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Behind the Scenes of 34m foil-assisted Baltic 111 Raven

Baltic 111 Raven

When her owner commissioned this Baltic 111 Custom foil-assisted superyacht, weight control was paramount. Baltic Yachts was selected for its forensic approach to lightweight advanced composite construction and unique ability to combine it with an unmatched custom finish. Baltic Yachts has successfully moved the Baltic 111 Raven from her building facility at the company’s waterside premises in Jakobstad, Finland to reveal one of the most extreme yachts it has ever built.

Broadly described as a 111ft foil-assisted, ultra-lightweight superyacht, she will be used primarily for day sailing, but also undertake high-speed, long-distance passages. Not easy to categorise, this extraordinary yacht can be placed firmly in a class of her own.

Baltic Yachts was chosen to meet this challenge because of its unmatched reputation for building advanced composite superyachts to the very highest standards, including its forensic examination of systems and components throughout the build process. Add to that the company’s ability to finish yachts to a level of luxury second to none and the decision to build in Jakobstad was straightforward.

Baltic 111 Raven

Baltic 111 Raven’s experienced owner’s project manager, Garth Brewer of A2B Marine Projects, said: “ Raven doesn’t fall easily into a category, but if I had to place her, I’d say she’s the equivalent of a high-end Super-car. The boat is primarily for pure enjoyment and the owner likes the challenge of doing something that hasn’t been done before. ”

“ He really understands the technical elements and this will be a development project which will require a measured approach,” added Brewer, who emphasised the need for incremental steps in Raven’s trials, building confidence and understanding over time as the boat reaches her peak performance .

Baltic 130 My Song

Raven does, however, possess some distinctive features which provide more than a hint of how she might perform. They include two large T-shaped hydrofoils mounted on hydraulically controlled side-arms capable of supporting some of the boat’s displacement.

At her transom, Raven will be equipped with vertical Interceptor trim tabs to adjust fore and aft trim at speed and there is movable water ballast, carried in built-in tanks in the aft quarters to boost the righting moment required while sailing.

Designed to sail partly on her leeward chine, Baltic 111 Raven will derive her stability and lift, while sailing, from her foils, leaving her 9.3-ton fixed keel bulb and precision-engineered 5m long fin to provide basic stability. It’s also the location for a fully submerged intake for cooling water and is designed with a sacrificial zone to absorb impact in the event of a collision.

Baltic 111 Raven

Ultra-lightweight interior of Baltic 111 Raven

Not only is Raven’s foil-assisted ability likely to deliver a phenomenal sailing performance, she is also the subject of a highly unusual study in ultra-lightweight interior design, combining the yacht’s complex all carbon construction with styling which pays homage to Baltic Yachts’ rigorous program of weight saving. Target displacement is 55 tons – just as a comparison, the recently launched, Baltic 110 Zemi displaces 95 tons.

Jarkko Jämsén, the Finnish concept designer who developed Raven with her owner and is responsible for the yacht’s styling, explained that they were keen to combine the need for weight saving with the opportunity to expose the remarkable carbon structure of the yacht to create a unique interior design aesthetic.

A key part of Baltic’s effort in the Raven project has been directed at weight saving and control. Apart from using the lightest possible carbon/Nomex combinations in the yacht’s main structures, every item, down to the last pipe clip, nut and bolt, has been assessed. The naval architects and structural engineers behind her are Botin Partners and PURE Design respectively, both at the leading edge of America’s Cup design.

“ This project undoubtedly represents one of the biggest challenges Baltic Yachts has ever embraced, ” said Baltic Yachts Executive Vice President, Henry Hawkins. “ But that is what we do – we have a long history of bringing leading edge innovation to the fore. We are surrounded and supported by a dedicated team who are led by Garth Brewer, who oversaw Visione’s construction here at Baltic 21 years ago and still keeps her on the pace. ”

Baltic 111 Raven

Baltic 111 Raven: Experience to take on the challenge

Jarkko Jämsén emphasised the importance of choosing Baltic Yachts to build Raven. “ The company was selected because we believe it has the courage, experience and track record to take on the challenge. Calculating weight and Baltic’s well-known ability to hit displacement targets were critical. ”

For Sam Evans, project manager, and Mattias Svenlin, project co-ordinator for Raven, the challenge was to construct a superyacht much lighter than anything previously built by Baltic – yachts that were already considered light in the sphere of Superyachting. “ Mattias’ experience, creativity and flexibility, supported by a dedicated production team combined with Sam’s communication skills, have been key factors in the overall success of the build, ” added Garth Brewer.

“ This is another level entirely in terms of weight saving, ” said Mattias. To ensure as fair a hull finish as possible, a carbon mould was preferred to reduce excessive heat differences and thus distortion in the curing process. “ We re-assessed the hull coating schedule to reduce weight using light primers and filler instead of Ultra-Build to reach the acceptable industry standards – in effect coatings do the job of filler,” he said. Using this technique in a superyacht is unprecedented .”

Hull and deck construction use carbon IM fibre pre-preg, employing the highest quality fibres on the market, and a Kevlar honeycomb sandwich throughout.  The owner has accepted that sailing Baltic 111 Raven at speed will be noisy so the elimination of any attempt to sound deaden represents a huge weight saving. “ But we have created an interior finish with special surfaces affecting the acoustics to ‘soften’ the noise a little, ” said Mattias.  He pointed out, however, that all the adhesives suitable for bonding this material to bulkheads were compared for weight, the final choice resulting in a saving of 6kg. In terms of the Raven project that’s a big number.

Baltic 111 Raven

100 grams off every bracket

Baltic Yachts has revisited all weight saving opportunities shaving 100 grams off every carbon pipe bracket, making carbon cable trays even lighter and switching out steel hydraulic pipework for lighter hosing which has saved 160kg. “ We’ve even reduced the weight of the shower door from 13.5kg per m² to just 2.3kg m², ” said Mattias.

Even as Raven neared completion, the Baltic build team were continuing to identify weight-saving opportunities including replacing the metal clips holding the lightweight carbon tubular accommodation framework in place. “Östen Sundelin, one of the team, reckoned we could 3D print them in a far lighter material so we went ahead and made that saving,” said Mattias. In-house 3D printing is increasingly used at Baltic to fashion custom items to save weight and optimize design, the complex titanium head of the yacht’s retractable propulsion system (RPS) mechanism being a case in point.

Lightweight interior design

Raven’s interior, conceptualized by Jarkko Jämsén, is unusually comprehensive for a high-performance superyacht of this type, but the use of ultra-lightweight rattan deck-heads and bulkhead finishes, exposed carbon and a lack of coatings help keep weight down along with Nomex cores in structural bulkheads. All the frameworks for the furniture, for example, are made from hollow carbon piping, its lightweight combining with a modern take on style guaranteed to turn heads.

The focal point of the accommodation is centered around the glazed sides of the large cockpit, dubbed the ‘bird’s nest’, which forms a type of inverted observation ‘dome’ allowing occupants to view the carbon-dominated accommodation. The glazing is in fact Perspex, which is considerably lighter than toughened glass, representing an overall saving of 250kg. It is reinforced with a criss-cross pattern of carbon mullions which gave it its bird’s nest description. Further weight saving is achieved by minimizing the amount of caulking between each pane and replacing some of it with a foam fillet.

Baltic 111 Raven

On deck, attention is immediately drawn to the cockpit because, apart from its aforementioned aesthetics, it also converts to a semi-covered, hardtop-protected seating area. The forward section of the cockpit hinges up and aft in ‘clam-shell’ style to affect this unique conversion.

Perspex is also used in numerous deck prisms which still use a centuries-old design to efficiently illuminate the accommodation with natural light, but are vastly lighter by replacing bronze and glass with carbon and Perspex.

Spacious saloons are located fore and aft of the bird’s nest, the forward one laid out with a galley and dining areas and the aft space dedicated to the owner’s sleeping accommodation, with a large double centreline berth folding up against an interior bulkhead when the yacht is in performance mode. There’s also a passage berth or sea cabin to starboard.

It is not often one can describe a head and shower compartment as a work of art, but in the Baltic 111 Raven’s case numerous hydraulic rams mounted inside some of the complex carbon reinforcement, including the A frame taking the load of the deck stepped mast, have been exposed by inserting Perspex inspection covers. So, you can take a shower while watching the upper and lower deflector rams in action or the downhaul ram for the 7m long reaching strut, which is used to optimise headsail sheet leads!

Further weight saving has been achieved by modifying a custom bamboo seat in one of the shower/head compartments with carbon tubing made to look like bamboo, complete with its characteristic rings and a remarkably realistic painted finish.

The aft section of the yacht is largely empty, but forward there’s accommodation for four guests in two cabins and extensive crew accommodation including a captain’s cabin.

For propulsion and generating, the design team settled on a diesel-electric hybrid system for lower emissions and efficient weight distribution. It’s a solution Baltic Yachts has been perfecting for a number of years. A Swiss 130kW Phi-Power AG electric propulsion motor is located just aft of amidships and twin 80kW Yanmar generators, optimized to save weight, are located further aft. These charge two battery banks which power the main propulsion motor, hydraulic pumps and accommodation services. The drive train is completed by a retractable propeller designed with carbon blades and a titanium hub.

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Boat of the Week: Meet ‘Perseverance,’ One of the Most Sustainable Sailing Superyachts on the Water

The new 117-footer from baltic yachts ticks all the boxes for classic good looks, too., julia zaltzman, julia zaltzman's most recent stories.

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Baltic Yachts' Perseverance is a classic-looking sloop with a modern sustainable edge.

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Baltic Yachts' Perseverance is a classic-looking sloop with a modern sustainable edge.

Standing out from the crowd with a metallic-bronze hull, the neo-classic fast cruising cutter was commissioned by an experienced owner who returned to Dykstra Naval Architects following the success of his previous yacht, a Dykstra 60. This time, he wanted to undertake longer passages in comfort but without compromising on speed.

The owner chartered a collection of sailing yachts to iron out his wish list, including a larger yacht with excellent sailing characteristics, ease of maintenance and power-saving systems. With 65 feet of extra length, Perseverance delivers. Plus it has a luxurious interior by deVosdeVries Design and a double cockpit deck layout. The yacht is also equipped with a high-aspect rudder and lifting keel to enhance sailing capabilities. “The goal for the owner was to have a classic sloop with clean deck equipment to make it easy to handle when sailing,” Tommy Johansson, project manager at Baltic Yachts , told Robb Report during a tour of the boat. “So, the yacht can set and furl its sails via push buttons for easy short-handed cruising.”

Baltic Yachts' 'Perseverance' is a classic-looking sloop with a modern sustainable edge.

Perseverance bears many of the traditional hallmarks for which Dykstra is known, including a straight stem, distinctive deep bulwarks and truncated counter. Its deck house, skinned in teak, has individual rectangular windows that provide classic appeal. Like the timber caprail, the wood is treated with oil rather than varnish to reduce maintenance and steer away from a high-gloss finish. The center cockpit—one of the owner’s favorite places on board—is shaded by a mini hardtop that can be lowered to protect the seating and dining area against salt spray when not in use. Inside, light-gray oak, maple and leather-stitched details create a gentleman’s club-meets-industrial-chic ambience. Subtle LED lighting gives a modern touch. The main salon is light and airy, with high ceilings that provide decent headroom and knurled hardware in a dark-matte vintage patina.

Perseverance sleeps eight guests in four cabins, comprising a master suite, one VIP cabin and two twins. They are all fitted with sensors that monitor the interior temperature based on guest occupancy. When not in use, the temperature automatically adjusts to save on energy.

The yacht has cruised extensively since her delivery last year, already clocking 10,000 nautical miles at an average speed of 20 knots. Building a yacht with sustainable credentials was a key prerequisite for the owner. Perseverance ’s diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system can regenerate 20 to 25 kilowatts while under way at 12 to 14 knots, recharging the batteries in 4.5 hours, which then provide up to nine hours of silent running at anchor.

“It means the yacht can head out for a day’s sailing and return to the marina without using its engines,” says Johansson. “In fact, the owner has done that already, enjoying nine hours of silent cruising with only the batteries powering the hotel load.”

Perseverance is now in the Caribbean, with the owner making the most of his easy sailer by spending as much time at the wheel as possible.

Check out more photos of Perseverance here .


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Baltic Yachts has been commissioned to build an ultra lightweight, 111ft superyacht described as ‘one of the most extreme projects Baltic has undertaken’.

Designed for fast coastal and offshore sailing, Baltic 111 Custom will begin construction in April taking full advantage of Baltic Yachts’ ability to build an advanced composite structure to the most exacting standards, creating a modern, stylish living platform within a high-performance design envelope.   The new yacht, described as a ‘ground-breaking design with spectacular technical solutions’ is an extremely weight sensitive project, a key reason why Baltic Yachts was selected. The company’s proven track record and expertise in calculating weight, monitoring it during build and achieving design targets, were decisive in the choice of builder, as were Baltic Yachts’ problem-solving abilities through innovation and attention to detail. Baltic Yachts CEO Anders Kurtén, said:

“This stunning new yacht will break new ground in leading edge technology, a challenge I am confident the entire Baltic Family is ready to meet. Winning this contract reflects our almost 50-year pledge to build Light, Stiff and Fast. We can’t wait to get started!” Baltic Yachts will be working with a highly skilled team assembled by designer Jarkko Jämsén, and including in-demand Spanish race boat naval architects Botin Partners, and with structural engineering provided by PURE Design and Engineering. Project Manager Sam Evans and project Co-ordinator Mattias Svenlin will lead Baltic’s internal team, while externally A2B Marine Projects, will be responsible for project management.   Interior and exterior design are by award-winning Finnish designer, Jarkko Jämsén. With light weight and performance the over-arching features of the project, the new yacht’s interior will be minimalist and modern in style.   To save weight, the yacht’s structure will be used as part of the interior and materials like bamboo and rattan will feature in the finish. A luxury interior with a fully-fitted galley and air conditioning throughout will add to the challenge of hitting weight targets with precision.   The Baltic 111 Custom is scheduled to launch in May 2023.  

DESIGN Concept: Jarkko Jämsén Naval architect: Botin Partners Exterior and Interior design: Jarkko Jämsén Structural engineering: PURE Design and Engineering Owner’s representative: A2B Marine Projects

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Sailing yacht ZEMI launches

Also in attendance were the project manager, representatives from build team and other Baltic Yacht dignitaries. Executive Vice President Henry Hawkins had this to say, “Whenever we launch a yacht to join the Baltic family, it’s fair to say the thoughts of many members of our staff sail away with her, celebrating the conclusion of another unique build and wishing her and her owner fantastic sailing.”

Her striking metallic bronze hull contrasts dramatically with the teak decks and superstructure style, described as ‘classic aggressive’ by the owner’s representative. Her vertical coachroof windows and streamlined, low-level superstructure are distinctive features as is her teak-clad main cockpit which can be converted into a sizable sun lounging area and protected by a fold-down hood and full-length removable bimini.

Sailing yacht ZEMI ready for launch

Sailing yacht ZEMI ready for launch

Her interior is the work of award-winning Swedish architect Martin-Löf who has applied his minimalist style with the use of sustainable materials including walnut and limestone veneer to reduce weight. There is an abundance of natural light from long salon port windows and coachroof skylights plus thoughtful lighting design which includes lanterns made from Japanese rice paper and walnut edging.

As well as her multitude of headsail options, the owner has opted for a zero-emissions electric propulsion system using a 247kW Danfoss motor to drive the propeller. A bank of lithium-ion batteries is changed by two 129kw gensets and supply all the domestic, hydraulic and rig handling equipment.

Sailing yacht ZEMI

Sailing yacht ZEMI

Following her sea trials she will begin a global adventure which is scheduled to include Norway , Iceland , Scotland , the Canaries, an Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean – where she will compete – followed by passage through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific .

We wish sailing yacht ZEMI and her owner good luck on their world tour.

Please contact CharterWorld - the luxury yacht charter specialist - for more on superyacht news item "34m sailing yacht ZEMI is christened at her launch by Baltic Yachts".

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Baltic Yachts’ innovation creates the most sustainable sailing vessels

It all starts with the fundamentals...the little things that bring down consumption, reducing the amount of power and number of batteries required….

Image for article Baltic Yachts’ innovation creates the most sustainable sailing vessels

The proliferation of hybrid-electric propulsion in the superyacht sector is evolving at a pace. The sailing superyacht sector has led the way with innovative designs for a generation. However, as Henry Hawkins, executive vice president at Baltic Yachts, outlines, truly innovative yacht designs need to stay grounded. And, try as the industry might, “You can’t change physics; the energy has to come from somewhere.” 

The pragmatic approach that Baltic Yachts has pioneered addresses the reality of each problem and solves each on its merits. The answer is not always glamorous and sometimes not what a conventional yard would suggest. Having a battery bank and electrical propulsion is great, but where does the power come from? And, crucially, how can the vessel be more efficient with its energy generation and usage? The Baltic Yachts philosophy, as with its overall approach to the sustainability of its construction and operations, is to make the necessary incremental changes.

It all starts with the fundamentals. “The hull shape is going to be drawn by the naval architect, which in our case will always be based around the sailing performance of the boat,” says Hawkins. From there, the team gets to work to make the yacht as energy-efficient and, by extension, as low emission and sustainable as possible.

“What runs all the time?” asks Hawkins. “Take the air conditioning/ventilation and the fridge freezers; this is what we must not take our eyes off when talking about low- to zero-emission vessels. At Baltic Yachts, we are always looking to make these systems as efficient as possible, for example taking the heat generated from the air conditioning compressors and reusing the heat to the fan coils or to dry the air. These are the small things that will be beneficial in reducing the energy needs of the yacht in the long run.”

Further expanding on the Baltic Yachts approach, Hawkins highlights another on-board innovation: “On our latest launch, the seawater cooling is run by a centralised system with one pump rather than by many individual pumps running 24/7, without a reason. So it’s all those little things that then bring down the overall consumption, reducing the amount of power and therefore the number of batteries required to sustain the yacht.” This central pump is temperature- controlled and runs on demand only.  

While at sea, power generation is an exciting development for the sailing-yacht sector. Hawkins and Kim Kolam, senior electrical engineer at Baltic Yachts, feel that the industry needs to stay grounded with apparent benefits. Most sailing yachts, even the most highly used, are at sea for only a fraction of the time they are on the water. Their capacity for power generation is therefore limited. Kolam explains that designing a shaft and propeller system that suits power generation can sacrifice its general efficiency and offset any potential net energy consumption savings. A more practical solution may be an entirely separate system for charging, leaving the propulsion system perfectly balanced for purpose.  

Hawkins and the team at Baltic Yachts have had almost 50 years of experience honing their designs, and see a pivotal area as holding the key to keeping the momentum for a decarbonised yachting future: “If you don’t get client buy-in, it won’t change. It’s not something that we can invest in as a company over and over again without having the clients coming with us.”

By addressing each of the individual energy-efficiency considerations by developing in-house and partner technological innovations, Baltic Yachts is creating the most streamlined and operationally sustainable sailing yachts on the market. As battery technology and electric drive trains evolve, Baltic Yachts will have the most efficient sailing yachts to ingenerate each in a custom project – matched to a discerning next generation of superyacht owners.

Main image caption: Baltic 68 Café Racer – with zero emissions from its two 15kW electric engines, hydrogeneration while sailing, solar panels and 30 per cent reduction in power consumption from AC.

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A comfortable cruising experience has always been a key sales pitch and driver in our designs. We want to make complex yachts easy to sail. We put great emphasis on user-friendliness in our technical design process and seek maximum comfort in our interior design.

Our expertise in building advanced composite yachts is based on nearly half a century of experience starting with many smaller production yachts and evolving into the custom superyachts we see being launched today. We are world leaders in this field of building, which is in so much demand today by clients looking for a multi-role yacht providing a platform for luxury living and a performance to win on the race course.


baltic yachts news

Baltic Yachts has launched an eco-friendly 68-footer for semi-series production and the first hull was delivered in summer 2021. This yacht embodies the latest eco-friendly building materials and a low emission propulsion unit. Hydrogeneration, solar panels and sustainable cork decks to dramatically reduce her environmental impact are among features reflecting a yacht to meet the challenges of the 21st century.


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The third hull of the popular Café Racer will be optimised for racing while staying true to her concept of...

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Baltic 110 Zemi

This 110ft all carbon sloop was commissioned by an experienced yachtsman who required a yacht for global family cruising adventures at pace.

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The first yacht built by Baltic Yachts was designed by C&C Design in Canada with the interior layout and styling done by our own in-house design team. The Baltic 46 was designed for comfortable living on board and was aimed at the racing fraternity as well as the cruising minded.

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This yacht is an advanced composite 117ft (35.8m) Custom Classic sloop from the board of renowned Dutch designers Dykstra Naval Architects.

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Baltic 68 Café Racer Pink Gin Verde

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Baltic 146 PATH

When she was commissioned this was the third largest yacht by volume Baltic Yachts had ever been asked to build.


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A fast, easy to handle cruising yacht benefitting from the highest quality carbon fibre construction, 48 years of seamanlike design experience and the opportunity for owners to customise layout.

This new performance bluewater cruiser is designed to meet the demands of owners looking for a fast, easy to sail, good looking, long distance cruising yacht displaying seamanlike design throughout and benefitting from the carbon fibre engineering and building skills perfected by Baltic Yachts over 48 years.

What people say about our yachts

Liara is a complete level above anything else I have built in the past and I don’t know any yard that could deliver a yacht of this complexity virtually on time and to that extremely high quality.

Owner, Baltic 112 Liara

For me, Baltic means a fantastic team of people that is challenging itself all the time in order to build more advanced, more sophisticated, faster and lighter "high performance" yachts than any other yacht builder. They never say no as an answer, they come up with solutions!

Owner, Baltic 112 Nilaya

When I was making my choice of builder, I concluded that the Baltic 67 had been far better thought through than similar yachts. A key requirement for my new yacht was high quality of build.

Owner, Baltic 67 Manyeleti

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In total our yachts have amassed thirty-three awards by various organisations including the ShowBoat Design Awards, the International Superyacht Society Awards and the World Superyacht Awards. Each yacht’s ability to perform equally well in cruise and race mode, together with Baltic Yachts’ ability to bring design alive, have consistently impressed the judges.


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Using an electric motor for a yacht’s auxiliary propulsion has become popular as the need for more environmentally acceptable power increases. A great advantage of using an electric motor is that it can work as a generator by harnessing energy from the ‘free-wheeling’, controllable pitch propeller when the yacht is sailing. The electric motor becomes a generator, which charges a battery bank and in turn supplies power to the sailing systems and services aboard the yacht.


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We’re constantly updating our website to bring you news of launchings, new commissions and Baltic inspired innovation.


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U.S. Eyes $156 Million Yacht in Dubai Linked to a Russian Oligarch

The U.S. Justice Department is taking steps to seize the Madame Gu, a 324-foot luxury yacht, but it will be diplomatically thorny.

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View of the marina at dusk, with the superyacht in the water and buildings and cranes behind it.

By Kate Kelly ,  Michael Forsythe and Julian E. Barnes

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — On a clear morning in late October, the jewel-blue hull of the Madame Gu, one of the world’s most luxurious superyachts, gleamed, its aluminum rails shimmering in the sun. Workers on the pier said they had recently seen people painting, cleaning and generally keeping the ship with its helipad and six guest staterooms in pristine condition.

In past years, such a scene would not have been noteworthy. Many superyachts come and go from Dubai’s Mina Rashid Marina, best known as the home of the Queen Elizabeth 2, the trans-Atlantic ocean liner-turned-hotel that dominates the waterfront here.

But Russia’s war in Ukraine has turned an otherwise routine tableau into a diplomatic battleground between the United States and the United Arab Emirates, an important American ally that has established itself as a safe haven for Russian money and assets out of the reach of U.S. sanctions.

The $156 million Madame Gu epitomizes the problem. In June, the United States designated the vessel, which is linked to Andrei Skoch, a Russian steel magnate and lawmaker under sanctions, as blocked property. That means the yacht cannot use American companies for its upkeep, employ U.S. citizens or even use the dollar. The Justice Department is now taking steps to seize the Madame Gu, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

But the United States can’t seize property in a sovereign nation without permission from its government. The Emirates, which has taken a friendlier position toward Moscow, is balking at cooperating with the United States to pursue oligarchs, American officials said. The Kremlin is also using oligarch-controlled companies in the Emirates to acquire war supplies that the West is trying to keep out of Russia’s reach, according to a Western official involved in the sanctions effort against Russia.

Emirati officials did not comment specifically on the Madame Gu but said in a statement that they took their role “protecting the integrity of the global financial system extremely seriously.”

A closer examination of Russian assets in the Emirates shows that even before the war in Ukraine, Dubai had become a playground for Russians with links to President Vladimir V. Putin. At least 38 businessmen or officials with ties to the Russian president own homes in Dubai that are collectively valued at more than $314 million, according to the Center for Advanced Defense Studies. Five of those owners are under U.S. sanctions.

Since the Russian invasion, Dubai has established itself as a safe haven for Russian yachts and aircraft unable to sail or fly elsewhere. After Russian jets were barred from the European Union in late February, the Emirates became the destination for 14 percent of all private flights leaving Russia, up from 3 percent before the invasion.

“It’s frustrating when you see huge assets that are sitting out there and it appears that the country is not cooperating,” said Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, referring to the Emirates. “It would be nice if there were more common cause against Putin while he’s busy shelling hospitals and schools.”

Mr. Whitehouse is sponsoring legislation that would use proceeds of the sales of seized Russian assets to help rebuild Ukraine. Senior officials at the Treasury and State Departments have also complained publicly about the situation.

U.S. officials view the presence of superyachts in places like Dubai and Bodrum, Turkey , as a symptom of wider Russian circumvention of sanctions and continued access to financial markets. Yachts have also come to symbolize the decadence of Russia’s oligarchs, especially at a time when Russian soldiers are scrounging for body armor and sleeping bags on the front lines.

Pursuing the Madame Gu

Built by the Dutch firm Feadship and put into service in 2013, the Madame Gu has a large helicopter pad on its forecastle with a hangar underneath that can double as a squash court when the chopper isn’t on board. The vessel has berthing for 36 crew members, according to one trade magazine.

Mr. Skoch, a member of Russia’s Parliament who is linked to assets worth billions of dollars, according to U.S. court filings, has had sanctions imposed on him twice by the United States, first in 2018 and then after Russia’s invasion this year. The Treasury Department has cited his “longstanding ties to Russian organized criminal groups.”

Mr. Skoch could not be reached and did not respond to messages left at his office at Parliament.

In an interview in October about the government’s broader efforts to go after the assets of oligarchs, Andrew Adams, a federal prosecutor leading the Department of Justice’s KleptoCapture task force, declined to discuss the Madame Gu. But the United States, he said, is warning companies they must not do business with individuals and assets under sanctions. The government, he said, will pursue oligarch-owned assets whose sale could be used to aid Ukraine.

“Where we know there is an asset that can potentially provide significant remuneration for Ukraine, that obviously is an attractive case to pursue,” he said.

U.S. officials are likely to use the case they made for impounding a $90 million Airbus business jet linked to Mr. Skoch in August as a blueprint for seizing the Madame Gu, said people familiar with the plan.

That means investigators will aim to show that the owner of the vessel, or the companies that have been providing services to it, have intersected with the U.S. financial system.

“If there are U.S. dollars or a U.S. nexus associated with supporting this vessel, massive enforcement actions could take place,” said Adam M. Smith, a former official overseeing sanctions at the Treasury Department. Companies that provide support to entities under sanctions could potentially face their own sanctions, said Mr. Smith, who is now a lawyer at Gibson Dunn in Washington.

This year the United States has carried out two high-profile seizures of yachts tied to Russians under sanctions, working with cooperative governments. The $300 million Amadea was taken in Fiji in May and sailed to San Diego under an American flag. In April, the United States worked with Spanish police to seize the $90 million Tango.

A Problematic Partner

Diplomatically, the Emirates has been reluctant to take a clear anti-Russian position when it comes to the war in Ukraine. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the United Arab Emirates, recently met with Mr. Putin in St. Petersburg, and the Emirati foreign minister recently hosted his Russian counterpart. Yet Sheikh Mohammed has also talked with Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, more than once and recently gave the country $100 million in humanitarian aid.

The United States has publicly expressed dismay over the mixed messages.

During a visit to Dubai in June, Wally Adeyemo, the U.S. deputy treasury secretary, warned of the need for vigilance and proactive steps in combating Russian evasion. That same month Barbara Leaf, the State Department’s under secretary for Near East Affairs, said at a congressional hearing that regarding the Emirates, she was “not happy at all with the record at this point” on sanctions enforcement. Mr. Adeyemo reiterated his concerns in a meeting with Emirati officials in October in Washington.

A senior State Department official said in a statement to The New York Times that the agency continues “to reinforce the importance of conducting enhanced due diligence to prevent sanctions evasion and investigating allegations of such activity” to the Emirates.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the Madame Gu or the relationship with the Emirates.

Last month, the Treasury Department announced it had placed sanctions on an Emirates-based company, Constellation Advisors Ltd., that the American government said was operating on behalf of a nephew of another Russian oligarch, Suleiman Kerimov. Mr. Kerimov, according to American court documents, was the owner of the Amadea superyacht .

American officials are also worried the Russian government is using the Emirates to acquire military supplies for its war in Ukraine. On Nov. 15, the Treasury Department imposed sanctions on two Emirates-based transportation firms that had worked with another Iranian firm under sanctions, which in turn had helped transport drones and personnel from Iran to Russia.

Moored in Dubai

Based on a recent visit to Dubai’s Mina Rashid Marina , where the Madame Gu is moored, it is clear that international companies are playing a critical role in its care.

The Emirates-based company DP World, through its subsidiary P&O Marinas , oversees the pier where the Madame Gu is moored. Employees from another DP World subsidiary , World Security, staff the small guard box at the entrance. That makes DP World, which is owned by Dubai’s royal family, potentially vulnerable to American sanctions.

DP World “fully complies with all applicable local and national laws and intends to continue doing the same regarding the Madame Gu and other vessels utilizing our services,” said Adal Mirza, a spokesman for the company. He added that DP World had not yet heard from the United States or other countries that had placed Mr. Skoch under sanctions, including Britain and the European Union.

A generator set that dock workers said in late October was powering the Madame Gu — two container-like structures near its stern — bore the distinctive orange logo of Aggreko , a British company. The generator set was connected to the superyacht by thick cords; one of the containers was emitting grayish exhaust.

At the Mina Rashid Marina, soon after Aggreko was contacted by The Times, workers removed the generator. “Having identified that the generator was being used to power a vessel that is allegedly connected to a sanctioned person, we immediately terminated this rental and have since recovered the generator,” the company said in a statement.

Mr. Mirza, the DP World spokesman, said the Aggreko generator had been replaced with one from a local supplier.

P&O Marinas arranged for the diesel generator to provide power for the Madame Gu because that part of the pier, a holding area, has no shore-supplied electric power, said a port official in Dubai, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to the press.

“At the end of the day, if the U.A.E. hasn’t imposed sanctions, it’s not really their job to enforce other countries’ laws within their borders,” said Nabeel Yousef, a Washington-based partner at the law firm Freshfields, where he runs the sanctions practice. Nevertheless, “companies should not take comfort in the fact that their country has not imposed sanctions,” he added, “because even the smallest connection to the U.S. can lead to U.S. penalties.”

There has also been a notable absence onboard the Madame Gu in recent weeks: a flag. Unlike other ships moored nearby, including the Quantum Blue, a superyacht linked to the billionaire Sergei Galitsky, the Madame Gu appears to be stateless, apparently having been deflagged by the Cayman Islands.

Cayman Islands officials didn’t respond to an emailed inquiry about the ship’s status.

If DP World were to face fallout from U.S. sanctions enforcers, it wouldn’t be the first time the company has been the focus of attention in Washington. In 2006, DP World was seeking to manage some terminal operations at six American ports but dropped out of the deal after a bipartisan uproar in Congress.

Anton Troianovski contributed reporting from Turin, Italy, and Oleg Matsnev from Berlin.

Kate Kelly covers money, influence, and policy as a correspondent in the Washington bureau of the Times. Before that, she spent twenty years covering Wall Street deals, key players and their intersection with politics. She is the author of three books, including "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh." More about Kate Kelly

Michael Forsythe is a reporter on the investigations team. He was previously a correspondent in Hong Kong, covering the intersection of money and politics in China. He has also worked at Bloomberg News and is a United States Navy veteran. More about Michael Forsythe

Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter based in Washington, covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The Times in 2018, he wrote about security matters for The Wall Street Journal. More about Julian E. Barnes

Our Coverage of the War in Ukraine

News and Analysis

As the world observes the second anniversary  of Russia’s invasion, many Ukrainian citizens are taking a longer view of the conflict , pinpointing the Maidan uprising of 2014 as the start of a 10-year war with their adversary.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, traveled to Ukraine  for a visit that aimed to show American solidarity with a democratic ally under attack and to increase the pressure on Republicans to quit opposing additional U.S. aid.

Russian forces have launched multiple attacks around the southern Ukrainian village of Robotyne , targeting land hard-won by Ukraine in a rare success of its counteroffensive in 2023.

Sending a Message: Two years since the start of the war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has fully embraced the image of an unpredictable strongman  ready to escalate his conflict with the West.

Wounded Soldiers: The number of Russian troops with amputated limbs or serious injuries is believed to be staggering . When these veterans return home, they face a patchwork system of treatment and, often, efforts to keep them out of the public eye .

Creative Use of Weapons: Ukraine’s use of a Patriot missile to take down a plane in January is an example of how novel battlefield tactics can be fraught with peril as well as promise .

Broadcasting Rage: Residents of the battered Ukrainian city of Kharkiv turn to a station called Radio Boiling Over to vent their anger at Russian attacks .

How We Verify Our Reporting

Our team of visual journalists analyzes satellite images, photographs , videos and radio transmissions  to independently confirm troop movements and other details.

We monitor and authenticate reports on social media, corroborating these with eyewitness accounts and interviews. Read more about our reporting efforts .

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Path Sailing Yacht underway shot

Path: On board Baltic's award-winning 45m sailing yacht

Inspired by an experienced sailor, the World Superyacht Award-winning sloop Path is a real standout, as Sam Fortescue finds out in Palma...

It takes an effort to stand out from the crowd in Palma. There are so many metres of gleaming superyachtery lined up on the quays that everything starts to look the same. Not so the latest launch from Baltic Yachts . It has the advantage of a mast, which naturally helps in a world dominated by motor yachts. But it is really the sleek, quiet purpose of 44.6 metre Path that distinguishes her. That and the flame orange crew uniforms.

With a German designer, an obsessive Finnish builder and an engaged owner, nothing on this boat has been left to chance. I am immediately grateful for the owner’s foresight as I step aboard on an uncharacteristically grey morning. With the leaden threat of rain, we congregate under the truly vast hardtop he requested, which protects the dining and lounging areas of the cockpit. It is a continuation of the coachroof, which sweeps aft a further seven metres.

“The owner took all the experience he gained from sailing round the world and put it into the new boat,” explains Henry Hawkins, executive vice president of Baltic Yachts. “His previous boat was a Baltic 112 which we call Old Path . He’s a hugely passionate sailor and competes in a couple of sports boat classes. So he was adamant he wanted a cruising boat with performance.”

And what the hardtop lacks in pure elegance, it makes up for in sheer practicality. It is just one part of the owner’s philosophy of choosing reliability over elaborate technology or flashy styling, as designer Rolf Vrolijk notes. “This owner knows very well what he wants. There was no need to go to an external designer to make a statement.”

Ease of handling was the other key brief for the judel/vrolijk team. Path has twin rudders, for instance, and a hydraulic lifting keel. This reduces her draught to 3.4 metres – enough to get into many smaller ports and anchorages, including much of the Bahamas. She also features a roller boom system from Carbo Link to make light work of furling or reefing the 558-square-metre mainsail.

On the mechanical side, she is equipped with a saildrive pod system that can rotate through 340 degrees beneath the boat to give optimum thrust and torque at almost any angle. Coupled with the bow thruster, this flexible system simplifies close quarters manoeuvring. A four-blade variable-pitch propeller also adds to efficiency across long passages under power or when motor sailing.

“When manoeuvring under power, you can set it to a high engine speed to provide hydraulic power to the thruster via a PTO,” Hawkins says. Only one thruster is needed with the rotating saildrive, he explains. “We can then add a little pitch to the blades to move forward or backwards or even sideways as needed, as this leg rotates.”

Path rows somewhat against the current with its engine. The capable 550hp Scania unit is certainly up to the job, but the power system eschews hybrid or battery-assisted technology. It is an old-fashioned mix of iron, oil and diesel with enough grunt to pull the boat along and turn the winches, while a pair of 55kW Northern Lights generators pick up the hotel loads. Of course, that is exactly what the owner wanted.

“We looked at electric propulsion, as with the majority of our boats,” Hawkins says. “But Path is set up as a world cruiser and the cornerstone had to be proven reliability.” Similarly, the Hundested main thruster pod is theoretically capable of retracting into the hull to reduce drag under sail. “The owner chose not to take the folding ability for the sake of simplicity,” he adds. “While the pod and propeller hydraulics can all be driven mechanically to return to port.”

Before anything else, though, this boat is a Baltic, and that means a fast hull with a meticulous layup in carbon fibre. By making ample use of Sprint and pre-preg materials from Gurit, Baltic has limited the displacement of this 44.6-metre yacht to 172 tonnes. Pre-preg means that precisely the right amount of epoxy resin is already right where it needs to be in the layup, eliminating the wastage of wet systems.

The lines by judel/vrolijk are as sleek as you would expect from a team that has done so much work with racing yachts. Despite her length, her beam tops out at 9.35 metres, giving Path naturally efficient proportions. The architecture is closely related to that of the Baltic 112 Canova . “These are families of hulls developed through feedback from the crew,” Vrolijk says.

A powerful masthead sloop rig gives the crew plenty of options, and again, the emphasis is on ease of handling.   “We didn’t want to go too big with a square-head main, because that creates too much complexity for a cruising guy,” Vrolijk says. No fewer than two fixed and two removable headstays permit a range of sails upwind, plus a three-metre bowsprit for setting the gennaker or dedicated reaching sail. Baltic describes the set-up as a homage to the Imoca 60, whose multi-headsail configuration make short-handed racing a reality.

Vrolijk says that the boat sails well with two headsails set – jib and staysail or storm jib and staysail, as conditions dictate. The main is reefed by putting turns on the boom, but in order not to overstrain the mandrel, the sail still has three reefing points on the luff and leech that take the strain. After sea trials in Palma, he described Path ’s handling in typically dry fashion. “It was, of course, quite nice,” he told me. “She has a balanced rudder feel, and the boat tracks very well.”

Path is designed to sail at between 11 and 16 knots in typical conditions, but she had already hit speeds approaching  20 knots on the passage down from Finland, according to Captain Daniele Cesaro. In Palma, the boat handled 35-knot gusts under full main and a staysail jib.

Sightlines from the two wheels are well thought out, with a clear view ahead down the windward side. Each helm station has its own little hardtop with a glass panel for gazing at the sail. It feels a little like the bridge of the USS Enterprise sitting here with six big Sailmon screens for boat data and six huge glass-bridge displays.

Step inside, though, and you instantly return to a past where wood, not carbon fibre, was king. With decidedly classic styling, the interior is all about panelled walls and solid furniture. Elegant cabinetry is well endowed with fiddles – this is an owner who understands the need to steady yourself as you cross the saloon on a 20-degree heel. From sofas to a robust wooden swivel chair at the navigation station, it seemingly adds weight, but says Hawkins, the furniture is foam core with a wood veneer, which allows keeping the weight under control.

Margo Vrolijk led the styling team, making it a full house for judel/vrolijk. She drew on a visit to the owner’s home and a good look at his previous Baltic. “The concept is inspired by how the family lives ashore and translating that into an easily controlled sailing yacht,” she says. “The timeless style of the interior has been achieved through symmetry in geometry and balancing the choice of neutral and natural colour palettes with classic, colourful patterns like stripes and paisley shapes.”

This approach has created a very liveable environment below, with deep, inviting sofas, plump mattresses and comfy chairs. Despite the suede and natural fabric finishes, the upholstery has been designed to be easily maintained when off the beaten track. Most surfaces are in warm teak, while the floors are in a dark stained oak that will conceal wear and tear. “You can spill anything on the fabrics and it will still remain the same colour,” says Margo Vrolijk.

More than the materials, though, it is the spaces created by the design team that intrigue. Beneath that huge main saloon lie the owner’s quarters, bang amidships. The cabin spans the full beam but is partially divided near the middle by a glass screen. Twin beds lie to starboard, with access to a large bathroom with both a shower and recessed full-length bathtub.

To starboard is a wonderful kind of parlour or snug sitting room, with two Poltrona Frau recliners and a host of convenient features within reach. Touch a button and the glass panel turns opaque, becoming a screen for projecting charts and nav information. Pull open a low cabinet and there’s a custom-built recess for a decanter of whisky and weighted crystal tumblers. The glasses are inlaid with a magnet on the base to keep them from sliding off when set down. Pilot guides and reference books line the walls – a library for settling down with a drink to figure out where to head next.

Upstairs you reach the office, on a kind of half level.  A huge array of electronics is concealed behind the panelling here, while twin VSAT domes can keep the owner as connected on board as he would be if he were sitting in the office. “The system is Starlink ready,” Hawkins says. “Then there’ll be no need for those big domes – the eggs in the rigging will disappear.”

As this space lacks a hull window, the owner requested an LED wall, the first I have seen aboard a yacht. Running the length of the hull in the office, it normally displays an aquarium scene, but can naturally be programmed to show anything. Vrolijk mocked up a full-size office and owner’s cabin to check every detail.

Although naturally on a smaller scale to the owner’s cabin, three en suite guest cabins offer heaps of space. A VIP cabin in the bow converts between double and twin and includes its own sofa area for privacy. The double just aft has an even larger snug seating area opposite. And a final guest double is in the aft accommodation. Though this puts it next to the crew area, it has its own private companionway to the saloon.

There are lots of little features which are a pleasure to discover. I liked the way that a navigation display folds up out of a burnished chart desk in the main saloon, for instance. Another display in the crew mess slides down out of an overhead cabinet to create a barrier between the navigator and the mess. It’s a smart idea that creates two distinct spaces when necessary. I also like how the doorknobs are leather bound.

With her huge aft deck and a big bathing platform for catching the sun, plus a tender well on the foredeck that serves as a pool when the Ribeye YT600 has been craned out, Path can hold her own in Mallorca and the world’s other yachting hotspots. But she won’t be here for long. Though she’s registered in Malta, this boat has no home port – no marina berth with her name on it. Her calling is as an ocean wanderer. She is going to find her own path around the world.

First published in the June 2022 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue.

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    Baltic Yachts has been commissioned to build an ultra-lightweight 33.8 metre Baltic 111 Custom sailing yacht. Described by the yard as "one of the most extreme projects Baltic has undertaken", the yacht will begin construction in April and is due to launch in May 2023. Designed inside and out by Jarkko Jämsén, the yacht will be used for ...


    28 June 2023 In just five decades Baltic Yachts has evolved from respected series production boat builder to the world's best composite custom yacht manufacturer, the go-to yard for innovation, performance and a hand-crafted finish second to none.

  11. Baltic Yachts' 'Perseverance' is a Sustainable Classic 117-foot Sloop

    The new 117-footer from Baltic Yachts ticks all the boxes for classic good looks, too. It's easy to be fooled by the classic cutter-style features of Perseverance, with its straight stem ...

  12. Baltic Yachts Marking 50th Anniversary

    Baltic Yachts' entry into the superyacht world finally came after 1990, the year when 34 managers and employees bought the boatbuilder from Hollming. Hollming wanted to focus instead on its core commercial business lines. The buyers included Nyfelt and PG Johansson, a fellow co-founder.

  13. Baltic Yachts announces sale of Baltic 110

    In charge of external project management will be A2B Marine Projects and, with building starting shortly, the Baltic 110 Custom will be due for delivery in 2023. The announcement of the Baltic 110 project comes at a busy time for the company. Baltic 146 Path has just been launched at the yard in Jakobstad and the Baltic 117 Custom is also ...

  14. First look: inside 34m Baltic custom sailing yacht Zemi

    Baltic Yachts has offered a first look inside its 33.5-metre sailing yacht Zemi following her delivery in August. Named after an ancient Caribbean deity, Zemi is a Baltic 110 Custom characterised by her metallic bronze hull, low-profile coach roof and teak deck that curves over the lip of the transom.

  15. Baltic Yachts appoints new chief executive officer

    Tom von Bonsdorff, Baltic Yacht CEO . Baltic Yachts has welcomed its new CEO, Tom von Bonsdorff, who officially took the helm of the Finnish shipyard on February 5, 2024. With prior experience in executive roles at Volvo and Kesko, where he spearheaded the deployment of Finland's premier electric vehicle charging infrastructure, Von Bonsdorff brings a wealth of management expertise to his new ...

  16. Baltic 111: another ground-breaking superyacht by Baltic Yachts

    March 4, 2021 1818 Baltic Yachts has been commissioned to build an ultra lightweight, 111ft superyacht described as 'one of the most extreme projects Baltic has undertaken'.

  17. 34m sailing yacht ZEMI is christened at her launch by Baltic Yachts

    After a 2-year build period 33.5m (110') sailing yacht ZEMI was launched as a Baltic 110 from the shipyard in Finland. The ceremony was attended by the ... Please contact CharterWorld - the luxury yacht charter specialist - for more on superyacht news item "34m sailing yacht ZEMI is christened at her launch by Baltic Yachts". Find Related News ...

  18. Baltic Yachts' innovation creates the most sustainable sailing vessels

    05 Jan 2022 SPONSORED CONTENT Baltic Yachts' innovation creates the most sustainable sailing vessels It all starts with the fundamentals...the little things that bring down consumption, reducing the amount of power and number of batteries required… The proliferation of hybrid-electric propulsion in the superyacht sector is evolving at a pace.

  19. Yachts

    Baltic Yachts has launched an eco-friendly 68-footer for semi-series production and the first hull was delivered in summer 2021. This yacht embodies the latest eco-friendly building materials and a low emission propulsion unit.

  20. Biden is vowing to seize Russian oligarchs' yachts. Here's ...

    The Amore Vero yacht at a shipyard in La Ciotat, in southern France, on March 3, 2022. But a yacht management company associated with the ship denied Sechin owned it. "I can absolutely say that ...

  21. Inside the capture of a Russian oligarch's superyacht

    The radio fizzed with static as one of the world's most expensive superyachts sailed through the mist into San Diego Bay. "Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité… this is the inbound yacht the ...

  22. U.S. Eyes $156 Million Yacht in Dubai Linked to a Russian Oligarch

    The U.S. Justice Department is taking steps to seize the Madame Gu, a 324-foot luxury yacht, but it will be diplomatically thorny. The Madame Gu, a superyacht linked to Russian billionaire and ...

  23. Path: On board the award-winning Baltic 146 sailing yacht

    25 May 2022 • Written by Sam Fortescue Inspired by an experienced sailor, the World Superyacht Award-winning sloop Path is a real standout, as Sam Fortescue finds out in Palma... It takes an effort to stand out from the crowd in Palma. There are so many metres of gleaming superyachtery lined up on the quays that everything starts to look the same.

  24. New ship-killing missiles are turning the Baltic into a Nato lake

    But as Russia threatened to widen its war on Ukraine, the Baltic States doubled down on their own defense. Among other investments, Estonia bought Blue Spear 5G shore-launched anti-ship missiles ...