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Extraordinary boats: The Yachting World Diamond from design to deck

Nigel Sharp

  • Nigel Sharp
  • March 22, 2024

The Yachting World Diamond is a Jack Holt design which continues to attract devotees 60 years after its conception. Nigel Sharp takes a look back at the class

The modified cruising Diamond Dianna sailing on slightly choppy seas. There are three people looking happy in the boat.

During the post-World War II boom years of small-boat sailing, Yachting World promoted some 30 designs, most of which allowed for home construction in plywood. The largest was the Yachting World Keelboat, later renamed the Yachting World Diamond.

‘For years the editor dreamt of a planing keelboat,’ the Yachting World magazine later reported about the resulting Jack Holt design.

R&W Clark in East Cowes built the prototype Zest . It ‘was thoroughly tested in the hard winds and seas of the autumn and early winter of 1960 (and) surpassed the highest hopes of her.’

R&W Clark tested two rigs – a masthead and a three-quarter fractional rig – before the testers reached a compromise with a 7/8ths fractional.

Zest was exhibited at the London Boat Show the following January, after which it was reported that ‘boats are being built by several yards as well as by a number of amateurs’.

Around the same time, Bristol Aeroplane Plastics Ltd began to mould GRP yachts. The first of these, Bristol I, helmed by Jack Knights, was the overall winner in the Round the Island Race that July.

The following month, Knights recorded five wins in six races in a YW Keelboat class of seven yachts in Cowes Week .

Two sailing boats floating away on relatively calm seas. In the boat closest to the camera, are leaning over the side in a racing position. The Yachting World Diamond is streaming through the water.

Racing The Yachting World Diamond. Photo: Nigel Sharp

In 1962, Bristol Aeroplane Plastics introduced a GRP cruising version of the boat. This version had a ‘cabin-top to accommodate two berths, and the usual other arrangements, and two more berths under the raised aft deck.’

People thought the latter would be ‘the ideal boat for the man who wants a family cruiser but without those deadly dull qualities which usually go with a boat so described.’

But despite these promising early signs, the class never really took off in home waters.

It was a different story in Australia, however. Within a month of Bristol I’s victory, people were buying plans in order to build the Yachting World Diamond for themselves, all in plywood.

Racing Yachting World Diamond’s through the ’60s and ’70s

‘The enthusiasm for the design is unanimous,’ reported the secretary of the YW Keelboat Association of New South Wales in March 1963.

‘The boat is the most exhilarating I have ever sailed. They are being built in greater numbers than any new class… truly the yacht is being hailed here as the greatest single advance in yacht design in years.’

By November that year there were Diamonds racing in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Tasmania.

In the mid-1970s fleet numbers were regularly in the 30s, and occasionally up to 40 boats from different clubs raced together in Port Phillip Bay.

Similar numbers took part in national championships when boats would be trailed across the country from as far away as Perth.

“It was great racing,” said Peter Clark, who regularly sailed Diamonds in those days. “They were the right boat at the right time”.

Trapeze for breeze

In the mid-1970s, the Port Phillip yachts began experimenting with twin trapezes to help them cope with the typically windy conditions. They planned to use them at a forthcoming national championship hosted by the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.

However, when crews from other states objected, the Port Phillip yachts had to revert to toe straps for that event, but it wasn’t long before trapezes were officially adopted nationwide.

Two men hang onto the side of the Yachting World Diamond twin trapeze boat, steering it.

Twin trapezes were added in the 1970s to contend with the breezy conditions of Victoria, Australia. Photo: Nigel Sharp

In the early 1980s, GRP foam sandwich boats came onto the scene, though they generally only replaced ageing wooden yachts .

The golden years in terms of racing fleet sizes lasted barely more than a decade before the Diamond’s popularity started to decline. Clark recalls just 14 boats taking part in the Australian championships in Brisbane in 1986.

“The people that had been sailing them got married, or moved away, or went to sail a bigger boat,” he said. “Life happened.”

The gem today

Port Phillip Bay still provides the best Yachting World Diamond racing today. Five yachts are currently in commission at the RYCV, and two more are at the Royal Geelong YC, 30 miles down the coast.

In addition to Irish Logic, which he races regularly, Royal Yacht Club of Victoria member Doug Prosser owns two other boats. These are Belle, which he recently ‘rescued’, and a donor yacht.

One of the Geelong yachts is Eclipse, a 1963 plywood boat which Neil Cusworth bought for AUS$1 in 2017.

The central cockpit console on The Yachting World Diamond, surrounded by a sunny wooden deck.

Central cockpit console in Eclipse, with modern controls set up similar to an Etchells for racing. Photo: Nigel Sharp

She was restored by Jaime ‘Nudge’ Bennett who, among many other things, “tweaked the cockpit to be more like an Etchells”, fitted a spinnaker chute, and reduced the hull weight by 80kg.

Cusworth and Bennett occasionally sail her up to the RYCV at Williamstown to race in events there, including the 2019 and 2020 State Championships.

All of the racing yachts at both Williamstown and Geelong are dry sailed, and can easily be launched and recovered by member-operated cranes at each club.

The Yachting World Diamond is clearly a good yacht to race in a handicap fleet. When it’s windy, it can fly past bigger boats, which must give them time.

“And they’re very responsive boats in which you can feel what’s happening all the time, so they’re a good training boat,” said Cameron Mead, who crews on Irish Logic.

Among the Yachting World Diamonds known to have survived in the UK is Bristol I, the 1961 Round the Island Race winner. At some point she was converted into a cruising yacht with the addition of a cabin and diesel engine, and subsequently fell into a state of disrepair.

She was purchased in 2012 by Dartmouth sailors Peter Boote and Kit Noble, who restored her to her original configuration. They added two trapezes after Noble had visited Australia and sailed a Diamond there.

She, too, has since enjoyed successful handicap racing in windy weather.

There are still some other Yachting World Diamonds in the UK. Nineteen years ago, Greg Dunn found a yacht called Black Diamond on eBay, which Coombes of Bosham built in 1962 out of plywood.

Previous owners slightly modified her with the addition of a metre to the rig height and an outboard motor well, and had been epoxy sheathed, but otherwise had the original deck configuration with an open cockpit.

Article continues below…

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Renovating, racing, and recovering

Dunn has raced Black Diamond in Mersea Week, the Round the Island Race, and various classic regattas, including the Brest Maritime Festival. Keen to get there again “on my own keel” he trailed Black Diamond from Essex to Plymouth and sailed her across the Channel from there.

“It was a fantastic voyage, although it was a little bit lively,” he said of the 23-hour crossing.

Coming back was a different matter. For most of the way they sailed in pouring rain with a double reefed mainsail and no headsail, and the log showed a burst of speed of 15.9 knots. “It was truly terrifying,” said Dunn.

“When we arrived in Plymouth at four in the morning, I was starting to hallucinate after 16 hours on the helm.”

Then, as they were mooring up, he slipped on the coaming and fell onto a winch, fracturing two ribs in the process. “It was the end of the voyage from hell!”

The white rudder in Dianna, a Yachting World Diamond, mostly surrounded by wooden decking.

Dianna has a 20mm steel keel plate, with lead ballast on the bottom, lifted by electric winch. Photo: Nigel Sharp

Adapting the Yachting World Diamond

Back in the southern hemisphere, restorers adapted numerous Diamonds for a second life. They include Geelong boat Dianna, another Diamond bought by Neil Cusworth and restored by Nudge Bennett.

Interior of the Yachting World Diamond cabin, with to benches either side and small windows.

Dianna’s cosy four-berth cabin; the original design called for two berths forward, padded by roll-mats. Photo: Nigel Sharp

Dianna was built of plywood in Tasmania in 1961. People previously converted it for cruising with a four-berth cabin, an outboard well, a centreboard and a transom-hung rudder.

These modifications allowed her previous owner to cruise Victoria’s Gippsland Lakes. It also let them trail her to Queensland and cruise around the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.

Bennett’s work included extending the cabin, laying a teak deck, and painting the spars a gold anodised colour for a more traditional look. They also added an electric winch for the centreboard and fitted a new rudder (in a cassette for easy removal) further forward.

Cusworth now cruises her at Port Phillip, but also races in handicap fleets (and finds that she can get the better of Eclipse upwind).

Offshore racers

Other Australian Diamonds have been converted for offshore racing. Perhaps the best known of these – and certainly the most accomplished – is Saltash II, a 1966 plywood boat.

Close-up of the halyards and control lines in partial sunlight.

Halyards and control lines led back to the cockpit. Photo: Nigel Sharp

Saltash’s first owner, Harold Vaughan, sailed the yacht in its original configuration from Sydney to Melbourne and back. Then, from Sydney to Brisbane and back, to compete in the Australian Diamond Championships each time.

In 1981 Saltash II was purchased by Ian and Bill Wright, third generation boatbuilders from the Brisbane company Norman R Wright & Sons.

Their initial intention was to use her for ‘bay cruising’.

But, in 1985, they decided to convert her to ocean racing. The company gave her more robust frames in the bow sections, a cabin, a self-draining cockpit, and an inboard engine. They also added various safety features to comply with the appropriate regulations.

Since then, they have raced her no less than 20 times in the 300-mile Australia’s second most prestigious offshore race, Brisbane to Gladstone. They won the race on handicap eight times.

During this period, three different rating systems (IOR, IMS and IRC) have been used for the race and the Wrights have modified Saltash to optimise her for each of them.

Ian Wright described the first race in 1985 as “agonisingly slow”. However, eight years later, Saltash finished the race in slightly more than 30 hours, just behind a 60-footer. “It was a pretty hairy trip at times.”

A black and white drawing of the original Yachting World Diamond boat parts, with instructions.

Build it yourself: part of the original instructions for home builds. Photo: Yachting World

With the 1960s plywood starting to delaminate, the Wrights are currently restoring Saltash in a major way. They’re replacing all the hull skins with new plywood and incorporating epoxy coatings and a lightweight carbon weave.

All this work is being carried out at the family boatyard, often in the shadow of the 100ft super-maxi Andoo Comanche.

Yachting World Diamond specifications

LOA: 9.14m 30ft 0in LWL: 7.31m 24ft 0in Beam: 2.10m 6ft 10in Displacement: 1.016 tonnes Draught: 1.31m 4ft 4in Sail area: 24.24m2 261ft2

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DIAMOND Yacht for Sale

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Diamond Yacht for Sale - 116' Ab

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Diamond was built by AB Yachts in Viareggio, Italy. It was delivered to an American client on the last day of December in 2012. AB Yachts was created in 1992 with the goal of setting the standard in the world of pleasure yachting. Since then it has taken distinctive steps in the boat building world. For the first time we have seen jet drives applied to high performance craft with small dimensions. Specifically researched structural resins have been introduced, collaborating with the most innovative firms in the field of composite materials. Finite element design programs have been applied to optimize the sizes of existing structures.

These are just a few of innovation introduced by AB Yachts, which is now a consolidated enterprise with ample spaces for building and completing yachts. AB Yachts is a future-oriented shipyard. Accommodations Diamond has a four stateroom layout with a GYM that offers pullman berths for availability of a fifth guest stateroom. The master suite is midships and full beam. The king berth, large seating area and enormous bathroom will please even the most demanding. There is a queen berth in one of the guest suites, twins in another and bunks in the kids room. Every stateroom has a private, oversized, bathroom.

Forward of the stateroom space is an atrium that offers a great seating area for private conversations, watching football or simply relaxing. Forward of the Atrium is the crew area and galley. There are three crew staterooms with heads and showers. The crew has their own dining/lounging area. On the main deck is the open, airy salon and pilothouse. The pilothouse is equipped with every modern electronic device necessary to take Diamond to amazing adventures. On first inspection you will note the simplicity in the joystick controls for the MJP jets. The dining salon is just aft of the pilot station. It seats ten. The roof over the dining salon opens offering great views and fresh air. The salon is aft of the Dining salon divided by a low hutch. Immediately you will observe the large windows on this entire main deck offering great views from any location. The aft deck is spacious and offers entertainment space and seating as well as a large lounging area. The transom opens to supply storage for a tender, jetskiis, dive equipment or nearly any water sports gear. On the main deck forward of the pilothouse and accessed by the wide walk around deck is a comfortable seating area for ten with an umbrella for sun protection. There is a tender garage on the bow for a second tender or more jetskiis. The flybridge offers sunning, seating and dining options. There is also a pilot station on the flybridge. Diamond will reach speeds of 48 knots and will cruise at 40 knots.

* ALL NEW AV IN SALON *

List of Main Components Installed

ENGINE - 3 X MTU 16V 2000 M93 approx 1800 hrs

Extended warranties in place through 2023

Gear Box Inverter - 3 x ZF 3060 Ratio 2.750/1

Propulsion - 2 x Waterjet MJP 550 DD

Generators - 2 x Cummins 80 KW approx 4500 hrs

Furuno Nav Net

New ships monitering system System installed in early 2021

Humphree Trim Tabs

Simrad Auto Pilot

Furuno Inmarsat

Furuno Single Side Band

3 Furuno VHF

Kablenberg Ship Horns

Autoclave Pump Fresh Water - 1 x Gianneschi Jet 518 400 V CC

Fire Fighting Pump - 1 x Gianneschi 501 BT 400 V AC

Bilge Immersion Electric Pump - 7 x Rulematic 2000 24 V DC

Centralized Bilge Electric Pump - 1 x Gianneschi ACM 501 BT K3 230 V DC Three Phase

Bilge and Fire Emergency Motorpump - 1 x Gianneschi FS 40/14

Fuel Oil Transfer Electric Pump - 1 x Gianneschi CP 32 N 230 V AC Three Phase

Fuel Oil Transfer Electric Pump - 1 x Gianneschi CP 32 A 24 V DC

Oil Transfer Electric Pump - 1 x Gianneschi FQ 15 380 V AC

Black Water Mincing Pump - 1 x Hamann Echo MV 44 24 V DC

Sanisplit - 5 x 220 TECMA

Boiler - 3 x 100 LT - 230 V AC

A/C System - 1 x Condaria

Water Maker - 2 x Idromar MC3 180 LT/H Type Duplex

MM EE Starter Battery Charger - 1 x Mastervolt 24/50-2

Service Battery Charger - 1 x Mastervolt 24/100

Radio Battery Charger - 1 x IVO SMART 24/10

MTU Battery Charger - 1 x Mastervolt 24/25-2

Gen Battery Charger - 1 x IVO SMART 12/15

Eme. Battery Charger - 1 x Mastervolt 24/50-2

Inverter - 1 x Mass Sine 24/1500

Stbd M.E. Battery Starter - 4 x Exide NG G 210 12 V - 143 AH

Service Battery - 6 x Exide G 210 6 V - 183 AH

Radio Station Battery - 2 x Exide G 80 12 V - 80 AH

Emergency Lights - 4 x Exide G140 12V - 143 AH

MTU Electronics Battery - 2 x Exide G 210 12V - 210 AH

DD / GG Battery - 2 x Exide G 140 12V - 143 AH

Motorpump Battery - 1 x Exide G 60 12V

Anchor - 2 x Kedge 180 KG

Anchor Chain - 125 MT Calibro 16 mm

Windlass - Ercole 7.5 KW 220 V AC - 3F

Capstan - 2 x Lofrans' 5.0 KW 220 V AC

Engine Room Electric Ventilator - 4 X Gianneschi 230 V ELL APV 450

Engine Room Electric Extractor - 2 x Gianneschi 230 V ELL APV 450

Engines Water Fuel Separator Pre-filters - 3 x MTU

Generators Water Fuel Separator Pre-filters - 2 x Racor 500 FG

Multifunction Hydraulic Power Unit - Pincraft

Intruder Hydraulic Power Unit - Humpree

Swimming Ladder - Morsaverio

Bow Thruster - BCS

Propulsion Control Electronic System - MTU Blue Line

Self Inflatable Life Rafts - 2 x Eurovinil SOLAS for 12 person

2022 upgrades: Full paint, New exterior teak decks, New electronics, New salon flooring, New salon furniture.

Tender and Toys

2011 17' Williams 520 Tender, Yanmar Diesel

Yamaha 2011 3 person Super Charger Jet Ski

Paddle Board

new teak decks

new navigation electronics

new AV equipment

new salon interior

mtu service

kamewa service

bottom paint

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STAR DIAMOND

1998   admiral yachts    154ft  /  47m.

Deck Dining

STAR DIAMOND Yacht Charter

STAR DIAMOND is actively available for charter.

The luxury motor yacht STAR DIAMOND, previously named OHANA, was built by Admiral Yachts and delivered to her owner in 1998, she later underwent a refit in 2022.

The exterior of STAR DIAMOND is designed by Donald Starkey, Lou Codega.

The 154ft / 47m STAR DIAMOND has been constructed with a grp hull and is powered by 2x Caterpillar engines with a cruising speed of 14 knots and a top speed of 18 knots.

Charter guest accommodation

STAR DIAMOND has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 10 charter guests in 5 suites.

The guest cabins comprise a primary suite with a king size bed and en-suite bathroom facilities, 2 cabins with a queen size bed and en-suite bathroom facilities and 2 cabins with a twin bed and en-suite bathroom facilities.

Your luxury charter crew

Your luxury charter on board motor yacht STAR DIAMOND will be managed by the crew of 9 including the captain.

The crew will ensure you have a relaxed and enjoyable charter experience with all of your needs catered for while on board.

The 9 crew have their own separate crew quarters allowing guests to enjoy increased levels of privacy.

Amenities & Entertainment

Amenities on board for the charter guests include Air Conditioning, BBQ, Bicycles, Exercise equipment, Light fishing gear, Games console, Gym, Jacuzzi on deck, Stabilizers At Anchor, Sun pads, Swim platform and Wi-Fi.

An extensive list of further amenities and water toys can be seen under the features and amenities section.

Yacht charter destinations

STAR DIAMOND is Currently cruising in the Caribbean.

Sample itineraries for the cruising destinations can be supplied by your professional charter broker allowing you to plan your luxury yacht charter vacation in detail.

  • Air Conditioning
  • Exercise equipment
  • Light fishing gear
  • Games console
  • Jacuzzi on deck
  • Stabilizers At Anchor
  • Swim platform
  • Inflatable Watertoys
  • Inflatable floating island
  • Jet Skis (standup)
  • Paddleboards
  • Tube - towable
  • Water skis - adult
  • Water slide
  • Waverunners (Sit Down)
  • Snorkeling Gear
  • Underwater lighting
  • Underwater still camera
  • 1x 5.8m/19' AB Tender

Destinations

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much to charter star diamond.

STAR DIAMOND has a weekly charter price starting at $160,000 and an estimated daily charter price of $26,700.

How many guests on board STAR DIAMOND?

STAR DIAMOND can accommodate 10 sleeping guests on board in 5 cabins.

Legal Disclaimer

Motor Yacht STAR DIAMOND is displayed on this page for informational purposes and may not necessarily be available for charter. The yacht details are displayed in good faith and whilst believed to be correct are not guaranteed, please check with your charter broker. Charter Index does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information or images displayed as they may not be current. All yacht details and charter pricing are subject to change without prior notice and are without warranty.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project

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Popular news this week, popular news this month, latest news.

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Written by Mike Smith

The New Diamond Superyacht Project is a series of four motor yachts, sizes ranging in size from 70 to 85 – 105 – 120 meters in length. The yacht design “New Diamond 70” is the latest new studio work by AVADESIGN Yachts Projects Prato, as led by designer Andrea Vasto.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Underway

The New Diamond Project 70 m superyacht was realized by the designer, James Edmund van der Merwe who has followed the development of graphic concepts and assisted by the architect and designer Andrea Cardinal Fabio Vasta, members of the study AVADESIGN.

The first project presented here is the New Diamond 70. She is to be made of high strength steel with an aluminium alloy superstructure, a four bridges, and with lines which are very tense and with a strong character design. The aim of the designers of in AVADESIGN is to respect the concept on all future models, increasing only measures and bridges, keeping the lines very similar and identifiable series.

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70m New Diamond Superyacht - Side Tender and Water Toy Store

The series of 4-Motor Yacht New Diamond will be hyper and Eco-Friendly and very innovative. This Super-Yachts 4 bridges, 70 m. will have the classification “Green Star” certificate and a double class, Rina and Lloyds. The Yacht has low power consumption and reduced emissions, a range for long ocean crossings, at a cruising speed of 16 knots. The hybrid propulsion, uses two diesel and two electric motors coupled to two gas turbines, thus achieving a considerable power, but also energy and cost savings of all respect and low environmental impact.

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Andrea Vasto at Work

In recent days, after having made several drafts of the project and after several meetings with members to discuss the details of the study, began the design of the three other models of larger sizes and in the meantime is completing the interior design for 70 m, particularly for fittings and furnishings, with the choice of materials and finishes.

The New Diamond 70m. is characterized by a design that shows a strong personality, a very clear cut lines and strict, these details, even appreciated by an owner interested in the Russian project, which has contacted us after the last show in Monaco.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - From Above

The energetic and muscular design make this boat a jewel of modern luxury yacht.

The peculiarity of this yacht are many: Inverted bow with two garages hidden for tender flush with the floor, a swimming pool, two Spa Pools in a triangular sun deck with bar and roof of the cabin has room on the fly opening with adjustable sections made with solar panels.   But the strength of the project but can be detected especially in the stern of the yacht, in fact the hatch opening and sliding on the sofas upstairs is made with a particular and special thick transparent resin, which may be necessary obscured by electrified liquid crystal placed inside, creating a shaded area if necessary also on the Main Deck.

The beach area of the Lower Deck has a swimming pool at the center of 3x 5.5 m. equipped with air movement of water that produces the artificial current to swim stationary.

Around the area Swimming-pool open spaces for relaxing and an American bar, sofas and armchairs, gym equipment, sauna and shower and an area for storage of accessories for diving.

The ceiling of this room is partly made of laminated glass on the pool and is supported by a sturdy metal cross, allowing light to filter in the lower floor of the beach club.

At the center of the floor is glazed with a building with a spa pool support with waterfall made of glass and metal structure and connected to the pool below the floor of the main deck is equipped with two sofas on the floor of glass, as well as armchairs and deck around the Spa Pool, relaxing outdoors.

Finally on the Fly is completely private, in addition to the room owner, find out a triangular Spa Pool for a game of inside perspective seems to be completely suspended on the sea, in front of an American bar equipped with sofas and chairs, loungers outdoor , armchairs, tables and accessories gym.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Aft Deck & Pool

The motor yacht has large internal spaces, we have the main room with double volume that connects visually and with a spiral staircase, glass and metal girder in the main deck with the lower deck, an indoor waterfall on the front wall to double height gives ‘expectation environment worthy of a luxury hotel. a large living room with sofas and armchairs, a grand piano, a dining room for 12/14 people

For guests on the main deck the yacht has four cabins, a VIP two doubles and one twin bridges connected by stairs and elevator, a master suite of nearly 60 square meters. Fly on the concluding night for a total of 10/12 beds for guests.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Aft Renering

Completing the interior, relaxation lounges, a bar, a cinema room and a dining area for 12/14 people on the upper deck, which opens on two sides with sliding glass doors, while the central wall of glass with more vertical opening, made in four sections folding, the same as local beach club on the lower deck, all accompanied by the angular sofas around the entire perimeter of the balcony outside.

This superyacht has two tenders placed in two garages on the foredeck and a tender ecologically driven solely by electric motor, totally powered by solar panels for zero emission and navigation in total silence, four jet skis and a helipad with helicopter private extreme bow for the journey between the ship and the mainland.

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Swimming Platform & Water Toys

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70m New Diamond Superyacht - Motor Yacht Profile

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The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Sun Deck Outside Area

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AVADESIGN Yachts Projects Prato, as led by designer Andrea Vasto

Please contact CharterWorld - the luxury yacht charter specialist - for more on superyacht news item "The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project".

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Late hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist had a 222-foot yacht called Archimedes

James simons died last week at the age of 86.

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James Simons left behind a legacy in mathematics, finance and philanthropy, as well as a massive personal fortune and a yacht, when he passed away at age 86 last week.

The billionaire, who founded the extremely successful hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, built up a personal fortune worth $31.4 billion over the course of his lifetime and used billions of that money for charity, according to Forbes . His charitable organization, the Simons Foundation that he co-founded with wife Marilyn, provides funding for science, education, autism and other areas.

Jim Simons

Marilyn Simons and Jim Simons attend the CSHL Double Helix Medals Dinner at the American Museum of Natural History on Nov. 15, 2023, in New York. (Patrick McMullan via / Getty Images)

At one point in the 2000s, Simons reportedly used some of his wealth to acquire a yacht for himself. Outlets like the BBC and CNN have identified him over the years as the owner of the Feadship-built Archimedes.

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The yacht, built in 2008, is about 222 feet long and can sail at speeds of up to 16 knots, per BOAT International. In 2018, it received a refit. 

The Plymouth Marine Laboratory said in mid-February that Simons and his wife were "support[ing] marine research in some of the most remote and least studied parts of the ocean" with the Archimedes. Scientists affixed a light-measuring instrument to the vessel to help with their research, according to the organization. 

JEFFERIES CEO RICH HANDLER CASHES IN MORE THAN $65M IN STOCK TO BUY YACHT

Archimedes

The yacht Archimedes sails in the Hudson River as storm clouds pass over midtown Manhattan in New York City on May 28, 2019. (Gary Hershorn / Getty Images)

In March, the yacht received a Science & Discovery award at the YCM Explorer Awards in Monaco for its contributions to ocean exploration and research, a Feadship press release said.

FOX Business reached out to the Simons Foundation for comment regarding the yacht.

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Simons and his wife together have dolled out charitable contributions totaling around $6 billion, Forbes reported. 

He left his role as chairman of Renaissance Technologies , which operates the Medallion Fund, back in 2021, over a decade after his retirement as the hedge fund’s CEO.

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After Living Much of Life at Sea, Captain Sandy Finds Love on Land

Sandy Yawn of “Below Deck Mediterranean” married Leah Shafer on — what else? — a superyacht in Florida.

Ms. Yawn, in a white suit, sits on the couch of a yacht with crossed legs. She has her arms around Ms. Shafer, who is wearing a white gown. They are looking at each other and smiling.

By Tammy LaGorce

Sandra Dolores Yawn has been locked up, left for dead on a Florida highway and chased through the Red Sea by pirates.

In the summer of 2018, Leah Rae Shafer reached out on Facebook to send Ms. Yawn her blessings. Not because she thought Ms. Yawn, who goes by Captain Sandy, needed her well wishes, but because she had started watching “Below Deck Mediterranean” on Bravo.

The show follows a crew tasked with catering to a revolving cadre of guests who have chartered a superyacht. Ms. Yawn, a star of the series, is at the helm. Ms. Shafer had written to congratulate her on the show’s success. There was another reason, too. “I thought she was hot,” she said.

Ms. Yawn, 59, has been a yacht captain for more than 30 years. Her foray into television, which started in 2017, was not exactly foreordained. Until her mid-20s, “I was a mess,” Ms. Yawn said. “I was always in trouble. I got kicked out of 11th grade. I didn’t go to college.” At 13, at the start of an adolescence spent between Dundee, Fla., where her father lived, and Bradenton, Fla., where her mother lived, she started drinking. By 17, “I was getting arrested so many times I couldn’t even count how many,” she said. Usually a parent bailed her out. Her father’s refusal to do so after one drunken incident landed her a night in jail.

In 1989, when she was 25, the revolving door of South Florida treatment centers she had been pushing through quit spinning when a counselor told her she couldn’t return. “She said, ‘Sandy, as soon as you get some money in your pocket you’re going to start drinking again,’” Ms. Yawn said.

Fearing real jail time, she joined Alcoholics Anonymous. To start paying off the thousands of dollars she owed in legal fees and addiction treatment center bills, she got a job washing boats in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. By 30, she had earned her captain’s license from Maritime Professional Training, a school in Fort Lauderdale for mariners and yachting professionals.

Rehab — she still has an A.A. sponsor and attends meetings whenever possible — helped her pin down the roots of her teenage rebellion. “I think a big part of my drinking was that I couldn’t accept my sexuality,” she said. “When I got sober is when I accepted that, oh my gosh, I actually prefer women.”

For Ms. Shafer, that level of acceptance took much longer. It also cost her a career as a gospel singer.

Ms. Shafer, 50, is the entrepreneur behind a skin care line, Skin by Leah, and a jewelry business started with a friend, Cuff Me. When she messaged Ms. Yawn to congratulate her on the success of “Below Deck Mediterranean” in 2018, she and her husband of 20 years, then living with their teenage daughter in Denver, were going through a divorce. The relationship had gone stale years earlier, Ms. Shafer said, but fear and uncertainty prevented her from leaving.

“I had the security of not worrying financially, because he took care of everything,” she said. Her gospel career at a nondenominational church had taken off when she was still in high school in Hesperia, Calif. But that was mostly a labor of love.

“I toured and went to college at the same time,” said Ms. Shafer, who graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts.

By her 30s, she was recording albums, touring megachurches and singing at major Christian conferences. A flirtation with secular performance in the 2000s landed her on the 2003-04 revival of “Star Search” and later a recurring role on NBC’s “The Singing Bee.”

But “I loved God and I loved inspiring people, and the platform I was given was on the stage of churches,” she said. The only problem: “There was really no money in that.”

Before their divorce was final in 2019, she and her husband tried therapy and prayed together. Finally, in 2018, “I just jumped,” she said. “I took a leap of faith. I wanted freedom.”

She found it financially first. Skin by Leah Studio, her Lone Tree, Colo. facial salon that she founded in 2017, was successful right away, she said. When she first saw Ms. Yawn on TV, she was settling into life as an entrepreneur. She didn’t expect to get a response to her Facebook message. But when she got one three months later, in October 2018, it came with an invitation.

In addition to her job as a TV star, Ms. Yawn had started touring with “I Believe,” a series of motivational talks she created to inspire women in leadership positions. When she finally read Ms. Shafer’s message — thousands had been piling up, she said, but something drew her to Ms. Shafer’s — she was in the market for an entertainer for the talks.

In her message, Ms. Shafer had included a video of herself singing the national anthem at a 2014 Denver Broncos game. Once Ms. Yawn clicked the link, she replied right away. “She gave me her phone number and said, ‘I heard you sing,’” Ms. Shafer said. “‘Let’s meet up and talk about how we can do something together.’”

The two continued to talk on the phone and over email. Ms. Yawn was then living in Los Angeles. Ms. Shafer had been planning a Disneyland vacation with her daughter, Lauren, in November, a trip that gave her an excuse to meet Ms. Yawn in person.

Both say they fell in love seconds after Ms. Shafer pulled into Ms. Yawn’s driveway in mid-November 2018. “I offered to park her car for her, and that’s when we hugged,” Ms. Yawn said. “I felt this energy I had never felt. I knew I had to pay attention to that.”

It was a life-changing hug for Ms. Shafer, too. “It was not a normal feeling when I met Sandy,” she said. “She wasn’t the stern captain you see on TV. She was just so fun and so beautiful. That hug melted me.”

Over dinner at Catch, a Los Angeles seafood restaurant, they acknowledged their attraction. “I was really honest with her,” Ms. Yawn said. But Ms. Shafer wasn’t ready to date a woman. “I knew I wanted to be with her,” she said. “I was just freaked out.”

By the end of the evening, Ms. Yawn told her she should take her time. It had been two years since Ms. Yawn’s last relationship. “So at that point I was like, ‘Why rush it?’” she said. “I was older and I’ve learned a lot of lessons. One was, let things happen naturally. Slow and steady wins the race.”

Six months later, the race was over. The women were in a committed relationship, and Ms. Yawn had moved to a place near Ms. Shafer’s in Denver. It was smooth sailing until the end of 2019, when news of the couple’s relationship started circulating in entertainment media.

The public outing ended Ms. Shafer’s gospel career. “I knew the minute I came out as being in love with a woman it would be over, and it was,” she said. Her six CDs, sold in dozens of church bookstores, were pulled from shelves and shipped to her doorstep. Christian radio stations stopped playing her music.

“I had worked for 35 years,” she said. “And it was over.”

Most painful of all were comments after her father’s death from Covid in 2020. “People in the church told me he died because of my sins,” she said. “But he had met and come to accept Sandy before he passed, and I thank God that happened.” Now, “my family adores Sandy.”

Ms. Yawn lost both her parents to heart attacks before she became a TV star — her father in 2006, and her mother in 2009. In 2015, she was en route to the Miami Boat Show on her motorcycle when she was hit by a car. The driver left the scene. “I felt my mother’s presence while I was flipping through the air, and I felt peaceful,” she said.

When she hit the pavement, she had a fractured pelvis and her foot “was on sideways,” she said. By then, though, she was used to navigating life and death scenarios, including fires at sea and run-ins with pirates. She credits her fortitude and empathy, qualities highlighted on “Below Deck Mediterranean,” which she joined in 2017, to her sobriety. “I’ve got nothing to hide and everything to share,” she said.

In 2022, Ms. Yawn and Ms. Shafer bought a house together in Parker, Colo. In September 2023, while Ms. Yawn was filming in Greece, Ms. Shafer flew overseas to visit. Ms. Yawn proposed with a diamond engagement ring on the beach , with violin players in the background.

Binge more Vows columns here and read all our wedding, relationship and divorce coverage here .

On May 11, Ms. Shafer and Ms. Yawn were married in Fort Lauderdale aboard She’s a 10 Too, a superyacht lent to the couple by their friend Carolyn Aronson. Fifty-five guests, the maximum allowed aboard the vessel, were in attendance. Among them were “Below Deck Mediterranean” castmates Aesha Scott, Kate Chastain and Dave White, known to viewers as Chef Dave. (And yes, there were cameras filming.)

Ms. Shafer, in a long white wedding gown by Leah Da Gloria, walked down the aisle with her two brothers, Matthew Dale and Justin Dale, to an altar decorated with white roses and hydrangeas; her daughter, now 18, was her maid of honor.

Ms. Yawn, in a white Veronica Beard suit, was escorted down the aisle by Mark Dunham, her brother-in-law. Michelle Dunham, Ms. Yawn’s sister, was her maid of honor. Most guests were barefoot, as is common on yachts. The brides and their wedding party were granted an exception.

Nadine Rajabi, the showrunner of “Below Deck Mediterranean,” who is ordained by the Universal Life Church, married them on the yacht’s bridge aft deck, a job made more difficult by the weather: wind caused her microphone to cut out and blew the pages of her speech around. But nothing could disturb the focus of the brides as they read handwritten vows.

Ms. Shafer told Ms. Yawn that she had taught her to be more optimistic, more playful and “to jump.” Ms. Yawn told Ms. Shafer that she had given her patience and grace.

The captain had been hoping to make it through the ceremony free of tears. But that, she said shortly after they were pronounced married, was impossible. “The minute I looked at Leah and started reading her all the reasons I fell in love with her I started to cry,” she said. “It’s so amazing to find this kind of love in your lifetime.”

On This Day

When May 11, 2024

Where Aboard the superyacht She’s a 10 Too, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Rescue Mission The couple chose “She’s a Lady” for their first dance during an onboard reception. Chef Dave prepared short ribs and a three-tiered, gluten-free vanilla, chocolate and strawberry cake that threatened to topple in the wind and heat (temperatures were in the 90s).

Cruising After the wedding, the brides took off for a five-day honeymoon to Little Palm Island on a yacht lent by Mr. Flynn. Ms. Yawn was at the helm, of course.

Onward In June, Ms. Yawn and Ms. Shafer will move from Denver to Ponte Vedra, Fla., to be closer to Ms. Dunham, who runs a private school for children with autism, Jacksonville School for Autism, in Jacksonville. On June 3, season nine of “Below Deck Mediterranean” premieres on Bravo. And on July 1, Ms. Shafer will open a skin care studio in Ponte Vedra.

An earlier version of this article misidentified   the man who escorted Sandy Yawn down the aisle. It was Mark Dunham, her brother-in-law, not her friend John Flynn. An earlier version of a picture caption also misidentified Mr. Dunham as Mr. Flynn. Additionally, the article misstated   the shoe rule aboard   the superyacht on which the wedding was held. The brides and their wedding party were allowed to wear shoes; other guests were not.

How we handle corrections

Weddings Trends and Ideas

Keeping Friendships Intact: The soon-to-be-married couple and their closest friends might experience stress and even tension leading up to their nuptials. Here’s how to avoid a friendship breakup .

‘Edible Haute Couture’: Bastien Blanc-Tailleur, a luxury cake designer based in Paris, creates opulent confections for high-profile clients , including European royalty and American socialites.

Reinventing a Mexican Tradition: Mariachi, a soundtrack for celebration in Mexico, offers a way for couples to honor their heritage  at their weddings.

Something Thrifted: Focused on recycled clothing , some brides are finding their wedding attire on vintage sites and at resale stores.

Brand Your Love Story: Some couples are going above and beyond to personalize their weddings, with bespoke party favors and custom experiences for guests .

Going to Great Lengths : Mega wedding cakes are momentous for reasons beyond their size — they are part of an emerging trend of extremely long cakes .

It sure looks like Mark Zuckerberg is taking a brand new superyacht out to celebrate his 40th birthday

  • It seems as if Mark Zuckerberg will celebrate his 40th birthday on the  megayacht, Launchpad .
  • The yachting world has speculated for months that the Meta CEO is the owner of the vessel.
  • Now, both the boat and Zuckerberg's private jet have landed in Panama.

Insider Today

All signs point to Mark Zuckerberg celebrating his 40th birthday on what many speculate is his brand-new superyacht Launchpad .

The boating world has been buzzing about Launchpad — a 118-meter yacht built by the Dutch shipyard Feadship — for months, with rumors swirling that her owner is none other than the Meta CEO. But in the yachting world, where privacy is paramount , no party would confirm her owner.

"It is Feadship's standard policy to never divulge any information about our yachts with reference to ownership, costs, or delivery, etc," Feadship, the ship's builder, wrote to Business Insider in March. "Whether it is an 18-meter Feadship from the 1960s or a 118-meter Feadship from the 21st century, we do not share private information."

Related stories

Representatives for Zuckerberg did not respond to requests for comment from BI.

Now there's even more evidence: The megayacht arrived in Panama on Monday, making her way there from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she's predominantly been moored since she made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic in March, according to public ship-tracking data. Wingman, the support superyacht that he is suspected to have purchased with Launchpad, made the journey with her.

Zuckerberg's plane also landed in Panama on Monday, per a private jet tracker, and if his Instagram is any indication, he was on board.

Putting two and two together — along with the many other clues linking Zuckerberg to the yacht — we can surmise that the Meta CEO is likely kicking off his new decade aboard his new toy.

Little is known about the luxury vessel, which was said to have been built for a sanctioned Russian businessman before it was handed over to the Dutch government, which served as a middleman for the purchase. Her final purchase price is unknown, but it's safe to say a yacht of that size from that shipyard would cost nine figures upfront and six figures a year to maintain.

The few photos of Launchpad available on the industry site SuperYacht Times show there appears to be a helipad and a swimming pool on her main deck.

A vessel of her size can typically sleep dozens of guests and crewmembers and likely has an expansive gym (where Zuckerberg could practice his jiu-jitsu), a spa, a movie room, and a garage to fit plenty of toys like his viral hydrofoil .

Zuckerberg's name was first connected to Launchpad in December when reports swirled that he visited Feadship's shipyard in the Netherlands. By March, yachting blogs like eSysman SuperYachts and Autoevolution suggested he officially snagged the boat at a $300 million price tag. Launchpad also bears the flag of the Marshall Islands, a US territory that is commonplace for American buyers to register their ships.

We will never know for sure whose name is on her title, so unless Zuckerberg confirms he's Launchpad's owner, we will have to wait for an invitation to Zuck's birthday party to confirm.

Watch: The scariest things OceanGate's CEO said about deep-sea diving

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Diamond Hands Charter Yacht

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Diamond Hands

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DIAMOND HANDS yacht NOT for charter*

26.1m  /  85'8 | azimut | 2020.

Owner & Guests

Cabin Configuration

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Special Features:

  • RINA (Registro Italiano Navale) classification
  • Interior design from Salvagni Architetti
  • Cruising speed of 24 knots
  • Sleeps 8 overnight

The 26.1m/85'8" motor yacht 'Diamond Hands' was built by Azimut in Italy. Her interior is styled by Italian designer design house Salvagni Architetti and she was completed in 2020. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Stefano Righini.

Guest Accommodation

Diamond Hands has been designed to comfortably accommodate up to 8 guests in 4 suites comprising one VIP cabin. She is also capable of carrying up to 3 crew onboard to ensure a relaxed luxury yacht experience.

Onboard Comfort & Entertainment

Her features include WiFi and air conditioning.

Range & Performance

Built with a GRP hull and carbon fibre/grp superstructure, with teak decks, she has impressive speed and great efficiency thanks to her planing hull. Powered by twin diesel MAN (V12-1650) 1,650hp engines, she comfortably cruises at 24 knots, reaches a maximum speed of 27 knots. Her water tanks store around 1,100 Litres of fresh water. She was built to RINA (Registro Italiano Navale) classification society rules.

*Charter Diamond Hands Motor Yacht

Motor yacht Diamond Hands is currently not believed to be available for private Charter. To view similar yachts for charter , or contact your Yacht Charter Broker for information about renting a luxury charter yacht.

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    The award winning 60m/196'10" motor yacht 'Diamonds Are Forever' was built by Benetti in Italy at their Livorno shipyard. Her interior is styled by British designer design house Evan K Marshall and she was completed in 2011. This luxury vessel's exterior design is the work of Benetti.

  17. Kalizma

    History and Ownership SY Minona. S/Y Minona (now Kalizma) was commissioned and built in 1906 as a luxury private yacht for Robert Stewart, previous owner of Kirkliston Distillery and prominent Scottish estate owner.Steward was also noted in history as being Vice Commodore of the Royal Eastern Yacht Club. Built to the highest standards, the Minona was designed by G.L Watson & Co. built by ...

  18. The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project

    The New Diamond Superyacht Project is a series of four motor yachts, sizes ranging in size from 70 to 85 - 105 - 120 meters in length. The yacht design "New Diamond 70" is the latest new studio work by AVADESIGN Yachts Projects Prato, as led by designer Andrea Vasto. The 70m New Diamond Superyacht Design Project - Underway.

  19. Late hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist had a 222-foot yacht

    At one point in the 2000s, Simons reportedly used some of his wealth to acquire a yacht for himself. Outlets like the BBC and CNN have identified him over the years as the owner of the Feadship ...

  20. Rare Diamond Yacht Charter

    The 31.7m/104' motor yacht 'Rare Diamond' by the Italian shipyard Sanlorenzo offers flexible accommodation for up to 11 guests in 5 cabins and features interior styling by Della Role Design.. Built in 2011, Rare Diamond is the ideal luxury yacht for kicking back and relaxing whilst on charter, showcasing clever use of space with an artful combination of integrated systems and luxurious ...

  21. After Living Much of Life at Sea, Captain Sandy Finds Love on Land

    Ms. Yawn, 59, has been a yacht captain for more than 30 years. Her foray into television, which started in 2017, was not exactly foreordained. Until her mid-20s, "I was a mess," Ms. Yawn said.

  22. Sanlorenzo Motor Yacht Rare Diamond Sold

    The 32.71 metre motor yacht Rare Diamond, listed for sale by Clifford Allenby at Allenby & Associates, has been sold in-house.. Built in GRP by Italian yard Sanlorenzo with exterior styling and interior design by Francesco Paszkowski, Rare Diamond was delivered in 2011 as one of the yard's SL104 series and is RINA classed. Accommodation is for 10 guests in five cabins comprising a main-deck ...

  23. It Looks Like Mark Zuckerberg Is Celebrating His 40th Birthday on a New

    It seems as if Mark Zuckerberg will celebrate his 40th birthday on the megayacht, Launchpad. The yachting world has speculated for months that the Meta CEO is the owner of the vessel. Now, both ...

  24. DIAMOND A Yacht

    Range & Performance. Built with a GRP hull and GRP superstructure, she has impressive speed and great efficiency thanks to her planing hull. Powered by twin diesel MTU (16V 2000 M93) 16-cylinder 2,400hp engines running at 2450rpm, she reaches a maximum speed of 45 knots with a range of up to 250 nautical miles from her 6,000 litre fuel tanks ...

  25. DIAMOND HANDS Yacht

    The 26.1m/85'8" motor yacht 'Diamond Hands' was built by Azimut in Italy. Her interior is styled by Italian designer design house Salvagni Architetti and she was completed in 2020. ... Diamond Hands Yacht Owner, Captain or marketing company 'Yacht Charter Fleet' is a free information service, if your yacht is available for charter please ...