When you have enough money, laws are merely suggestions and every solitary desire is feasible. Essentially, reality becomes your playground. Take seven-time Formula 1 champion, Sir Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes superstar employs a tow truck solely for the purpose of returning his cars back to the old garage when he’s had his fun (one of the more effective solutions to managing mileage). Though would you believe this is still considered child’s play within the realm of the ultra-wealthy? Retired Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, has once again proven he can bend the material world at will – or more specifically Rotterdam’s historic Koningshaven Bridge – for the sole purpose of accommodating his soon-to-be-completed US$500 million / AU$700 million superyacht: Y721.
It’s a proper Bond villain move that comes with the territory of commissioning such a luxury yacht from Dutch firm Oceanco, ungodly dimensions and all. Spanning 417 feet (127 metres) and requiring 130 feet (40 metres) of clearance, the bridge colloquially referred to as De Hef will be temporarily removed for the Jeff Bezos-owned sea vessel’s safe passage.
As previously mentioned, the reason why this is a big deal – and the reason more fuel has now been added to the Bezos hate fire – comes down to history. Initially built in 1927, the street structure has quite literally witnessed the rise of fall of empires, the birth of the modern world.
According to Engadget, had permission been denied, Oceanco would’ve faced a spot of inconvenience. The partially constructed superyacht would have to sail under the bridge before getting the job done at another site. And yet here we are. Spectators to a seemingly ungovernable man. As well as a monstrous creation that apparently requires its own support yacht.
In case you were curious, this support yacht features a helipad due to the main yacht’s tremendous scale and requisite sails, leaving little-to-no room to fit said helipad. It’ll also reportedly be used to store a number of other “toys” for Jeff Bezos, including a personal submarine, aircraft, supercars, and anything else that won’t be able to fit on the enormous main vessel. Or anything the prolific billionaire deems an eyesore, I suppose.
“There is no question that the new Jeff Bezos superyacht will be the largest sailing yacht ever built in the Netherlands,” BH’s own Chris Singh previously noted.
“So far the internet rumour mill is buzzing with speculation that Project Y721 will essentially be a bigger version of the Black Pearl. The award-winning, 106-metre-long superyacht also has three masts and has since become one of the most recognisable builds in the world – perhaps even more so than the 108-metre-long Bravo Eugenia, which Oceanco built for Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.”
“Three portholes run along the Black Pearl’s main deck bulwark to help create an arc from the sundeck hardtop through to the main deck aft. This flowing superstructure and a single-level engine room help maintain a total interior volume of 2,700GT – enough space for six cabins and 12 guests. Onboard, guests can spread out across the multi-level atrium, which has a glass lift, and enjoy the spa pools, hot tub, and a beach club cinema.”
“Technically progressive, the Black Pearl is driven by an innovative DynaRig sailing system, which gives it the ability to cross the Atlantic without burning even a litre of fossil fuel. This makes it one of the most ecological sailing yachts ever made, complemented by a special propulsion system that harvests kinetic energy under sail. The engineering also allows for a more efficient set-up, with one push of a button setting the superyacht’s 2,877 square metres worth of sails in just seven minutes.”
“If you carry out a big job somewhere, you want all your tools in that place,” explains Oceanco’s Marcel Walravens.
“Otherwise you have to go back and forth constantly. In addition, this is such a large project that there are hardly any locations where this work is finished.”
“From an economic perspective and maintaining employment, the municipality considers this a very important project. Rotterdam has also been declared the maritime capital of Europe.”
“Shipbuilding and activity within that sector are therefore an important pillar for the municipality. As the plans look now, the preparation will take about a week. There are a lot of cables on De Hef, and as soon as you remove the first one, it no longer works.”
“After that week, we remove the middle part, and with a bit of luck, we will have it back a day later. After that, it will take another week to put everything back in place.”
“Employment is important, but there are limits to what you can and may do to our heritage,” counters Rotterdam Historical Society’s Ton Wesselink.
Perhaps these are just the bitter sentiments of someone from the 99%… but the fact Jeff Bezos can receive the green light to dismantle a historic bridge for his superyacht, while local councils practically mobilise hit squads to take you out after trimming hedges even slightly wrong is just a classic stitch-up. And if tearing down a city to make way for some billionaire’s aquatic phallus isn’t the perfect metaphor, I don’t know what is.