St Barths might be one of the smallest islands in the Caribbean chain, but each year the finest vessels in the superyacht fleet make the pilgrimage to the petite island in time to ring in the new year.
According to data provided by BOATPro's Global Fleet Tracker, there are 131 yachts more than 24 metres in length currently anchored off the leeward shores of St Barths, four of which surpass the 100-metre mark. While the total figure falls slightly short of the 142 visiting yachts recorded in 2019, it marks the triumphant return of the fleet following several years of disruption. Take a look at some of the most impressive vessels at anchor...
1. Rising Sun
At 138 metres in length, the Lürssen-built Rising Sun should be easy to spot from Gustavia, if not for her sheer size then for her distinct glass panels that run the length of the two upper decks. She was commissioned by tech mogul Larry Ellison and was the last ever design of Jon Bannenberg.
Not only is Infinity the second largest yacht in St Barths for New Year's Eve, but she is also one of the newest. Upon delivery in May 2022, she was both the largest launch by shipyard Oceanco and the largest yacht to be built in the Netherlands. Although her reign was shortlived as she has since been supplanted by Project Y721 (thought to be named Koru). Her design team includes Espen Øino, Lateral Naval Architects, Sinot Yacht Architecture & Design and David Kleinberg Design Associates.
Kaos, or Jubilee as she was first introduced to the world, was the flagship of the Oceanco fleet when she was delivered in 2017. Despite her size, she flaunts a slender profile thanks to the design talents of Igor Lobanov who created "fake decks" and smoked glass to mask her true height. Her iconic profile still remains following a year-long refit after changing hands in 2020, in one of the largest brokerage deals secured in recent years.
4. Bravo Eugenia
Bravo Eugenia has the proportions of a sports yacht with an elongated bow and slender form. Her design is the work of studio Nuvolari Lenard and she is powered by a hybrid engine with a waste heat recovery system and single-tier engine room. This layout helps free up valuable space for two helipads, a wellness centre, and a large tender garage beneath the foredeck.
Feadship's 100 metre Moonrise returns to the French Caribbean island for the second year in a row to watch the fireworks on New Year's Eve. Her clean lines and minimal exterior saw Moonrise win a World Superyacht Award in 2021 in the Displacement Motor Yachts 3,000GT and Above category, although her interior remains a well-kept secret.
6. Christina O
Christina O is a familiar sight anchored off of Gustavia in the run-up to the new year. She started as a Canadian anti-submarine frigate but was famously rescued and rebuilt by Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis after the Second World War, who bought her for her scrap value of $34,000. Today she is the ultimate party vessel with a starry past, with the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Greta Garbo and Grace Kelley having all graced her decks.
Faith is one of the biggest Feadship launches to date and has been spotted in St Barths following a recent refit. Her list of amenities include a nine-metre glass-bottomed swimming pool, a sundeck gym and two 10-metre custom tenders to whisk guests to shore. Alternatively, nights spent on board are best spent on the sundeck, where guests will find a wood-fired pizza oven and wine cellar. Owners can also retreat to a private deck for aperitifs around a firepit.
8. Vava II
Vava II was the largest yacht to be built in the UK when she was completed at the beginning of 2012 and the last yacht built by Devonport Yachts, following its acquisition by Pendennis Shipyard. Her exterior design was by British studio RWD, while the interior contract was awarded to Remi Tessier.
The 95.2 metre Lürssen Kismet was commissioned by owner Shahid Khan, who was looking to upgrade his 68 metre yacht by the same name. She is easy to pick out among the crowd thanks to her two-tone "champagne and caviar" exterior, twin helipads and distinctive bowsprit. Inside is just as flash, dressed in exotic materials such as black marble, solid honey onyx, and rare mahogany timber with glimmers of gold. A dramatic, curved staircase with curled wrought ironwork sits at the centre of the yacht, with a two-storey video wall acting as a moving backdrop.
Lürssen's Madsummer was commissioned by an owner in the market for a new plane, as well as a boat. As a result, the sundeck was reinforced to serve as a seaplane berth with a crane hidden in the bulwark. Other highlights of this 95 metre include a helideck on the foredeck, a brightly coloured interior by Laura Sessa, a spa and a 12 metre swimming pool.
Other favourites spotted sitting off of St Barths include Project X and Nebula, which are spending their first New Year's on the island after delivery in 2022, as well as the newly refitted Force Blue and Coral Ocean.