Britain's richest woman takes delivery of £100m superyacht - the largest ever built here (and it comes with its own fold-down beach club)
Mon, 05 March 2012
It is the ultimate status symbol for the world's super-rich. And as you would expect, it comes with an astronomical price tag.
But the extraordinary costs are unlikely to concern Britain's richest woman, who has taken delivery of one of the largest private motor yachts ever built in the UK.
The vast 314ft-long Vava II - which costs more than £250,000 just to fill the fuel tanks - was commissioned for former Miss UK Kirsty Bertarelli, 40, by her billionaire husband Ernesto, 46.
The Swiss pharmaceutical tycoon - reputedly worth £6.8billion, making him the 81st richest man in the world and the fifth richest in the UK - had the boat built in secret by Plymouth boat-maker Devonport Yachts under the name Project 55.
VAVA II'S SUPER SPEC
• 314ft long with six decks
• Four boats to take passengers to shore
• Fold-down beach club
• Pool with variable depth
• Luxury guest bedrooms
• Cost: £100million
The super yacht Vava II was intended to replace the couple's old boat, which measured up at a mere 154ft.
It was built by 200 craftsmen and drew a crowd of onlookers as the couple sailed off for the Caribbean on Friday.
The remarkable feat of engineering features a fold-down beach club and a pool which can be varied in depth to cater for guest preferences, opulent guest cabins four boats to ferry passengers to shore.
The vast vessel could be made available for private charter at a cost of tens of thousands of pounds a week.
The exteriors of the Vava II were designed by Hampshire-based specialists Redman Whiteley Dixon while the interiors were styled by Remi Tessier.
Its hull was built in Appledore, Devon, before Devonport Yachts took on the project.
The luxury yacht company was bought from dockyard owners Babcock last year by Falmouth-based Pendennis shipyard.
Keen sailor Mr Bertarelli triumphed in the America's Cup when crewing his Team Alinghi boat in 2003 and 2007.
He was part of the first team ever to win the prestigious event at its first attempt.
But the team was roundly beaten twice by San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing in 2010.
The races followed a bitter two-and-a-half year legal battle between Mr Bertarelli, and Oracle's backer, American software boss Larry Ellison.
Managing Director Stephen Hills said the Vava II was 'an absolute credit to the capacity of the South West as a superyacht building location'.
He added: 'We are looking to continue this industry in the South West.'
Captain Brendan O'Shannassy said of the yacht: 'To have such a ground breaking construction unveiled in Plymouth should make the region justly proud.'
The billionaire Mr Bertarelli does not lavish asll his money on extravagant yachts though.
The Bertarelli Foundation - set up by the family to help fund philanthropic projects around the world.
The foundation has worked in partnership with the British government for the Marine Reserve in Chagos and the in the Indian Ocean looking into wildlife preservation projects.