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Jeff Bezos' 417-Foot Yacht May Be Too Big for Florida's Top Yacht Clubs

Oceanco
File image courtesy Oceanco

Published Nov 30, 2023 11:14 PM by The Maritime Executive

Jeff Bezos has the distinction of owning the largest sailing yacht in the world, and that hard-won prestige comes with a certain challenge: fitting into seaports. 

Last year, the newly-built Koru made headlines when the shipbuilder asked permission to deconstruct a historic drawbridge to get the yacht to the sea. The bridge's center span could be elevated for a normal yacht, but not high enough for the world's biggest sailing yacht, and shipyard Oceanco sought to temporarily take out the span so that the vessel could be delivered. The request caused a local uproar, and the yard eventually canceled the idea. The masts were stepped later, after the vessel had transited the waterway.

This week, astute shipwatchers  noticed that 417-foot-long Koru does not appear to fit into  available yacht slips in Fort Lauderdale, the "yacht capital of the world." Instead, the glamorous $500 million sailing vessel shares a commercial pier next to four tankers, the Magnolia State, Overseas Tampa, Mersini and Radiant Sea - all solid working vessels, but rarely found at a yacht club. The shoreside neighbors include an asphalt terminal, a cement plant, and a cluster of tank farms for diesel and gasoline. This working harbor is a strategic asset for the Florida economy, but it does not align with typical berthing arrangements for vessels in the price range of Koru

The vessel may have few other options, however, unless Bezos also invests in a purpose-built yacht pier. The premier Fort Lauderdale superyacht marina is just 4,000 feet away, but its largest berth tops out at 400 feet - still short of the length of Koru

Bezos is relocating to Florida from Seattle, and it is understood that he has purchased property in the celebrity enclave of Indian Creek Village. His rocket company Blue Origin has operations at nearby Cape Canaveral, and his best-known business venture - Amazon - is expanding its office floorprint in the Miami region.