Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

You and the Yachting World

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

You and the Yachting World

Article excerpt

NEW YORK (AP) -- You know the U.S. economy is booming by the privately owned megayachts in the harbor. They're getting even bigger, costlier and more numerous.

And the ultimate is yet to come. That's indicated by the rapid growth of power yachts, from about 100 feet or 125 feet three years ago to 150 feet to 200 feet in today's market.

Since 1997, the biggest to cruise under the U.S. flag is the 315- foot, 11-inch Limitless, owned by Leslie Wexner, head of The Limited, but several owners are said to be thinking of challenging for the lead. Still, size isn't everything in megayacht society, where opulence knows no maximum, such as 39 bathrooms and 300 tons of marble in the Japanese-Turkish owned Savarona.

Wexner's yacht is the only football stadium-size owned by an American -- Sakura, property of Oracle's Larry Ellison, for example, is only 192 feet -- but boatyards never have been busier.

It suggests bigger things to come. From a tiny percentage just 10 years ago, American yards now are responsible for 34 percent to 36 percent of the world's megayacht construction.

Such information comes from Power & Motoryacht magazine, where senior editor Diane Byrne haunts the world's somewhat secretive boatyard operators and owners in search of information.

The spurt in U.S. construction is significant, because glamor yacht construction was mainly an endeavor of yards in Greece, which is still No. 1, and such countries as Holland, Germany and Italy.

And, in fact, most of the very large owners were foreigners too. Limitless is still only No. 8 in the magazine's world listing, just behind the 325-foot Christina O, formerly owned by Aristotle Onassis. And Mipos, being built in Germany, will measure 465 feet.

But interest among Americans is growing fast, and construction activity too, enough so for Ms. Byrne to declare Fort Lauderdale, Fla. …

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