The 10 Largest Sailing Yachts In The World - Boat that refused to die


No. 7 – Vertigo – 220ft - launched 2011

Built by Alloy Yachts, New Zealand. Designed by Phillipe Briand with interior design by Christian Liaigre. Constructed of aluminium. Maximum speed 20 knots.

You might not expect that a child friendly yacht, intended for extended cruising for a couple with a young family, would win the 2012 Show Boats Design Award for “Exterior Design and Styling” and the World Superyacht Award for “Sailing Yacht of the Year”. …. that is until you see it! Designed to look as if it is floating on glass, the superstructure arcs like a dome between the two masts, its metallic silver contrasting wonderfully with the jet black of the hull, giving the effect of streamlined, aerodynamic power.

She is the first yacht of her size to have an almost vertical bow, allowing greater waterline length, which can achieve considerable improvement in speed both under sail and engine power. With a 5,037 square metre sail plan to maximise performance, Vertigo is able to sail in a gentle breeze, without having to resort to firing up the twin engines and motoring.

In contrast to the power, speed and iconic design, Vertigo could almost be compared with Kubla Khan’s “pleasure dome”, with its watersports club area, gymnasium, garages for tenders, sailing dinghies and kayaks, sunbathing areas and even a classroom. But the furnishings and fittings are minimalist and simple, with very little artwork to distract from the clean lines. “Why hide it behind a piece of art when the boat itself is a piece of art?”


No. 6 – Atlantic – 227ft – launched 2009

Built by the Dutch yard Van der Graaf. Designed by William Gardner. Constructed with a steel hull and wooden superstructure. Maximum speed 17 knots.

The sailing yacht Atlantic is a magnificent replica of the 1903 three-masted sailing schooner Atlantic, which was a long time World Record holder for the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean under sail in 1905, winning the Kaiser’s Cup from New York to the Lizard. It is the longest standing world record in yachting history.

The replica was the brainchild of Ed Kastelein who spotted a model of the original Atlantic in the New York Yacht Club. The model haunted him for months as he learned more about the boat and its remarkable story, which had become largely forgotten. The original schooner was an enormous racing yacht, launched in 1903, which made headlines immediately she took to sea by achieving an incredible 20 knots. After the Kaiser Cup race she won the famous transatlantic race between New Jersey, USA and Cornwall, UK, crushing the competition and earning her the East to West Transatlantic sailing record, which she held for nearly 100 years.

During the Great War she was called into service by the US Navy and acted as an antisubmarine net guard ship and a submarine chaser tender in the waters off Virginia. She was privately owned between 1919 and 1941, after which she was donated to the Coast Guard during World War Two. After this the worn and battered vessel was decommissioned and left abandoned in New York for many years, while scavengers tore her apart piece by piece. One would have thought that was the end of the story, but by lucky chance the ruined boat was spotted by one Ward Bright, who towed her back to New Jersey and gave her a retirement home, as a tea room in his marina. It seems that the old schooner had other ideas however! During a gale in the 1950s she broke free from her moorings, drifting and becoming badly damaged. She was retrieved, but eventually rotted away and sank in 1964. Incredibly, like a cat with nine lives, she was bought, raised up, rebuilt and sunk several times after that, until finally in 1976, as she was being salvaged for use as a training ship, she was hit by the wake of a passing motor boat and her entire rig, with all three masts, came crashing down as the Atlantic sank below the surface for the final time.

It was no wonder that the story of this brave old ship inspired Ed Kastelein to model his modern yacht on this historic vessel who never gave up. His schooner is the largest classic sailing schooner ever built, up to that date, measuring 227 feet from bowsprit to boom. Her black, glossy hull reflects the ripples of the sea and the three towering masts, reaching a height of 45 metres give a tremendous sense of power. It is a risk to copy a boat with such tremendous history and achievements. There is always the question, “will she live up to expectations and will she sail as well as her predecessor did?” The answer – a resounding “YES”.

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Author - Dee White

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