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What’s in a name? The stories behind some of the top superyacht names

8 September 2023 • Written by Dea Jusufi

Once a superstitious practice, christening a superyacht has now become an eccentric form of self-expression – owners name their yachts after favourite songs, private islands and, in one case, a beloved circus elephant. Diving into the world of superyacht nomenclature, BOAT International discovers the unexpected stories behind some well-known yacht names...

The Wellesley

Builder: Oceanco
Length: 56.2m
Year: 1993

For hotelier Khalid Affara, superyachts are about the business of hospitality – that's how The Wellesley was born, as a nautical extension of his renowned art-deco hotel, The Wellesley in London. This charter favourite has the same resplendent interiors as her Knightsbridge namesake, from the 1920s-style guest cabins to the Arabescèto Corchia marble and Hermès amenities in the bathrooms. “When we thought about going for a superyacht we considered it a two-way street, it is branding,” Affara explained to BOAT International. “Putting The Wellesley’s name on a big boat and sending it around all the big ports means people see it and start to make the connection. It is like a big advertising sign.”

Read More/On board with Khalid Affara, hotelier and owner of Below Deck star The Wellesley

Mousetrap

Builder: JFA Yachts
Length: 33.5m
Year: 2012

Rodents (or Agatha Christie) might spring to mind when you hear the name Mousetrap, but this catamaran was actually christened in honour of the owner's electronics empire. Daniel Borel is the chairman emeritus of Logitech, the minds behind the first cordless, infrared mouse and, later, the first thumb-operated trackball and laser mouse. As the world's largest carbon-fibre cruising catamaran, a company of firsts is a fitting namesake – Mousetrap is also fitted with innovative, load sensor technology and PLC Force Feedback steering.

Jumbo IV

Builder: Moonen Yachts
Length: 25.7m
Year: 1991

This canoe-sterned Moonen (once known as Marlee Queen) was sold to Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and renamed Jumbo IV. As the name suggests, the prince's previous yachts were also called Jumbo after his particular love of elephants – Jumbo was the London Zoo's first African elephant and, later, was controversially sold to P.T Barnum's circus. The co-founder and first president of the World Wildlife Fund, Jumbo IV was also an ode to Prince Bernhard's passion for nature conservation. The yacht was often sighted in Porto Ercole, Tuscany, where the Dutch royal family would spend their summers. 

Yersin

Credit: Thierry Ameller

Builder: Piriou
Length: 76.6m
Year: 2015

Attended by HSH Prince Albert II and blessed by the Vicar General of Monaco, the prestige of Yersin's naming ceremony befits the man who inspired it. This military-style explorer was named after Doctor Alexandre Yersin, the bacteriologist who voyaged through Southeast Asia carrying out life-saving research on the bubonic plague (the bacterium Yersinia pestis is another of his namesakes). Designed by Pierre-Jacques Kubis in that same spirit of scientific discovery, Yersin is equipped with a barge, seaplane and enough provisions to keep 18 people fed for 50 days. She's also ice-classed and Polar-code compliant, with her 2,198GT used to house researchers, scientists and students, to the end of educating and progressing global conservation efforts. 

Read More/Yersin: The 76m super explorer on a mission to protect the planet

Come Together 

Builder: Amels
Length: 60m
Year: 2022

Coined after a Beatles song, it's only right that Come Together's owner would choose a British studio to fine-tune this yacht's interiors. Winch Design had a clear vision of what the owner wanted, having previously collaborated on the 83-metre Here Comes the Sun (yes, another Beatles track) – the result is a warm, communal design that takes the ethos of the yacht's name to heart. Stepping inside Come Together reveals plush sofa lounges for spontaneous gatherings, a bespoke games table created by Hull Studio and a main saloon dining table that can be extended to squeeze in an extra friend or two. There's also a guitar in the skylounge, in a more literal nod to the yacht's catchy name.

Read More/A look on board the first Amels 60 superyacht Come Together

Scout

Builder: Hakvoort
Length: 63.7m
Year: 2019

The largest yacht (by length and volume) delivered by the 100-year-old shipyard, Scout's utilitarian profile and martial paint job have left many misunderstanding her namesake. She's not named after a soldier, or even an explorer, but owner James Berwind's rescue dog. "We want to enjoy the sea and the fresh air and travel with our dogs. We live casually outdoors so a yacht suits us; it’s a vehicle to take us places," explained Berwind, who spends seven months a year travelling the Caribbean, the British Isles, the fjords of Scandinavia and Hawaii with his partner and pups Scout and Brio. Dog-friendly design is prevalent throughout, including enclosed bulwarks, carpeted stair treads and a master suite fitted with a private terrace "puppy park".

Read More/Inside the fantastical 64m Hakvoort explorer Scout

Necker Belle

Builder: CMN Shipyard
Length: 32m
Year: 2003

Formerly owned by Richard Branson, Necker Belle was named after the magnate's tropical hideaway, Necker Island. This private, previously uninhabited islet is found in the British Virgin Islands, with all 30 hectares belonging to Virgin's portfolio of luxury properties. While Necker Island can still be exclusively rented, this bright-white catamaran is no longer part of the deal after she was sold to an undisclosed buyer in August 2018. Necker Belle's stand-out features include a sea trampoline and the "Necker Nymph", a three-person aero submarine capable of diving up to 30 metres.

Symphony

Builder: Feadship
Length: 101.5m
Year: 2015

The first Feadship to cross 100 metres, Symphony was commissioned by CEO and founder of Louis Vuitton, Bernard Arnault. Allegedly, Arnault's passion for classical music dictates whether or not he'll stay overnight in a hotel suite (the rule is that the hotel must have a grand piano). He's also married to award-winning pianist Hélène Mercier. Formerly known as Project 808, Symphony's sculptural, harmonious lines are courtesy of Tim Heywood. The six-deck yacht also has a medley of amenities – to note a few, there's a private owner's deck with a sauna and terrace Jacuzzi, a six-metre, glass-bottom pool, an outdoor cinema and (of course) a grand piano. 

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More about this yacht

Feadship   101.5 m •  2015
Oceanco   56.1 m •  1993

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