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A space-age design and a price-tag of $500 million can buy you a yacht like this one – but the skipper still has to call in with Stornoway Coastguard as they pass through the Minch.

The call from Sailing Yacht A, the world’s biggest and arguably the most astonishing design of yacht, came into Stornoway Coastguard’s operations centre at 6.15pm on Saturday (10 April).

Sailing Yacht A is the largest private sailing yacht in history, with masts 100 feet high that each have their own lift within the structure of the mast.

She’s owned by Russian billionaire Andrey Melnichenko, who appears on the Forbes rich list with a net worth of $17.9 billion, principally made in fertiliser and coal energy production.

Sailing Yacht A is his second space-age design vessel, following Motor Yacht A. Both have interior design details by Philippe Starck, including an underwater observation room with three portholes for fish-watching through 30cm-thick glass.

Sadly for Western Isles shipping enthusiasts, the yacht’s passage through the Minch took place mostly during the hours of darkness, passing the Butt of Lewis at around 8am on Sunday.

She was en-route to Iceland, where she’s now cruising after making her transit from Spain, via a two-week stay off Douglas, Isle of Man, waiting for the weather conditions to allow a comfortable passage north.

In Douglas her arrival drew crowds of onlookers, and she also caused a local stir when one of her 54 crew members was brought ashore for medical attention under strict Covid protection.

You can see more about the vessel, including images of her design details and launch, here

https://www.boatinternational.com/yachts/editorial-features/photos-of-sailing-yacht-a--28267

The images show Sailing Yacht A during her two-week stay off the Isle of Man (Peter Killey and Peter Lobley), a detail offering a sense of scale – if you can see the crew member checking the sails aboard (Craig Goffin) – and her route through the Minch overnight on Saturday (marinetraffic.com).