Skift Take

This season, the billionaire Roman Abramovich’s Eclipse is the biggest yacht off of St. Maarten. The luxury vessel is one of many superyachts that are docking currently on the Caribbean island and driving luxury tourism there.

It’s the holiday season, time for Roman Abramovich and other billionaires to celebrate in the Caribbean aboard some of the world’s largest yachts.

The Chelsea F.C. owner’s Eclipse is currently in St. Maarten along with more than 50 other superyachts.

The count off the idyllic island swelled to 52 vessels from 16 in November, leading all countries in month-over-month change, and placing it sixth on the yacht leaderboard. Antigua was seventh and St. Bart’s tied Turkey for 10th place. For more context, see Here’s Where the Very Rich Like to Travel in the Caribbean.

Abramovich’s holiday sleigh may make Santa jealous.

Clocking in at 533 feet (162.5 meters), it’s the third-largest in the world and the biggest currently in the Caribbean, according to IHS data. Fellow steel billionaire Victor Rashnikov’s Ocean Victory is the second-largest at 459 feet, with David Geffen’s Rising Sun third at 456 feet.

A yacht previously owned by Abramovich had a tougher time of it. The 282-foot Ecstasea, now owned by a Pakistani billionaire, crashed Sunday while docking at a marina on St. Maarten, demolishing an operator’s booth.

With orders for yachts measuring more than 100 meters at a 10-year high, there’s cause for celebration among shipbuilders, but that may belie a slightly worrisome trend for the industry.

superyacht tables by bloomberg

The global superyacht business “appears to be in a holding pattern, awaiting 2020 with a little anxiety,” Boat International said in its 2020 Global Order Book. It cited a slight dip in overall luxury vessels ordered and the uncertainty surrounding major economies.

That’s also reflected in the decline in speculative production by shipyards, which dropped 8 percent year-over-year yet still accounts for about 43 percent of total orders.

This may not matter to big-boat billionaires like Abramovich, who pays $65 million a year for yacht maintenance, according to the Market Herald magazine.

But it may create a headache for potential owners in the 80- to 89-foot range, with projects on order dropping 15 percent.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Kevin Varley from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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Tags: boating, caribbean, luxury, st.maarten, yachts

Photo credit: Eclipse, the private luxury yacht of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, anchors at Hisaronu Bay in Marmaris district of Mugla, southwestern Turkey on October 19, 2015. The 163-meter-long Eclipse has two helicopter pads, 24 guest cabins, two swimming pools, a disco hall, a movie theater, and two mini-submarines. Levent Kisi / Bloomberg