Thursday, March 6, 2014

About "A"

I spotted this super yacht in Auckland yesterday - it was hard to miss - and went down today to look more closely at it. Google  tells me its name is  "A",  it is here for its third repaint in its 5 year life, and is owned by a russian billionaire described as a maths genius on wikipaedia but I couldn't find out why.  He apparently sued the last company that tried to  repaint it, for $100m, because he wasn't happy with the final finish. He and his wife also sued an artist that had been commissioned to make a 7 foot high sculpture for them that was less than 4 feet high on delivery. They paid 423,000 pounds for it and were suing for $2.9m!

Apparently stored inside A are three high speed launches that are longer than Sapphire.This monstrous vessel cost $300 million to build and $20 million a year to run. The diesel tank holds 757,000 litres.

The billionaires story, like most of the stories surrounding the new wave of post-communist mega-rich, is distinctly vague. However theres nothing vague about the descriptions of their yacht and their penthouses and private jets and collection of Monet paintings, or their variously estimated nett worth of somewhere round 10 or 15 billion, which leaves the poor fellow languishing down near 80th in the list of the richest people in the world.

I can barely find words to describe what I feel about people who live on the same planet as everyone else, and when they are trying to find something to do with their fabulous wealth, no matter how ethically it was acquired, the only thing that seems to occur to them is to spend it on themselves. 

What a pity these ghastly self centered people can't follow the lead of Bill Gates who has given away $28billion by the latest estimate, and yet remarkably is STILL the richest man on the planet! Clearly he could afford to give away a hell of a lot more but when you read about what is being done by his foundation - everything from health education to Malaria research and to funding the search for a better toilet (2.5 BILLION people do not have access to a toilet) - you are saved from the despair that looking at something like A tempts you to sink into.