In this, our second piece on the BVI’s mega yacht industry, Claire Shefchik explores one of the most well-known mega yachts in the world, recently seen in our waters
by claire shefchik photography by Guillaume Plisson for Imperial

Flying Fox, a 136-metre Lurssen, sleek and dove-grey, is reputed to be the world’s largest charter yacht, has already discovered the waters of the BVI. A-list celebs have reportedly been spotted taking the rays on deck. Photos from yacht’s charter agent, Imperial, reveal the wonders that await anyone with $3 million to spend to experience them, along with 25 of their guests across 11 cabins. How could it not be worth it?

According to Imperial, she emerged in 2019 as part of a partnership between two superyacht superstars, award-winning exterior designer Espen Øino and interior designer Mark Berryman, who used Japanese influences for the yacht’s look.

“The aim of the designer was to create a feeling of refined tranquillity, with a small palette of colours, materials and finishes for a cohesive look – golden oak, caramel bamboo, brushed limestone, travertine marble and cream leather, as well as rattans and coconut shell embellishment,” writes Imperial.

A 22.5-metre wide beam means as much room as you need to spread out and get comfortable. A luxurious living space together with a unique design on both exterior and interior. The massive swimming pool runs transversely on the Main deck, a first for a superyacht of this size and a technological challenge unlocked. The yacht is loaded with eight tenders and about a bazillion toys from “fly boards, kites and hoverboards to sea bobs and windsurfs.”

Everyone knows the BVI’s most breathtaking sites are under the waves, with reef sharks, sting rays and giant groupers lurking amid legendary wrecks and coral reefs. Its dive centre is something more akin to a naval vessel. From advanced nitrox to underwater scooters, its rigorous instructors, who often double as fitness leaders, can take you from zero to hero with a PADI certification in a matter of weeks, even if you’ve never dived before.

The spa is particularly breathtaking. At 400 square metres and two floors, it would be hard not to relax there. Imperial describes its services as those “only a palace can offer.” Its Cryosauna, has been reported to be the first ever installed on a yacht. It’s the opposite of a traditional sauna, and it’s brisk, to say the least. It blasts you with cold instead of heat, complete with two chambers that get down to -110 degrees Celsius.

For those landlubbers who miss terra firma, the yacht’s UV-powered smart garden has an exotic array of greenery and shrubbery, with an irrigation system programmed to give each plant the correct amount of nutrients and water.

The only charter superyacht that has two helipads, capable of accommodating the biggest helicopters you can throw at it. The larger one can even be converted into a dance floor so you can keep the seafaring party going all night. And in a vessel like this, you’ll want to.

The future of megayachts in BVI

The megayachts are here. They’re easy to spot out on the horizon, emerging from the mists like giant waterbirds, a mix of sleek lines and unexpected angles. There are 40 foot swimming pools and gyms staffed with hard-driving trainers. People speculate about who’s onboard, anyone from Hollywood starlets to royalty to tech moguls. Someday, it could be you.

They have the power to sail to the limits of the known world, almost but they choose to come here, to BVI, whose secluded cays and anchorages and world-class amenities, from five-star restaurants to laid-back beach shacks, are suitable for all tastes. And BVI wants more of them.

At a press conference earlier this year, Premier Andrew Fahie said, “We have a product that is in demand by the mega yacht industry as well. We have seen the interest by the mega yachting sectors so we know that the confidence is there and we are also aware that there is an interest and a market if we can accommodate additional and larger cruise vessels.” He said the government is conducting a feasibility study to see whether more megayachts could soon be setting sail for BVI shores. That may involve a new and bigger pier that can accommodate them, such as those that exist in the Mediterranean and other Caribbean destinations. After all, even the most adventurous megayachts have to come to port sometime. And that can mean big money for a territory already full of service providers who serve tourists, who are looking for opportunities after a difficult few years. And for those who have the money to spend, an unforgettable journey.

“Once the BVIPA completes its study we will be one step closer to realising our goal which is to capture the additional economic opportunities for our marine industries and create the avenues for our taxi drivers, tour operators, restaurants, shops, craft vendors and all the others,” he said.

With any luck, like massive swans, the megayachts will continue to alight on BVI waters for years to come, helping the economy, gracing the horizon, and igniting the dreams and imaginations of all who look up and see them.