Sailing Yacht A Arrested in Gibraltar

Published on February 19th, 2017

The superyacht built for Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, which is referred to as Sailing Yacht A, continues to get attention. However, in this story on yachtharbor.com, it’s not the yacht that is turning heads.


(February 19, 2017) – The 142.8m S/Y A, largest private sailing yacht in the world which recently left Nobiskrug, the shipyard it was built at, has now been seized in Gibraltar following a €15.3 million claim filled by Nobiskrug.

The sailing yacht arrived in Gibraltar just a few days ago after having left Kiel on February 5th to undergo further fit out works and sea trials in Spain. The delivery to her owner, Russian billionaire Andrei Melnichenko is scheduled for late Spring 2017.

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Lawyers acting for Nobiskrug have, however, now filed a claim against the yacht for a breach of contract. The claim indicates that the final €9.8 million installment was not paid by Valla Yachts Limited, the company that owns S/Y A, despite its January 27 deadline stated in the shipbuilding contract.

A further €2.6 million and €2.9 million are being claimed by the shipyard over liability for sub-contractor invoices and disputed orders during the build. The shipyard’s total claims therefore amounts to near €15.3 million plus interest. S/Y A was yesterday anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar under the custody of admiralty marshals.

A spokesman for the owner commented:
“We find this act of arrest of Sailing Yacht A in Gibraltar an astounding act for a shipbuilder of Nobiskrug’s standing. The facts are that with a project of this magnitude there are sometimes outstanding issues to be resolved, and the sum of over 9 million Euros being claimed for payment, by 27th January, was part of ongoing discussions between the Owner and the shipyard in regards to their rectification. We assumed the matter was progressing to a resolution as Nobiskrug were happy to release the yacht on February 5th to the Owner’s project team for further works to be carried out in Spain. The money was paid by the owner the following day into an Escrow account pending a resolution of the discussions. All monies now being claimed are in arbitration and we undestand these disputes fall under arbitration in the UK courts.”

The spokesman later said that they were confident the arrest will be terminated in the coming days and that this unfortunate episode will be over.

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With masts taller than Big Ben at nearly 100 meters in height, S/Y A had managed to reach a top speed of 20 knots without using her sails during her first sea trials. The yacht is projected to have a cruising speed of 16 knots powered by twin MTU engines of 4,827hp each which will give her a transatlantic range of 5,320 nautical miles.

The yacht also boasts a digital control system that has a touch sensitive sheet of black glass, allowing the crew to raise and lower sails and the anchor with a simple swipe according to the Daily Mail. Amongst the yacht’s key features is also an underwater observation pod and a large swimming pool with a retractable roof located towards the bow of the yacht.

Philippe Starck, who had also worked on M/Y A, is responsible for the design, whilst the rig and keel were done by Dutch-based Dykstra Naval Architects, with the masts constructed by British firm Magma Structures and the sails by Doyle Sails in the United States. The yacht boasts eight decks and her keel incorporates one of the largest single pieces of curved glass ever made at 193 square feet and weighs a whopping 1.8 tons. S/Y A is expected to be operated by a crew of 54.

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When the project for S/Y A was first announced in August 2015, she was first referred to as a sail-assisted motor yacht and can in fact reach up to 20 knots without using her sails as became known during her sea trials. Stretching across a beam of 24.8 meters at her widest point, she comes in at just 3,100GT less than Dilbar, the largest yacht in the world by interior volume.

Photos by @superyachts_gibraltar and Ivan Vinales

UPDATE: (February 21, 2017) – According to YachtHarbour.com, a judge has approved the order to release the yacht. “This unfortunate incident concerning Sailing Yacht A is now resolved,” reports a spokesman for the owner. “The yacht will now be handed over to the owner’s project team and will leave Gibraltar shortly.”

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