The top 10 largest classic yachts in the world

While the definition of a "classic" is certainly not clear cut, the term is generally applied to any wooden or metal yacht constructed prior to 1975. Embodying a traditional look that harks back to the glamorous, bygone eras of sailing, classic yachts retain their original construction materials and building procedures for the hull, as well as the rigging and sails if they have them. Though they cannot muster up the speeds of the world’s fastest yachts, classic yachts are priceless relics of history that have stood the test of time, carrying storied pasts as well as something of a celebrity appeal within the yachting community. The legendary El Mahrousa has held onto the top spot for over a century and it looks unlikely she’ll be moving any time soon; read on to discover our official list of the largest classic yachts in the world.

El Mahroussa | 150.57 metres

Built in 1865 ,United Kingdom
Image credits: Ralf Grabbert/The Yacht Photo

Measuring 150.57 metres, classic yacht El Mahrousa was first delivered by the Samuda Brothers shipyard in 1865 and managed to carry the title of the world’s biggest yacht unchallenged for over a century before eventually being surpassed by a new-build in the 1980s. She was originally built for the Ottoman governor of Egypt, Khedive Ismail, to receive visiting dignitaries, and was present at the opening ceremony of the Suez Canal in 1869. She also played a part as the Egyptian representative at the 1976 Bicentennial Fleet Review in New York harbour. Under the power of three Parsons steam turbines, she can reach a top speed of 16 knots.

She has been refitted multiple times; in 1872, when her paddle wheels were removed, she was lengthened by 12.1 metres. She saw a further extension of 5.2 metres in 1905. By the end of the 20th century, however, El Mahrousa had fallen into disrepair and was relegated to serving as a museum ship. In 1992, she underwent a major refit so that she could sail to Italy for the Christopher Columbus Fleet Review, and she now serves as the Egyptian presidential Yacht though she is seldom seen in public. She is usually berthed in Alexandria and is listed as a training ship for the Egyptian Navy.

  • Builder: Samuda
  • Country of build:United Kingdom
  • Delivery year:1865
  • Length Overall: 150.57 m
  • Beam:12.98 m
  • Gross Tonnage4560 t

Savarona | 135.94 metres

Built in 1931 ,Germany
Image Credits: Bugsy Gedlek

Savarona was first delivered by Blohm + Voss in 1937, and is named after a rare type of black swan found in the Indian Ocean. The 135.94 metre superyacht was originally built for American heiress Emily Roebling Cadwalader, whose family business constructed both the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges. In 1937, she was purchased by the Turkish state as a presidential yacht for Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of modern-day Turkey. Following Kemal‘s death, Savarona was renamed Gunes Dil (Sun Language) and used as a Turkish Navy training ship. After years during which her condition detirorated, she was eventually purchased by Kahraman Sadikoglu in 1989, who spent $35 million on her refurbishment.

Her current interiors were re-designed by Donald Starkey and can accommodate up to 34 guests and 54 crew. Guests on board will have access to an elaborate Turkish hammam bath that spans the entire 16 metre beam and a swimming pool, plus there’s also a private cinema for movie nights and a library suite adorned with personal artefacts belonging to her former owner Atatürk.

  • Builder: Blohm & Voss
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:1931
  • Length Overall: 135.94 m
  • Beam:16.12 m
  • Gross Tonnage4701 t

Alexander | 121.95 metres

Built in 1965 ,Germany
Image credits: The Yacht Photo

Alexander was delivered in 1965 by German shipyard Lubecker Flender-Werke. She was designed entirely in-house and constructed in steel, with a significant refit undertaken in 1998. With a sizable length of 121.95 metres and a volume of 5,933 GT, there is plenty of space on board the blue-hulled Alexander for entertainment features. 

She boasts a private cinema, a number of al fresco lounge and dining areas, a dual swimming pool and jacuzzi with panoramic views out to sea, a formal dining room and a certified heli-pad on her top deck. Up to 54 passengers can be accommodated on board, served by a crew of 60. She is powered by twin MAN diesel engines that produce a total 16,100 HP, offering a top speed of 18.5. She boasts an impressive range of 4,100 nautical miles at a cruising speed of around 16 knots, allowing her to explore the high seas at length. She can usually be found cruising around the Greek islands and has also spent time sailing in the Red Sea.

  • Builder: Lubecker Flender-Werke
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:1965
  • Length Overall: 121.95 m
  • Beam:16.9 m
  • Gross Tonnage5933 t

Navtilvs | 115.76 metres

Built in 1973 ,Greece
Image credits: Alexandros Priftis/The Yacht Photo

Sporting a towering funnel inspired by classic steamboats, the blue-hulled Navtilvs is easily recognisable from afar. The 115.76 metre superyacht was constructed with a steel hull and superstructure and delivered in 1973 by Greek shipyard Hellenic. She was designed by Prof. Cäsar Pinnau with naval architecture by Maierform

Navtilvs has a 14.45 metre beam and her 3,156 GT interiors were styled by Lorraine Bonnet. She can host up to 14 guests and 17 members of crew – but further details of on board spaces remain tightly under wraps. She is powered by two Semt Pielstick diesel engines, providing a total 8,720hp and allowing her to achieve a top speed of 14 knots. She has changed names and ownership a number of times but currently has a Saudi Arabian owner.

  • Builder: Hellenic
  • Country of build:Greece
  • Delivery year:1973
  • Length Overall: 115.76 m
  • Beam:14.45 m
  • Gross Tonnage3156.48 t

Sea Cloud | 109.5 metres

Built in 1931 ,Germany

When stockbroker and yachtsman Edward F Hutton married heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post in the 1920s, he introduced her to yachting aboard his three-masted schooner Hussar. Post and Hutton later built an even larger yacht with one more mast, Hussar II, which was designed by Cox & Stevens and delivered in 1931 by German shipyard Friedrich Krupp. The family would spend almost nine months of the year on board, cruising to adventurous destinations such as the Galapagos Islands or Hawaii.

When the couple divorced, Marjorie kept the yacht and renamed her Sea Cloud. She served as a patrol vessel for the US Coast Guard during World War II and in 1955 was sold to the Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo, who renamed her Angelita. After his overthrow, she was acquired by Clifford Barbour, who renamed her Antarna. New German owners rescued her from neglect in 1978, returned her name to Sea Cloud, and rebuilt her in Bremerhaven. In her current form she can accommodate 64 guests and 60 crew and retains her traditional interiors, with gilded finishes and fireplaces adding character to each of her 34 cabins.

  • Builder: Krupp Germaniawerft
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:1931
  • Length Overall: 109.5 m
  • Beam:14.94 m
  • Gross Tonnage2532 t

Christina O | 99.15 metres

Built in 1943 ,Canada
Image Credits: Stef Bravin

Christina O is one of the largest yachts to ever emerge from North America. She was delivered by Canadian Vickers in 1943 as HMCS Stormont, an escort frigate for North Atlantic convoys during World War II. She was subsequently purchased by Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, who, in 1954, converted her into one of the most iconic yachts of the era, renaming her Christina after his daughter.

Onassis used his yacht to entertain many of the world’s rich and famous, including his mistress, the opera diva Maria Callas, and Sir Winston Churchill. Christina O set the scene for may of of Onassis’ love affairs and served as the wedding reception on his marriage to Jackie Kennedy.

Christina O was comprehensively rebuilt in Croatia in 2001, but the yacht retains many of her original features including the swimming pool with a copy of the Minoan mosaic from the royal palace at Knossos.

  • Builder: Canadian Vickers
  • Country of build:Canada
  • Delivery year:1943
  • Length Overall: 99.15 m
  • Beam:11.13 m
  • Gross Tonnage1802 t

Nahlin | 91.44 metres

Built in 1930 ,United Kingdom
Image Credits: Giovanni Romero/ The Yacht Photo

Nahlin has an enviable pedigree, having been designed by the revered naval architect G L Watson for the British aristocrat Lady Yule. While owned by Lady Yule she was loaned to Britain’s King Edward VIII for a cruise with his American lover and future wife Wallis Simpson, a trip that surely played a part in Edward’s decision to marry Simpson and set himself on the path to abdication.

She later became the Royal Yacht of King Carol II of Romania, who named her Luceafarul. After the overthrow of the monarchy, the yacht, now renamed Libertatea, served as a floating restaurant and fell into almost terminal disrepair. Happily, she was found and recovered to England by Nicholas Edmiston and William Collier in 2000. She lay in a Liverpool shipyard for four years before beign sold on to a British owner, and her total restoration, under the management of G L Watson, was completed at the Blohm+Voss yard in Rendsburg, Germany, in July 2010. This included the replacement of almost 70% of her riveted shell plating and the provision of a totally new modern-classic interior designed by Rémi Tessier.

  • Builder: Brown J
  • Country of build:United Kingdom
  • Delivery year:1930
  • Length Overall: 91.44 m
  • Beam:11.03 m
  • Gross Tonnage1356 t

Arctic P | 87.57 metres

Built in 1969 ,Germany
Image credits: The Yacht Photo

Arctic P is both a classic yacht with a coloured history as well as a serious explorer who has set records with her far-flung adventures. She was delivered by Schichau-Unterweser as an ice-classed, oceangoing tug in 1969 for the Bugsier Towing & Salvage Company and prior to her conversion was involved in the 1972 rescue of a commercial expedition vessel that ran aground in the Antarctic.

In 1995 she was purchased by one of Australia’s richest men, Kerry packer. Her conversion project, overseen by Claus Kusch, saw her transformed into a private luxury superyacht. She now has amenities including a swimming pool and jacuzzi as well as accommodations for 12 guests and 25 crew.

Still an explorer at heart, Arctic P boats a 17,000 natuical mile cruising range and is well equipped for extreme conditions with a 50mm steel plating on the bow and 30mm on the ice line. In 2013, these features were put to good use when she sailed from the Falkland Islands to the Antarctic Peninsula, setting the record for the furthest journey south ever undertaken by a private vessel.

  • Builder: Schichau-Unterweser
  • Country of build:Germany
  • Delivery year:1969
  • Length Overall: 87.57 m
  • Beam:14.78 m
  • Gross Tonnage2610 t

HDMY Dannebrog | 83.21 metres

Built in 1931 ,Denmark
Image Credits: Colin / CC BY-SA 4.0

The Royal Yacht Dannebrog was launched in Copenhagen in 1931 for Queen Alexandrine, wife of King Christian X of Denmark. She displays the distinctive retro styling from the turn of the 19th century that was fashionable among many large motor and sailing yachts built in the early 1930s and features two masts and a steam funnel.

Named after the Danish word meaning "flag of Denmark,"Dannebrog remains in service as the country’s Royal Yacht, manned by nine officers, seven warrant officers and 36 seamen from the Danish Navy, and she is regularly used for official visits to neighbouring countries and the many islands that make up Denmark. During her service she has travelled more than 300,000 nautical miles.

The hull’s construction is of riveted steel on transverse frames. The royal apartment in the stern of the vessel can be converted for the use of patients should the yacht be required in her emergency role as a hospital ship.

  • Builder: Danish Royal Dockyard
  • Country of build:Denmark
  • Delivery year:1931
  • Length Overall: 83.21 m
  • Beam:10.39 m
  • Gross Tonnage1054 t

Chakra | 79 metres

Built in 1963 ,Netherlands
Image Credits: Northrop & Johnson

After undergoing an extensive refit in 2016, the 79 metre Chakra has a modern look that disguises her mature age. Delivered in 1963, however, this Van Der Werf is still considered a classic, and was originally used as a commercial vessel prior to an earlier conversion. 

Spanning five decks and offering an interior volume of 2,083GT, Chakra has a number of standout superyacht features. Her exterior spaces offer a swimming pool, beach club, dedicated yoga area and al fresco lounging areas. Moving inside her elegant interiors bedecked with art, she offers a gym, beauty salon and massage room and even hosts a piano on board. She also has a well-stocked toybox complete with tenders, dayboats, scuba gear, kayaks, seabobs and jet skis. She offers an impressive 10,000 nautical mile cruising range and can reach a top speed of 15 knots under the power of her MAN B&W Alpha 3,996hp engine.

  • Builder: Van Der Werf
  • Country of build:Netherlands
  • Delivery year:1963
  • Length Overall: 86 m
  • Beam:12.83 m
  • Gross Tonnage2083 t

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