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Culture / Travel

Inside the World of Mega Yachts — How the Super Rich Find Their Dream Boats

Why Giga-Yachts are the Next Big Thing in the Billionaires' Playground

BY // 02.19.19

Super-yachts, mega-yachts, giga-yachts — the billionaires’ play toys keep getting bigger and bigger, not to mention more costly.  Just ask Burgess Yachts head of sales director Richard Lambert. The dashing businessman, based in Monaco, made a swift visit through Houston on his way to the Miami Yacht Show and shared his insights on the surprisingly burgeoning world of private yachting.

He noted that yacht charters already booked for the coming year, exceed 2018 bookings by 20 percent. With a stable of 750 yachts available for charter and 35 offered for sale, Burgess, which was founded in 1975, is one of, in not the, largest company of its kind worldwide. Count 13 offices globally and 200 employees.

Lambert allows that the United States is the firm’s largest market and that Dallas and Houston are strong. In fact, chartering and sale of the Houston-owned 190-foot  Lady Sheridan is handled through Burgess.

Dramatic interior design of the 'Lady Sheridan' was executed by the owner's talented wife.
Dramatic interior design of the ‘Lady Sheridan’ was executed by the owner’s talented wife.

Just how do the mega rich distinguish between these hyperbolic yacht descriptions, we asked. While there are no rules for describing these floating palaces, Lambert says that, generally speaking, a super-yacht measures in at nothing less than 100 feet, while mega-yachts stretch to 250 feet and the largest private vessels afloat, or the recently-coined giga-yachts, push the limits at 300 feet and well beyond.

Among those earning the Olympian status are the 593-foot Azzam, owned by the Emir of Abu Dhabi, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich’s 533-foot Eclipse, and the Sultan of Oman’s 509-foot Al Said.

Of these immense yachts, Burgess recently sold the 361-foot Jubilee, originally built for the Emir of Qatar, which had an asking price of $310 million. This beauty boasts 16 guest cabins and a crew of 45. It was the most expensive vessel in Burgess’ portfolio which has offerings for lesser yachts that begin at $5 million.

For those not interested in the pleasures of ownership but want to live large for a while, Burgess’ charters  range from $250,000 to $300,000 a week plus APA (or advance provisioning allowance) which includes fuel, food and drink, mooring and harbor fees as well as the recommended 10 percent tip.

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