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Giant superyacht owned by Russian billionaire takes to seas to become one of the world's biggest sailing vessel

Mirror Mirror 6 days ago By Stephen Jones
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A $NZD562M superyacht owned by a Russian billionaire - believed to be one of the largest sailing vessels EVER - has taken to the seas.

The giant ship - snappily titled Sailing Yacht A - has undergone its first official sailing test with flying colours.

It is the latest super vessel to join the collection of industrialist Andrey Melnichenko - a 44-year-old Russian business mogul worth an estimated NZD$16.5B.  

Married to a former model and pop star called Aleksandra, Mr Melnichenko made his vast fortune by making savvy investments in coal, fertilisers and banking.

He is thought to be intending the giant ship as a replacement for his other (smaller by comparison) superyacht: Motor Yacht A.

Onlookers and enthusiasts spotted it being put through its paces for the first time off the coast of Strande in northern Germany.

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They were amazed at the sight of it dwarfing other boats.

It is powered by a hybrid diesel-electric system - and has a top speed of 21 knots (24 mph).

Known stand-out features of Sailing Yacht A include:

A 193sq ft glass pod weighing two tonnes on its keel to serve as an underwater lounge

Digital controls enabling crew to swipe a glass screen to activate sails.

Given Motor Yacht A only had three spa pools, floor-to-ceiling windows, wood and leather furniture, a spacious cabin and a rotating bed, it seems compact and bijou by comparison.

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As well as the yachts, Mr Melnichenko owns a customised Boeing 737 private jet, a villa in the French Riviera, a penthouse in New York and a sprawling estate near Ascot, England.

But unlike that other Russian billionaire superyacht-lover Roman Abramovich - no Premiership football team.

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