A Superyacht Simply Named A
Described as provocative and stealthy, the superyacht A is perhaps one of the most extravagantly unusual yachts navigating our oceans. It comes as no surprise that this extraordinary vessel belongs to Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko. With Russian oligarchs, there are no shortcuts when it comes to ostentatious luxury, and superyacht A is proof of this.
Nearly 120 meters long, A was designed by world renowned Philippe Starck and built by master yacht builders Blohm & Voss in Kiel, Germany at HDW shipyard. Commissioned in 2004, the yacht was launched four years later with a host of extravagant features in regards to both aesthetics and function. Up to 14 guests can enjoy the comforts of A in six sumptuous guest suites while there is space for as many as 37 crew members to ensure optimum relaxation for everybody onboard. Should the generously sized rooms still not be large enough, the movable walls of the yacht’s interior can transform the six suites into four enormous state rooms. The yacht also has a mechanical king sized bed, able to rotate to face any direction, ensuring the best possible views.
US$300 million can buy a lot of bling
A is not only comfortable and luxurious; decor and furnishings are no less than magnificent. Baccarat crystal tables are flanked by alligator skin chairs and the bath taps alone are rumoured to have cost US$40,000. Even the walls are spectacular featuring leather panelling stitched by hand in some areas and upholstery made of white stingray skin in others. Three swimming pools and the latest gadgets provide ample entertainment. One pool has a glass bottom, visible from the yacht’s discotheque.
Keeping travellers safe
The A’s exterior is rounded, which makes it impossible for unwanted intruders to board. A motion detection system and over 40 security cameras provide further security, as does bombproof glass windows and an escape pod. Some of the areas, like the master suite, are only accessible by biometric fingerprint scanner. Should all else fail, an onboard helipad caters to a swift escape.
Once known as one of the elite members of the world’s ‘under 40 billionaires club’, Andrey Melnichenko is a Russian oligarch. He started his empire in the banking sector when he co-founded MDM bank. Within a decade the bank grew into being one of the biggest private banks in Russia. After making his mark in the banking sector Melnichenko entered the steel pipe market before moving into the development of mining and industrial assets and eventually placing focus on fertiliser, coal and electricity. Melnichenko amassed a considerable fortune through the years and now has substantial assets including majority shares in the largest chemical company in Russia, the largest coal company in Russia and the largest electricity company in Russia. As of April 2015 his estimated net worth is said to be close to US$10 billion. Melnichenko is married to former Serbian model and singer Aleksandra Melnichenko and the couple own several properties in the UK, Antibes and the US.