Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ big fancy new boat slipped silently from its berth at a Dutch shipyard in the wee hours of Tuesday morning without needing to dismantle any major historical pieces of infrastructure. Instead, the mega super yacht was towed a little out of its way to another shipyard without its mast.
Apparently, that was always an option.
The vessel, with the catchy name Y721, has been under construction for years and still has many months to go before it’s in the hands of one of history’s wealthiest individuals. Built by Oceanco at a shipyard in Alblasserdam, Netherlands, the company originally announced the masts of the yacht would be too tall to fit under the almost 100-year-old Koningshaven Bridge, which caused quite the controversy in the Netherlands. Oceanco applied for a permit to dismantle the bridge and reassemble it once the Y721 had passed through downtown Rotterdam, all at Bezos’ expense.
Known to locals as De Hef, the former railway bridge is a national heritage site. It was heavily damaged by Luftwaffe bombing during WWII. During renovations in 2017, Rotterdam’s city council promised residents the bridge would never again be dismantled. When Oceanco applied for the permit to do exactly that, the Dutch reacted with anger and a promise to lob eggs at the megayacht as it passed through their city, which over 3,000 people signed up on a Facebook group to do. Some went even further, threatening the company with violence should the bridge be dismantled, according to the German publication Der Spiegel. Rotterdam eventually denied the Oceanco the permit to dismantle De Hef.
Instead, the Y721 slipped out of its original shipyard around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning without its three towering masts and under the power of several tugs to head three hours to the Greenport shipyard in Rotterdam. Footage of the Y721 making its way to its new home was captured by Dutch Yachting:
It took three hours for the yacht to make it to Greenport, a trip that usually takes vessels twice as long under tow. The yacht even took a longer, more complicated route to avoid the bridge altogether, even though without its masts it could have slipped beneath the De Her undeterred. At Greenport, the masts will be installed and the ship will be tested at sea. The testing phase provided another wrinkle in the plan to dismantle the De Hef: After initial testing in open water, yachts often have to return to shipyards for improvements and repairs, which would have required even more bridge dismantling.
The 417-foot superyacht cost Bezos an estimated half-a-billion dollars to build and, when finally underway, will earn the title of largest sailing vessel in the world. Oceanco specializes in “green” sailing yacht and motorized vessels.