The Superyachts Top 100 has just been published but as Ivor Bennett reports the industry is being buffeted by the Russia crisis - fewer oligarchs are buying.
This is an industry where size matters. Meet the Azzam. At 181m, it's longer than 12 double decker buses. and for a third year running, holder of one of the most coveted titles on the ocean. SOUNDBITE (English) IVOR BENNETT, REUTERS, SAYING: "I'm Reuters reporter Ivor Bennett at the Superyachts Top 100, the annual unveiling of the largest yachts in the world and a place where swimming pools, helicopters and even jungles are part of the furniture." One yacht even boasts an ice-climbing wall... ...another, a hand-carved mahogany tree four-stories high. The requests from clients getting ever more extravagant. SOUNDBITE (English) ANDREW WINCH, YACHT DESIGNER, SAYING: "They're not anchoring in the same bay, but they'd like to join each other for lunch. So they say I'd lke a helicopter platform for my son's helicopter, I'd like a helipcoter platform for my helicopter, a garage for their heliopciter, but then my friends must be able to arrive by helicopter. There was a time when 50 metres would be held in high regard. But that's now just a drop in the ocean. The smallest yacht on this year's list measuring over 78 metres. This year saw seven new vessels enter the rankings. A testament to the industry's strength. But German shipbuilder Peter Lurssen is expecting some choppy waters ahead. SOUNDBITE (English) PETER LÜRSSEN, CEO, LÜRSSEN YACHTS, SAYING: "A large part of the market was driven by demand from Russian clients. They clearly are in a different position than they were two years ago. The cost in rouble to buy a yacht has more or less doubled which is reaching limits which are possibly prohibitive." Despite the oligarch woes, orders are flooding in from elsewhere. including rumours of a superyacht 200 metres long. If true, the Azzam's days at the top could be numbered.