This school dropout turned taxi driver turned billionaire owns a support vessel so massive it surpasses many superyachts. The 262-footer is in a league of its own, boasting a basketball court, helipad, an arsenal of tenders and toys, and much more.

A support vessel so exclusive it could be considered a mothership—this is Damen Yachting’s U-81. This extraordinary 262-footer, surpassing most superyachts in length, stands out as one of the most exclusive support vessels globally. U-81, the property of the esteemed New Zealand billionaire Graeme Hart, underwent a comprehensive transformation to become a top-tier support vessel. Once an offshore oil and gas platform named Naghi 1000 at one of Damen’s commercial sites in Asia, it was reborn in 2022 as U-81 following a conversion at a Damen facility in the UAE. Today, this $100 million yacht reigns over the high seas, following in the wake of another grand megayacht, ‘Here Comes the Sun.’

The Amels ‘Here Comes the Sun’. Via Charterworld

The Amels mothership, at 292 feet, is only slightly larger than the shadow vessel. The ship, named after the iconic Beatles song, is currently listed for sale, which means U-81 is set to accompany Hart’s latest acquisition, the 337-foot Feadship ‘Ulysses.’ The shadow vessel is a marvel of service, designed to cater to every need.

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Graeme Hart in Amsterdam for the launch of his brand new Feadship superyacht.

Ulysses itself, at 338 feet, boasts amenities like four Jacuzzis, an extensive swimming pool, a concealed helicopter hangar, a winter garden, and even a hospital. For everything else, there is the U-81. Its recessed aft deck provides ample space to store an array of tenders and toys. Upon launch, this same space transforms into a basketball court. The high forebody is linked to a helipad with additional space below for stowing tenders.

Via Youtube / @Zwijnenburg

As a support ship, the vessel’s forte is not beauty but purpose, and U-81 doesn’t disappoint. U-81 wins the crown for being technically the largest yacht in Damen’s yacht support fleet. However, it doesn’t surpass the amazing $75 million Abeona Yacht, which holds the title for being the largest purpose-built support vessel in the Damen Yachting fleet. Abeona trails behind the world’s largest sailing yacht, owned by centibillionaire Jeff Bezos, the $500 million Koru.

Via Youtube / @Zwijnenburg

Hart’s 2,992 GT ship also outdoes Zuckerberg’s Wingman yacht, which spans 220 feet with a volume of 1,143 GT. U-81 accommodates 8 guests in 4 suites and is serviced by 26 crew members. The yacht’s top speed of 16 knots, cruising speed of 12 knots, and range of over 5,000 nautical miles make her a reliable vessel for long voyages.

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Kiwi businessman Graeme Hart just loves superyachts –

With a wealth of $10 billion, Hart, a school dropout, made quite a living with his packaging business. The 69-year-old went from towing trucks to becoming one of New Zealand’s richest businessmen. His entrepreneurial journey began in the 1980s with a party rental business, which yielded about $7 million, prepping him for his next move—one that involved pursuing 90 businesses before zeroing in on New Zealand’s Government Printing Office for $23 million. Hart’s Rank Holding Group makes everyday products like milk cartons, water bottles, paper, and aluminum foil. He also owns Hefty garbage bags, among many other valuable assets.

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With over 15 years of experience in luxury journalism, Neha Tandon Sharma is a notable senior writer at Luxurylaunches. Her expertise spans luxury yachts, high-end fashion, and celebrity culture. Beyond writing, her passion for fantasy series is evident. Beginning with articles on women-centric gadgets, she's now a leading voice in luxury, with a fondness for opulent superyachts. To date, her portfolio boasts more than 2 million words, often penned alongside a cappuccino.