“A”…must be for awesome


It’s hard to beat this chap’s description of what it must be like to arrive somewhere aboard the 390-foot motor yacht A:

You could hear the sound of penises shrinking from as far away as San Remo when “A” dropped anchor in the bay of Cannes recently. You could hear the sound of Billionaire’s accountants calculating the cost of building a more spectacular boat about thirty seconds later.

Though “A” was launched (under a pseudonym) by Blohm & Voss way back in 2008, I still can’t find photos of her electronics besides the tease below. The owners, Andrey and Alexandra Melnichenko, are apparently concerned about privacy and security. So while it’s probably obvious where the “A” came from, let’s also note that it’s hard to Google a boat with a one-letter name!


At any rate I did find a Motor Yacht A Specifications PDF that lists at least some of the goodies, like the Imtech Marine UniMACS 3000 Integrated Bridge System with “Alarm Monitoring & Control System, RADAR 3500 X- and S- Band, ECDIS 3500, CONNING 3500, NAVPILOT autopilot, DPT 3500 Dynamic Positioning, CCTV 3500, GMDSS, External communication, and tender tracking system.” Yow!
   “A” also has a Furuno FCV-1200L sonar and DS-50 doppler log, plus SAM Electronics MCS2200 monitoring and a Bosch CCTV security system with over forty cameras. And probably some other security gear that hasn’t been published?…


So how about that antenna farm? Besides a slew of Sailor radios, there are two Inmarsat Mini C’s, a Fleet 77 TT-3008C, and two Seatel VSAT domes. Also on board are four “Fixed Sagem Telsat GPRS Base Units” somehow helping with cellular coms, but I can’t find further info about them. Anyone?…


The real fun is the sexy stuff, much of which I learned about from a wonderfully dishy WSJ article. For instance, now I know that the huge top-deck master suite is protected by bomb proof glass and fingerprint locks. And that both the bed platform and the bed itself rotate via remote control, and of course there’s a giant plasma TV that can appear out of the overhead on command…


“A” also has two distinctive 36-foot tenders and a ferocious 50 mph RIB, all built by Vaudrey Miller (which may be out of business, like serveral other companies involved in this very complicated project). But my favorite article about this yacht is centered on Philippe Starck, the man who designed absolutely everything, including the outfits some forty “A” crew members wear. He also supplied a quote almost as startling as the opening one:

I am an environmentalist and a left winger: yachts are among the most daftest capitalist toys imaginable… I decided I might as well at least help the wealthy create something different: yachts that are not just a mountain of gold. So I designed something timeless and elegant…


Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher from 4/2005 until 8/2018, and now pleased to have Ben Stein as a very able publisher, webmaster, and editing colleague. Please don't regard him as an "expert"; he's getting quite old and thinks that "fadiddling fumble-putz" is a more accurate description.

16 Responses

  1. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    “A” is almost modest compared to the 536-foot M/Y Eclipse with its laser anti-paparazzi system:

  2. Russ says:

    She was anchored here in Sausalito for a few weeks in 2010 and drew a large collection of stares for a few days as she was framed against San Francisco in the background. The design is certainly unique, but with clear similarities to a surfaced submarine.
    It’s great to see wealthy people helping the economy by spending their money rather than just buying treasury bills, art and real estate. This is real consumption and creates jobs. Bravo!

  3. Dave says:

    Ive sailed around her several times near Canne and Antibbes, in my view its a truly ugly boat. Its been described as a block of flats ( apartments) hitting a submarine. Starck should stick to toasters, Of course to each his own.

  4. MarkG says:

    I encountered her while sailing off of St Thomas two winters ago. It certainly looked to me like James Bond’s submarine was on a surface cruise. Now I know why the AIS ID simply said “A.”

  5. Anonymous says:

    Well, my penis does not shrink, nor swell, nor even itch at the sight of A… So he wasted his time and his money competing with me…
    For him to win at the Alpha Male contest there has to be a different reaction than mine – which was a snort, and the growled, “A fool and his money!” comment…
    Yes, he is fabulously wealthy – that does not make him smart in ways that count… He will end his days the exact same way as every human being who preceded him in life has, by dieing…
    Likely A will go to the ship breakers at that point unless another ostentatious fool comes along looking for a second hand phallic symbol…
    Ah well, without the insecure such as he, what would we have to talk about?

  6. mel says:

    A few random thoughts:
    Would I want or have the kind of friends one needs to party in a boat like this?
    I could think of a few other connotatons when calling out “This is ‘A’ on the vhf” (or do they have all private comms).
    Do you think the owner had a paper route when he was a kid and we could compare notes?
    If you were invited over, what would you bring?
    WHen you get there, do they have a wardrobe and makeup shop so your not a ragbag?
    Do you offer to help pay for fuel or tip their private launch operator $1000usd ?
    Nobody there probably did their own wiring interface, so don’t ask.
    Where do you learn the names of the top top shelf private brand vodka’s, “Vodka and Tonic” wont cut it.
    I once waved to Ben in Camden Harbor on his boat as I past his dock, and he waved back, can I expect that to happen, and will I be waving a lot at passing boats?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Mel, I have friends working in that industry, Ill paraphrase their comments
    “Would I want or have the kind of friends one needs to party in a boat like this?”
    You don’t care, there all sycophants anyway. You have few real friends
    Do you think the owner had a paper route when he was a kid and we could compare notes?
    Actually , probably yes, most of these self made people are surprisingly ordinary, mind you the russians are currently into ostentation
    “If you were invited over, what would you bring?”, depends ,a large amount of white stuff, perhaps.
    “WHen you get there, do they have a wardrobe and makeup shop so your not a ragbag?”
    You as a man, wear overpriced awful clothes, your wife/partner goes virtually naked to show that (a) she fabulous, (b) you can kept her in the style she likes and (b) there may be men richer then you there.
    “Do you offer to help pay for fuel or tip their private launch operator $1000usd ?”
    Thats sort of tip is regarded as chump change, get real.
    “Nobody there probably did their own wiring interface, so don’t ask.”
    On their bodies , yes, otherwise blank looks all round.
    “Where do you learn the names of the top top shelf private brand vodka’s, “Vodka and Tonic” wont cut it.”
    You don’t , your paid help, look after all that , thats all emailed in advance, along with the fact that you only eat broccoli from a garden in nepal.
    “I once waved to Ben in Camden Harbor on his boat as I past his dock, and he waved back, can I expect that to happen, and will I be waving a lot at passing boats?”
    Does waving back with a AR-15 count?

  8. rxc says:

    BUB (Butt Ugly Boat)
    Is there a ram up there on the tip of the pointy end? It sort of reminds me of the designs of battleships of more than 100 years ago.

  9. Teppo Salmia says:

    That’s one striking yacht. An interesting side view image of her can be found at Pascoe International’s website ( http://www.pascoeinternational.com/about/client-views ), where her rib manufactured by Pascoe appears to be docking the “A”.

  10. Larry Brandt says:

    Maybe the classic diefinition of a boat as a hole in the water that one throws money into, A is just a A-hole on the water that somebody throws money from?

  11. John says:

    Can’t put my finger on it but no matter how many times I look at that first picture, it STILL looks like a picture of a scale model.

  12. Mike says:

    Gee – ya think somebody is compensating for a deep-seated inadequacy?
    The reason it looks like a scale model is because it looks like something from a 1960s TV show where the main characters are PUPPETS!

  13. melkal says:

    Well, let’s look at it from another standpoint. Taste is individual. So, some people sail, some power. Some can buy small, some can buy big. In the case of “A”, I hope the owner builds one for each of the other letters of the alphabet, and I do not care what they look like. They produce jobs for real hard working folks, all over the world, that stimulates the world economy. It is more than TV’s, Stereos, Iwhatevers, or appliances all made in Asian countires by the zillions. So, lot’s of plain folk receive the benefit of income in other countries. So, the owner is rich and spends a lot of money in the world. That is good. Me, I am fretting over spending $900 for a new clothes washer! Chump change as pointed out previously.

  14. Ben Ellison Ben Ellison says:

    Amen! Where I live in Midcoast Maine, what’s largely high-end custom yacht building, repair, and service has become quite important to the local economy. Check out Front Street Shipyard for the latest example:
    These are decent, satisfying jobs generally filled by people you’d like to have for neighbors. What seems odd sometimes is how little some of these yachts are used, but that’s a bigger issue our whole country is struggling with.

  15. Mr. Baker says:

    I have an idea for an episode of Star Trek, Next Generation. The Enterprise receives a distress call indicating that the personnel on the Starship Argo are starving and need immediate rescue. The Enterprise warps out and comes upon a private starship of incredible beauty but near zero utility. The crew dines at a different table than the passengers and have all come down with a flue like illness that left them incompacitated. The Enterprise seeks to rescue the crew, but the owner of the vessel insists that the crew are not important, but he and his guests are in much greater distress because they have only eaten fruit and sandwiches for a few days and are thus starving to death.
    Owner: “And just look at this mess, there is no one to clean up.”
    Picard: “You can’t be neat or clean up because of some infirmity or handicap?”
    Owner: “Oh, no, we are trillionaires and just don’t do such things. We don’t have to be neat or help out. Its their job to serve us, not the other way around. All we have to do is look good, play games and socialize.”

  16. roger hudson says:

    This ship looks too much like a US stealth warship, I hope they don’t try to cruise to the Persian Gulf.

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