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.

Latest News

47m Serenissima I Listed For Sale
The 47m Mengi Yay Serenissima I is now for sale with Northrop & Johnson's Yacht Broker Ed Dickinson. Mengi Yay has introduced Serenissima I, a tri-deck yacht designed in collaboration with naval architect Van Oossanen and acclaimed design studio Nuvolari Lenard. She has been carefully designed around the owner’s requirements, boasting an upper private owner’s deck with its own hot tub and alfresco lounge space. Her sophisticated gentleman’s lounge complete with a cinema room, walk-in wine cellar and drop-down balcony.The traditional aft main saloon and dining room seamlessly flow into the midship guest lobby. She accommodates up to 10 guests across five cabins. The master cabin is situated on the bridge deck aft, and boasts a walk-in wardrobe and a lavish en-suite bathroom with sea-view windows and direct access to a private deck with a small dining area, sunpads and a hot tub. The lower deck features four additional guest cabins, including twin en-suite cabins forward and aft cabins that can be configured as doubles or opened to create a full-beam VIP suite. An elevator connects all interior decks for easy movement throughout.The primary alfresco entertainment space, the sundeck, is adorned with chic glass panels midships, sheltering the aft area. Here, guests can unwind in the large hot tub, soak up the sun on plush sunpads or gather around the dining table for meals under the shelter of a hardtop. A cozy firepit aft sets the stage for intimate conversations and relaxation. Walkaround side decks on the bridge deck lead to the flush foredeck, where guests can enjoy unobstructed ocean views. Notably, the foredeck has a professional boxing ring which can quickly be set up for guest use when desired. Serenissima I carries a Riva Ariston as the primary tender on the main deck aft and there is an enclosed tender garage forward for water toys and a rescue tender.The motor yacht is asking €35,800,000 and is due for delivery in August 2024.Mengi Yay Yachts was founded in 1964 in Turkey. Now the company owns one of the largest (19,365 sq m) yards that were specifically designed for the refit and refurbishment of existing craft as well as the manufacturing of the new motor and sailing yachts. Credits: Mengi Yay Yachts
Stormy Knight: The New Batmobile-Inspired Jet Ski
Warner Bros.' luxury brand, Wayne Enterprises, has collaborated with Silicon Valley-based sports craft company T3MP3ST to create the Stormy Knight, a limited-edition electronic exploration vehicle (EEV) inspired by Batman. Priced at $250,000 and limited to only 27 units, this sleek watercraft combines advanced technology and high-performance design.The Stormy Knight, based on T3MP3ST's Maverick GT, is a 4-meter watercraft constructed from carbon fiber and stainless steel, ensuring durability in harsh marine environments. Weighing 1,300 pounds, it features a 100 kWh modular battery and a 350 hp electric motor, allowing it to reach speeds over 85 mph with a range of 75 miles and a six-hour runtime.Designed to accommodate up to four passengers, the Stormy Knight includes autonomous navigation capabilities with Garmin systems, and iOS and Apple Watch voice command integration. Each unit is customizable to suit individual preferences.T3MP3ST also offers a larger tender model with a 30-foot RIB hull, capable of carrying eight passengers, reaching speeds of 40 knots, and cruising for up to eight hours. This model serves as a versatile tender and tow-in vehicle for surf spots like the Mavericks Marine Reserve.The Stormy Knight can be purchased online via the BruceWayneX site or at the Wayne Enterprises Experience in New York City from June 3 to 10.Credits: Wayne Enterprises
First Look at Moonshine’s Custom Interior Design
Moonen Yachts has unveiled select details of the custom interior design of Moonshine, a 36.3m Martinique superyacht set for delivery before the summer season. The design, crafted in collaboration with Hollander Yacht Design, reflects the owners' vision and preferences.The interior of Moonshine features a rich and varied design developed by Simon Hollander and Alexandra Nicolaescu of Hollander Yacht Design. This project marks their first collaboration with Moonen Yachts. According to Alexandra Nicolaescu, the design aims to captivate and surprise guests, with each area of the yacht reflecting its unique function. The design palette is inspired by the phases of the moon, with the Main Deck featuring soft, silver, and beige hues, and the Bridge Deck presenting a darker, more enigmatic atmosphere.The owners were deeply involved in the design process, frequently visiting the shipyard and utilizing virtual reality and 3D renderings to make informed decisions. Simon Hollander noted that a significant number of special materials from various suppliers were used, and custom furniture was created to meet the owners' specific needs.John Bechtold, Moonen Yachts Project Manager, highlighted the benefits of the shipyard's in-house interior engineering, carpentry, paintshop, and outfitting teams. This internal expertise allowed for quick and flexible responses to the owners' requests, resulting in a tailor-made interior design.Moonshine, designated yard number YN204, is the sixth Martinique model from Moonen's fast displacement steel hull design series. After her delivery, Moonshine will cruise the Mediterranean and the Caribbean before heading to her new home in San Diego, California.Moonen Yachts is a yacht builder based in the Netherlands, and its first yacht was built in 1964 under the original yard name of De Ruiter. In 1981, the yard was renamed Moonen Shipyards. It’s launching its first vessel under new ownership: Alhena. In 2017 Moonen Shipyards changed into Moonen Yachts. With the help of strong vision, innovative technology and new designers, Moonen is once again becoming the market leader in 30m to 50m luxury yachts.Credits: Moonen Yachts
New Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 Delivered
The Italian Sea Group has delivered at the Marina di Carrara headquarters of the Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 yacht, which will navigate in the seas of the French Riviera and the Mediterranean.The owner, a member of Saudi Royal Family, chose an Ad Personam Blue color for her iconic Full-Optional motoryacht, customizing it with a full custom double cabin and bathroom layout and an advanced video surveillance system.“My experience with the construction of this unique yacht from Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 has met my highest expectations to such an extent that now I even look at cars from Lamborghini from a different angle,” comments the Owner. “Indeed, while going through this experience, I have realized better how their engineers are constantly driven to push the limits of what can be achieved to deliver the best experience for their ultimate customer”.“We are very proud of the success that the Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 yacht is gaining in EMEA, an area that continues to offer interesting growth opportunities for all brands, in line with the Group's international development strategy,” comments Giovanni Costantino Founder & CEO of The Italian Sea Group. “It is a high- performance yacht designed with a very low draft, which allows it to moor in shallow waters and with its top speed of 63 knots, can reach considerable distances in a short time. The commercial validity of this project and the partnership with Automobili Lamborghini is confirmed by a long waiting list that allows us to confidently project ourselves towards new and ambitious goals.”The Italian Sea Group is a global operator in the luxury yachting industry, listed on Euronext Milan (“EXM”) and active in the construction and refit of motor yachts and sailing yachts up to 140 meters. The Company, led by Italian entrepreneur Giovanni Costantino, operates on the market with the brands Admiral, renown for elegant and prestigious yachts, Tecnomar, Perini Navi, and Picchiotti; the Company has a business unit, NCA Refit, that manages the maintenance and refit services for yachts and mega yachts with a length over 60 meters. Credits: The Italian Sea Group
Custom Line Launches Three Superyachts in Less Than a Month
The Ferretti Group Superyacht Yard in Ancona has launched three new Custom Line superyachts in less than a month.At OneLaunched on April 10, M/Y At One is the nineteenth hull of the Custom Line Navetta 30. The launch ceremony was attended by the owner and their family, along with the Custom Line team. The yacht, measuring 28.43 meters in length and 7.3 meters in beam, features design work from ACPV Architects Antonio Citterio Patricia Viel for the interiors and Filippo Salvetti for the exteriors. The Custom Line Atelier provided interior design consulting to align with the owner’s style preferences. The yacht’s design includes a combination of muted and bright colors, and materials such as nubuck leather and matt-finish white travertine marble.Queen J IIIOn April 24, the thirty-first hull of the Custom Line Navetta 33, named M/Y Queen J II, was launched. This 33-meter-long yacht with a 7.52-meter beam features a design collaboration between the Strategic Product Committee and the Ferretti Group Engineering Department, supported by the Custom Line Atelier. The yacht boasts a bulbous bow for enhanced seaworthiness and stability, with a range of up to 2,000 nautical miles. Its interiors use a palette of brown, burgundy, bronze, black, and lava grey, with materials including white travertine marble, American walnut, and leather.Our Red Sea The Custom Line 106’, named M/Y Our Red Sea, was launched on May 6. This is the twenty-first hull in the brand’s planing line, designed for an owner based in the Middle East. The yacht, measuring 32.82 meters in length and 7.4 meters in beam, features exterior styling by the Ferretti Group Engineering Department and interior design by the Custom Line Atelier. The yacht’s design emphasizes natural light, neutral colors, and fine materials such as Taj Mahal and Calacatta Gold marble, nubuck leather, and maple wood.These launches demonstrate Custom Line’s ongoing commitment to design, innovation, and meeting the specific preferences of yacht owners worldwide.The Ferretti Group, led by Chief Executive Officer Alberto Galassi, is now one of the world’s leaders in the construction and sale of luxury yachts and pleasure vessels, with a unique portfolio of brands: Ferretti Yachts, Riva, Pershing, Itama, Mochi Craft, CRN, Custom Line and Wally.Credit: Ferretti Group