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Motor Yacht A: Everything You Want To Know

Ian Fortey by Ian Fortey Updated on January 1, 2023. In Yachts

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Motor Yacht A, sometimes just called MYA or simply “A”, is a superyacht that was designed by Philippe Starck, interior designer and architect, along with naval architect Martin Francis and built by the yacht makers Blohm Voss. The yacht was ordered back in 2004 and it took four years to come through with delivery of the massive vessel. It is famous today for being one of the biggest yachts on earth and also for the controversial look and design of the yacht.

What Did Motor Yacht A Cost?

Although most owners of these massive superyachts play numbers close to the chest, the number most frequently circulated when discussing Motor Yacht A is $300 million. So not only would that make the boat one of the largest in the world, it’s also in the rankings for one of the most expensive as well. 

The actual price has never been confirmed, however, so it’s worth noting that this might not be correct, it’s just that the owner never stated otherwise. There have sometimes been other figures tossed around that are a little higher or a little lower but no one seems to have a source for any of them. Even the widely accepted $300 million seems to mostly be speculation based on educated guesses and a bit of insight into how the ship was designed and what it features. In any event, it’s safe to say it was quite an expensive vessel.

Motor Yacht A Interior

According to Starck, he was not really given a brief for the design of the yacht. Instead, he was told how long it needed to be, more or less, and that the buyer wanted six cabins. Everything else was up to him. Some initial stories said Starck designed the entire vessel in just a couple of minutes. That sounds impossible but also that’s what Stark is known for – producing fully realized designs in just minutes, sort of like a freeform design process where he puts everything on the paper right away. However, he later admitted the entire process was about a month long, so take from that what you will.

The yacht is 394 feet long so clearly there’s a lot more than just six cabins on board.  The interior covers a massive 24,000 square feet of space. It takes a staff of 35 to keep it all running. The master suite alone is 2,500 square feet. To give that perspective, the average square footage of an apartment in New York City is 866 square feet, and it’s been that size since the year 2000.

Starck designed a secret room for the suite as well, hidden behind a mirror. It’s meant for couples to have some privacy, if you follow our meaning. Mirrors and crystals are used everywhere on board, even in the furniture. There’s a hidden cabinet in the living room area that opens up to reveal a massive bar that is nearly all crystal, mirrors and glass.  There are seven guest cabins but there is a modular wall system that allows for them to be merged into four larger rooms.

Where mirrors aren’t being used you can find animal skins. One guest room has walls made entirely from white stingray leather.  There’s even a custom designed chair somewhere made from alligator hide and kudu horns. 

Electronics are included stealthily, like the 60 inch TV that can rise up into the ceiling to be hidden away when not in use. 

Even simple features are more elaborate than you might expect. The walls lining a staircase are made of scalloped silver. The handrail is hand carved and cost $60,000. The shower faucets were custom designed to fit the silver trim and even patented. They cost $40,000.

Like many of the large superyachts, the deck is outfitted with a helipad for transport to and from the yacht at sea. There are also three swimming pools in total including one that has a glass bottom and was built above a disco so you can dance and watch people swim, or vice versa, though the glass bottom is only over a fairly small area so you’d most likely just be looking up at someone treading water. That pool is also a massage pool with his and hers massage chairs. 

The tender garage on Motor Yacht A features three launch boats and a lot of open space. So much space, in fact, that if the launch boats are cleared out, the space doubles as a party room with a large dance floor. 

Most Russian billionaires opt for some serious yacht security and things were no different with Motor Yacht A. Though many of the details were kept under wraps it was rumored that the yacht had been outfitted with 44 mm bomb-proof glass on all the windows. There’s also supposedly an escape pod of some type that can be used to flee the yacht in case of emergencies but details on what that means are pretty hard to come by. In addition to that there are rumored to be dozens of security cameras, motion centers and fingerprint keypads to enter secure spaces.

How Fast is Motor Yacht A?

The ship runs on a pair of MAN RK280 diesel engines. These supply around 9,000 kW (12,000 hp). The top speed is around 23 knots with a cruising speed of 19 knots. With a 750,000 L/200,000 gallon fuel capacity, Super Yacht A has a range of 6,500 nautical miles. 

Who Owns Motor Yacht A?

At the time the yacht was commissioned back in 2004, no one knew who the buyer was. In fact, it took the entire four year construction process before it became public knowledge who owned the vessel, this after much incorrect speculation.

The true owner of the yacht was Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko. He made his fortune in coal and chemicals and was one of the richest people in Russia at the time. 

Why is it Called Motor Yacht A?

Most boats have creative names. The naming of any vessel is part of the fun, after all. Even serious vessels like military ships and cargo vessels have names, so why would a billionaire give a luxurious superyacht such a plain, boring name? It’s actually a bit of a sneaky, vanity thing. It’s called “A” so that it always features at the top of boat registries. No matter where it’s listed, it’s going to be first. 

What was the Controversy Over the Luxury Yacht A?

As mentioned in the intro, there was some controversy regarding the look of the yacht when it made its debut, at least in boating and yacht circles. Nothing serious, of course, just among traditionalists and more avant garde boat fans who disagreed about the design. 

There were some boating journalists and yacht owners who thought A was the ugliest boat they had ever seen, in particular because of the axe bow. And it’s true that the exterior design is very unusual for a yacht. It has lines more reminiscent of a submarine that has surfaced as opposed to a traditional yacht. That, combined with the price tag, made critics feel like it was a massive waste or misuse of money. Other people, however, were excited by such an unusual design and innovative engineering shaking up what was otherwise kind of a stagnant design field. Plus, when the unique interior was factored in, it really makes A a standout vessel. 

What is Sailing Yacht A?

Launched in 2015, Sailing Yacht A is the sister yacht to Motor Yacht A. It is also owned by Andrey Melnichenko and it was also designed by Philippe Starck. At 469 feet, it is larger than Motor Yacht A and it’s also the largest sailing yacht in the world. 

The Bottom Line

Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko commissioned the A back in 2004 and took possession in 2008. As far as anyone knows, it cost about $300 million. The vessel has an incredibly unique exterior design as well as many luxurious interior features that make it a standout mega yacht. At around 390 to 394 feet (sources differ on the exact length) it’s also one of the largest yachts in the world and currently ranks at about the 29th largest as of 2022.

About Ian

My grandfather first took me fishing when I was too young to actually hold up a rod on my own. As an avid camper, hiker, and nature enthusiast I'm always looking for a new adventure.

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