Time and tide, they say, wait for no one except, perhaps, a billionaire. They seem capable of bending and navigating time to their will while their colossal superyachts gracefully handle the ebb and flow of tides. Over the past year, we’ve extensively delved into the world of megayachts. Some boast formidable exteriors, others flaunt impressive lengths, and a select few are so abundant that even the world’s most luxurious hotels pale in comparison. We may know the number of suites and lounges these vessels harbor, but it’s the mystery of what unfolds within them, how each day unfurls and concludes, that truly captivates. In essence, the prodigal billionaire lives akin to royalty within their floating palace.
Australian captain Brendan O’Shannassy, who’s had the privilege of commanding the superyachts of the super-rich across the world’s oceans, recently, shared insights with Spiegel. He spent several years as a young navy officer, attempted professional racing and several management jobs in port logistics. In September 2001, he went to Monaco to work as a simple deckhand on a superyacht and never looked back. The man has penned a book about his work titled Superyacht captain:Life and leadership in the world’s most incredible industry. In his view, the extravagance of a tycoon transcends even the limits of our imagination.
As many boats as billionaires –
According to Forbes’ 2023 data, there are 2,640 billionaires in the world. It’s safe to say that these wealthy individuals reside in a world where national borders blur, and the oceans become their domain. They jet off in private planes and helicopters to any corner of the globe they desire, which explains why their passports are as thick as novels. Of course, they needn’t worry about such trivialities, as someone always carries their passport for them.
A life more desirable than a Hollywood A-lister –
The Captain revealed that most ordinary folks find the lives of Hollywood stars mesmerizing. However, let’s not forget that even these movie stars are merely guests aboard superyachts—an entity that not only rivals but eclipses their stature and star power. The owners of these gigayachts have amassed wealth on an unprecedented scale, far surpassing that of celebrities. While all guests are pampered aboard these luxury vessels, the lifestyle of the ship’s owner truly shines. This remarkable service doesn’t cease when they disembark from their pleasure craft.
From unpacking their bags to seamless round-the-clock service, complete with champagne and caviar in the middle of nowhere, they genuinely live life king-size. The staff aboard these colossal floating palaces admits that it’s no surprise when wealthy billionaires can’t locate most amenities on the ship. They can enjoy several cups of coffee without ever having to locate the coffee machine. Their luxurious lifestyle knows no boundaries; their needs are simply met by another set of staff in private jets, hotels, or mansions, when their sojourn on the superyacht ends. All they need to do is ask.
Time becomes an irrelevant concept –
According to Captain O’Shannassy, billionaires possess the power of both money and the ability to manipulate time itself. How else can you describe this extraordinary prowess when an individual lands at an airport and is swiftly whisked away in a helicopter to their multi-million-dollar ultra-luxurious yacht, floating in the middle of the ocean? There’s no need to halt and wait, as luggage arrives separately, and a fleet of cars awaits their arrival. The world is at their feet, with one morning spent in Portofino on the Italian Riviera and the next in Sardinia.
What makes superyachts their most cherished possession? No paparazzi, not even the hustle and bustle of crowds, can disrupt their leisure. Add to this the invaluable security advantages. Megayachts, undeniably, represent the finest investment for individuals of immense wealth, enabling billionaires on the move to optimize their time.
Superyachts make for super assets-
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich’s $1.3 billion megayachts, Eclipse and Solaris, Russian steel giant Alisher Usmanov’s 500-footer Dilbar, Jeff Bezos’s $500 million Koru, and the 590-foot superyacht Lürssen Azzam are just a few names that exemplify the grandeur and explain why the owners may not even know where the coffee machines are located. If there’s anything that might perturb these affluent ship owners, it’s witnessing other billionaires’ newer and larger vessels. These yachts, after all, serve as status symbols, and the fear of losing one’s own status knows no bounds. When a billionaire embarks on the quest for a new ship, they can utilize this floating asset to settle debts and strike deals. There are no drawbacks to owning a behemoth of the high seas, at least until the champions of climate change awaken from their slumber.
Believe it or not, but superyachts can lead to a greater good-
Many dub the ultra-luxurious asset as a detriment to the environment. However, there is always a positive side, and megayachts are no exception. They enable a lifestyle for high-net-worth individuals that would otherwise be challenging to achieve, despite their abundant wealth. Captain O’Shannassy shed light on this matter, stating, “I once accompanied the fourth-richest person in the world on a trip to the Galapagos Islands. He engaged in scuba diving, kayaking, and was surrounded by approximately 300 dolphins. Following that excursion, his commitment to ocean philanthropy began, resulting in tens of millions being invested in ocean conservation.”