His Royal Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan was reportedly seen arriving in England via a private helicopter to take delivery of his £200million superyacht. According to the Daily Mail, the 77-year old philanthropist whose personal wealth is estimated to be close to £500 million was greeted by typical British weather and turbulent seas when he landed at the Devonport Dockyard in Plymouth, Devon.
Titled the ‘Alamshar’ the vessel was supposed to be ‘World’s fastest superyacht’ upon completion boasting speeds of up to 70 knots. However, the British-built ocean-liner named after the Prince’s retired Irish thoroughbred racehorse, boasts a top speed of just 45 knots. One source involved with the project told The Sunday Times, the Prince was rather disappointed that after years in development this simple feat could not be achieved.
Codenamed Project 305, the 164-foot long Alamshar was expected to set a new World Record for superyachts and the Aga Khan’s own transatlantic record of two days, ten hours and 34 minutes with the Destriero, another luxury vessel in his fleet.
Babcock International Group had covertly designed and constructed the Alamshar to ward off competition from rival builders. But it was long reputed to be a troubled project from the get-go. During sea trials six years ago, it clocked a top speed of just 35 knots before being called back to the dock for more work.
Babcock International said in a statement that the length of the project was due to the ‘challenging’ mechanical targets. The statement further added that, ‘State-of-the-art shipbuilding and systems integration technology required to deliver the vessel to specification would have doubtless proved demanding even if employed in a commercial or military vessel’.
Despite the lack of speed the £200 million cruiser does guarantee smooth-sailing as it has been built with gas turbines. According to the Babcock International website, this ‘eliminates all mechanical vibration and counters the effects of pitch and roll’.
One of the World’s most well-known racehorse owners the Aga Khan is probably used to disappointment… Hopefully this ‘minor’ setback won’t deter him from taking another stab at commissioning the production of the World’s fastest superyacht… Though this time, it may work in his favor not to rely on British builders!