eclipse is the world’s largest private yacht, but not for long: Lürssen is now working on a 590-foot yacht. “The desire to own the largest yacht will always be a competition among the super-rich,” says designer Joachim Kinder.