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Megayacht for mega-money

MARCH 14 — A Russian billionaire is rumored to be building the world’s most expensive privately owned yacht.

At 438 feet and featuring two helicopter pads, gold and marble head fittings and storage space for a submarine, the yacht, known only as Hull 6154, is expected to fetch more than $270 million, news reports say. Although initial plans were leaked to the press, no word has gotten out about who exactly is financing the project.

“The market is awash with super yachts being built right now and it’s the Russians who are driving it,” a managing director of one of Europe’s largest yacht brokers says in a news report. “For them it is all about who has got the longest boat, the highest mast and the best fittings.”

The yacht is also said to have 15 state rooms, Jacuzzis, a gym and is equipped with five PWCs, say reports. It is being built by Fincantieri in Genoa, Italy, and is expected to be completed by 2010.

“When it is finished it will be the most technically advanced and elegant yacht built to date,” a Fincantieri director says in the report.

A number of wealthy businesspeople have purchased extraordinarily large yachts in recent years. Roman Abramovich, who owns the Chelsea (England) Football Club, has four yachts and is purchasing Eclipse, a yacht under construction in Germany that’s worth nearly $200 million, reports say. Microsoft co-found Paul Allen (Octopus) and Oracle founder Larry Ellison (Rising Sun) each bought 400-plus-foot yachts for more than $200 million.

Jason Fell