Jeff Bezos' $500-Million Yacht Hits the Open Ocean for the First Time

A 417-foot long, three-mast sailing yacht testing in the open ocean.
A 417-foot long, three-mast sailing yacht testing in the open ocean.

Jeff Bezos’ giant 417-foot long sailing yacht stretched its legs on the open ocean this week, still completely free of a coating of eggs Rotterdam residents once promised the world’s largest sailing vessel.

Yacht builders Oceanco referred to the $500-million sailing yacht by its internal serial name — Y721 — during its yearslong development and manufacturing process. The vessel can now be called by the name granted to it by its mega-rich owner: the Koru. A Koru is a Māori symbol representing the spiral of an unfurling fern frond.

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“Its circular shape conveys the idea of perpetual movement, and its inward coil suggests a return to the point of origin. The koru therefore symbolises the way in which life both changes and stays the same,” according to a definition from the government of New Zealand.

Once delivered to Amazon mogul Jeff Bezos, the Koru will be the largest sailing vessel in the world. It’s currently undergoing open-seas testing phase, which is consider one of the final steps before delivery. The big boat enthusiast YouTube channel Dutch Yachting published footage of the testing earlier this week:

Jeff Bezos’s 127m/ 417ft Sailing Yacht Koru having a first day of sea trials

Koru had a controversial start in life after Oceanco petitioned the Rotterdam government for the ability to dismantle a historic bridge in order to get the yacht to open water. The city council in Rotterdam vowed never allow another dismantling of the Koningshavenbrug bridge, however, after it came down for a during renovations in 2017. Known locally as De Hef, the bridge was heavily damaged by Nazi shelling in WWII but managed to survive. It became a symbol for local resistance against the invading forces.

When news spread that the bridge might need to be dismantled, angry Dutch people responded by vowing to launch eggs at the yacht as it passed through town. The nearly 3,000 people who signed up for the dairy aisle hi jinx needn’t have worried, however; the Rotterdam city council denied Oceanco’s petition and the boat was moved to a different shipyard with without its masts early in the morning.

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