A stylish super-yacht said to be worth much more than £100million has been built in Plymouth for a super-rich client.
At 96 metres long, Vava II is the largest private motor yacht ever constructed in Britain.
Although details are being kept top secret, it is understood to have been commissioned by Swiss pharmaceutical magnate, and two times America's Cup winner, Ernesto Bertarelli.
His £6.8 billion fortune makes him the 81st richest man in the world, the fifth richest in the UK and his British born former Miss UK wife, Kirsty, the richest woman in the country.
Hardly surprising then, that he should want a vessel which is ranked the 33rd biggest in the world and which dwarfs his previous boat, the 47.30-metre Vava, built in 1996.
Vava II has just been christened at Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, where about 200 workers have been involved in a two-year construction project after the hull was built in Appledore, Devon.
Formerly known just as Project-55, the vessel has exteriors styled by Hampshire-based yacht design firm Redman Whitely Dixon and interiors by renowned designer Remi Tessier. But the engineering was all carried out in Plymouth, by workers employed by Devonport Royal Dockyard Ltd.
The contact had remained with that firm when the luxury yacht brand Devonport Yachts was acquired from Devonport dockyard operator Babcock by Falmouth-based Pendennis Shipyard in February last year.
The creative design was the work of Devonport Yachts, however, and managing director Stephen Hills said the vessel was “an absolute credit to the capacity of the South West as a super yacht building location”.
With the transfer of Devonport Yachts, Babcock announced in 2009 it would not be bidding for any new super yacht contracts to focus instead on defence operations. But Mr Hills said such work would carry on in Falmouth and said: “We are looking to continue that industry for the South West.”
Vava II will start sea trials next month (OCT) with the yacht being delivered soon after.
The vessel is expected to set a new standard in the charter market for 2012 and beyond.
Mr Bertarelli, now aged 45, took over the family firm, the multinational Serano pharmaceutical company, 13 years ago after his father’s death.
It was sold to German company Merck in 2006 for 13.3billion US dollars. In 2008, Mr Bertarelli launched the Ares Life Sciences investment fund, which backed the £670 million buyout of medical services provider Euromedic.
Mr Bertarelli also likes sailing and served on the crew of his Team Alinghi boat, when it won the won the 2003 and 2007 America’s Cup, and when it lost to the US challenger last year.
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