These are the Top 10 Largest Sailing Yachts in the World

By Vlad Craciun

Updated on December 3, 2021

In the world of the rich and famous, large, expensive, luxury and yacht are common words which often come together to form what’s probably one of the biggest dreams rich people have: to spend much of their leisure time away at sea on a luxurious superyacht.

Modern or classic looking, with white sails, sleek lines and superb interiors, the yachting world has plenty of options to offer. For some though, a yacht is not really a yacht if it’s not one built for sailing, raising its sails into the winds and thrusting towards the infinite blue horizon.

Now, we’ve done some digging into the sailing realm and came up with the top 10 largest sailing yachts in the world right now:

  • 10. Atlantic (69.2 meters)


Now long gone, the original 69.24 meter long Atlantic was designed by William Gardner and built back in 1903 by Townsend & Downey in Shooter Island, New York.

The actual one is only a replica of the original, build by following the drawings of the first shooner, found in various archives across the United States. One of them, the MIT Museum in Massachusetts, had digitized them with the help of Doug Peterson, a consulting naval architect who has guaranteed the authenticity of the lines and flotation.

  • 9. Badis (70 meters)


Once known as Sybaris, the 70 meter long Badis is one of the largest yachts build by the Italian naval company Perini Navi in the latest years. The yacht was finished in 2016, with Phillipe Briand as a consultant for the naval architecture, PH Design shaping the stunning wood veneer interior, and the exterior designed by Perini Navi.

Badis has room for a total of 12 guests, offering a master suite and five double rooms, complete with en-suite bathrooms and entertainment centers.

  • 8. Enigma (75 meters)


Enigma is a 75 meter long single handed race yacht, designed specifically for participating in the Observer Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race. It was previously called Phocea and managed to cross the Atlantic in 1976, after which it was converted to a cruise ship by the French shipyard DCAN.

Over two decades later, it had a major interior and exterior overhaul at the Lürssen shipyard in Germany and was sold in 2010 to its present owners. Enigma now has a master suite, a VIP room, two double and two twin cabins and room for 12 guests and 23 crew members.

  • 7. M5 (77.5 meters)


M5 is a 77.5 meter yacht designed by Ron Holland Design and built by Vosper Thornycroft in the United Kingdom. The vessel underwent some exterior and interior modifications. The stern section was redesigned and extended by 3 meters.

The yacht got a side boarding platform as well and the interior was also refitted to change the looks and style of the main and lower decks. The main deck is going to look completely different once all the joinery will be replaced.

  • 6. Aquijo (86 meters)


Aquijo is an 86 meter long Dutch sailing yacht designed by Bill Trip’ and constructed by Vitters and Oceanco. It was launched in 2015 and at once became the largest ketch-rigged sailing yacht in the world, with its mainmast rising to 88.4 meters above the sea level.

  • 5. Maltese Falcon (88 meters)

Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon with its 88 meters is one of the most recognized and appreciated yachts of all time. The reason for that is its revolutionary DynaRig, an automated square rigged sail plan, with three carbon fiber rotating masts rising high into the sky, and holding the 15 square sails which amount to no less than 25,800 sq ft of canvas.

The system delivers outstanding performances, with hard to match speed and maneuverability. Constructed by Perini Navi, the Maltese Falcon was purchased in August 2009 by the current owner and is often seen competing in superyacht regattas.

  • 4. Athena (90 meters)


Athena is a 90 meter long super sailing yacht constructed by the Dutch Royal Huisman shipyard back in 2004. The exterior design was conceived by Pieter Beeldsnijder Design, the naval architecture by Dykstra & Partners and the interior was envisioned by Rebecca Bradley Interior Design.

The performances of this super yacht, a match to its name, Athena, make it one of the fastest sailing superyachts, reaching a top speed of 19 knots. Its length makes it also one of the largest sailing yachts launched after the 1930’s.

  • 3. EOS (93 meters)


EOS is a 1500 GRT three masted schooner with a length of 93 meters, placing it on the third place in our list of the 10 largest sailing yachts in the world right now. It was launched in 2006 by Lürssen, but there’s not much to know about it ever since due to its owners big love for privacy, making it one of the most private vessels on the seas.

  • 2. Black Pearl (106 meters)

Black Pearl

The Black Pearl is considered by many to be the largest sailing yacht in the world so far. It’s a 106 meter long vessel made to cross any ocean by harnessing the power of wind alone. It was built by the Oceanco shipyard in the Netherlands and got to meet its owner in 2018.

The Black Pearl features a modern and complex energy generation system and a top notch DynaRig setup made by Dykstra Naval Architects, making it one of the most advanced yachts of its kind. The overall design was made by its owner in close collaboration with a distinguished design team.

  • 1. Sailing Yacht A (142.8 meters)

Sailing Yacht A

Number one on our list is the impressive Sailing Yacht A, a controversial vessel in this category due to its combination of sail power and motor yachting, many people disregarding it when it comes to talking about pure sailing yachts. The official category it comes into is sail-assisted motor yacht, making the best of the two worlds.

In our opinion though, its 142.8 meters length and its grand 100 meter high carbon fiber masts make it fit enough for the first place as the largest sailing yacht in the world. Sailing Yacht A was constructed by Nobiskrug and delivered to its owner in 2017.

Aquijo sailing yacht

About Vlad Craciun

Vlad has over 7 years of experience writing content about subjects such as travel, cars, motorcycles, tech & gadgets, and his newly discovered passion, watches. He’s in love with two wheeled machines and the freedom and the thrills that motorcycle travel provides. Learn more about Luxatic's Editorial Process .

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The 25 Largest Yachts in the World

The list runs from lürssen's 592-foot 'azzam' to fincantieri 439-foot 'serene,' with a fascinating group of bespoke vessels in between..

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Top 25 Superyachts Now

The new arrivals in 2024 knock the mighty 436.4-foot  Al Mirqab   and  Koru , Jeff Bezos’s sailing yacht, off the list. The “smallest” yacht— Serene —measures a whopping 439.3 feet. A raft of behemoths didn’t make it, including Feadship’s 290-foot Project 821 that is launching this year, the largest build from the Dutch shipyard to date.

Two of Lürssen’s 2024 deliveries also fell short, including Project Deep Blue and Project JassJ. That said, the German yard remains top of the leader board with the immoveable 592.6-foot  Azzam . It also claims 13 of the 25 world’s largest yachts, two of which are new entries.

The list is interesting because most were built in the last 15 years, but there are several historical yachts, including  Savarona , launched in 1931, and  El Mahrousa , launched in 1865, that withstand the test of time. Others like  Yas  and  OK are conversions from other types of vessels. The inimitable  A  is a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated sailing superyacht.

Here are the world’s top 25 yachts by length.

Azzam | 592 feet, 6 inches

Lürssen Azzam

Lürssen could never really boast about Azzam after its launch in 2013 because of the owner’s penchant for privacy, though it did describe the interior by Christophe Leoni, which features a 95-foot-long main salon, as “inspired by the Empire style of the early 19th century.” Owner Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi directed a team of designers and engineers who started with the bare concept, worked through the technical challenges of what might be the most complex superyacht ever, and finished with an unusually large vessel that can top the 30-knot mark when operating in “sprint mode”. Its gas turbines, connected to water jets, also give it the ability to operate at high speed in shallow waters. Nauta Yacht’s exterior features a long, sleek forward area, with well-proportioned tiers moving up to the skydeck. It took an impressive six million man-hours—or four years including engineering—to build.  Azzam  accommodates up to 36 guests, and a crew of 80.

Fulk Al Salamah | 538 feet, 1 inch

"Fulk Al Salamah," Mariotti Yachts

Little information has been released about the world’s second-longest superyacht, the custom-built Fulk Al Salamah , and it has been shrouded in mystery since it was first announced in 2014. Even the overall length of 538.1 feet has been estimated from AIS data. However, the imposing vessel, built and delivered by Italian builder Mariotti Yachts in their Genoa shipyard in 2016, is believed to be owned by Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman. Last refit in 2021, the yacht has an exterior design by Studio de Jorio, and it is considered by some to resemble more of a support vessel than a superyacht. Nonetheless, aerial photography shows an impressively large helideck, raked masts, and a bathing platform.

Eclipse | 533 feet, 1 inch

Superyacht Eclipse

The 533.1-foot stately  Eclipse , one of two yachts on this list owned by sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich, took five years to design and build. When it left the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg in 2010, it was the world’s largest yacht. The interior has 17 staterooms and a palatial primary suite, with the capacity to carry 85 crew. Both the interior and exterior are designed by Terence Disdale. A proportional profile is defined by tiered decks that sweep upward and bend ever so slightly at the aft ends. Eclipse  has a 185-foot-long owner’s deck, the capacity to hold three helicopters, a sophisticated stabilization system, six tenders, and an enormous spa, gym and beach club, not to mention one of the largest swimming pools on any superyacht. Hybrid diesel-electric engines are connected to Azipod drives that give Eclipse a top-end speed of 21 knots, with a range of 6,000 nautical miles.

Dubai | 531 feet, 5 inches

DUBAI UAE - DEC 16: Dubai - yacht of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum the ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. December 16 2014 in Dubai UAE

Even at 531.5 feet, Dubai ’s all-white Winch-designed exterior belies the dramatic and vibrant interior within. Colorful mosaic floors, a spiraling glass staircase, 70-foot-wide atrium, and bursts of red, blue, and green create a carnival of scene. Originally commissioned for Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei as a joint project between Blohm+Voss and Lürssen . Known as “Panhandle,” the project was halted in 1998 with just a bare hull and skeletal superstructure. The hull was sold to the government of Dubai, and, under the direction of the country’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, work on the 531.5-footer began again, though this time by Platinum Yachts. Dubai delivered in 2006 and is now the sheikh’s royal yacht, with accommodations for 24 guests and quarters for 88 crew. The SOLAS-certified seven-decked yacht has a landing pad for a Black Hawk helicopter, submarine garage, disco and cinema, and can reach a top speed of 26 knots. There’s also a waterfall that cascades from the yacht’s pool, located aft of the main deck. The yacht’s range of 8,500 nm at 25 knots gives it the potential to cruise around the world in record time.

Blue | 518 feet, 3 inches

Lürssen Superyacht Blue

Lürssen’s newest entry on the list, Blue , which delivered to its Middle Eastern owner in July 2022, may rank at number five out of the world’s largest yachts, but its diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system goes a long way to minimize emissions. The yacht also features an electric Azimuth pod drive that can be used independently or in conjunction with the twin propeller shafts. There is a waste-water treatment system and an advanced exhaust treatment system to help reduce NOx levels, as well as cut down on vibration and noise pollution. Interior and exterior design is by Terence Disdale, Blue is defined in profile by a raked bow with a helipad, an aft deck pool, and twin balconies forward either side of the owner’s full-beam suite. There is a second, smaller helipad aft. The British designer has reportedly penned a feminine and elegant interior, though no images have yet been released.

Dilbar | 511 feet, 8 inches

Espen Øino Dilbar yacht

The 2016 launch of Dilbar gave Lürssen the distinction of not only building the longest yacht ever ( Azzam ), but also the largest in terms of volume. Espen Øino designed the exterior, creating a full-bodied superstructure of long, flowing decks, along with two helicopter pads,two helicopter pads, one of which has a hangar with an H175 helicopter always on standby.  Dilbar  also has an oversized garden and an 82-foot swimming pool that can hold an incredible 6,357-cubic-feet of water and according to Lürssen, is the world’s longest on a yacht. The interior by  Winch Design  is defined by its “rare and exclusive luxury materials,” says the builder, declining to go into detail. Despite  Dilbar ’s volume, the designers did a masterful job making the yacht look relatively svelte. In June 2020, Dilbar returned to Lürssen for a significant refit, where the yacht remains following U.S. sanctions placed on the owner, Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, in 2022. The yacht’s value is estimated to be $600 million.

Al Saïd | 508 feet, 5 inches

Al Said measures 508'5" and was built by Lurssen Yachts

Another 500-plus-foot yacht from Lürssen, the original Project Sunflower gained its official name of Al Saïd following its launch in 2016. Espen Øino’s exterior is akin to a classic cruise liner, complete with the twin-exhaust stacks in the center of the superstructure. Owned by the Sultan of Oman, the yacht was listed for the sale for the first time in April 2022 for an undisclosed sum, but a buyer has yet to be confirmed. The six-decked  Al Saïd  can carry 154 crew and an estimated 70 guests across 26 suites. Lürssen reports a top speed of 22 knots. The London-based Redman Whiteley Dixon studio designed the interior, which includes a concert hall that can hold a 50-piece orchestra, a private cinema for 50 people; you’ll also find a medical room and dental care on board.

A+ | 483 feet, 1 inch

Lürssen Topaz largest yachts in the world

Very little is known about A+ (formerly Topaz) , which was launched by Lürssen in 2012. Tim Heywood Designs did the exterior, which features helipads on the foredeck and amidships on an upper deck. A lower aft deck includes a swimming pool. The German yard has not released any images of the Terence Disdale interior. Reported to be owned by Manchester City Football Club owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan—Emirati royalty and deputy prime minister of the UAE— A+  is equipped with a 40-foot Vikal catamaran beachlander and is powered by six Wärtsilä engines to reach a top speed of 22 knots. It can carry 62 guests and up to 79 crew and was last refit in 2022.

Prince Abdulaziz | 482 feet, 3 inches

Prince Abdulaziz

The 5,200-tonne Prince Abdulaziz is one of the Saudi Royal family’s yachts, its first owner being King Fahd. Designed by Maierform, the yacht was the longest and tallest in the world at the time of its launch, a title the 482.3-foot  Prince Abdulaziz  held for 22 years until  Dubai  launched in 2006. The late David Nightingale Hicks, known for his use of bright colors, was the interior designer. The lobby is said to be a replica of the Titanic . The yacht is also rumored to be carrying surface-to-air missiles, though that may be an urban legend. Launched by Helsingør Værft in Denmark in 1984, it was last refit in 2023.

OK | 479 feet

Ohima Shipbuilding's OK

Originally built by Japan’s Oshima Shipbuilding in 1982, the semisubmersible heavy lift ship was used for decades by DYT Yacht Transport as float-on yacht carrier. In 2022, the vessel underwent a private conversion at Karmarine shipyard in Turkey, turning it into a luxury, though highly unusual, yacht named OK . Modifications include a matte-black paint job, gold-tinted glazing, and teak decking. The vessel’s 328-foot submersible aft deck—a feature that first attracted her new owner, who uses OK to transport their 150-foot ketch—is now covered in a carpet of artificial grass. A 40-tonne crane allows for the safe and easy launch and retrieval of a vast range of toys, including a seaplane. The interior by Bozca Design is reported to include accommodation for 20 guests, a botanical garden, and a crazy Willy Wonka–inspired glass elevator that operates outside of the yacht’s superstructure.

Opera | 479 feet

Lürssen Yacht Opera

Very little is known about Lürssen’s mysterious superyacht Opera , though it’s thought to be a rebuild of Project Sassi, which was destroyed in a fire in 2018 at the German shipyard. Now four feet longer than the first iteration, the superyacht became the 11th largest yacht in the world when it delivered to its patient owner in 2023. Exterior and interior designed by Terence Disdale, Opera has a whopping 66-foot beam and an interior volume exceeding 10,000GT. No interior images have been released yet, though judging by its two swimming pools, one with a lifting floor, and two helipads—one on the bow and one on the upper aft deck—it seems no expense has been spared.

El Mahrousa | 478 feet, 1 inch

"El Mahrousa" Yacht, Samuda Brothers

El Mahrousa , which means “The Protected” in Arabic, is currently Egypt’s presidential yacht, though the 478.1-footer has a separate history as that country’s royal yacht. The London-based Samuda Brothers began the build in 1863, and it was launched in 1865. The world’s oldest superyacht—and formerly the world’s biggest—was originally built for the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Khedive Ismail, and later carried three Egyptian kings into exile. The yacht was also at the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. It features external design by the British naval architect Sir Oliver Lang and has had multiple modifications over the years, including a lengthening by 40 feet in 1872 and another 17 feet in 1905. During the second refit, the owners replaced its paddle-wheel engines with turbine-driven propellers. The yacht, in care of the Egyptian Navy, occasionally goes to sea for a day or two. In 2015, it was used to inaugurate the new Suez Canal.

Project Luminance | 475 feet, 7 inches

Superyacht Lumaniance

Delivered in 2024, Project Luminance (the real name is yet to be confirmed) is Lürssen’s newest entry on the list. Exterior designed by Espen Øino, the yacht has a raked bow, a contrasting paint job in a dark blue hull and silver superstructure and a whopping 8,999 gross tons of interior volume. Few details are yet known about the gigayacht owned by Ukrainian mining and financial services mogul Rinat Akhmetov, including the interior by Francois Zuretti, but aerial shots reveal twin helicopter pads—one on the foredeck and another high up aft—a large beach club, and an infinity pool, with a private spa pool area on the foredeck.

A | 468 feet, 5 inches

Nobiskrug sailing yacht A.

Undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects ever delivered by German shipyard Nobiskrug, the Philippe Starck-designed A is a wild fantasy of the future. Delivered in 2017, the futuristic look of  sailing yacht  A includes smooth, silver-metallic surfaces and windows that look nearly invisible, a 26-foot draft, three composite masts that bend slightly, and a deck hidden by high bulwarks. The Philippe Starck–design is a wild fantasy yacht of the future. The 468-foot sailing yacht is a technical victory for Nobiskrug , which developed composite fashion plates to create the unusual shapes without compromising any strength or fluidity. It has the tallest freestanding composite masts on any sailing vessel, a diesel-electric propulsion system, and state-of-the-art navigation systems. The boat also reportedly has an underwater viewing platform in the keel. Starck’s traditional interior features dark wood, copper accents, and cozy patterned carpets. The split-deck main salon is divided into zoned seating areas with integrated bookshelves. A remains today the world’s largest sailing yacht six years after its launch, though many argue it is better defined as a sail-assisted yacht.

Nord | 466 feet

Lürssen OPUS Launch

Nord was announced in 2015 but didn’t hit the water until its 2020 sea trials in the Baltic Sea. The 466-foot yacht features interior design by Italian studio Nuvolari Lenard and was Lürssen’s first yacht launched from its floating shed at its facility in Vegasack. Boasting top-tier amenities, the yacht includes a sports and diving center on the lower deck, multiple tenders ranging in size up to 50 feet and a large swimming pool. The two helipads support the yacht’s long-range cruising capabilities for autonomous exploration, and a retractable hangar means a helicopter can slide neatly into the superstructure for storage when not in use. A generous 20 staterooms accommodate 36 guests across six decks, while a sleek aft-sloping superstructure gives Nord an individual profile on the water.

Yas | 462 feet, 6 inches

Superyacht Yas in Barcelona

As a converted yacht, Yas is one of the most interesting vessels on this list. The dolphin-like exterior was originally a former Dutch Navy frigate that launched in 1978 and eventually sold to the navy of the United Arab Emirates, where it was renamed Al Emirat . The yacht underwent its dramatic conversion in a facility in Abu Dhabi’s main port, emerging as a gleaming superyacht in 2011, with one of the most interesting profiles on the water. It was eventually delivered four years later. Reportedly owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed al Nahyan, half-brother of the president of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the design by Paris-based Pierrejean Vision is defined by massive glass surfaces. Yas can accommodate 60 guests and 58 crew members. Mated to a steel hull, the superstructure is the largest composite edifice ever built.

Solaris | 459 feet, 3 inches

Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

Owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, the 476-foot  Solaris  was one of the largest yachts to deliver in 2021. Last refit in 2022 at MB92 in Barcelona, the vast, highly private explorer is built by German shipyard Lloyd Werft and features a displacement steel hull with bulbous bow and steel superstructure with teak decks. The eight-deck exterior by Australian designer Marc Newson houses a large helipad, sundeck, spacious beach club aft and 21,527 square feet of glass, the largest panes to ever be built into a yacht. Lloyd Werft also built the Russian billionaire’s previous explorer yacht Luna , which he reportedly sold for $360 million to his close friend Farkhad Akhmedov in 2014.

Ocean Victory | 459 feet, 3 inches

Fincantieri Yachts’ 459-foot Ocean Victory Photo by Trevor Coppock /

The largest motoryacht ever built in Italy, Fincantieri’s Ocean Victory is owned by Russian billionaire Viktor Rashnikov, who was sanctioned in 2022. The seven-deck exterior by Espen Øino includes two helideck platforms and a hangar belowdecks, as well as exceptional outdoor social areas and a floodable tender dock. Ocean Victory has accommodations for 28 guests as well as quarters for 56 crew. The interior by Alberto Pinto remains a secret, aside from the yacht’s six pools, a 3,300-square-foot spa, and an underwater observation room.

Scheherazade | 459 feet, 3 inches

Russian oligarchs yachts continued to be seized

The 459.3-foot, Lürssen-built Scheherazade (formerly known as Project Lightning) was delivered in June 2020, with exterior design by Espen Øino and interior design by Francois Zuretti. Two helipads, forward and aft, and a large beach club aft are visible from aerial photographs, but aside from the yacht’s reported seven-foot beam, 40 crew and unique drone-crashing system for privacy, further details have not yet been released. The reason may lie with the yacht’s unofficial owner, believed to be Russian president Vladimir Putin. In May 2022, Italian authorities froze Scheherazade in the port of Marina di Carrara following an investigation conducted by Italian financial police who found the ship’s beneficial owner had “significant economic and business ties” to high-ranking Russian government officials, though the results of the investigation to date remain inconclusive.

Al Salamah | 456 feet

Lürssen Al Salamah gigayacht

When Lürssen launched Al Salamah in 1999, it was the third-largest yacht in the world. Its number 20 ranking shows how much has changed in the last 20 years. Code-named MIPOS, or Mission Possible, the yacht was designed by Terence Disdale . Originally owned by Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz, the yacht was put up for sale for $280 million in in 2013 before it was reportedly given to Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa as a gift. The large imposing exterior is primarily protected space, with an upper deck exposed to the elements. Al Salamah has staterooms for 40 guests, including two owner suites, 11 VIP staterooms, and eight twin cabins. The yacht can carry up to 96 crew and has a top speed of 22 knots. Al Salamah was last refitted in 2009.

Rising Sun | 454 feet, 1 inch

Lürssen Rising Sun superyacht

Designed by the original guru of yacht designers, Jon Bannenberg, Rising Sun was built by Lürssen for Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and is currently owned by billionaire David Geffen, who reportedly paid $590 million for the yacht. The yacht comes with a gym, a grand piano, multiple swimming pools, a beauty salon, and a spa with a sauna. Delivered in 2004 and last refit in 2022, the yacht’s exterior is defined by banks of windows across the superstructure. Rising Sun has 86,000 square feet of living space in 82 rooms. It can accommodate 18 guests in nine cabins, with the capacity to carry up to 46 crew. The interior by Seccombe Design includes a gym, cinema, and wine cellar, and the rear cockpit deck was designed as a basketball court. Geffen received global media backlash in 2020 for his “tone deaf” social-media posts that pictured himself on board his yacht during Covid-19 lockdown.

Flying Fox | 446 feet, 2 inches

Lürssen's Flying Fox superyacht.

The 446.2-foot  Flying Fox is arguably the most high-profile yacht on this list, primarily for being the largest yacht available on the charter market. In 2022, it was also singled out as “blocked property” by U.S. authorities in 2022 due to its previous management Imperials Yachts, which was on the US sanctions list. The yacht’s owner, however, Russian billionaire Dmitry Kamenshchik, is not sanctioned, so the yacht was turned over to him and returned to charter in 2024. Key features of the Espen Øino-designed exterior are a curvaceous dove-gray hull and a 3.7-foot swimming pool that runs athwartship on the main aft deck, the largest ever found on board a yacht. A two-decked spa also gives guests access to a cryosauna, hammam, and relaxation room with a fold-down balcony at sea level. Packed to the rafters with the latest amenities, the yacht holds a diving center, a decompression chamber, and two helipads. Flying Fox is PYC compliant and can accommodate 25 guests.

Savarona | 446 feet, 2 inches

Savarona superyacht 25 top yachgts

Launched in 1931, and by far the largest and fastest private yacht of her day, Savarona was built for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwalader and is easily identified by its two mustard-colored funnels. The yacht was eventually acquired by Turkey to be the presidential yacht of Kemal Atatürk, founder of modern Turkey. Jane’s Fighting Ships described the yacht in 1949 as “probably the most sumptuously fitted yacht afloat.”  Savarona was later converted to a training ship for the Turkish Navy and, in 1978, destroyed by fire. The yacht laid in tatters for 10 years. A Turkish businessman spent around $45 million refurbishing Savarona , commissioning Donald Starkey for the interior and replacing the original steam-turbine engines with modern Caterpillar diesels. Savarona became Turkey’s official presidential yacht again in 2014, accommodating up to 34 guests in 17 suites and carrying up to 48 crew. Amenities include a swimming pool, a Turkish bath, a 280-foot grand staircase, a movie theater and a library dedicated to Atatürk.

Crescent | 443 feet

Lürssen Crescent superyacht Larry Ellison

Last refit in 2021, Espen Øino’s dark hull and tiered superstructure was one of the most exciting launches of 2018. Called Project Thunder internally at Lürssen, the custom-built yacht features cutouts along the hull sides that allow full ocean views from the saloon on the primary deck, as part of Crescent ’s distinctive curved superstructure. Its most noteworthy feature is the jaw-dropping bank of three-deck-high windows in the center of the yacht. This architectural feature serves as the centerpiece of a very compelling design. The yacht has accommodations for 18 guests in nine staterooms. Little is known about the François Zuretti-designed interior, other than Lürssen describing it as being “traditionally styled.” If it lives up to Crescent ’s brash exterior, the complete yacht promises to be an entirely groundbreaking design. In March 2022, Crescent was detained by Spain as property of Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, who is sanctioned in connection with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Serene | 439 feet, 3 inches

Fincantieri Serene superyacht

Serene  is the yacht that launched Fincantieri into the superyacht segment, and what a debut it was. The largest yacht ever launched in Italy when it was delivered in 2011 (surpassed three years later by Ocean Victory ), the Espen Øino seven-deck design features a long, sleek blue hull crowned by a white superstructure. Pascale Reymond of Reymond Langton Design created the 43,056-square-foot interior for a Russian owner, which includes a double height atrium with a piano lounge at the top and a vast open-plan main salon below. Sunken LEDs and bright pink and purple neon lights create a modern party vibe in the social areas, which contrast with the elaborate yet more traditional guest suites. A spiral staircase with intricate metal banisters soars through the heart of the yacht. The open stern area has a winter garden (enclosed glasshouse) that allows dining in all seasons. Serene also has two helipads and a hangar, a big swimming pool, and a tender garage large enough for a submarine.

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Top 10 Biggest Sailing Yachts In The World

The top 10 largest sailing yachts in the world have a combined length of 944.5 meters.

These include the Sea Cloud, which is almost a century old, and the much anticipated Oceanco’s 127m Project Y721 set to launch in 2022.

Read on for our list of the world’s top 10 largest and biggest yachts.

1. Sailing Yacht A | 142.8m

Sailing Yacht A Blohm VOSS FV

Sailing Yacht A tops this list, measuring in at 142.8m. At 12,558GT, it is also the heaviest sailing yacht on our list, measuring 5 times more than the second-largest sailing yacht.

Sailing Yacht A, built by  Nobiskrug  in 2017, blends impressive sailing and motor yacht designs into a highly innovative vessel.

The boat features three 100m freestanding masts higher than London’s Big Ben, making her an eye-catching vessel. 

2. Sea Cloud | 109.5m

Sea Cloud has sailed the high seas since 1931. The 2532 GT vessel was built for Edward F Hutton and heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post by German shipbuilder Friedrich Krupp.

The 109.5m sailing yacht has interchanged ownership several times and was rebuilt in 1978 by new German owners. The vessel is available for charter to provide guests with a luxury sailing experience. 

3. Black Pearl | 106.7m

black pearl yacht

Black Pearl was designed to cross oceans with just the power of the sail. The vessel is 106m in length and is striking with her black sails, weighing in at 2,864 GT.

She was delivered in 2018 and built by  Oceanco . The vessel features an advanced solar system. She also has a high-tech DynaRig setup by Dykstra Naval Architects .

4. EOS | 92.92m

EOS was built for American media and movie mogul Barry Diller under a shroud of secrecy. The three-masted Bermuda rigged schooner was launched by  Lürssen  Yachts in Germany in 2006 and refitted at Dutch Royal Huisman Shipyard in 2011.

Since her launch, she has remained one of the most private vessels in the world. EOS weighs in at 1500 GT.

5. Athena | 90m

Athena was delivered in 2004 by Royal Huisman Shipyard. The 1103 GT vessel is unique, with its advanced engineering and spacious interior that is uniquely sized for a sailing yacht.

She features naval architecture by Dykstra Naval Architects and Pieter Beeldsnijder Design. The 90m Athena was built for US software developer Jim Clark.

6. Maltese Falcon | 88m


The Maltese Falcon is one of the most photographed yachts of all time. The 88m yacht has an advanced automated square-rigged DynaRig and three rotating carbon fiber masts.

The 15 square sails hold 25,800 feet of canvas, giving her unprecedented performance, speed, and maneuverability. The yacht was built by renowned sailing yacht builder  Perini Navi . 

7. Aquijo | 86m

 Aquijo is an 86m sailing yacht built by Vitters Shipyard and Oceanco and launched in 2016. She is the largest ketch-rigged sailing yacht in the world, with her main mast reaching 88.4m into the air.

She displaces 1538 GT. Her exterior design and naval architecture were designed by Tripp Design Naval Architects . 

8. Sea Eagle II | 81m

Sea Eagle II was delivered in 2020 from Royal Huisman. The impressive sailing yacht is the shipyard’s largest by volume, displacing 1150 GT.

The three-masted schooner has a carbon Panamax rigging by Rondal and was built in collaboration with designer Mark Whiteley and Dykstra Naval Architects. She is also the world’s largest aluminum sailing yacht.

9. M5 | 77.6m

M5 was launched as Mirabella V in 2004 and delivered to American yachtsman Joe Vittoria. M5 is still the largest sloop in the world to this day.

The impressive yacht was built by Vesper Thorneycroft in England and has undergone several refits. In 2013, she was refitted by Pendennis and extended by 3.2m. She was refitted again in 2019.

10. Badis I | 70m

Badis I was built by Perini Navi and delivered under the name Sybaris in 2016. Philipe Briand consulted with the famous shipbuilder on naval architecture.

PH Design contributed her wooden veneer interior, accommodating 12 guests. Badis I is one of the largest yachts Perini Navi has delivered from their Italian shipyard.

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Yachting World

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First look: WING 100 – one of the world’s largest megayachts

  • Toby Hodges
  • October 27, 2022

Royal Huisman reveal 100m megayacht. The radical Wing 100 concept is designed to be a true sailing yacht, not 'sail assisted'

biggest yacht with sails

A dream team of superyacht heavyweights have collaborated to produce this ambitious future-proofed megayacht sailing concept, one which, if built, would rank in the top five largest sailing yachts in the world.

The famed Dutch yard Royal Huisman worked with big rig specialists Dykstra Naval Architects and British interior designer Mark Whitely to visualise this extraordinary 100m/330ft craft.  

Were it to be commissioned, it would be built in aluminium and is designed to be a true sailing yacht rather than a motoryacht with sails (such as Sailing Yacht A , the world’s largest at 142m). It’s also one that the design team predict can be easily handled thanks in part to its innovative airfoil wingmasts.  

biggest yacht with sails

The WING100 will be one of the top five biggest sailing yachts every built. Images: Royal Huisman

The relative simplicity of the push-button controlled sailing systems is also a factor which should help the project appeal to motorboaters wanting to reduce their environmental impact, thinks Royal Huisman.

It predicts that the efficiency of the rig means that WING 100 will consume less than 20% of the energy required by an equivalent motoryacht on passage, which equates to over 225,000lt of fuel per year.

The twin 73m free standing, rotating  wing masts would be built by Royal Huisman’s sister company Rondal. These have airfoil profiles, can be remotely adjusted to help increase or decrease power, and help to minimise deck clutter.

biggest yacht with sails

The bow has a 60-degree chamfer

The wing masts prioritise the ability to set sails quickly, easily and comfortably and incorporate 480m 2 of solar panels that can generate 250kW a day. The experience of Dykstra will be invaluable in the rig development thanks to its work with the ground-breaking and well proven DynaRig projects Maltese Falcon and Black Pearl .  

The Vollenhove yard is one of the only few capable of such a formidable project, having previously launched Athena (90m) and Sea Eagle II (81m) and with the 85m Project 410 currently in build.

“The emergence of sailing yachts on this scale, with the level of energy efficiency and eco-responsibility offered by WING 100, would have been unthinkable just a decade ago”, states Royal Huisman CEO Jan Timmerman.  

biggest yacht with sails

WING 100 Specifications

LOA: 100m/330ft

Construction: aluminium

Air draught: 73m/239ft

Rig: Rondal carbon rig with Integrated Sailing System. Unstayed rotating wing masts, carbon furling booms

Speed: 24+ knots

Accommodation: 12 guests + nanny/governess + 16 crew

Design & interior: Dykstra Naval Architects/Mark Whiteley Design

Builder: Royal Huisman

The Ultimate Guide to Sail Types and Rigs (with Pictures)

What's that sail for? Generally, I don't know. So I've come up with a system. I'll explain you everything there is to know about sails and rigs in this article.

What are the different types of sails? Most sailboats have one mainsail and one headsail. Typically, the mainsail is a fore-and-aft bermuda rig (triangular shaped). A jib or genoa is used for the headsail. Most sailors use additional sails for different conditions: the spinnaker (a common downwind sail), gennaker, code zero (for upwind use), and stormsail.

Each sail has its own use. Want to go downwind fast? Use a spinnaker. But you can't just raise any sail and go for it. It's important to understand when (and how) to use each sail. Your rigging also impacts what sails you can use.

Cruising yacht with mainsail, headsail, and gennaker

On this page:

Different sail types, the sail plan of a bermuda sloop, mainsail designs, headsail options, specialty sails, complete overview of sail uses, mast configurations and rig types.

This article is part 1 of my series on sails and rig types. Part 2 is all about the different types of rigging. If you want to learn to identify every boat you see quickly, make sure to read it. It really explains the different sail plans and types of rigging clearly.

biggest yacht with sails

Guide to Understanding Sail Rig Types (with Pictures)

First I'll give you a quick and dirty overview of sails in this list below. Then, I'll walk you through the details of each sail type, and the sail plan, which is the godfather of sail type selection so to speak.

Click here if you just want to scroll through a bunch of pictures .

Here's a list of different models of sails: (Don't worry if you don't yet understand some of the words, I'll explain all of them in a bit)

  • Jib - triangular staysail
  • Genoa - large jib that overlaps the mainsail
  • Spinnaker - large balloon-shaped downwind sail for light airs
  • Gennaker - crossover between a Genoa and Spinnaker
  • Code Zero or Screecher - upwind spinnaker
  • Drifter or reacher - a large, powerful, hanked on genoa, but made from lightweight fabric
  • Windseeker - tall, narrow, high-clewed, and lightweight jib
  • Trysail - smaller front-and-aft mainsail for heavy weather
  • Storm jib - small jib for heavy weather
I have a big table below that explains the sail types and uses in detail .

I know, I know ... this list is kind of messy, so to understand each sail, let's place them in a system.

The first important distinction between sail types is the placement . The mainsail is placed aft of the mast, which simply means behind. The headsail is in front of the mast.

Generally, we have three sorts of sails on our boat:

  • Mainsail: The large sail behind the mast which is attached to the mast and boom
  • Headsail: The small sail in front of the mast, attached to the mast and forestay (ie. jib or genoa)
  • Specialty sails: Any special utility sails, like spinnakers - large, balloon-shaped sails for downwind use

The second important distinction we need to make is the functionality . Specialty sails (just a name I came up with) each have different functionalities and are used for very specific conditions. So they're not always up, but most sailors carry one or more of these sails.

They are mostly attached in front of the headsail, or used as a headsail replacement.

The specialty sails can be divided into three different categories:

  • downwind sails - like a spinnaker
  • light air or reacher sails - like a code zero
  • storm sails

Cruising yacht with mainsail, headsail, and gennaker

The parts of any sail

Whether large or small, each sail consists roughly of the same elements. For clarity's sake I've took an image of a sail from the world wide webs and added the different part names to it:

Diagram explaining sail parts: head, luff, tack, foot, clew, and leech

  • Head: Top of the sail
  • Tack: Lower front corner of the sail
  • Foot: Bottom of the sail
  • Luff: Forward edge of the sail
  • Leech: Back edge of the sail
  • Clew: Bottom back corner of the sail

So now we speak the same language, let's dive into the real nitty gritty.

Basic sail shapes

Roughly speaking, there are actually just two sail shapes, so that's easy enough. You get to choose from:

  • square rigged sails
  • fore-and-aft rigged sails

I would definitely recommend fore-and-aft rigged sails. Square shaped sails are pretty outdated. The fore-and-aft rig offers unbeatable maneuverability, so that's what most sailing yachts use nowadays.

Green tall ship with green square rigged sails against urban background

Square sails were used on Viking longships and are good at sailing downwind. They run from side to side. However, they're pretty useless upwind.

A fore-and-aft sail runs from the front of the mast to the stern. Fore-and-aft literally means 'in front and behind'. Boats with fore-and-aft rigged sails are better at sailing upwind and maneuvering in general. This type of sail was first used on Arabic boats.

As a beginner sailor I confuse the type of sail with rigging all the time. But I should cut myself some slack, because the rigging and sails on a boat are very closely related. They are all part of the sail plan .

A sail plan is made up of:

  • Mast configuration - refers to the number of masts and where they are placed
  • Sail type - refers to the sail shape and functionality
  • Rig type - refers to the way these sails are set up on your boat

There are dozens of sails and hundreds of possible configurations (or sail plans).

For example, depending on your mast configuration, you can have extra headsails (which then are called staysails).

The shape of the sails depends on the rigging, so they overlap a bit. To keep it simple I'll first go over the different sail types based on the most common rig. I'll go over the other rig types later in the article.

Bermuda Sloop: the most common rig

Most modern small and mid-sized sailboats have a Bermuda sloop configuration . The sloop is one-masted and has two sails, which are front-and-aft rigged. This type of rig is also called a Marconi Rig. The Bermuda rig uses a triangular sail, with just one side of the sail attached to the mast.

The mainsail is in use most of the time. It can be reefed down, making it smaller depending on the wind conditions. It can be reefed down completely, which is more common in heavy weather. (If you didn't know already: reefing is skipper terms for rolling or folding down a sail.)

In very strong winds (above 30 knots), most sailors only use the headsail or switch to a trysail.

biggest yacht with sails

The headsail powers your bow, the mainsail powers your stern (rear). By having two sails, you can steer by using only your sails (in theory - it requires experience). In any case, two sails gives you better handling than one, but is still easy to operate.

Let's get to the actual sails. The mainsail is attached behind the mast and to the boom, running to the stern. There are multiple designs, but they actually don't differ that much. So the following list is a bit boring. Feel free to skip it or quickly glance over it.

  • Square Top racing mainsail - has a high performance profile thanks to the square top, optional reef points
  • Racing mainsail - made for speed, optional reef points
  • Cruising mainsail - low-maintenance, easy to use, made to last. Generally have one or multiple reef points.
  • Full-Batten Cruising mainsail - cruising mainsail with better shape control. Eliminates flogging. Full-length battens means the sail is reinforced over the entire length. Generally have one or multiple reef points.
  • High Roach mainsail - crossover between square top racing and cruising mainsail, used mostly on cats and multihulls. Generally have one or multiple reef points.
  • Mast Furling mainsail - sails specially made to roll up inside the mast - very convenient but less control; of sail shape. Have no reef points
  • Boom Furling mainsail - sails specially made to roll up inside the boom. Have no reef points.

The headsail is the front sail in a front-and-aft rig. The sail is fixed on a stay (rope, wire or rod) which runs forward to the deck or bowsprit. It's almost always triangular (Dutch fishermen are known to use rectangular headsail). A triangular headsail is also called a jib .

Headsails can be attached in two ways:

  • using roller furlings - the sail rolls around the headstay
  • hank on - fixed attachment

Types of jibs:

Typically a sloop carries a regular jib as its headsail. It can also use a genoa.

  • A jib is a triangular staysail set in front of the mast. It's the same size as the fore-triangle.
  • A genoa is a large jib that overlaps the mainsail.

What's the purpose of a jib sail? A jib is used to improve handling and to increase sail area on a sailboat. This helps to increase speed. The jib gives control over the bow (front) of the ship, making it easier to maneuver the ship. The mainsail gives control over the stern of the ship. The jib is the headsail (frontsail) on a front-and-aft rig.

The size of the jib is generally indicated by a number - J1, 2, 3, and so on. The number tells us the attachment point. The order of attachment points may differ per sailmaker, so sometimes J1 is the largest jib (on the longest stay) and sometimes it's the smallest (on the shortest stay). Typically the J1 jib is the largest - and the J3 jib the smallest.

Most jibs are roller furling jibs: this means they are attached to a stay and can be reefed down single-handedly. If you have a roller furling you can reef down the jib to all three positions and don't need to carry different sizes.

Sailing yacht using a small jib

Originally called the 'overlapping jib', the leech of the genoa extends aft of the mast. This increases speed in light and moderate winds. A genoa is larger than the total size of the fore-triangle. How large exactly is indicated by a percentage.

  • A number 1 genoa is typically 155% (it used to be 180%)
  • A number 2 genoa is typically 125-140%

Genoas are typically made from 1.5US/oz polyester spinnaker cloth, or very light laminate.

A small sloop using an overlapping genoa

This is where it gets pretty interesting. You can use all kinds of sails to increase speed, handling, and performance for different weather conditions.

Some rules of thumb:

  • Large sails are typically good for downwind use, small sails are good for upwind use.
  • Large sails are good for weak winds (light air), small sails are good for strong winds (storms).

Downwind sails

Thanks to the front-and-aft rig sailboats are easier to maneuver, but they catch less wind as well. Downwind sails are used to offset this by using a large sail surface, pulling a sailboat downwind. They can be hanked on when needed and are typically balloon shaped.

Here are the most common downwind sails:

  • Big gennaker
  • Small gennaker

A free-flying sail that fills up with air, giving it a balloon shape. Spinnakers are generally colorful, which is why they look like kites. This downwind sail has the largest sail area, and it's capable of moving a boat with very light wind. They are amazing to use on trade wind routes, where they can help you make quick progress.

Spinnakers require special rigging. You need a special pole and track on your mast. You attach the sail at three points: in the mast head using a halyard, on a pole, and on a sheet.

The spinnaker is symmetrical, meaning the luff is as long as its leech. It's designed for broad reaching.

Large sailing yacht sailing coastal water using a true spinnaker

Gennaker or cruising spinnaker

The Gennaker is a cross between the genoa and the spinnaker. It has less downwind performance than the spinnaker. It is a bit smaller, making it slower, but also easier to handle - while it remains very capable. The cruising spinnaker is designed for broad reaching.

The gennaker is a smaller, asymmetric spinnaker that's doesn't require a pole or track on the mast. Like the spinnaker, and unlike the genoa, the gennaker is set flying. Asymmetric means its luff is longer than its leech.

You can get big and small gennakers (roughly 75% and 50% the size of a true spinnaker).

Also called ...

  • the cruising spinnaker
  • cruising chute
  • pole-less spinnaker
  • SpinDrifter

... it's all the same sail.

Small sloops using colorful gennakers in grey water

Light air sails

There's a bit of overlap between the downwind sails and light air sails. Downwind sails can be used as light air sails, but not all light air sails can be used downwind.

Here are the most common light air sails:

  • Spinnaker and gennaker

Drifter reacher

Code zero reacher.

A drifter (also called a reacher) is a lightweight, larger genoa for use in light winds. It's roughly 150-170% the size of a genoa. It's made from very lightweight laminated spinnaker fabric (1.5US/oz).

Thanks to the extra sail area the sail offers better downwind performance than a genoa. It's generally made from lightweight nylon. Thanks to it's genoa characteristics the sail is easier to use than a cruising spinnaker.

The code zero reacher is officially a type of spinnaker, but it looks a lot like a large genoa. And that's exactly what it is: a hybrid cross between the genoa and the asymmetrical spinnaker (gennaker). The code zero however is designed for close reaching, making it much flatter than the spinnaker. It's about twice the size of a non-overlapping jib.

Volvo Ocean race ships using code zero and jib J1

A windseeker is a small, free-flying staysail for super light air. It's tall and thin. It's freestanding, so it's not attached to the headstay. The tack attaches to a deck pad-eye. Use your spinnakers' halyard to raise it and tension the luff.

It's made from nylon or polyester spinnaker cloth (0.75 to 1.5US/oz).

It's designed to guide light air onto the lee side of the main sail, ensuring a more even, smooth flow of air.

Stormsails are stronger than regular sails, and are designed to handle winds of over 45 knots. You carry them to spare the mainsail. Sails

A storm jib is a small triangular staysail for use in heavy weather. If you participate in offshore racing you need a mandatory orange storm jib. It's part of ISAF's requirements.

A trysail is a storm replacement for the mainsail. It's small, triangular, and it uses a permanently attached pennant. This allows it to be set above the gooseneck. It's recommended to have a separate track on your mast for it - you don't want to fiddle around when you actually really need it to be raised ... now.

US naval acadamy sloop in marina with bright orange storm trysail and stormjob

Sail Type Shape Wind speed Size Wind angle
Bermuda mainsail triangular, high sail < 30 kts
Jib headsail small triangular foresail < 45 kts 100% of foretriangle
Genoa headsail jib that overlaps mainsail < 30 kts 125-155% of foretriangle
Spinnaker downwind free-flying, balloon shape 1-15 kts 200% or more of mainsail 90°–180°
Gennaker downwind free-flying, balloon shape 1-20 kts 85% of spinnaker 75°-165°
Code Zero or screecher light air & upwind tight luffed, upwind spinnaker 1-16 kts 70-75% of spinnaker
Storm Trysail mainsail small triangular mainsail replacement > 45 kts 17.5% of mainsail
Drifter reacher light air large, light-weight genoa 1-15 kts 150-170% of genoa 30°-90°
Windseeker light air free-flying staysail 0-6 kts 85-100% of foretriangle
Storm jib strong wind headsail low triangular staysail > 45 kts < 65% height foretriangle

Why Use Different Sails At All?

You could just get the largest furling genoa and use it on all positions. So why would you actually use different types of sails?

The main answer to that is efficiency . Some situations require other characteristics.

Having a deeply reefed genoa isn't as efficient as having a small J3. The reef creates too much draft in the sail, which increases heeling. A reefed down mainsail in strong winds also increases heeling. So having dedicated (storm) sails is probably a good thing, especially if you're planning more demanding passages or crossings.

But it's not just strong winds, but also light winds that can cause problems. Heavy sails will just flap around like laundry in very light air. So you need more lightweight fabrics to get you moving.

What Are Sails Made Of?

The most used materials for sails nowadays are:

  • Dacron - woven polyester
  • woven nylon
  • laminated fabrics - increasingly popular

Sails used to be made of linen. As you can imagine, this is terrible material on open seas. Sails were rotting due to UV and saltwater. In the 19th century linen was replaced by cotton.

It was only in the 20th century that sails were made from synthetic fibers, which were much stronger and durable. Up until the 1980s most sails were made from Dacron. Nowadays, laminates using yellow aramids, Black Technora, carbon fiber and Spectra yarns are more and more used.

Laminates are as strong as Dacron, but a lot lighter - which matters with sails weighing up to 100 kg (220 pounds).

By the way: we think that Viking sails were made from wool and leather, which is quite impressive if you ask me.

In this section of the article I give you a quick and dirty summary of different sail plans or rig types which will help you to identify boats quickly. But if you want to really understand it clearly, I really recommend you read part 2 of this series, which is all about different rig types.

You can't simply count the number of masts to identify rig type But you can identify any rig type if you know what to look for. We've created an entire system for recognizing rig types. Let us walk you through it. Read all about sail rig types

As I've said earlier, there are two major rig types: square rigged and fore-and-aft. We can divide the fore-and-aft rigs into three groups:

  • Bermuda rig (we have talked about this one the whole time) - has a three-sided mainsail
  • Gaff rig - has a four-sided mainsail, the head of the mainsail is guided by a gaff
  • Lateen rig - has a three-sided mainsail on a long yard

Diagram of lateen-rigged mast with head yard, gaff-rigged mast with head beam, and bermuda-rigged mast with triangular sail

There are roughly four types of boats:

  • one masted boats - sloop, cutter
  • two masted boats - ketch, schooner, brig
  • three masted - barque
  • fully rigged or ship rigged - tall ship

Everything with four masts is called a (tall) ship. I think it's outside the scope of this article, but I have written a comprehensive guide to rigging. I'll leave the three and four-masted rigs for now. If you want to know more, I encourage you to read part 2 of this series.

One-masted rigs

Boats with one mast can have either one sail, two sails, or three or more sails.

The 3 most common one-masted rigs are:

  • Cat - one mast, one sail
  • Sloop - one mast, two sails
  • Cutter - one mast, three or more sails

1. Gaff Cat

White cat boat with gaff rig on lake and three people in it

2. Gaff Sloop

biggest yacht with sails

Two-masted rigs

Two-masted boats can have an extra mast in front or behind the main mast. Behind (aft of) the main mast is called a mizzen mast . In front of the main mast is called a foremast .

The 5 most common two-masted rigs are:

  • Lugger - two masts (mizzen), with lugsail (cross between gaff rig and lateen rig) on both masts
  • Yawl - two masts (mizzen), fore-and-aft rigged on both masts. Main mast much taller than mizzen. Mizzen without mainsail.
  • Ketch - two masts (mizzen), fore-and-aft rigged on both masts. Main mast with only slightly smaller mizzen. Mizzen has mainsail.
  • Schooner - two masts (foremast), generally gaff rig on both masts. Main mast with only slightly smaller foremast. Sometimes build with three masts, up to seven in the age of sail.
  • Brig - two masts (foremast), partially square-rigged. Main mast carries small lateen rigged sail.

Lugger sails behind berth with rocks and small sloops in the foreground

4. Schooner

White schooner with white sails and light wooden masts

5. Brigantine

Replica of brigatine on lake with lots of rigging and brown, green, red, and gold paint

This article is part 1 of a series about sails and rig types If you want to read on and learn to identify any sail plans and rig type, we've found a series of questions that will help you do that quickly. Read all about recognizing rig types

Related Questions

What is the difference between a gennaker & spinnaker? Typically, a gennaker is smaller than a spinnaker. Unlike a spinnaker, a gennaker isn't symmetric. It's asymmetric like a genoa. It is however rigged like a spinnaker; it's not attached to the forestay (like a jib or a genoa). It's a downwind sail, and a cross between the genoa and the spinnaker (hence the name).

What is a Yankee sail? A Yankee sail is a jib with a high-cut clew of about 3' above the boom. A higher-clewed jib is good for reaching and is better in high waves, preventing the waves crash into the jibs foot. Yankee jibs are mostly used on traditional sailboats.

How much does a sail weigh? Sails weigh anywhere between 4.5-155 lbs (2-70 kg). The reason is that weight goes up exponentially with size. Small boats carry smaller sails (100 sq. ft.) made from thinner cloth (3.5 oz). Large racing yachts can carry sails of up to 400 sq. ft., made from heavy fabric (14 oz), totaling at 155 lbs (70 kg).

What's the difference between a headsail and a staysail? The headsail is the most forward of the staysails. A boat can only have one headsail, but it can have multiple staysails. Every staysail is attached to a forward running stay. However, not every staysail is located at the bow. A stay can run from the mizzen mast to the main mast as well.

What is a mizzenmast? A mizzenmast is the mast aft of the main mast (behind; at the stern) in a two or three-masted sailing rig. The mizzenmast is shorter than the main mast. It may carry a mainsail, for example with a ketch or lugger. It sometimes doesn't carry a mainsail, for example with a yawl, allowing it to be much shorter.

Special thanks to the following people for letting me use their quality photos: Bill Abbott - True Spinnaker with pole - CC BY-SA 2.0 lotsemann - Volvo Ocean Race Alvimedica and the Code Zero versus SCA and the J1 - CC BY-SA 2.0 Lisa Bat - US Naval Academy Trysail and Storm Jib dry fit - CC BY-SA 2.0 Mike Powell - White gaff cat - CC BY-SA 2.0 Anne Burgess - Lugger The Reaper at Scottish Traditional Boat Festival

Hi, I stumbled upon your page and couldn’t help but notice some mistakes in your description of spinnakers and gennakers. First of all, in the main photo on top of this page the small yacht is sailing a spinnaker, not a gennaker. If you look closely you can see the spinnaker pole standing on the mast, visible between the main and headsail. Further down, the discription of the picture with the two German dinghies is incorrect. They are sailing spinnakers, on a spinnaker pole. In the farthest boat, you can see a small piece of the pole. If needed I can give you the details on the difference between gennakers and spinnakers correctly?

Hi Shawn, I am living in Utrecht I have an old gulf 32 and I am sailing in merkmeer I find your articles very helpful Thanks

Thank you for helping me under stand all the sails there names and what there functions were and how to use them. I am planning to build a trimaran 30’ what would be the best sails to have I plan to be coastal sailing with it. Thank you

Hey Comrade!

Well done with your master piece blogging. Just a small feedback. “The jib gives control over the bow of the ship, making it easier to maneuver the ship. The mainsail gives control over the stern of the ship.” Can you please first tell the different part of a sail boat earlier and then talk about bow and stern later in the paragraph. A reader has no clue on the newly introduced terms. It helps to keep laser focused and not forget main concepts.

Shawn, I am currently reading How to sail around the World” by Hal Roth. Yes, I want to sail around the world. His book is truly grounded in real world experience but like a lot of very knowledgable people discussing their area of expertise, Hal uses a lot of terms that I probably should have known but didn’t, until now. I am now off to read your second article. Thank You for this very enlightening article on Sail types and their uses.

Shawn Buckles

HI CVB, that’s a cool plan. Thanks, I really love to hear that. I’m happy that it was helpful to you and I hope you are of to a great start for your new adventure!

Hi GOWTHAM, thanks for the tip, I sometimes forget I haven’t specified the new term. I’ve added it to the article.

Nice article and video; however, you’re mixing up the spinnaker and the gennaker.

A started out with a question. What distinguishes a brig from a schooner? Which in turn led to follow-up questions: I know there are Bermuda rigs and Latin rig, are there more? Which in turn led to further questions, and further, and further… This site answers them all. Wonderful work. Thank you.

Great post and video! One thing was I was surprised how little you mentioned the Ketch here and not at all in the video or chart, and your sample image is a large ship with many sails. Some may think Ketch’s are uncommon, old fashioned or only for large boats. Actually Ketch’s are quite common for cruisers and live-aboards, especially since they often result in a center cockpit layout which makes for a very nice aft stateroom inside. These are almost exclusively the boats we are looking at, so I was surprised you glossed over them.

Love the article and am finding it quite informative.

While I know it may seem obvious to 99% of your readers, I wish you had defined the terms “upwind” and “downwind.” I’m in the 1% that isn’t sure which one means “with the wind” (or in the direction the wind is blowing) and which one means “against the wind” (or opposite to the way the wind is blowing.)

paul adriaan kleimeer

like in all fields of syntax and terminology the terms are colouual meaning local and then spead as the technology spread so an history lesson gives a floral bouque its colour and in the case of notical terms span culture and history adds an detail that bring reverence to the study simply more memorable.

Hi, I have a small yacht sail which was left in my lock-up over 30 years ago I basically know nothing about sails and wondered if you could spread any light as to the make and use of said sail. Someone said it was probably originally from a Wayfayer wooden yacht but wasn’t sure. Any info would be must appreciated and indeed if would be of any use to your followers? I can provide pics but don’t see how to include them at present

kind regards

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The World’s Most Expensive Yachts—Including Some That Cost Billions

By Brett Berk

most expensive yachts

Though superyachts are already among the most costly consumer items available, the prices of the most expensive yachts in the world are still astounding. In recent decades, those with money to burn have settled on these floating palaces as an ideal locus for demonstrating their prosperity, and, as such, the global luxury yacht industry is undergoing a golden age. The world’s überwealthy think of their motor yachts as toys, and they’re constantly trying to outdo each other in scale, design, amenities, materials, and sheer profligacy.

Knowing this, what features does it take to own one of the most expensive yachts in existence? And how much do these opulent vessels actually cost? To that end, AD has compiled a list of the five priciest superyachts currently out on the water. As with many things connected to the very wealthy, details are shrouded in secrecy—often intentionally—to shield the assets from taxation or seizure, or to protect privacy.

Below, dive into the five reportedly most expensive yachts in the world.

5. Dubai ($400 million)

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This 531-foot yacht is reportedly owned by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai. Though it was originally planned for another Middle Eastern potentate, Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei, he suddenly voided the contract in 2001. With exteriors designed by Andrew Winch and interiors by Platinum Yachts, this German-built Blohm + Voss vessel features several Jacuzzis, a pool inlaid with handmade mosaic tiles that is reportedly large enough to hold 115 people, a circular staircase, a discotheque with an appropriately sized dance floor, squash courts, a movie theater, a dining room for 90 guests (the other 25 presumably have to eat in the pool?), a helipad, and a submarine.

4. Topaz ($527 million)

most expensive yacht

Resembling a stealth bomber, this 483-foot ship is reportedly owned by Russian fertilizer and coal oligarch Andrey Melnichenko. With exteriors by Tim Heywood Design Ltd. and interior designs by Terence Disdale Design, this German-built Lürssen Yacht features a 2,500-square-foot primary bedroom, six guest suites (with moveable walls so they can be transformed into four grand staterooms), glassware and tableware fashioned from French crystal, a helicopter hangar, a 30-foot speedboat tender, and three swimming pools, including one with a glass-bottom dangling menacingly above a disco.

3. Azzam ($600 million)

most expensive yachts

This 590-foot ship is currently thought to be the largest private yacht in the world and one of the fastest, with a top speed of 35 miles per hour. To achieve this immense scale and speed, it required a pair of gas turbines and two stratospherically potent diesel engines, rendering it very difficult to build. It is reportedly owned by a member of the royal family of the UAE, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. With exteriors by Nauta Yacht and interiors by French decorator Cristophe Leoni, this yacht was also built by Lürssen in Germany. The vessel is set apart by its early 19th-century Empire-style veneered furniture, as well as its state-of-the-art security systems, including a fully bulletproof primary suite and a high-tech missile deterrence capabilities.

2. Eclipse ($1.5 billion)

most expensive yachts

In addition to being the second-costliest, this 533-footer is thought to be the world’s second-largest private yacht. Owned by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich , the ship was claimed to be located in Turkey and may be impounded as part of the United Kingdom’s sanctions against Russia. Designed by Terry Disdale and built by Blohm + Voss, it features two-dozen guest cabins, two swimming pools, two helipads, and multiple hot tubs. For privacy and security reasons, it hosts a missile detection system, bulletproof windows in the primary bedroom and on the bridge, an anti-paparazzi shield, and, when all of that fails, a mini-submarine that can take a few VIPs 164 feet under the ocean’s surface.

1. History Supreme ($4.8 billion)

History Supreme has never actually been seen in a major port, and rumors suggest that the yacht may not be real and instead just a publicity stunt. Reportedly owned by Malaysia’s richest man, Robert Kuok, and designed by Stuart Hughes in the UK, the yacht is only a paltry 100 feet long. Its worth is said to be derived from its lavish finishes, including a statue constructed from genuine Tyrannosaurus rex bones, a liquor bottle embedded with an 18.5-carat diamond, and a primary bedroom with one wall made from meteorite and another from a 24-karat gold Aquavista Panoramic Wall Aquarium. If you see it somewhere, let us know.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is Jeff Bezos’s yacht?

Most Expensive Yachts

This is why people like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos work to keep their yachts out of the public eye. Though we are not including Jeff Bezos’s yacht, Koru (Maori for “coil”), in this list because it is a sailing yacht and thus excluded from the realm of these motor yachts, it created controversy in the Netherlands when its presence became known. Jeff Bezos’s abided the $500 million price tag of Oceanco, the Dutch custom yacht builder, to create the 417-foot megayacht. But when the company, at Bezos’s behest, requested that a local bridge be dismantled to make way for its gigantic mast on its journey from the shipyard, public sentiment turned against the cento-billionaire, and Oceano shelved its request. Maybe a port like Monaco would be more accommodating?

Also not on this list is the world’s largest private yacht, reportedly owned by Alisher Usmanov. Though size and cost typically scale in the world of superyachts, this is not always the case (see #1 in this list.) Also, Somnio, the 728-feet dream-monikered yacht liner that tops our list of the world’s largest private yachts , isn’t quite done being constructed. And it is not, like most of the largest superyachts, privately owned by one individual or family—it’s a kind of floating condo, with 39 eight-figure homes available to potential owners solely by invitation.

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Tim Murphy January+February 2024 Issue

biggest yacht with sails

James Clapham

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When the US targeted Russia’s oligarchs after the invasion of Ukraine, the trail of assets kept leading to our own backyard. Not only had our nation become a haven for shady foreign money, but we were also incubating a familiar class of yacht-owning, industry-dominating, resource-extracting billionaires. In the  January + February 2024  issue of our magazine, we investigate the rise of American Oligarchy—and what it means for the rest of us. You can read all the pieces  here .

The luxury yacht may be the world’s most exclusive form of transportation. But there are only a hundred-some that meet the definition of a gigayacht—a pleasure craft 295 feet or longer. Their opaque ownership records offer a glimpse of modern wealth and power: Over two dozen are linked to Gulf royals, businessmen, or states, and 20 to citizens (past or current) of the former Soviet Union. At least 23 have reportedly belonged to Americans, including founders of Microsoft, Netscape, Amazon, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. The widow of a German retailer who thrived under Hitler owned one; a UK tax exile and a Formula 1 dad still do. Yugoslav strongman Tito’s old yacht makes the list; Dominican dictator Trujillo’s does too. Take a cruise through the history of the vessels and their—somewhat—more modest sister ships.

biggest yacht with sails

1895: Nineteen years before World War I, the future King Edward VII of England punches his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II, in the face, after the German’s 121-foot yacht, Meteor II , defeats the royal Britannia in a race off the Isle of Wight.

1954: Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis ushers in an era of postwar one-upmanship with his 325-foot Christina O . It features a pool that converts into a dance floor, furniture made from whale foreskin, and pornographic carvings.

1963: During his final birthday party aboard the presidential yacht Sequoia , JFK chases future Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee’s wife, Antoinette, into the bathroom and gropes her. “I guess I was pretty surprised, but I was kind of flattered, and appalled, too,” she says later. The ship’s visitor logs are destroyed after Kennedy’s assassination.

1984: King Fahd of Saudi Arabia builds the record-breaking 482-foot Prince Abdulaziz .

biggest yacht with sails

1987: Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) drops out of the presidential race just before photos emerge of him with model Donna Rice aboard the yacht Monkey Business .

biggest yacht with sails

1988: Donald Trump acquires Nabila , which previously belonged to the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and was featured in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again . He renames it Trump Princess , adds a disco, and changes the helipad’s “H” to a “T.”

1991: After one of Trump’s casinos files for bankruptcy, he sells Trump Princess to his bank—which flips it to a Saudi prince. A new yacht, the Trump Princess II , which he boasted would be “something in excess of 400 feet long, closer to 500 feet,” is never built.

British publisher Robert Maxwell’s body is found in the Atlantic Ocean, where he had been cruising on a 180-footer named for his daughter—the Lady Ghislaine . The vessel is eventually resold to Anna Murdoch, Rupert’s second wife.

1994: At a cocktail party on the oligarch Petr Aven’s yacht in the Caribbean, Boris Berezovsky meets Roman Abramovich, calling him a “nice boy who wanted to discuss commercial projects.” He and Abramovich begin working together to acquire Sibneft, a Russian state oil company.

1997: Construction ends on The Limited and Victoria’s Secret owner Les Wexner’s ­316-foot Limitless . The project was overseen by his good friend Jeffrey Epstein.

biggest yacht with sails

1999: Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison buys the 191-foot Izanami from a Japanese seller. He changes the name to Ronin , he said later , after “the local newspapers started pointing out that Izanami was ‘I’m a Nazi’ spelled backwards.”

2001: Months before Enron files for bankruptcy, former CEO Jeffrey Skilling asks a company executive for advice on finding a yacht broker. “This industry is known for crooks and thieves,” he warns Skilling.

2002: House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) promises to strip “corporate kingpins of their ill-gotten gains,” after scandals rock Enron and WorldCom. “We’re coming after the yacht.”

2003: DeLay charges donors $500,000 a pop for tickets to a yacht cruise.

2005: Ellison shoots down rumors he issued orders midconstruction to have his newest yacht, the 454-foot Rising Sun , extended to outdo Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s recently launched 414-foot Octopus .

Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) pleads guilty to federal bribery charges after being caught living rent-free on a yacht, called the Duke-Stir , that was moored in Washington, DC, and owned by a defense contractor.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 531-foot Dubai surpasses Prince Abdulaziz as the world’s longest yacht.

2006: Media mogul Barry Diller reveals the world’s longest sailing yacht, the 305-foot Eos , whose prow features a 9-foot-tall sculpture of his wife, Diane von Furstenberg.

2007: Diller opens a Manhattan corporate headquarters­­ at a Frank Gehry­–designed building that itself has been likened to a sailboat . It’s across the street from where Eos ties up.

2008: George Osborne, the No. 2 official in the UK’s Conservative Party, relaxes on Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska’s yacht while vacationing with his family in Greece. He denies an accusation that he solicited funds, explaining in a statement that they discussed “Russian history” and drank tea.

biggest yacht with sails

2009: As his marriage falls apart, Tiger Woods retreats to a 155-foot yacht called Privacy .

biggest yacht with sails

2010: Abramovich’s new ship, Eclipse , surpasses Dubai as the world’s longest yacht. The 533-foot vessel features a submarine, anti-missile systems, and lasers to thwart paparazzi .

2011: During an unsuccessful suit seeking $5 billion he believed Abramovich owed him from the sale of Sibneft, an exiled Berezovsky claims that his former partner helped purchase the yacht Olympia for Vladimir Putin. When the BBC publishes a supporting account from another Russian businessman five years later, Abramovich’s lawyers dismiss the allegation as “a rehash of speculation and rumours.”

biggest yacht with sails

2012: As GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney faces criticism for holding investment funds in the Cayman Islands, his campaign invites donors to party on Cracker Bay . The ship, owned by the founder of The Villages retirement community, flies the Cayman Islands’ flag.

2013: UAE leader Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan launches the 593-foot Azzam , surpassing the Eclipse .

biggest yacht with sails

2014: The Wall Street Journal reports that Ellison has basketball hoops on “at least two of his yachts” and had someone follow in a smaller boat “to retrieve balls that go overboard.”

biggest yacht with sails

2016: Allen’s Tatoosh drags its anchor through a protected zone in the Cayman Islands, destroying 14,000 square feet of coral.

biggest yacht with sails

2017: After leaving office, Barack and Michelle Obama retreat to the South Pacific aboard David Geffen’s yacht, where they’re joined by Oprah, Tom Hanks, and Bruce Springsteen.

Abramovich’s business partner, Eugene Shvidler, blocks views of the Statue of Liberty while anchoring his 370-foot Le Grand Bleu in New York Harbor for a month.

Addressing the national Boy Scout Jamboree, Trump tells an anecdote widely assumed to allude to sex parties on a yacht belonging to the developer of the Levittown suburbs. “You’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did,” he said. “But you know life.”

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) buys a yacht and on the same day votes to cut taxes on yachts.

2018: Rupert Murdoch is airlifted to UCLA after collapsing on a yacht trip with his fourth wife, Jerry Hall. “He kept almost dying,” a source tells Vanity Fair .

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott designates a billionaire donor’s marina as a special anti-­poverty opportunity zone.

Someone unties Seaquest , a superyacht belonging to Trump administration Secretary of Education (and billionaire) Betsy DeVos, causing it to crash into a dock on Lake Erie.

Businessman Jho Low, who financed The Wolf of Wall Street , is accused of taking part in a $4.5 billion scheme to siphon Malaysian state development funds and using some to purchase a $250 million yacht.

biggest yacht with sails

2019: Actress Lori Loughlin is arrested in a college admissions bribery scheme . Her daughter, USC student Olivia Jade, is vacationing in the Bahamas— on a yacht belonging to USC board of trustees chair Rick Caruso.

Following an investigation into corruption in the Nigerian oil industry, the US government auctions off businessman Kolawole Aluko’s Galactica Star , six years after Jay-Z rented out the vessel for Beyoncé’s 32nd birthday. A former Enron unit attempts to claim a portion of the proceeds.

biggest yacht with sails

Clarence Thomas visits an Indonesian preserve for Komodo dragons with billionaire Harlan Crow on the conservative megadonor’s Michaela Rose .

ArtNet reports that a $450 million (reputed) da Vinci that was supposed to be in an Abu Dhabi museum has been spotted hanging in Mohammed bin Salman’s personal yacht, Serene .

Kylie Jenner holds her 22nd birthday party on Low’s yacht, now under new ownership.

biggest yacht with sails

2020: “[I]solated in the Grenadines avoiding the virus,” Geffen writes on Instagram from Rising Sun , which he purchased in 2010. “I’m hoping everybody is staying safe.”

biggest yacht with sails

Steve Bannon is arrested off the coast of Connecticut by US Postal Police while aboard the fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui’s 150-foot Lady May .

Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. dresses up as a character from the TV show Trailer Park Boys for a costume party aboard a NASCAR mogul’s yacht. He later posts a photo of himself to Instagram with his fly unzipped and his arms around his wife’s assistant.

2021: NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre testifies that he took refuge on Illusions , a Hollywood producer’s yacht, after the Newtown and Parkland mass shootings. “I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’”

During a bitter divorce, the Daily Mail reports that Tatiana Akhmedova, wife of the Russian Azerbaijani billionaire Farkhad Akhmedov, hired a team of British special forces veterans to seize his yacht, Luna , in an effort to enforce a Marshall Islands court ruling. They settle instead, and he keeps the boat.

Port Azure , dubbed the world’s first harbor designed exclusively for megayachts, opens in Gocek, Turkey. It bills itself as a place where “problems big and small go away.”

biggest yacht with sails

2022: Amid reports a historic bridge will be dismantled so Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ newly built Koru can leave Rotterdam’s shipyards, residents threaten to pelt the sailboat with eggs . The city changes plans.

A Ukrainian mechanic is arrested in Mallorca for attempting to sink a vessel owned by his boss, a Russian arms dealer.

biggest yacht with sails

Biden promises oligarchs he’s going to “take their ill-begotten gains” after the invasion of Ukraine. “We’re going to seize their yachts.”

Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder avoids a congressional subpoena on the team’s misogynistic culture while cruising the Mediterranean on his yacht, Lady S .

biggest yacht with sails

Missing Russian superyachts are spotted waiting out sanctions at Port Azure.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) criticizes Joe Biden for vacationing in Delaware while vacationing on a luxury yacht in Italy.

After sailing through Fiji on his yacht Aquarius , briefly retired Disney CEO Bob Iger tells friends he misses his wife and is bored with life.

New York Republican congressional candidate George Santos brokers a $19 million deal to sell a superyacht called Namaste to a Long Island car dealer.

Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX reveals in court filings that founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s hedge fund once spent $2.5 million on a yacht, which a top executive named Soak My Deck .

2023: Bezos takes possession of Koru . The $500 million, 417-foot sailboat comes with a bust that resembles his fiancée Lauren Sánchez—and its own second, 246-foot “shadow” support yacht with crew quarters and a hangar for the helicopter she pilots.

After divorcing Jerry Hall, Rupert Murdoch vacations on the Christina O with Abramovich’s ex-mother-in-law.

As TV and movie writers and actors strike, the Wall Street Journal reports that Iger, now back at work, has been regaling visitors to his Burbank office about the new, longer yacht he’s building.

Measuring Contest

Iconic gigayachts through the years

biggest yacht with sails

1931: Sea Cloud , Marjorie Post: 359 ft.

biggest yacht with sails

1981: Atlantis II , Stavros Niarchos: 380 ft.

biggest yacht with sails

2003: Octopus , Paul Allen: 414 ft.

biggest yacht with sails

2005: Rising Sun , Larry Ellison: 454 ft.

biggest yacht with sails

2010: Eclipse , Roman Abramovich: 533 ft.

biggest yacht with sails

2013: Azzam , Sheikh Khalifa: 593 ft.

Illustrations by Anthony Calvert

The Few, The Loud

Some famous faces aboard gigayachts

biggest yacht with sails

Steven Spielberg reeled out his anchor off Cannes.

biggest yacht with sails

A part of Katy Perry got stuck exiting a dinghy on her way to Barry Diller’s yacht.

biggest yacht with sails

Mohammed bin Salman purchased his yacht, Serene , just hours after he saw it.

biggest yacht with sails

Jerry Jones made a draft pick aboard his Bravo Eugenia to deepen the Cowboys’ bench.

biggest yacht with sails

Mariah Carey was engaged to a gigayacht owner, before the fantasy ended.

biggest yacht with sails

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Creole: On board the sailing yacht owned by the Gucci family

Launched 94 years ago, Creole has quite some history. But under the loving stewardship of the Gucci family, this classic schooner still sails like a dream...

Allegra Gucci’s classic sailing yacht Creole has graced the cover of Boat International before — but you may not have realised. The classic image (March 2015, for devoted collectors of this magazine) features a 1955 photograph of Sophia Loren at her most alluring, bound in a shimmering bodice, with this vast schooner in the background. The boat puts up an impressive fight for the viewer’s attention.

The extraordinary yacht and the family’s other classic, 18.3 metre Avel , are under the loving stewardship of Allegra, younger daughter of the late Maurizio Gucci — and she is guarding her father’s legacy with skill. She may be the scion of a fashion dynasty, having grown up between residences in New York and St Moritz (where she still resides now with her husband and small child) but she is also a serious sailor with a law degree, who can usually be spotted working on deck during races — or getting her hands dusty at a shipyard when on land.

“It’s like a small industry. A boat like Creole , in composite with double teak, needs maintenance — every year we take her out of the water for it. Black paint is not the best paint for a wooden boat, but Creole was born like this and we like to keep her that way.” Gucci may wear a Rolex but it’s the sailor’s arm candy of choice — a Submariner.

On and off the water, she seems happier in action than in a ball gown. “When I met my husband 12 years ago he introduced me to the world of motorcycles and fast cars. We share our passions and I really enjoy driving supercars on circuits. At the same time, he loves sailing, regattas and classic yachts.” Her current favourite ride is the McLaren 570S, which she took for a spin at Goodwood. But sailing on Creole , as she puts it, “has always been my first passion”.

Maurizio Gucci, the last member of the family dynasty to run the fashion empire, shared the same enthusiasm for the water and bought Creole in 1983, two years after Allegra was born. “I think at the time it was a little bit crazy,” she says. “We’re talking about the beginning of the 1980s, when there was not the knowledge we have now about restoring classic boats. And obviously Creole is not a normal classic yacht, she is an enormous classic yacht .”

Indeed, this 65.3 metre behemoth is the largest wooden sailing yacht in the world. Creole was launched as Vira by Camper & Nicholsons in 1927 for US carpet manufacturer Alexander Smith Cochran, who messed about a little too much with the design post-splash. He thought the masts looked too tall and had them cut (too much), adding more ballast to compensate for the newly stumpy masts. The result was too much roll and poor performance.

Her next owner was British yachtsman Maurice Pope, who renamed her Creole after a dessert invented by his chef, and then she was bought by an English baronet. Now she could sail, but the timing was poor — she was requisitioned for wartime service as a mine-hunter. Afterwards a new buyer, Greek shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos, lavished more money than any previous owners on restoring her, but sold her in 1977 to the Danish navy, who stripped her out to use as a training vessel.

By the time Maurizio Gucci took possession, she was badly in need of another passionate and wealthy yachtsman to pamper her. “She was like a wreck really,” says his daughter. “The goal of my father was to give Creole a second life, to keep the boat as original as possible. There were no interiors, so those were the only things made new — and they were made to respect the soul of the boat, in harmony with its history.”

Major refit work was undertaken at Beconcini in Italy, Lürssen in Germany and ended in Astilleros de Mallorca , while the designer Toto Russo was drafted in to reflect the style and the elegance of the period in which Creole was built, and a wealth of artworks was added across the six guest cabins. The result was a big, stylish and glamorous boat that sails like a dream.

“I remember a day in Saint-Tropez when we had perfect conditions and Creole was sailing in around 17 knots of wind, the cap rail properly in the water. It was one of the most thrilling moments I have experienced in sailing.”

This is a boat that has been with Allegra throughout her life — she holidayed on board as a child with her older sister Alessandra. “Some of the best memories I have on Creole are the water fights that would suddenly break out on board. They would start as just a splash between me and my sister and by the end of it everyone would be soaking wet — owners, crew and officers. Quite often somebody ended up in the sea. It was great fun!

“Another great memory is crossing the Med, from Spain to France or to Greece. I remember the beauty of the dark sky, the silence of being in the middle of the sea in perfect conditions and enjoying the quiet and the magic of the night. I remember lying in the cockpit covered by towels to protect me from the humidity.”

But at 65 metres, this fantasyland of a yacht was never going to be a practical training boat for the aspiring sailor. “I started learning on little dinghies, when I was around 10 years old, like normal kids do,” she says. She sailed a Laser around the lake at St Moritz, brushing up at summer camps in England, Brittany and Mallorca. “I always loved the sea — it is something like my ecosystem: the water, the sun, the wind.”

When she was still small her father decided he needed something rather humbler than Creole to enjoy regattas on — “it was becoming dangerous racing on Creole , there were lots of little boats on the circuit” — and he came across Avel . “She was built in 1896 but in 1927 the owners could not keep her in the water, so they put her in the mud and built a house boat on top. The hull remained in a perfect state because of the humidity of the mud.”

A quick refit was undertaken by the specialist Harry Spencer and she was on her way. Of a more manageable size than Creole , this was the family boat that provided the young Gucci with practical experience — “My objective was to be on the foredeck. I started on jib sheet, then finally after years I conquered my position on the foredeck” — and also inspiration.

“I was fascinated that you could stay on a boat that was built as long ago as 1896 — it’s a little piece of history,” she says. “I just fell in love with this world. When you go sailing on a classic boat it is magic. The feeling, the sound of the boat on the water is something you cannot describe. With modern boats, yes, you can go very fast, and you have the adrenaline. But with a classic — it’s pure, it’s like poetry. When you have the boat that is perfectly balanced, with the sails and the wind, it’s something fantastic.”

It’s worth noting that Avel has no engine. She’d never had one and the family wanted to respect the original design as much as possible during the refit. It means that she must be towed to the start line in regattas, but it doesn’t seem to have held her back. From 1994 she started to rack up the awards on the Med circuit, notably the Grimaldi Trophy and most prestigiously, “in the season of 2011 and 2012 we won the Les Voiles des Saint-Tropez”, says Allegra.

“It’s not a racing boat — it’s a Camper & Nicholsons design, not as fast as a Fife design for example. But we gave Avel a chance to be fast because it’s always been the same core crew racing her for 20 years, so we know what she’s good at and, more importantly, what she’s not so good at.”

The success is also due to a bold decision that was made after her father’s death. “When Avel was being restored (with a new mast and boom) we couldn’t find the original sailing plans. After a while, thanks to friends, we found them — the mast we had created was too tall and the boom was too long.

“So we decided on the philosophy of my father that the boat ought to be as the architect drew her, so we cut the mast and the boom. Everybody was a little bit scared — maybe the boat would go slower if we reduced the sail area of the main? But actually she didn’t, because she was much more balanced and fast.”

Following her victory at Les Voiles, Allegra, who was pregnant and unable to sail, decided the boat should be given a rest from racing. “I was on board for all the races Avel has done because it was fun for me. I’m not going to give the crew the fun to race without me!” But she couldn’t resist a little competition — Creole started participating in a few regattas and in 2013 won the Monaco Classic Week.

Her parents may have spent the 1980s at cocktail parties with Jackie O and the Kennedy clan in New York, but it was her father’s seadog friends who left young Gucci star-struck. “In my childhood I was very lucky to have the chance to meet fantastic sailors and people who were involved in the yachting world, such as Harry Spencer and Mark Ratsey.

“They were like superheroes to me, with so much experience and so many stories to tell. Mark became a special friend and I have learned from him most of the things I know about sailing. He was the best tactician you could possibly want and a very special person. We have done many, many regattas together in the last 20 years.”

Today, with a child under the age of three, the time she spends aboard the boats is more limited. “ Creole is a big boat, so having a child running up and down becomes a bit difficult. We go sailing — but maybe not with 28 knots of wind.” Leisurely cruising works better, with the Med’s cruising grounds at the top of the list. “It’s the perfect place for classic yachts. You have nice wind and in some places you don’t have too much swell that gives shocks to the boat.”

The Balearics have proved a family favourite and Gucci’s best-loved beaches are the white sands of Formentera. “I remember going there once, not to a specific place — and we said ‘let’s just follow the wind’. That was great — going sailing for two days with more wind, or less wind, and just enjoying time on the boat. It gives you the sense of freedom. I have the same enthusiasm that my father had for sailing and a true respect for our old ladies, Creole and Avel .”

First published in the June 2017 edition of BOAT International

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Conservatives, liberals clash over biden's 'freezing' moment with obama, president biden 'freezing' onstage with barack obama ... sparks heated debate.

President Biden 's age is once again a big talking point -- for his haters and his supporters -- after the Commander-in-Chief's awkward, and perhaps frozen, moment onstage during his L.A. fundraiser.

The prez was leaving the stage Saturday night with former President Barack Obama by his side, and Biden's detractors say his exit dragged on because he froze up ... forcing Obama to lead his once-vice president off the stage.

That’s a wrap on record-setting Democratic fundraiser for Joe Biden’s reelection campaign (netting $28M). Former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden offer final waves to Peacock Theater crowd as Obama then grabs Biden’s hand to lead him offstage following 40-minute… — Chris Gardner (@chrissgardner) June 16, 2024 @chrissgardner

Biden, who had just wrapped up a 45-minute chat with Jimmy Kimmel and Obama at the Peacock Theater, was waving to the crowd, but seemed to have a blank stare ... until Obama intervened.

The moment has already gone viral ... with conservatives and liberals both sharing their passionate takes on social media.

Donald Trump 's supporters feel confident this is a sign Biden is not equipped for reelection, with one fan declaring on X ... "Everyone promoting Joe Biden for another term is committing elder abuse, not to mention the abuse to our country."

Another chimed in with ... "Biden is not fit to serve. He belongs in a rest-home."

Liberals, on the other hand, have come to the defense of 46 -- calling out the fact Trump has needed assistance on the campaign trail, too.

One Biden supporter added ... "Don't believe what you see, Biden is at the top of his game."


This is a lie. Right-wing media is becoming so desperate they’re just making up fake stories out of thin air. Here is the actual footage. Nothing remotely close to this happened. — No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) June 16, 2024 @NoLieWithBTC

A third shared a different angle from the encounter, defending ... "This is a lie. Right-wing media is becoming so desperate they’re just making up fake stories out of thin air. Here is the actual footage. Nothing remotely close to this happened."

Others boasted that the fundraiser -- which was attended by A-listers like George Clooney , Julia Roberts , Barbra Streisand , among others -- brought in $28 million for the reelection campaign.

This isn't the first time Biden has appeared to freeze during a public appearance. Just last week , Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni seemed to step in and take Biden by the hand during the G7 summit.

Still, the White House has reportedly slammed the viral video ... defending the president was just taking in the applauding crowd for a few seconds -- nothing more.

The alleged freezing moment wasn't the only drama to plague the star-studded gala ... as pro-Palestine protesters made their presence known outside the theater.

The demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and called for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war ... but police in riot gear kept them from advancing too closely to the fundraiser.

An eventful evening, indeed.

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‘We want to retire at 57 and sail the world on a yacht – are our pensions big enough?’

Would you like to be featured in Money Makeover? Email [email protected] and let us know what your financial goals are.

M any of us spent our days in lockdown dreaming of what we would do and where we would go if it ever lifted – and for some that vision did not include work.

“Realistically about five years ago in lockdown like everyone else, we were picturing working towards early retirement, or taking an extended break which might look like retirement but doesn’t exclude us from returning to something afterwards,” says 45-year-old civil servant James Edwards.

He and his wife, wedding photographer Sarah, 46, have long dreamed of stopping work at 57, and taking to the seas once their teenage children have flown the nest.

“We see ourselves buying a yacht to live on, spending a couple of years cruising around Europe – building our confidence then maybe making the jump across the Atlantic,” says Mr Edwards. “We’d love to explore the eastern seaboard of the United States, Central and South America, and the Panama Canal to complete the whole circuit.”

Mr Edwards estimates spending around £150,000 on the aforementioned yacht, and the couple, both qualified skippers, believe that they will be able to sustain themselves on between £4,000 and £5,000 a month when the time comes for them to set sail.

They plan to sell their £600,000 home in north Wales to downsize, clearing their mortgage (they still owe £230,000 and currently pay £1,350 a month). “It would be good to keep the house if possible, but it’s a large expense and tricky to maintain,” Mr Edwards says.

Mr and Ms Edwards originally met in the army, and as such both have military pensions. Mr Edwards already draws £10,500 a year from his, but it will not be index-linked until he reaches 57. His current job pays him a salary of £57,000. Ms Edwards will not be drawing from hers until she is 57. Her photography business pays her £3,300 a month.

Mr Edwards is also a member of the civil service pension scheme, to which he contributes about 3pc of his salary. Sarah pays £1,000 a month into a private pension with Aviva, she also pays £200 a month into a director’s pension for her business.

In addition they have a rental property that gives them £300 income a month. It has an interest only mortgage with £67,000 outstanding. From this they put £50-100 in their children’s Isas each month. In total they currently have £19,000 in cash savings.

They have about a decade to get the cash together to live their dream – are they being realistic?

Felix Milton, chartered financial planner at Philip J Milton & Company, says:

Mr and Ms Edwards wish to be able to purchase a yacht and have an early retirement with an income of £48,000-£60,000 per year to travel the world whilst they are still able. The old way they will be able to achieve this is by selling some of their property, as the majority of their wealth is held here, with a much lower amount in defined contribution pensions.

In terms of their pension provision, they should look at changing the way they are saving into these to maximise their assets. 

Mr Edwards’s military pension will be taxed at his highest rate of income tax and this means they will both start to lose their child benefit as Mr Edwards’s total income will be over the threshold of £60,000 it begins to taper. 

As Mr Edwards is a higher rate taxpayer and Sarah is a basic rate taxpayer, pension saving is more valuable to them both in his name as he benefits from 40pc tax relief on his pension contributions whereas Ms Edwards only will benefit from 20pc tax relief. 

It would be wise for them to fund Mr Edwards’s existing defined contribution pension with the £1,000 per month they currently put into Ms Edwards’s pension. 

They will then be able to claim an additional £250 within the pension, making the monthly contribution £1,250 and also reclaim £250 per month (£3000pa) via Mr Edwards’s tax return in higher rate tax relief. 

The lost child benefit would also be reclaimed in full, worth £442 per year to them both.

I would also suggest they consider selling the rental property once the mortgage term ends, using the proceeds to repay a portion of their mortgage on their main home. 

This would allow them to increase their monthly pension contribution to Mr Edwards’s pension, securing further higher rate tax relief. 

Once they get to 57, they should have largely cleared the mortgage on their main home (assuming they keep their £1,350 monthly mortgage), as well as accumulated at least £135,000 in Mr Edwards’s pension in savings, even before investment growth.

They can then use this fund to supplement their lifestyle while they travel, drawing funds each month to meet their income needs on top of their other pension income.

It is likely at this time they will not have enough to purchase a yacht without selling their home, though they would be mortgage-free for their retirement, something which will significantly reduce their monthly outgoings.

Nicola Crosbie, Director of Moran Wealth Management, says:

One of the first things I would recommend to Mr and Mrs Edwards is breaking down their expenses to understand their outgoings, and identify any additional disposable income they can put towards savings. 

They should continue focusing on boosting their pensions through employment and personal contributions. 

At the same time, they need to bear in mind that while the upcoming pensions age rise to 57 in 2028 aligns with their plan to sail around the world in their yacht, if there were any subsequent changes to the minimum pension age they may be forced to push their date back if they don’t have other assets that can meet their needs.  

I would recommend adding some ISAs and cash savings into their portfolios to build up reserves and tax-free pots to draw upon. 

“They must also consider what their children will need between now and them becoming independent. 

While I do think their pensions look to be generous, I would recommend a full review to ensure that they are on track to provide the income they hope for. 

They need to look at the tax efficiency of owning property and tax they will pay on any profit made from a sale.

Getting a clearer overall picture of their tax income position would help provide better advice on how assets, such as a rental property, should be owned to make sure they are making the most of them. 

If their main residence is very costly, it might be more sensible to consider downsizing now if feasible when the kids are at home to be mortgage free if their yacht dream is non-negotiable. This would ensure more income is set aside for that dream. 

It is also important to have protection against risks to their health or income so their plans are not derailed if circumstances change. 

Finally, they must consider what happens after they finish sailing to ensure they are still comfortable. I would recommend they consider finding a trusted or recommended financial planner to help them build a plan and review annually to remain on track.

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James and Sarah Edwards, 45 and 46, believe they will be able to sustain themselves on £4,000 to £5,000 a month when they set sail


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