$450 million (£360 million) sailing yacht was spotted pulling out of Nobiskrug shipyard in Germany last week en route to Southern Spain, where it will undergo further sea trials as part of months of rigorous testing before it is handed over to its wealthy owner.
The impressive superyacht, which was has three 300 ft masts that are taller than Big Ben’s tower, was imaginatively named ‘Sailing Yacht A’ by its owner.
Mr Melnichenko hit the headlines back in September when he moored his other £240 million masterpiece, ‘Motor Yacht A’, on the Thames.
The boat’s internal fit-out is set to continue at another shipyard before it is due to be handed over to Mr Melnichenko in late Spring.
As the boat made its way to Spain, Mr Melnichenko’s Project Director, Dirk Kloosterman said: ‘This has been the most challenging assignment of my career. I am confident Sailing Yacht A will be the world’s greatest yacht in terms of design and technology for the years ahead.
‘Her beauty is breathtaking, and Philippe Starck’s astonishing design and ultimate vision will be the subject of many conversations wherever she travels around the globe. We look forward to the final delivery to the owner.’
After the boat left the German shipyard, Nobiskrug’s Managing Director, HolgerKahl told superyachts.com: ‘Born from the desire of the owner to ‘push the boundaries of engineering and challenge the status quo of the industry’, “Sailing Yacht A” is undoubtedly one of the most visionary projects Nobiskrug has ever been involved in.’
Melnichenko, who has an estimated net worth of $13.4 billion (£10.8 billion), is said to favor using the letter ‘A’ so that his vessels are listed first in shipping registers.
Sailing Yacht A boasts eight floors – with a helicopter pad on one of the decks – and an underwater observation room. The behemoth is believed to be one of the world’s largest sailing superyachts.
Superyachtfan.com reports that the boat is powered by a ‘hybrid diesel-electric package with controllable pitch propellers,’ and is designed to accommodate 20 guests and a crew of 54.
The unconventional yacht was designed by Frenchman Philippe Starck, who challenges the expectations of conventional aesthetics, and built by German Naval Yards, Nobiskrug.
Mr Melnichenko is expected to recover some of the costs by licensing the technology developed for the vessel for commercial applications.
The vessel is an upgrade to the Russian billionaire’s ‘Motor Yacht A’ – which set him back £240 million.
Melnichenko also owns a Boeing 737 – but he has now turned his attention to sailing power.
The epic vessel boasts a staggering eight decks and its keel incorporates one of the largest single pieces of curved glass ever made at 193 square feet and weighs a whopping 1.8 tons.
It dwarfs other famous superyachts like The Maltese Falcon, which is 298 ft and weighs 1,367 tons.
The cruise speed of the ship is 18 mph and it has a top speed of 24 mph. The hull is made of steel, with a teak-finish deck.
This has been used to create a stunning observation pod on the bottom of the vessel so Mr Melnichenko, 44, and his Serbian model wife, Aleksandra, can enjoy stunning views of the sea.
The yacht has a high-tech digital control system operated using a touch sensitive sheet of black glass in the bridge.
This will allow the crew to raise and lower the sails and even drop the anchor with a brush of their fingers.
‘This new superyacht will be nearly twice the length and over twice the width of the Cutty Sark.
‘She will instantly become an inspiration to cargo ship owners, and a floating demonstration that sails – combined with the latest materials and technology – mean that dirty diesel engines are no longer needed as the primary means of propulsion.
‘The green lobby should be celebrating – as cargo ships are significant CO2 contributors.
‘The masts were built by Magma Structures in Portsmouth – just a stone’s throw from another well known sailing vessel, HMS Victory, which is less than half the length of this new superyacht.’
Sarah Johnson from Magma Structures told Mail Online Travel: ‘We are really proud of the team who build these masts, that are the largest free-standing rigs in the world.
‘We are the only company who can produce structures like this of this size, it’s great for Britain to be involved.’
Boat International reports that the previous largest sailing yacht on the water is 96.35 meter Sea Cloud, a classic beauty launched in 1931, followed by the modern falcon-rigged iconic yacht Maltese Falcon at 88 meters LOA. Sailing Yacht A handily surpasses both of these.