For $500M, a boat builder in the Netherlands is making a 127-meter sailing yacht with three masts for Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon. It is so tall it may require the part of a bridge in Rotterdam to be dismantled on its route to the open sea. The former Amazon CEO, who is worth over $200 billion in 2021, already owns another superyacht, the Flying Fox, for which he paid an astounding $400 million. It’s the world’s 20th largest yacht and is available for charter.
The pandemic briefly damaged the superyacht business but it has bounced back rapidly — about 1,000 yachts are on order or being built this year, according to the trade publication Boat International. “The last two years have been crazy. It has been harder to find boats than clients,” says Sybil Napolitano, owner of Peritas International, a London-based yacht charter agency.
The Financial Times reported that Credit Suisse has lent more than $1B to ultra-rich clients to buy their own yachts, called “luxury toys”, in an investor pitch. The Swiss bank has securitized a portfolio of loans linked to its wealthiest customers’ yachts and private jets and offloaded the risks associated with lending to ultra-rich oligarchs and entrepreneurs.
Ron Perelman, the cosmetics tycoon, goes in a different direction. He used to be the owner of a superyacht but sold it for €90M two years ago, along with various of his properties and works of art.
“For far too long, I have been holding on to too many things that I don’t use, or even want . . . It’s time for me to clean house, simplify, and give others the chance,” he reflected. He is sailing against the tide.