It’s always nice to wake up to good news! Monday mornings can be so filled with existential dread. Anything that counteracts that is more than welcome. Which is why I thank my kind and very generous comrade Roxana Hadadi for bringing this warm ray of sunshine to my life this morning:
Praise the lord! I was starting to get a bit worried about Jeff. Like, was he okay? Was the 50 billion dollars that he added to his wealth in less than a year during the pandemic enough to keep him ticking over?
Was he still breathing after donating $125 million to ‘pandemic relief efforts’? Because you know that’s a truly eye-watering sum for someone like Bezos. That’s like someone on $50,000 a year giving away $32.
So was he okay?!
Luckily—again, thank you Roxana, for jamming this glorious ray of sunshine straight into my eye-holes—I could breathe a sigh of relief this morning. He’s fine! He’ll be fine. He might be hurting from that Covid donation, but he’s engaging in some pretty wholesome #self-care. As the Bloomberg report details, Bezos’ new superyacht will not only cost upwards of half a billion dollars, but will also have a helipad. And I know what you’re thinking! ‘But, Knava, I’m sure a yacht that is 127-metres in length will almost certainly have sails that are so big that they preclude the inclusion of a helipad on the vessel. Everybody knows that.’
And you’d be right!
The helipad will actually be on another, separate, yacht, that’s being made to order alongside the main yacht that will be the ‘mini’ helipad-yacht’s mother yacht.
In 2019 there were 34.0 million people living in poverty in America.
Of course, Bezos isn’t alone in indulging in some superyacht-based retail therapy. The Covid-19 pandemic has apparently seen the industry boom. As per the Bloomberg article:
“The market’s been roaring,” said Sam Tucker, head of superyacht research at London-based VesselsValue. The number of transactions in recent quarters “was record-breaking — the second-hand market is absolutely red hot.
If anything, demand for extravagantly high-end yachts has outstripped supply. “It’s impossible to get a slot in a new-build yard,” Tucker said. “They’re totally booked.”
The inland waterways of northern Germany, home to several highly regarded shipbuilders, are crammed with the city block-size steel hulls of future superyachts as well as existing yachts back for a spruce-up. In total, there are about 50 boats longer than 100 meters currently under construction, Tucker said. Bremen-based Luerssen is responsible for 10 of them.
The pandemic put new value on so-called explorer yachts, some of which can cruise for 9,000 nautical miles without needing to refuel, said Aino Grapin, chief executive officer of superyacht-interiors studio Winch Design.
“Clients can enjoy life at sea for long periods of time without having to go mix with others,” she said.
As in any industry, yachtbuilders had reasons to be concerned last year when initial lockdowns froze new orders and markets plunged. But, by summer, the ultra-wealthy realized they hadn’t actually lost money. By many measures, 2020 was a record year. As business closures rendered millions unemployed and global GDP slumped, the world’s richest people added $1.8 trillion to their collective fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The great thing about billionaires is that they give back as much as they take. Take carbon for example. Yes, according to some estimates the world’s superyacht fleet might consume 32 million gallons of oil, but it also pumps about 627 million pounds of CO2 emissions out into the atmosphere every year. It’s give and take, ya know? The wealthy know that when it comes to climate change, we’re all in this together! So, sure, some might call them sociopathic parasites that would be lucky if the worst fate that awaited them was being taxed into oblivion, but say what you want about billionaires and their hyper-polluting lifestyles—at least they always remember to give back. That’s why it’s great to have them host Saturday night entertainment shows on TV in the heart of empire. Bless ‘em.
Header Image Source: Getty Images/Paul Morigi