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‘Man of Steel’ a pricey boat, but fit for a billionaire


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Local steel magnate Barry Zekelman’s latest recreational acquisition may have a cost a boatload of cash, but now he can boast lots more elbow room while off cruising the world’s oceans.

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Zekelman Industries has been identified as the buyer of movie mogul Steven Spielberg’s Seven Seas, a so-called ‘superyacht’ which went on the market earlier this year. Already renamed Man of Steel, the 2010-built luxury cruiser was listed for sale at a cool US$158 million (C$202 million).

It’s a 282-foot (86-metre) floating palace of sleek elegance. There’s a helipad, swimming pool and jacuzzi on the deck; cinema; gym and massage, sauna and steam rooms; nine cabins, including owner’s suite with private deck and a VIP stateroom. There’s room for 20 guests and crew quarters for 28 staff to serve them while afloat.

An elevator carries occupants to the various decks, adorned in teak and other exotic materials. The yacht carries two custom-built tenders — a 30-foot open sport boat and 34-foot “limousine” boat.

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With an estimated top speed of 20 knots (37 km/h), it has a cruising range of 5,200 nautical miles (9,630 km) at 16 knots.

It’s the latest “Man of Steel” incarnation for the steel magnate who lives in Lakeshore and whose father Harry Zekelman founded steel tube manufacturer Atlas Tube in Harrow in 1984.

His first superyacht to carry the Man of Steel name was a 121-foot (37-metre) Heesen 3700 purchased in 2005. That was followed three years later by another Heesen Yachts custom build, a 160-foot (49-metre) vessel which was the Dutch company’s biggest boat at the time. They kept getting bigger, with a 2019 purchase of another Heesen, this one 163-footer (50-metre).

In the world of superyachts, size appears to matter, with ever-bigger and more luxurious private vessels being churned out for the world’s uber-wealthy.

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Alas, the really super superyachts are reserved for the really rich billionaires, folks like Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, whose 523-foot Eclipse came with a “developmental cost” of just over US$1 billion. And that 2010-built superyacht is now only the third-largest private yacht among the global elites, with most of these elite owners preferring to sail in anonymity.

The same Dutch company — Oceanco — that built the latest incarnation of Man of Steel is currently building a half-billion-dollar 127-metre superyacht for the richest man in the world, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Something handy for the owners of Oceanco-built vessels is the company’s “rapid response team” that will fly out anywhere to help out with any sudden servicing needs.

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It’s a good time to be one of the world’s more than 2,700 billionaires, an exclusive club that now sits atop net wealth of US$13 trillion (C$17 trillion). Nearly all of them experienced big boosts in earnings during the global pandemic; several have just started tourism ventures for wealthy travellers in space; and, just this week, one of their own — Elon Musk — was named Time magazine Person of the Year.

Fresh from his sale to Zekelman, Spielberg, a billionaire entertainment industry mogul known for directing and producing a long list of Hollywood blockbusters, is also moving up. Construction is underway on his next 358-foot (109-metre) private superyacht. According to Club Yacht, Spielberg would rent out Seven Seas when he didn’t need it, with up to 12 guests at a time paying just over US$1 million per week to cruise the Caribbean in luxury.

Barry Zekelman, frequently in the news with wife Stephanie for their many philanthropic activities, has not been specifically identified as the new owner, but he’s the head of purchaser Zekelman Industries, and he was named in November as the new skipper by yachting publication sites as well as Forbes and Bloomberg news services.

Zekelman, whose wealth was most recently pegged by Forbes at US$2.3 billion (C$3 billion), could not be reached for comment.

— With files from news sources

dschmidt@postmedia.com

twitter.com/schmidtcity

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