These boats prove that size doesn’t have to mean slow.
When American businessman John Staluppi embarked on his yachting journey, it was to break records. He wanted his first yacht to be the first boat over 100 feet to exceed 30 knots, or 34.5 mph. He achieved it with the 118-foot For Your Eyes Only, delivered in 1985. It was also the first motoryacht in the US to have a combination of MTU diesel engines with water-jet propulsion.
His second yacht would smash all previous records. Delivered by Heesen in 1988, Octopussy fulfilled the Bond enthusiast’s aim to break the then 50-knot barrier with a top end of 53.17 knots (61 mph)—a speed that every other shipyard at the time said couldn’t be done. Octopussy immediately entered the record books as the world’s fastest yacht.
“That record was important to me because when you pull into any place there’s always a bigger boat or a prettier boat, but there aren’t many people who can say, ‘Hey, this is the fastest yacht in the world,’” Staluppi told us.
Heesen’s latest delivery, the 197-foot Ultra G, is one of the Dutch yard’s fastest projects these days, with a propulsion package totaling 22,000 horsepower, including four water jets that deliver a top speed of 37 knots (42.57 mph).
Of course, 43 mph is a paltry number compared to many of the yachts on this list, including the new Bolide 80. That Italian stallion, which will make its debut at the Monaco Yacht Show, runs at a blistering 84 mph. It shows that speed, even in the large motoryacht category, is very much alive.
Here are 13 of the fastest motoryachts, past and present, that have ever been on the water.
Photo : Victory Design
1. Bolide 80 | 84 mph
Victory Marine calls the Bolide 80 its first “Hyper Muscle Yacht,” which will be part of a limited-edition series from 60 to 170 feet. Designer Brunello Acampora and his tema of engineers pulled out all the stops on this 80, creating a full-carbon-fiber boat with more than 6,000 horsepower. The multi-stepped hull helps propel the Bolide to its top speed of 70 knots (84 mph), while accomplishing the seemingly impossible task of burning about half the fuel of a much smaller flybridge motoryacht at lower cruising speeds. The designer took care to give the Bolide a streamlined profile, with aerodynamic shapes to reduce resistance. The interior includes the captain’s cabin, a full-sized galley, open salon, and a forward owner’s area with a bedroom, en suite and wardrobe area. It will make its global debut at the Monaco Yacht Show.
Photo : Wikipedia
2. ‘Foners’ | 80.56 mph
Clocking a thrilling 70.10 knots (80.56 mph), the 136-foot Foners has maintained pole position as the world’s fastest superyacht for over 20 years. Powered by two 1,280hp MAN engines coupled to three Rolls-Royce 6,700 hp gas turbines driving three KaMeWa water jets, the all-aluminum boat is less about piercing waves and more about parting the seas. Delivered in 2000 by Spanish shipyard Izar as the King of Spain’s royal yacht, no expense was spared, including a superstructure lined with Aramid fiber for the express purpose of bulletproofing the interior.
Photo : File photo
3. ‘World Is Not Enough’ | 77.1 mph
You need to only look at the 007-inspired name to know that World Is Not Enough is another rapid racer commissioned by John Staluppi, this time with an opulent interior designed by his wife Jeanette in partnership with Evan K Marshall. Delivered in 2004 by Millennium Super Yachts, the 139-footer is powered by two Paxman diesel engines and two Lycoming gas turbines to produce a staggering 20,600hp and a breathtaking 67 knots (77.1 mph). When not leaving other boats behind, World Is Not Enough has a cruising range of 3800 nautical miles at a comfortable speed of 10 knots.
Photo : File/Rodriguez Yachts
4. ‘Galeocerdo’ | 74.8 mph
Wally founder Luca Bassani designed the 118-foot Galeocerdo to maintain speed in rough seas. Launched in 2003 by Rodriquez Yachts, the boat racks up an eye-watering 65 knots (74.8 mph), thanks to its three Vericor TF50 gas turbines, each driving a Rolls-Royce KaMeWa water jet. Another performance-enhancing feature is the lightweight titanium exhaust system designed to resist the extreme temperatures generated by the gas turbines. Wind tunnel tested at the Ferrari facility in Maranello, Italy, the boat generates 16,800hp and a 45-knot (51.8-mph) cruising speed that’s faster than most motoryachts running flat out. It also enjoys a highly futuristic exterior design.
Photo : Italian Sea Group
5. Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 | 72.5 mph
When Italian supercar brand Lamborghini teamed up with yachting stalwart The Italian Sea Group, the end result had to be style and performance. The Tecnomar for Lamborghini 63 is all about the power of ‘63’. Designed and built to celebrate the year 1963 when Ferruccio Lamborghini founded his car company, the 63-footer delivers a whiplashing top speed of 63 knots (72.5 mph). And naturally, it’s one of just 63 in the series that will ever be made. Built out of carbon fiber, it’s fitted with two MAN V12-2000HP engines. MMA fighter Conor McGregor took delivery of hull number one in 2020, which reportedly cost $4 million.
Photo : Courtesy Baglietto
6. ‘Chato’ | 71.9 mph
Back in the mid-1980s, passionate Baglietto customer and leading US Porsche and VW dealer Baron John von Neumann, commissioned a new 85-ft. speed demon from the Italian builder. The entrepreneur was tired of his 34-knot (39-mph) Baglietto getting creamed from Monaco to St. Tropez by faster cruisers. With a hull design by the legendary Alcide Sculati, the all-aluminum Chato came with MTU’s latest 3,480hp V16s coupled to KaMeWa waterjets. Weighing 60 tons, and packing almost 7,000 hp, the military-looking superyacht with its battleship-gray paint and bright-red diagonal hull stripes, hit an astonishing top speed of 62.5 knots (71.9 mph) during sea trials. Chato is currently for sale in the South of France for $715,000.
Photo : Palmer Johnson
7. ‘Oci Ciornie’ | 69.04 mph
Oci Ciornie’s Vripack-designed interior may take inspiration from aircraft designs, but it’s the boat’s naval architecture by Don Shead and the combination of two 1,800hp MTU 16V 2000 M90 engines, a 4,600 hp AVCO Lycoming gas turbine and Arneson surface drives that put it on this list. Delivered in 1998 by Palmer Johnson with an aluminum hull, the 82-foot boat thrusts through water at 60 knots (69.04 mph), giving all eight guests the waterborne ride of their lives.
Photo : Courtesy Fincantieri
8. ‘Destriero’ | 68 mph
The numbers almost defy logic. With a length of 224 feet, the all-aluminum superyacht Destriero is massive. Now add a trio of GE Aviation LM1600 gas turbines totaling an insane 60,000 hp and the incredulity only increases. Flat out, Destriero could scythe through waves at a staggering 59 knots, or 68 mph. Back in 1992, just one year after its launch, the Fincantieri-built rocketship showed its chops by challenging the famous Blue Riband trans-Atlantic speed record. Averaging 53.09 knots for the 3,106 nautical-mile run, Destriero shattered the record, only to be denied the trophy for being classed as a private yacht and not a commercial passenger vessel. Sadly, today the iconic yacht lies largely abandoned at one of Lurssen’s yards in Germany, awaiting rescue.
Photo : McMullen & Wing
9. ‘Ermis²’ | 65.59 mph
Some yachts feature slippery hull designs, others are propelled by rockets, but the McMullen & Wing-built Ermis² is one of the fastest yachts on the superyacht circuit thanks to its lightweight materials. Built from a combination of carbon/epoxy, aerospace grade carbon fiber and titanium, the 123-foot boat taps out at 57 knots (65.59 mph.) Delivered in 2007, its 10,944 horsepower comes from three MTU 16V 4000 M90 engines. Designed inside and out by Rob Humphreys, its classic looks disguise the speed demon within.
Photo : Overmarine
10. ‘Why Not U’ | 63.3 mph
Why Not U is a yacht that comfortably cruises at 47 knots (54.1 mph)—a speed most owners only dream of reaching. When time is of the essence, the boat cranks up its Vericor TF40 gas turbine engines to max out at 55 knots (63.3 mph). Delivered by Overmarine in 2001, Why Not U’s 4.3-foot draft makes it well suited for cruising shallow waters, while its sunbathing areas allow guests to catch some rays traveling at the speed of light.
Photo : File Photo
11. ‘Alamshar’ | 52 mph
Alamshar is another custom collaboration between Donald Blount and Pininfarina commissioned by Aga Khan IV, this time with interiors by Redman Whiteley Dixon. It was reportedly built for an estimated $200 million at the Devonport shipyard in Falmouth, United Kingdom, and took 13 years to complete. When it was eventually delivered in 2014, Alamshar’s top speed of 45 knots (51.78 mph), generated by twin Rolls-Royce Marine engines and three waterjets, seemed worth the wait.
Photo : Camper & NIcholsons
12. ‘Moon Goddess’ | 51.78 mph
Exterior designed by Espen Øino with an interior by Franco Zuretti, the all-aluminum Moon Goddess is a 115-foot yacht with a turquoise hull that matches the color of its oversized leather sunpads. When cruising at 30 knots (34.52 mph) or tearing up the oceans at 45 knots (51.78 mph), most other boats just catch a glimpse of sea spray that the planing yacht leaves in its wake. It’s powered by twin MTU 16V 4000 M90 diesel engines with twin water jets, which generate a combined 7,498 hp.
Photo : Courtesy Lurssen
13. ‘Azzam’ | 35.7 mph
At a staggering 590 feet bow-to-stern, the Lurssen-built Azzam earns the title of world’s longest privately owned gigayacht. But with its remarkable-for-the-size top speed of 31 knots (35.7 mph), it’s also the fastest. Twin 12,000hp MTU V20 turbo-diesels do the day-to-day powering at up to 18 knots (20.7 mph). But crank up the twin GE LM2500 gas turbines, coupled to four Wartsila waterjets, and there’s a staggering 94,000hp on tap. Of course, like Azzam‘s original owner, it helps if you own a few oil wells: At max speed, the yacht reportedly burns 13 tons of fuel an hour. Launched in 2013 at a reported cost of some $600 million, Azzam accommodates 30 guests pampered by up to 80 crew.