The world of superyachts will soon get a new record-breaking uber-luxurious vessel when the construction work on Oceanco’s sailing yacht codenamed Y721 is completed later this year. With a length of 127 meters, the boat commissioned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is slated to become the world’s largest sailing yacht. In fact, the yet-to-be-delivered superyacht is also mentioned in the book on Bezos named Amazon Unbound. The book’s author, Bloomberg journalist Brad Stone, writes: “There, outside Rotterdam, a new creation was secretly taking shape: a 127-meter-long, three-mast schooner about which practically nothing was known, even in the whispering confines of luxury boat builders—except that upon completion, it will be one of the finest sailing yachts in existence.” However, there is a century-old obstacle that the vessel needs to cross before sailing the open seas with its owner onboard.
Back in February, the Y721 sailing yacht all of a sudden started grabbing headlines when a news report suggested that the city of Rotterdam will have to temporarily dismantle the central section of the 95-year-old bridge, known by the locals as “De Hef,” to allow the yacht’s three 70-meter tall masts to pass through. To put its size into perspective, the yacht will be almost the size of the pyramids of Giza. However, the locals didn’t take this news very kindly, and it was met with widespread protests. The vertical-lift bridge over the Koningshaven channel at the port of Rotterdam was built in 1927 and is seen as a symbol of the industrialization of the Netherlands. Back in 1993, the bridge was decommissioned and there were plans to demolish it. But after widespread protests from local residents, the bridge was refurbished and recognized as a national heritage monument.
The Mayor of Rotterdam had denied reports that it had received an official request to dismantle the bridge back in February. However, the Financial Times has reported that the Dutch shipbuilder is now finally seeking permission from the city to do so as the Y721 is nearing completion at a shipyard near Rotterdam. According to the report, the Y721 will be ready to make its maiden voyage in August and the city will have to make a decision before that.
Although the permit hasn’t been granted yet, the application process to dismantle the bridge is currently ongoing. This has reignited the furious debate among locals on the matter. “Are we going to bow our heads for Jeff Bezos just to give him his pleasure boat?” the FT quoted Paul van de Laar, head of the history department at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. “Is this city built to make sure that the billionaires can have a good time?”
Several months back, there was even a Facebook campaign against Oceanco’s 127m sailing yacht that planned on organizing a protest by throwing rotten eggs at it when it crosses the historic bridge. As many as 1500 people had confirmed their attendance, while several thousand had shown their willingness to join the protest.
However, not everyone has a negative opinion about the situation. Many believe that the vessel’s construction is a testimony “of the Netherlands’ centuries-old reputation as a seafaring superpower.” Some have also lauded the project for creating jobs for locals.
The FT quoted Ellen Verkoelen, a politician campaigning for the rights of people over the age of 50 and a member of the newly elected city council, who said: I think [some are jealous of those] who have money to do anything they want,” she said. “And they are right but when they have money why not spend it here?”
The FT report suggests a tacit agreement has been reached between the city of Rotterdam and the shipmaker, allowing De Hef to be dismantled for a short period for an estimated fee of €100,000 (about $105,000). If the city council has to turn down the request, Oceanco’s backup plan will be to assemble the mast after the hull passes under the bridge. It will be interesting to see what happens next as the August deadline is fast approaching.
Jeff Bezos’ yacht will be taller than the pyramids and longer than a football field
Commissioned by Jeff Bezos, a three-masted schooner with an aluminum and steel construction. The superyacht is currently being constructed in the Netherlands by famed shipbuilder Oceanco. With a length of 127 meters (416 feet), the vessel will eclipse the Oceanco flagship, Black Pearl, by 20 meters, which is considered to be the current largest sailing yacht in the world. It is believed to be the most ecological sailing yacht that can sail across the Atlantic without the need for fuel and can reach a top speed of 30 knots.
According to several reports, the Y721 is closely inspired by the Black Pearl. However, Bezos’s superyacht is a closely guarded secret, and most of its details are unknown. All that is known till now is that it is estimated to be worth around $500 million, making it the most expensive of its kind. Furthermore, the sailing yacht will have its own support boat with a helipad and feature an in-deck swimming pool, an ‘ambient’ cinema, and many other amenities.