Impounded last year, the sanctioned Russian billionaire’s $580 million megayacht has become a big headache for the Italian government. 470 feet long and the world’s largest sailing yacht, it requires special care and is costing the authorities $900,000 a month in upkeep alone.

Image - Youtube / Gibraltar Yachting


Sailing Yacht A, the world’s largest sailing yacht, was seized by the Italian police and placed in a special dry dock at the northern port of Trieste in March 2022. Its owner, Russian billionaire Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, obviously did not claim ownership, leaving the Italian government and a team of foreign lawyers representing the company that owns the yacht warring. While the legal battle concerning the largest sailing boat in the world ensued, the $580 million asset also had to be maintained. The upkeep of the world’s largest sailing yacht with three towering masts and a length of 469- feet is excessively expensive. The average annual cost of maintaining a luxury vessel is 10 percent of its price.

The Sailing Yacht A is just humungous.Via Instagram / @albaniaholiday.pl

Seized and frozen Sailing Yacht A has been maintained by a crew of about twenty men for over a year now, with expenses borne by the Italian State. In expert opinion, this gargantuan asset is setting Italy back by a minimum of $900,000 per month.

Roberto Dipiazza.Via Instagram / @albaniaholiday.pl

The mayor of Trieste, Roberto Dipiazza, stated, “This is called waste of public money, shame. To date it has cost the State over 7 million euros. We will never get them back because they will certainly find a way not to pay them.”

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Via Instagram / @albaniaholiday.pl

Depiazza expressed that if the yacht is returned to the rightful owner, the latter can repossess it only after paying the maintenance costs incurred by Italy. “Which, however, could be considered excessive.” The situation is risky as it involves a hefty bill. He expressed, “That the owner decides to leave the property to the State, and at that point, it could become a problem: who’s going to take a boat like that?”.

Via Youtube / @Gibraltar Yachting

Sailing Yacht A is no stranger to controversy-
The mounting maintenance cost of the mammoth $500 million yacht of sanctioned Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko may be its latest problem. Still, the largest sailing yacht worldwide is no stranger to attention and controversy. Rumor mills once suggested that part of the money to build the 469-footer with 300-foot masts came from a federal and State funding program. German tax money was used to fulfill the sailing dreams of the Russian oligarch, who won subsidies because the motoryacht designed by French architect Phillippe Starck used new technologies and posed a very high risk of failure.

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Via Youtube / @Drone Pilot

Sailing Yacht A was the most ambitious project for Dirk Kloosterman, the man behind Larry Ellison’s Rising Sun. After four painstaking years, this unconventional luxury boat was ready to take on the high seas.

Via Youtube / @Gibraltar Yachting

A crew of 54 members services the eight-decker and sleeps 20 guests. Its taller-than-Big-Ben masts are not its most fascinating detail. The ship includes an underwater observation pod made of three elliptical-shaped glasses molded into the keel to offer a view of the propellers.

Andrey Melnichenko with his wife and Sharon Stone.

Per BoatSafe, Sailing Yacht A and its predecessor, Motor Yacht A, are named after the first letter as the Russian billionaire wanted his ships to appear at the top of boat registry lists. In the past, several businesses called themselves using this technique to be spotted at the top of the page in the phone book, back when SEOs didn’t exist. And we thought the tycoon had named it after his wife of 18 years, Aleksandra Melnichenko.

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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.