Trump's election as president of the United States marked a number of firsts, including the institution of what has historically become the wealthiest cabinet ever in existence in America. The billionaire's effect on politics and policy has become the subject of many international debates, yet his interests in yachting tend to be less talked about but remain no less fascinating when coupled with his administration.
In his former life as a billionaire businessman, Trump not only owned an 86m superyacht as well as a shipyard for a brief period of time, but he also ordered the world's largest yacht, although it was never completed. Meanwhile, US Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, with a net worth estimated at $1,5 billion, and her family have been linked to no less than 13 yachts over the years.
In 1980, the late Saudi businessman and arms dealer, Adnan Khashoggi took delivery of the 86 meter (282 ft) Nabila. Built by Benetti in Italy, she became the 8th largest yacht in the world and appeared in the 1983 James Bond movie, Never Say Never Again.
When Khashoggi, however, ran into financial problems, the Sultan of Brunei took possession of the yacht to cover one of his loans. The Sultan quickly flipped the yacht to Donald Trump for a reported $29 million in 1987. In an interview in 1988, Trump said he received a $1 million discount for agreeing to change the name from Nabila, Khashoggi's daughter.
Khashoggi probably spent $200 million building this yacht, probably the best yacht ever built. I purchased it for a business. I use it for my hotels. I use it for a lot of different charities.
After acquiring Nabila, Trump renamed the yacht to Trump Princess and had it refitted by Holland-based, Amels for a near $10 million according to the LA Times. The H on the helipad was also changed to a T to stand for Trump.
Spread into over 100 separate areas over five decks, Nabila was without a doubt one of the most complex yachts of her time. With luxurious materials including onyx used for her interior, the yacht was also ahead of her time from a technological standpoint. Remote controls were installs next to the bed for shades, room service, and the entertainment center.
Amongst the yacht's main feature was a hair salon with 3 separate chairs, a sauna, a private elevator for the owner, one for guests and one for the crew, a 2.4-meter in diameter spa pool with a waterjet behind bulletproof glass. Whilst still owned by Khashoggi, many arms deals were signed onboard the yacht.
In June 1989, Donald Trump announced that he would build a larger yacht, "something in excess of 400 feet long, closer to 500 feet" as he told Newsday and that he was accepting bids from yacht builders for this project. Amels, then owned by a group of 4 British investors, secured the deal to develop the 128-meter Trump Princess II according to NRC.
In May 1990, it was announced that Trump bought Amels altogether. At a press conference in Makkum in 1990, Jeff Walker, VP of Trump's investment empire, denied that the shipyard was sold due to the previous owner's financial difficulties, which some have said, resulted from Trump canceling the construction of the Trump Princess II.
In September 1990, two months after the acquisition, Trump sold Amels to American businessman, Peter Kutell according to Deseret News due to financial problems. At the same time, the Trump Princess was put up for sale and all work on the Trump Princess II stopped. In 1991, Trump Princess was sold to Prince Al-Waleed for $19 million who renamed the yacht to Kingdom 5KR.
The superstructure for Trump Princess II allegedly remained at the Amels Makkum facility until summer 2001 when it was eventually removed. According to sources familiar with the matter, the superstructure is still parked at the Makkum facility, now owned by Feadship De Vries and reportedly sometimes used as a bike parking space.
Although Trump never came back to yacht ownership, other members of his cabinet remained involved in the space to this day. Betsy DeVos, US Secretary of Education, and her husband have a combined net worth valued at $5,1 billion. Amongst their long list of assets are no less than 10 yachts and reportedly an interest in the shipyard that built them.
Delivered in 2008 by US shipyard, Westport, Seaquest measures 50 meters (162 ft) and was designed by Donald Starkey. Reaching a top speed of 24 knots, she is part of the Westport 164 series. Interestingly, she's also not the only Westport 164 linked to the DeVos family as the 50-meter Legacy is also reportedly owned by the family.
Whereas the actual construction price of this particular Westport is unknown, as is typical with the vast majority of new build yachts, a similar 50-meter Westport sold at an asking price of $29,950,000 in November 2016. It is standard for the final, actual price to be 30-40% lower to the asking price in yachting.
Delivered in 2011, Legacy is a slightly updated version of the Seaquest. According to the media, the DeVos family has a solid preference for Westport yachts, having reportedly owned several of them in the past years. In fact, the family may even have acquired a stake in the US yacht manufacturer according to SYF.
Amongst the Westports linked to the DeVos is a Westport 112 from 2003 and a Westport 130 from 2005. Their fleet also includes an 85ft Pacific Mariner ( a brand owned by Westport) called Sun Quest. Additionally, an 80ft Hatteras called Kitsune can also be found in their fleet according to the media.
Although the DeVos fleet may already sound expansive as it is now, the family hasn't always been buying Westports and went through a number of other yacht shipyards as well. One of these superyachts was the 53-meter sailing yacht Independence, delivered by Italian shipyard, Perini Navi in 1998.
The yacht has since been sold, renamed to Jasali II and made available for charter from €138,600 per week. Accommodating up to 10 guests in 5 cabins, she stretches over a beam of 11.4m and can cruise at up to 12 knots.
Prior to their long run with Westport, the DeVos have reportedly owned no less than five Feadships according to SYF, all of which have been named Enterprise. The first to qualify as a superyacht would become Enterprise II, a 116ft Feadship delivered in 1970 now known as Utopia II.
Although from a different era and with different standards, in the 1970s, Utopia II was a true superyacht for its time. Amongst her classical feature are a round aft with an open top deck, partly used to store its tenders. 10 years following her delivery, a new Enterprise was built by Feadship, this time measuring 131ft.
Now known as Seagull of Cayman following changes of ownership, she features several enhancements over the previous Enterprise. The most noticeable of these is a dedicated sundeck, an upper deck skylounge and a larger main salon aft of the main deck. Several weeks ago she was put again on the market at an asking price of €5,900,000.
Yet another improvement on Enterprise III, the 149ft Enterprise IV was also built by Feadship in 1985. Through the Enterprise line can be seen the growth of a niche industry into the superyacht sector it is today. Now known as Explora, the yacht features larger windows, a sleeker line and a swimming platform aft of the yacht, all of which weren't found on classical yachts.
The last Enterprise to be built was delivered by Feadship in 1993 and is today known as Chantal Ma Vie. Measuring 55-meters (179 ft) in length, she already was a good representation of the modern superyacht, featuring a sleek line, large sundeck, expansive lounges, spacious cabins, a swimming platform and purpose-built tenders. In 2010, she was sold at an asking price of $15,9 million to her current owner.
Although their effect on US policy can be polarising and debated throughout the world, the effect that Trump and member of his administration have had on yachting throughout the past decades has undoubtedly played an important role in growing the market to the point where it is today.
EYOS Expeditions, the world’s foremost provider of private yacht expeditions, and Nansen Polar Expeditions have joined forces on a long-term strategic alliance coinciding with Nansen’s recent fleet expansion. Together, EYOS and Nansen will combine their collective experience to introduce a new expedition yacht experience in the polar regions. 72m Cloudbreak EYOS works regularlyNansen Polar Expeditions has been operating since 2019 with their first vessel, Villa, a rugged – yet luxurious – expedition ship, and they’ve recently acquired Nansen Explorer, a 72m ICE 1A+ vessel that will accommodate 12 guests following an extensive refit. EYOS has more than a decade of experience operating private yacht expeditions to the polar regions aboard the world’s most prestigious private and charter expedition yachts. Photo by Reeve JolliffeEYOS CEO Ben Lyons said, “One of the most exciting elements of our new alliance with Nansen Polar Expeditions is the ability to go beyond the boundaries of a typical expedition. Given the high ice-class and helicopter capability of MV Nansen Explorer, we intend to reach destinations far removed from even where most expedition vessels are sailing, and certainly well out of reach of a conventional superyacht.” Photo by Reeve JolliffeNansen Polar Expeditions CEO Audun Lie Dahl said, “Working so closely with EYOS on this multifaceted alliance opens up new markets and opportunities for both companies. There is a great personal connection and history between us, and we couldn’t have found a better partner as we continue to expand our fleet.” Credits: Reeve Jolliffe; EYOS Expeditions
February 28, 2021
The new 94m Feadship hybrid yacht Project 817 launched in Kaag, the Netherlands yesterday. Her advanced hybrid propulsion system allows the yacht to cruise on diesel-electric power at 12 knots. In diesel mode she’s able to reach a top speed of 20 knots. Her exterior was made by Azure and Feadship's Studio De Voogt and the interior is the work of Peter Marino Architects. Project 817 can carry a 14m tender, the largest ever installed on any Feadship. “There she is, the 94m Project 817; this groundbreaking eco-friendly Feadship has left the yard for the first time. Onlookers are admiring her special pearl-white livery, which is housing an exceptionally advanced hybrid propulsion system,” the shipyard’s Facebook page notes. Feadship was formed as a group in 1949 as a marketing partnership between six Dutch shipyards, de Vries Lentch, Van de Stadt, Witsen & Vis, Akerboom, De Vries Scheepsbouw and Van Lent Shipyard, and De Voogt Naval Architects. Feadship is well-known as one of Netherlands’ most elite yacht builders and delivers superyachts from 50–100+ meters in length.Credits: Feadship
February 27, 2021
Jeanneau Yachts 60 became the Philippe Briand’s 120th production yacht design. She was due to be launched at this year’s Dusseldorf Boat Show in January, but the bold new design is still making waves after a virtual launch.It took four years of hard work with Jeanneau’s in-house designers to bring the project to fruition. Measuring 60ft overall, with a modest taper towards the stern, a chine in the hull and a reverse bow, the proportions of the boat are absolutely amazing.“The JY 60 is special because it is the last in the range, and also the 120th of our series drawings,” explains Briand. “We put all our know-how into the yacht, and also a lot of personal emotion. I am used to putting myself in the shoes of the customer every time I draw a production boat. It's easy for me: I would like to own this one.”Beneath the aesthetics, the technical qualities of the hull and rig also promise agility, seakeeping and excellent balance. The chine will dig in to fight heeling, while buoyancy at the bow and stern reduce pitching. Twin rudders give a perfect balance on the helm, and the integrated bowsprit makes light work of launching a big reaching sail. In fact, the boat can be readily sailed by a couple, thanks to the option of in-mast furling for the main and a self-tacking jib. Either way, it is a fast hull, capable of an easy 8kt upwind and 12kt on a broad reach. Philippe Briand“This is a real sailor’s boat,” says Briand. “It is ideally suited to almost any brief from fast bluewater cruising to a leisurely jaunt across the bay – a boat for both the Mediterranean and the Baltic. The interior space is the owner’s home on the water, while her exterior living spaces are unmatched by the competition. She is more fun to sail, faster and more comfortable under sail and power than any catamaran available for the same budget.”The interior design of the yacht was made by Andrew Winch: sculpted surfaces with the use of real wood, fine fabrics and leathers create an atmosphere of timeless elegance below. It has the option of a full-beam owner’s cabin that is simply flooded with light, with a his-and-hers bathroom not usually seen in this size range. The open galley is positioned forward and includes the option of a full-height fridge. Meanwhile, the floor of the flexible saloon is slightly raised to give clearer sightlines out through the coachroof windows. This shipyard was founded in 1957 by Henri Jeanneau, and it has designed, produced and sold an extremely wide selection of over forty outboard, inboard, sailboat and yacht models around the world for over 60 years. Jeanneau stands out with its elegant, ingenious boats, ranging from 15 to 64 feet, with their pure, modern, timeless lines created by world-renowned architects.Credits: Jeanneau Yachts
February 26, 2021
Camper and Nicholsons has announced the delivery of the 54.2m Baglietto to her new owner. Built in aluminium, with a volume of 902 GT, this superyacht was designed by Horacio Bozzo, with interior design by Hot Lab and valuable input from her knowledgeable Owners. The project management and delivery were both handled by the Camper and Nicholsons New Build department.Featuring six double staterooms plus a kid's playroom, the two master suites and two VIP suites are located on the main deck, while the remaining two staterooms are located on the lower deck. Designed for maximum enjoyment by family and friends alike, there are two infinity freshwater pools, an exceptionally large beach club, a massage room, a sauna and a fully equipped gym. This superyacht has a shallow draft design along with an impressive 4,500 nm range, ensuring many more cruising areas are available for exploration.Credits: Camper and Nicholsons
February 26, 2021
Denison Yachting has announced that they sold more yachts over 80 feet than any other brokerage firm in 2020. This data was collected by Boat International Media, powered by Boat Pro, which tallied the total superyacht transactions by firm. Denison led other brokerage houses with 65 total transactions sold by 24 different yacht brokers. This is the second year in a row that Denison ranked number one in superyacht sales. “In this age of evolving technologies, if you’re caught singing the same old tune, you will eventually be drowned out in white noise. Our in-house marketing team has allowed us to remain dynamic and nimble. Rather than waiting to respond to changes in the market of 2020, our team was perfectly poised to take on the challenges of the year,” said Josh Valoes, Director of Marketing.Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Denison was fortunate to experience one of the best years in terms of total yacht sales, charters booked, and marketing goals. The team adapted through shelter-in-place orders and canceled boat shows, yet continuously strived to make the yacht-buying process easy and safe for clients. 2020 Global superyacht sales infographic“2020 presented us with plenty of obstacles to navigate, but we entered the year with momentum from strong sales in 2018 and 2019. Our successes in 2020 were the culmination of hard work, vision, and focus,” commented Superyacht Director, Ben Farnborough. “We adapted to new ways of staying in front of buyers, sellers, and charter clients. We have a dynamic team with industry-hardened experience, youthful drive, and determination in equal measure; a group that loves what they do and always asks 'what’s next?' We’re excited to continue building our brand and making a mark on the large yacht sector.”Denison Yachting has long been a leader in the yachting industry, with a rich family history dating back to 1948 with the start of Broward Marine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Today, the company provides complete yachting services worldwide, from sales and charters to yacht management and new construction. Credits: Denison Yachting
February 26, 2021