It is rare that a yacht the size of the 446-ft M/Y Flying Fox comes onto the charter market. Following her spring 2019 delivery, this one-of-a-kind vessel effortlessly vaulted to the title of largest private charter yacht in the world. For those seeking the finest on-water experience, Ellie Brade shows why Flying Fox is hard to beat.
It is hard to know where to begin when trying to do justice to Flying Fox. Built in Germany by Lürssen, under the supervision of Imperial acting as builder supervisor and owner’s representative, she features a dove gray hull and distinctive curved exterior lines by Espen Øino, with an interior by Mark Berryman. Her staggering length of 446 ft, a beam of 74 ft and her huge volume mean it is no surprise that one of the yacht’s biggest assets is the sheer amount of space on board, both inside and out.
“Flying Fox’s layout has been wisely thought out by her designers to ensure that each area offers guests something unique, whether that is a two-story salon to entertain or a cinema room to be entertained,” says Julia Stewart, director of Imperial, the exclusive charter agent for Flying Fox. “The attention to every single detail has been critically observed to provide guests an unforgettable luxurious experience on board.”
A true passion project developed in close collaboration with her owner, Flying Fox’s appealing design makes her eminently suited to the yacht charter market. Developed to be a home away from home, the yacht is packed with a near-endless list of features that make it hard to consider the idea of ever leaving.
“Flying Fox caters to all types of charter guests thanks to her beautiful looks and limitless amenities,” says Stewart. “If you want to set out on an adventure, there are all the toys and tenders you will need and highly trained instructors to take care of you; if fine food is more what interests you, then the culinary offering is unrivaled; for wellness lovers, the spa is unparalleled.”
Flying Fox’s contemporary and functional interior draws on Japanese influences to create a calm and serene environment that makes use of a small palette of colors and materials including bamboo, oak, fine stones and leather. Exquisite mosaic and tile work also feature throughout the decor. Fresh greenery and towering ficus trees and planters are special touches that enhance the entire vessel and effortlessly bring the outside in.
PYC compliant, and able to welcome up to 36 guests in the care of 54 expert crew, Flying Fox has accommodations for 25 guests in 11 cabins. These include a show-stopping master suite complete with 180-degree views, his and hers dressing rooms, a private beauty room and a sitting room complete with its own fireplace — one of five fireplaces on board. The 10 additional guest cabins each have their own sea terraces for a personal view across the ocean. Each cabin is en suite with a 75-in TV screen and media center, and has its own design flair.
A focal interior point for guests is the sweeping atrium-style, two-level salon, which takes full advantage of the available height and volume to deliver a large seating area that overlooks the main salon, with a real-wood fireplace, below. This light-filled haven invites guests to throw off the weight of the world and relax. Other popular interior spots include the full cinema with D-box seating for 14 guests, an Atmos sound system, media system with more than 3,000 movies, a virtual-reality system and an abundance of games. A private dining room, with another real fireplace and enough seating for all on board, boasts its own aquarium as part of the styling, and is the ideal setting for enjoying formal meals created by the yacht’s talented culinary team.
An emphasis on social living, wellness and relaxation is seen throughout and nowhere less so than the spa. “Covering 4,305 sq ft over two floors, the spa is a state-of-the-art achievement that has been called a ‘little Palace Hotel Merano,’” says Stewart. “From the impressive Jacuzzi set in the middle, through to the hammam, sauna, cryo sauna, dry and wet massage areas, or the fully equipped 970-sq-ft gym, the assets offered are above expectations and run by trained professionals, with proven credentials, or former Olympic athletes.” The cryotherapy chamber is of particular note, as it’s the first to ever be installed on a private yacht, and is able to go down to temperatures of -166 Fahrenheit; it will tick the boxes for those looking for a true endorphin rush. A private medic is also part of the crew on board.
This dedication to wellness is seen across every deck, with numerous spaces to gather, relax and enjoy the water. The nearly 74-ft-wide swimming platform serves as a base for sunbathing and utilizing the yacht’s vast collection of water gear that includes a large selection of tenders, jet skis and Seabobs. A fully equipped professional dive center is positioned on the port side of the lower deck, with two dedicated folding terraces. “The on-board dive center is the best ever built on a superyacht,” says Stewart. “Run by PADI-certified specialists who have the ability to train guests, it includes an impressive selection of gear of all sizes, its own breathing system that allows it to be completely autonomous and a three-seat decompression chamber.”
If the ocean doesn’t appeal, then head to the main deck, home to a truly impressive 40-ft pool. Placed transversely — a unique approach when compared to most superyacht layouts — the pool has an adjustable floor height that allows users to tailor their swim, with swim and massage jets at alternate ends. The pool is also a popular gathering spot for sunbathing or simply enjoying drinks and the undisturbed views. Other highlights across the four exterior decks include sheltered lounge areas, sun-drenched teak decks, two Jacuzzis — one on the owner’s deck and one on the sun deck forward — and the privately positioned roof deck that delivers escapism and serenity in equal measure.
Food lovers will appreciate the multitude of dining options found throughout the yacht. “On the cuisine side, Flying Fox is definitely out of this world: not only carrying some of the best chefs, with some having worked with Michelin-starred chefs, but also having impressive galley capacities and incredible areas to dine,” says Stewart. Favorite spots include the bridge deck, with a dining setup, bar and an open kitchen with cooking options, including a full-size rotisserie, tandoori, pizza oven and teppanyaki and churrasco grills, which ensure all tastes and flavors are covered.
While capable of traveling to far-flung destinations, Flying Fox is currently based in the Mediterranean. Access in even the most remote anchorages is easy thanks to the two helipads on board, with the upper deck helipad ranked as ‘18-meter D-Value’ and big enough to accommodate Flying Fox’s Airbus H175 12-seat helicopter, the largest private helicopter in the world. The upper deck helipad has a double use and can transform into a dance floor like no other for partying under the stars.
The visionary Flying Fox yacht dwarfs her competitors — literally and figuratively — and delivers luxury escapism in the highest measure.
Photos: Guillaume Plisson for Imperial