Will billion-dollar Triple Deuce really become world's biggest yacht?

A 222 metre superyacht called Triple Deuce is going to overtake Azzam as the world’s largest yacht, according to reports in the mainstream and specialist superyacht press. Triple Deuce is set to be 40 metres longer than Azzam, priced at $1 billion and built at a “northern European yard”, we’re told, with delivery set for 2018. The details are consistent across all stories, and can be traced to a single press release published in October 2014 on Florida broker 4Yacht’s website.

Craig Timm of 4Yacht claims to have sold Project Triple Deuce to a client, “a visionary, ultra high-net worth individual”. The owner, Timm says, was concerned about building a yacht only slightly bigger than Azzam and then being quickly outpaced by another owner. “By building the yacht to 222 meters, he wants to make it difficult, if not impossible, to be ‘eclipsed’ himself”, Timm says, making a play on the name of the world’s second largest yacht, the 162.5 metre Blohm+Voss Eclipse.

But the team at Boat International has questions about the validity of these claims, for reasons we are about to explain.

Timm says in the original press release that the builder for Triple Deuce had yet to be chosen – a situation that hasn’t changed. When reached for comment, the broker said that despite the lack of a yard, his aggressive delivery schedule can still be maintained: “However, the speculative delivery date is being pushed out to fall of 2018 at this time,” he says.

With build slots at the few yards that could handle a project of this magnitude sold well ahead, it seems inconceivable that one will have the capacity to take on a 222 metre project and deliver it in just three years. In an effort to discover more, we submitted a list of questions to Timm, including the questions below, none of which he chose to answer, pointing instead to the many stories currently online.

  • When was the order signed?
  • Who are the designers? Who drew the outline?
  • Did the owner give you permission to release the price of the yacht?
  • Is steel being cut now? If yes, where?
  • How do you expect to deliver this yacht in just three years?
  • Why did the owner choose 4yacht?

Of course, many of the biggest yachts are kept relatively secret. The recently delivered 140m Fincantieri Ocean Victory was cloaked in secrecy. Yet her order was reported in plain sight in 2009 and her designers were known at that time.

What wasn’t reported in the order of Ocean Victory, however, was the price, which makes 4Yacht’s claim that Triple Deuce will cost “over $1 billion” to build an unusual one. Brokers contacted by BI suggested this figure was outlandish, claiming that a number around $850 million was more likely, while adding that most owners would think twice before allowing the cost to be broadcast.

“Much of what we do in this industry is discreet,” says legal expert John Leonida, who heads up Clyde & Co’s superyacht practice. “Yes there is gossip and there are moments when it is practically impossible to disguise the truth. However, when a decision to disclose arrives, all the stakeholders in the information would ordinarily be consulted and should agree on the story to be told. But some matters must remain secret.

“Why would an owner commit to allowing anyone to announce that he is spending $1 billion? People will find out. At some point the owner will be identified, at some point the yard would be identified. Unless you are a public company, why disclose to the whole world your turnover?”

Of further concern for an owner would be announcing this number while looking for insurers and paying taxes, according to Leonida. “Why would the yard and everyone associated with the project readily disclose a number that would attract the interest of tax authorities?” Leonida asks. “The US government would be interested if $1 billion of American currency was being used."

Beyond Timm’s statements and the rehashed versions of the press release online, there is little “noise” about Project Triple Deuce in the superyacht industry, while senior brokers in the US told Boat International that it won’t see the light of day. For the sake of the yachting industry, we’d welcome this news being true, but until some verifiable facts are released, we won’t rush like others to announce the end of Azzam’s reign as the biggest superyacht in the world.

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