There is no such thing as bad publicity, you often hear, especially in showbiz: whatever attention you get, whether from the media or the general public, is attention that you can later monetize. The superyacht industry is where you draw the line with all kinds of publicity, because the less said about a superyacht, the better. In the rarefied world of billionaires, where worth is no longer established by the count of millions and billions, but of super-expensive custom assets, secrecy is a must. It’s a prerequisite to every transaction or commission, and the only exception is between the billionaires themselves. Otherwise, what would be the point of getting multi-million “toys” if you can’t brag about them to friends?
MADAME GU is one such example of expensive – and record-breaking and award-winning – toy. It is not the most expensive nor the largest superyacht in the world, but it’s ranked very high in the top 100 on both counts. What it doesn’t have in terms of price tag and size, Madame Gu has in terms of visual appeal: it is one of the most striking and beautiful superyachts ever built, a standout among a sea of white vessels and even blue hulls, and a luxurious floating palace to boot.
If you take into account the fact that MADAME GU isn’t even a new build, you will further appreciate its time-enduring appeal, which singles it out as a true masterpiece. Right now, Madame Gu is a masterpiece seemingly abandoned in a marina in Dubai, unable to go anywhere (*with only a few exceptions), and the potential apple of discord of a diplomatic issue between the U.S. and the UAE.
MADAME GU’s is a rags-to-riches-to-sanctions story, but don’t let that lessen your appreciation of what an impressive naval achievement it is. Delivered in 2013 by Feadship, it was the largest vessel build in Netherlands and the largest from the shipyard at that time. It has since lost both crowns, but it still keeps the one for the prettiest superyacht to date, mostly thanks to its gorgeous silhouette and the custom blue paint job. Codenamed Project Dream (Hull 1004), it was completed in four years, based on a naval platform by Feadship De Voogt Naval Architects, with exterior design and interiors penned by Winch Design.
MADAME GU is 99 meters (324 feet) long with a beam of 14.85 meters (48.9 feet), and is designed to sit low on the water, with a very sporty, elegantly aggressive silhouette with a long and open bow, cantilevered balconies, and fold-out terraces. The briefing called for a vessel that would “break the mold,” and Feadship delivered just that with Madame Gu: an elegant vessel with classic styling resembling a pointed arrow, evoking speed and efficiency even at anchor.
Offering accommodation for 12 guests and 36 crew, MADAME GU is powered by four MTU 20V 4000 M73 engines of 4,828 hp (3,600 kW) each, giving it transatlantic range and a top speed of 24 knots (27.6 mph/44.4 kph). It’s reportedly packed with deluxe amenities, from the $9 million Eurocopter Dauphin AS 365N3 painted a matching blue, to the matching tender, and a custom helipad on the bow that “tucks” the aircraft into the hangar for storage, and then converts that space into a squash court.
Photos of the interiors were never revealed to the public, but rumors of the amenities included trickled down eventually: a well-equipped gym, a wellness area, a glass elevator, a pool and incredible lounge areas, and a second touch-and-go helipad. One year after delivery, at the 2014 World Superyacht Awards, Madame Gu was named the Motor Yacht of the Year and the Best Displacement Motor Yacht in the 2,000+ GT size category.
The most easily recognizable feature of Madame Gu, at least from afar to the untrained eye, is the striking blue on the hull. This isn’t the first superyacht to eschew a white colorway, nor is it the first one to use blue, but it’s the only one that has this particular shade of blue. It’s often described as Shark Blue, but the designers refer to it as Empress Blue, a custom shade with heavy turquoise tones that translates differently depending on the angle of the light striking it, or the background it sits against.
Last summer, MADAME GU was still there, while U.S. authorities were trying to work a way with local authorities to seize the superyacht. That’s the last thing heard about the vessel on the official channels: it’s been out of range since March 2022, when it turned off its AIS, and reportedly hasn’t moved from the marina. It’s still being fueled regularly and has a skeleton crew onboard, but it’s not in the best shape because regular maintenance is not being done, and it has since been de-flagged by the Cayman Islands.It could still sail even without a flag and even without turning on AIS, but only in Russian-friendly or neutral waters, where the risk of seizing it would be minimal.
But it doesn’t look like Skoch is willing to take any risks, so he’s just letting MADAME GU sit. It might cause some damage, but it still beats losing the vessel altogether.
Source : autoevolution