Residents of the Haifa Bay area thought they were used to luxury cruise ships and yachts docking in their city's port. But last weekend such sightings reached a new level with the arrival of the world’s largest and most expensive sailing yacht on Friday. On Monday the ship made its way to Tel Aviv.
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The exterior of the stunning ship was designed by the world-famous designer Phillippe Starck. The yacht has eight decks, a helicopter pad and its own underwater observatory in the keel.
“Sailing Yacht A,” as the yacht is known – is owned by billionaire Russian oligarch Andrey Igorevich Melnichenko, who Forbes called the 89th wealthiest person in the world in 2017 with a personal fortune of $13.2 billion. He also owns another of the world’s largest and most expensive yachts: “Motor Yacht A.” The name “A” for both the ships is reportedly for the purpose of having them appear first on the shipping register lists.
The sailing yacht is 143 meters long (35 meters longer than the second largest). It was built in the Kiel, Germany at an estimated price of 360 million pounds sterling. It was reportedly delivered to Melnichenko in May this year, after being launched two years earlier.
Over the past few weeks the yacht has been spotted in a number of places around the Eastern Mediterranean, including the resort town of Marmaris in Turkey and off of Cyprus.
“This is the third super-yacht that has visited the Haifa port in recent months,” said Eshel Armony, the chairman of the Haifa Port. “We see a growing demand for the western pier for yachts, so as part of the plan for the [renovation] of the seaside, which includes operations for passenger ships and tourists, we will consider adapting a dedicated pier for mega-yachts.” The new pier will be unique in the Mediterranean, close to the city and well-protected from the weather and sea, he added.