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Battle of the bucks

Daily Mail
Friday, January 04, 2013

HE'S used to having the best of everything, so it's unlikely Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich enjoyed battling for space to anchor his super yacht off the coast of St Barts.

The tycoon was forced to moor his white luxury yacht Eclipse just a stone's throw away from the huge blue ship owned by Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani.

And with the two yachts anchored side by side in front of the harbor Gustavia on the Caribbean island, the battle was on for which billionaire has the nicest boat with the most luxury, helicopters, and jet skis.

Despite being smaller than the Eclipse, the Al Mirqab is still one of the world's largest and was named the second most beautiful yacht across the globe after it was built in 2008.

The yacht can accommodate 24 guests in 10 guest suites with two VIP suites for the yacht owner, the Emir of Qatar, as well as a further 55 rooms to house the staff needed to man the ship.

The suites are large and each has its own bathroom, living room and double bedroom.

The boat boasts a cinema, outside bars, inside swimming pool, outside jacuzzi, sunbathing places and a helicopter pad. The yacht also has all the usual equipment for watersport entertainment and numerous jet skies and boys' toys.

But Abramovich, who was visiting the island for his annual New Year's Eve party at his Gouverneur Beach estate, has made sure his vessel is kitted out to be the ultimate in super yacht luxury.

The Eclipse has two swimming pools, two helicopter pads, a dedicated disco hall, around 30 cabins, a mini-submarine, and even a missile defence system.

The vessel has 80 members of staff to operate the craft who all wear discreet tan uniforms while on board.

When the ship was ordered the initial cost was estimated at around £330 million ($F948.47m), but by the time Mr Abramovich took delivery in 2010 it was spiralling towards the £1billion ($F2.87b) mark because of the extra luxury fittings and security measures.

Mr Abramovich, 46, who has six children with his first wife Irina and girlfriend Dasha Zhukova, uses his fleet of luxury boats to travel around the world and to get to his large estate on the island where he has hosted New Year's Eve parties for the last four years.

The world's rich and famous descend on St Barts for the bash - which often cost several million - at the 70-acre estate.

As Al Thani arrived in his ship in time for the party, it seems he may have been one of the many influential guests.

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