January 29, 2005 It's an immense frustration that some of the most significant and advanced engineering feats on the planet are shrouded in secrecy and we can't all wonder at the design solutions employed. Such is the case with many mega-yachts - the US$200+ million toys of the mega-rich - and the spectacular Sigma mega-yacht designed by Phillipe Starck is a case in point. To be constructed by the elite Blohm + Voss ship-building facilities, the only details of the yacht available are the 118 metre length and the accompanying computer-generated illustration.
The Mega Yacht, going by the Blohm + Voss project name SIGMA, has been assigned the construction number 970 and will also be delivered in 2007. No-one knows who has commissioned the building, or the price, or any details of what lies under the distinctive profile.
The 118 m yacht will be constructed under the supervision of Blue Ocean Yacht Management under the lead of Neil Wade. As with any other yacht contract of Blohm + Voss, further details of the contract will be kept strictly confidential.
The interesting aspect about the design is its distinctive military-look and its similarity to the US Navy's upcoming US$100 billion stealth combat ship project code-named DD(X).
Gizmag has already covered one of the members of the DD(X) family in the littoral combat ship (LCS) and the larger DD(X) will be a multi-mission destroyer featuring advanced composite construction and some of the most advanced gun systems ever conceived for a ship.
There are two Advanced Gun Systems (AGSs) with 155mm bore that can fire an array of short- and long-range munitions, and an Advanced Vertical Launch System (AVLS) with 80 cells. The 80 cells will include any mixture of Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles, Standard Missiles (SM2-MR), Evolved Seasparrow Missiles, and Vertical Launch Anti-Submarine Rockets to counter any threat from under the water through to over the horizon.
We seriously doubt that Phillipe Starck has included any of the above in his design - the standard fare for a super-yacht includes swimming pools, helicopter landing facilities and spectacular lounges where guests can enjoy the spectacular views. As with George W Bush's new Cadillac One, we can only guess at what's contained, or what trickery might be employed to offer the spectacular views given that the SIGMA doesn't exactly have a lot of windows. Mega-wealthy people who build US$200 million yachts usually do have a significant entourage but the interesting aspect is that no names have even been rumoured to be associated with the yacht.
Secrecy seems to be one of those things that surrounds most megayachts. The world's largest superyacht is owned by Oracle Software founder and sailing enthusiast Larry Ellison. "Rising Sun" is 138 metres long and not much more is known than that - anybody who knows anything about it has been required to sign a confidentialty agreement.
It was apparently made larger than its original 120 metre length so it would be bigger than Microsoft founder Paul Allen's superyacht "Octopus". Allen might not care that much - Octopus is the second largest superyacht in America and he also owns the fourth largest (Tatoosh) and the 17th largest (Meduse) according to this excellent article at Powerandmotoryacht.com entitled "America's 100 largest yachts."