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09 December 2023

Sail away in the lap of million-dirham luxury

By Primrose Skelton




Walking around the Dubai International Boat Show is an experience everyone should try just once. Firstly, there is the sheer size of the exhibition – 85,000 square metres. Then there’s the sheer number of visitors – last year more than 24,000 people went to the show. And finally, of course, there are the boats and all the luxury, glamour and wealth associated with them.

If you have large amounts of cash to splash and the world economic downturn has not affected your spending power then you might want to take a look at the Mangusta 105, pictured right, – one of the most splendid boats on display in Dubai at the moment. Made by the Rodriguez group, often referred to as the Rolls Royce of yacht making, this 31-metre (103 foot), €10.5 million (Dh60m) vessel – also known as the Mangusta of Dubai – is the ultimate sea-going experience.

Dr Rainer Behne, a managing partner at the Rodriguez group and a lifelong fan of luxury yachts, told Emirates Business that despite the price tag many had been sold.

“There is a waiting list of six years and we have been receiving a lot of interest while at the show. The reason for this is that we are the best you can buy when it comes to boats and people who have the money want these,” he said.

“The Mangusta has everything a passenger could possibly want, meaning all they need to do is turn up with a suitcase and start enjoying all that is on offer.” The bespoke features include flat-screen TVs of the customer’s choosing.

“If they want Sony we provide that, if they want Bang & Olufsen then so be it,” says Chris Behne, Rainer’s son who looks after the promotion side of things. Then there is the control panel – which would not be out of place in a Bond movie – the electric windows, curtains and sunroof and four bedrooms each fitted with bespoke Hermes interiors and cosmetics.

“Guests can retreat into their private rooms where the décor is based on relaxation and comfort,” continues Chris, dressed suitably in nautical chic and oozing charm.

And do not forget the stainless steel and chrome kitchen complete with cutlery, crockery and electronics made to the customer’s specifications. “We are the best you can buy because everything is of the highest quality from the leather chairs to the upholstery in the lounge to the finishes in the bathrooms,” says Chris. “There is nothing we cannot provide.”

German Rainer, who has been sailing for many years and who himself owns a yacht, believes Dubai is one of the best places to exhibit such works because of the type of clients it attracts.

“There is a huge amount of interest from Arabs and Russians,” he says. Although the boat show attracts many people who just want to have a look around the gorgeous products “it’s an aspirational place”, said one visitor. It is also the ideal place for those who are looking to invest.

“There has been a huge increase in the number of high-net-worth individuals around the world and they are feeling the urge to spend money not just on jewels and fast cars, but on luxury yachts,” says Rainer.

Company figures for the first quarter of the year show €85m sales and an order backlog worth an estimated €488m.

So while the world’s economy edges closer to recession it seems the super wealthy are immune to it. “It’s not significant whether there is a recession or not, because they’re so wealthy, the business appears to be recession proof,” says Tork Buckley editor of The Yacht Report.

For something just as luxurious as the Mangusta 105 but a little smaller, yacht buyers should look to the Benetti Tradition, a 30 metre (99ft) sailing beauty equipped with everything a VIP client could possibly want. How about lounging in a Jacuzzi on the top deck while your crew barbecue? Prefer something less casual? No problem, a deck down is your formal dinning room with a table that seats 12.
Your master suite is large enough to accommodate a king-size bed, wardrobe, dressing table and of course your own private bathroom.

Fine marble and woodworking adorn every corner of the yacht and everything you see that is gold really is gold.

“This is the way yachts used to look and the way traditionalists believe they still should,” said a spokesperson for the firm.

The yacht will set you back about €9m without customisation. But do not expect to get yours any time soon; there is a four-year waiting list, which for some of us leaves a little time to start saving.


24,456: The number of visitors at last year’s Dubai International Boat show

Dh60m: The cost of a Mangusta 105

Dh1bn: The cost of the world’s most expensive privately owned yacht being built in Genoa, Italy

€85m: The Rodriguez group’s profits for the first quarter of 2008