by Harriet Arkell Daily Mail
Roman Abramovich’s yacht broker could be in for a difficult phone call.
The Russian billionaire’s boat has just been relegated to second place after the launch today of Azzam, a gleaming, £400m temple of luxury that sailed straight into the record books as the largest yacht in the world.
At a staggering 590ft long, the German-built super-yacht is a good 50ft longer than Mr Abramovich’s Eclipse, which has been the largest in the world for the last four years.
It’s faster than the oligarch’s £272m, 533 ft vessel, too: Azzam boasts a top speed of at least 30 knots, whereas Eclipse can manage only 22 knots.
Azzam (the name means ‘determination’ in Arabic), which has been built for a mystery client, is longer than some cruise ships, and boasts an impressive gross tonnage of 14,000GT – roughly equivalent to 1,750 adult male African elephants.
And while the ship trumps all others in terms of scale, it sets out to do the same in terms of luxury, too.
Built under the guidance of engineer Mubarak Saad al Ahbabi, and designed by Nauta Yachts, Azzam had its own interior ‘creator’, Christophe Leoni, whose job it was to ensure that the ship’s passengers will want for nothing in terms of comfort and style.
The owner’s brief outlined his or her wish for a large, luxury yacht with an ‘innovative and yet timeless design’.
The yacht had to be able to travel at high speed in warm and shallow waters, whilst providing luxurious and sophisticated accommodation to its guests.
Directors at Lurssen, the yard which has been building yachts since 1875, described Azzam as the ‘most complex and challenging yacht which has ever been built’.
Peter Lurssen, managing partner at the shipbuilder, said: ‘When she will be delivered later this year, she will have been in build for only three years following one year of engineering.
‘She truly represents another milestone in not only our history but yachting history as well.’
Peter Seyfferth, from TheYachtPhoto.com, said: ‘I am very impressed with Azzam and how it was completed in such a short time.
‘I wasn’t expecting it to look so elegant, but when you compare it to Eclipse it is so much sleeker.
‘A lot of architects say we have come to a limit with length now, but who knows?’
Full details of the new yacht, which was launched in Bremen, northern Germany, are shrouded in secrecy, as is typical when such expensive vessels are commissioned.
One yachting expert told MailOnline: ‘Because of who the clients are, the designers of yachts like this are usually bound by tight confidentiality contracts, so we may never know exactly what gadgets the vessels are equipped by.