As materials get lighter and technology improves, so boats get faster. Here are 10 of the fastest in the world.
10. Sun Ark
Another performance yacht from Heesen, Sun Ark (originally Bonita) was also designed by Frank Mulder and launched in 1995. The 36.7 meter vessel can reach speeds of 54 knots using its triple waterjets. She is equipped with an ultra-modern stabilization system that reduces roll motion and results in a much smoother cruising experience than some of the other super-fast yachts. She also has bow thrusters to make her more maneuverable at low speeds. She has accommodation for 8 guests in 4 suites and 5 crew members.
Originally named AA Absolute, she was built in 1995 by Heesen Yachts in Holland, for the Sultan of Brunei and was designed by Frank Mulder. Her maximum speed is 54 knots with a cruising speed of 30 knots. The 36.58 m yacht had a total refurbishment in 2007 and another refit in 2012. She can accommodate up to 9 guests with 7 crew in her spacious and luxurious interior.
The flagship of the Mangusta 108 series built by Overmarine and designed by Andrea Bacigalupo and Stefano Righini, Nobody was launched in 2001. She was powered by two Lycoming gas turbines combined with waterjets, which generate 8,770hp and give her a top speed of 55 knots which has been compared with the sound of an aircraft taking off. The 33.5 m vessel has luxurious accommodation for 9 guests and 5 crew.
7. Ermis 2
This ultra-lightweight, high speed yacht was built in 2007 by the New Zealand shipyard McMullen & Wing, constructed in carbon-fibre using the Vacuum Infusion Process and was built to withstand the high loadings of up to 2.2G while travelling at her maximum speed of 57 knots and cruising at 30 knots. Measuring 37.8 m, she is powered by triple waterjet propulsion and can accommodate eight guests. Every component of the yacht was critically analysed to save weight, with titanium used where possible for deck fittings and hand rails and light weight veneered foam panels for interior joinery. It was the state of the art vessel at that time, with impressive navigation and communication systems and an interior that was both streamlined and bright, with the use of lighter woods and yellow, tan and blue leather. She was the winner of the “Best Power Yacht, 24-40 m” category at the 2008 International Superyacht Society Design and Leadership Awards.
6. Brave Challenger
This 31m yacht was originally named Mercury and was built in 1958 by Vosper for the Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos. She was launched in 1960 with the potential for a maximum speed of 60 knots and an exhilarating cruising speed of 44 knots, making her the fastest yacht in the world at that time. She has three gas turbines combined with surface drives generating 13,620hp and also two conventional engines which give her easier manoeuvrability at low speeds. She has accommodation for 10 passengers and 6 crew. Her classic lines with mahogany /aluminium frames and predominantly aluminium superstructure have evolved during a series of refits.
5. 118 Wally Power
Probably the most distinctive and one of the fastest motor yachts in the world, Wally Power is a 36m luxury craft with a maximum speed of 60 knots. Powered by three gas turbine engines producing 17,000hp, its striking vertical bow and narrow, angular hull, help it to cut through the water with incredible stability and control. She actually went through water tank and wind tunnel testing at a Ferrari facility in Maranello, Italy. Constructed and owned by the Kondakji family, the deck, cockpit, navigation, dining and saloon areas have been designed as one continuous element and there is a 360-degree view from the dining area. The boat’s finish is metallic dark green, which changes reflections and colour depending on the light and the landscape. It is easy to see why she won the Millennium Yacht Design Award for the “Layout of the Third Millennium” and is worth a cool $33 million.
4. Gentry Eagle
Designed and built in 1988 by the late Tom Gentry, who set nearly every powerboat record in existence, the 34.1m, 11,500 hp Gentry Eagle set a record time of 62 hours and 7 minutes in 1989, to cross the Atlantic, winning the coveted Blue Riband. Her top speed in racing configuration was a staggering 69.6 knots. She was relaunched as a high class motor-yacht in 1992 by adding lavish features without losing out on her power. She is now capable of speeds of over 63 knots and her sleek, streamlined exterior and luxurious interior, would not be out of place in a James Bond film. The helm boasts seven black leather Recaro racing seats and a spiral staircase leads below deck to 2 formal staterooms with 2 full baths. The décor includes exotic hardwoods and custom burnished straw wall coverings.
3. Alamshar (Or is it?)
Built by Devonport (now managed by Babcock Marine), in the UK and measuring 50m, she was developed to incorporate the very latest gas turbines, a unique propulsion system which has so far not been used on any other yachts. She was built under a veil of secrecy specifically to break the speed record. The 6 gas turbines and 3 water jets were supposed to give her the capability of speeds up to 65 knots. That was the plan; but on taking delivery of the boat, its billionaire owner, the Aga Khan, expressed massive disappointment in the boat. Named after one of the owner’s racehorses, the Alamshar only managed an undistinguished 30 knots in its sea trials off Plymouth, which could lead to a major legal battle against the dockyard that built her. This was not the only problem the builders have faced; last year the turbine blades in three of its engines, burnt out.
Built at the Izar shipyard for King Juan Carlos of Spain and previously known as Fortuna, she held the title of the fastest yacht in the world in 2000, when she reached a speed of 68 knots. She has a length of 41.5 m and is propelled by three Rolls Royce gas turbines and two MAN diesel engines. Eight guests can be accommodated in a four stateroom layout including a luxurious master suite. The interior is in gloss sycamore wood with stitched tan leather detailing and equipped with a 46 inch television/entertainment center and a formal dining area. For anyone out there with a few million euros to spare she is for sale at the present time at a price that has been reduced from 10 million euros to 8.25 million. She is bullet proof too!
1. World is not Enough
The only yacht to have reached a speed of 70 knots, with a cruising speed of 50 knots, she was built in 2004 by Millennium Super Yachts, a company set up in 1998 and aiming to build the fastest and most beautiful yachts in the world. She is the brainchild of John Staluppi and John Rosatti and is driven by two Paxman diesel engines and two Lycoming gas turbines, incorporating triple waterjets, which can produce 20,600 hp. With a length of 42.4 m, one would expect her to be stripped-down in order to achieve her speed; the typical speed of a boat of her size being between 20 – 25 knots. Her interior is equally impressive, accommodating 10 guests in luxurious comfort, including an in-deck pool and state of the art audio-visual system. The aluminium superstructure gives an aerodynamic shape and stability even at top speeds, with minimum noise level or vibration and a shape that will cut through the water effortlessly, even in the roughest conditions.
Some of these iconic superyachts are actually available to charter if money is no object and you fancy the combined thrills of speed and luxury living.